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How do I Make Cheap Cupboard Doors for a Bookcase?

Updated April 17, 2017

If your bookcase is looking a little too cluttered and you would like to clean up the look of your room without having to buy a new bookcase or getting rid of your book collection you can always add cabinet doors. Adding doors to a bookcase is not as difficult as it sounds. All it requires are a few simple tools, supplies and some patience to follow the necessary steps. In fact, modifying an open bookcase may require less time than going out and buying a new shelf and reassembling it at home, and it is certainly a cheaper option.

Using a measuring tape, measure the front of the bookcase to determine the length and width needed for the cabinet doors. Decide whether you would like the two doors to sit inside the case front or outside the case. This will depend on how much room you have between your books and the front of the case. Measure appropriately. Measure the two pieces of lumber, and mark the area to be cut with a pencil.

Place the lumber on a work bench and saw off the excess wood with a hand saw or table saw. Carefully sand the edges with sandpaper until they are smooth. Place the two doors over the front of the bookcase to make sure they fit properly.

Apply stain or paint to one side of the doors with a paint brush and let the doors sit until dry on the workbench before applying a coat to the other side.

Place the door knobs or handles about halfway up the length of a door and at least 1 inch from the inside edge of the door on the opening side of one of the doors. Mark where you will need to place the screws. Attach a drill bit to your drill that is one size smaller than the circumference of the screws for the door knobs. Drill guide holes for the screws to prevent the wood from splitting when you screw on the knobs. Screw on the knob. Repeat for the other door.

Line up the hinges on the inside of the doors and mark the screw holes with a pencil. Drill guide holes for each screw you will use. Screw the hinges onto the doors.

Place a door in an open position over the bookcase and mark the screw holes inside the bookcase. Drill guide holes for the screws. Screw the hinges onto the bookcase. Repeat this procedure for the other door. Open and close the doors to make sure they fit properly.

Tip

Cabinet doors that sit inside a bookcase's frame--with door fronts flush with the front of the bookcase--can be more difficult to measure and install than doors that overlap or fit on the outside of the bookcase. Double check your measurements before making any cuts to the lumber. When applying stain or paint to the wood, apply using broad, even strokes. Then let the stain or paint dry completely before adding another coat if needed.

Things You'll Need

  • Measuring tape
  • Hand saw or table saw
  • Two pieces of lumber
  • Sandpaper
  • Wood stain or wood paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Electric drill/screwdriver
  • 2 cabinet door knobs or handles
  • 4 hinges
  • 16 hinge screws
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