Learn how to build cabinet doors the easy way! Use your Kreg Jig and these free plans to make DIY Shaker cabinet doors to update the look of your home.
Making Cabinet Doors for Your Home
Are you ready to learn how to make cabinet doors the easy way? We’ll use a Kreg Jig to drill pocket holes and use pocket screws to build cabinet doors. Building DIY Shaker cabinet doors is an inexpensive way to update the look of your kitchen cabinets, bathroom vanities or anywhere you need some new cabinet doors.
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What are Shaker Cabinet Doors?
In this tutorial we’re going to learn how to make cabinet doors that are often called frame-and-panel cabinet doors or Shaker cabinet doors.
Shaker cabinet doors are known for their simple design. The stiles (vertical pieces) and rails (horizontal pieces) have square edges and the inset panel is flat.
Making Cabinet Doors the Easy Way
Making cabinet doors with a Kreg Jig is easy! First, we’ll cut our stiles and rails to length. Then we’ll drill some pocket holes in the ends of the rails.
Next, we’ll use a router on the stiles and rails to make a groove for the panel.
Then, we’ll cut the panel, clamp all of the pieces together and attach with pocket screws.
That’s all there is to building cabinet doors. You CAN do this!
What Tools Do I Need for Building Cabinet Doors?
- Tape Measure
- Miter Saw
- Kreg Jig
- Router Table
- 1/4″ Straight Router Bit
- Pin Nailer
- Table Saw or Circular Saw
Making Cabinet Doors with a Flat Panel
There are a couple of ways we can make the panels for our DIY Shaker cabinet doors. The easiest way would be to use plywood. I’m trying to reduce the amount of plywood I use in my projects, so instead, I made solid wood panels for my cabinet doors.
My favorite way to make solid wood panels is to use my bandsaw to resaw wood into thinner pieces. I resawed inexpensive 2x4s to make the flat panels for my cabinets.
What is resawing? Imagine splitting a piece of wood lengthwise and then opening it like a book. Once it’s opened the edges are glued to form a panel. I used this technique to make book-matched panels for this DIY Bathroom Vanity.
The panel for our cabinet doors doesn’t have to be flat or even wood. We could use beadboard, glass or even chicken wire as a panel.
The Door Panel Floats in a Groove
The Width of the Groove
The width of the groove is pretty easy to figure out. The thickness of the door panel will be just shy of a 1/4″. So we’ll use a 1/4″ straight cutting router bit which will cut a 1/4″ wide groove.
The Depth of the Groove
The depth of the groove requires a little more thought. The wood panel needs to float in the groove so it can expand and contract with seasonal changes. The panel will be cut so that it will engage the groove by a 1/4″ on each side.
But we’ll actually set the depth of the router bit to 7/16”. This will allow the panel to engage the groove by 1/4″ and there will be 3/16” of space remaining in the groove.
In the space, we’ll install Spacer Balls. Spacer Balls will hold the panel in place and the squishy consistency of the balls will allow the panel to expand and shrink with seasonal changes.
Where Can You Use DIY Shaker Cabinet Doors?
- Kitchen Cabinets
- Bathroom Vanities
- Laundry Room Storage
- Workshop Cabinets
How to Paint Cabinet Doors
We could paint our DIY Shaker cabinet doors with a paintbrush, but I choose to spray mine with my HomeRight Super Finish Max paint sprayer. I set up my medium spray shelter, placed the cabinet doors on painter’s tripods and prime/painted the doors. Spraying is a quick and easy way to paint cabinet doors. Plus, there are no brush marks.
How to Build Cabinet Doors
Click here to download the FREE plan
NOTE: Adjust the dimensions of the cabinet doors to fit your door opening.
Step 1. Cut the Stiles and Rails
Cut 2 pieces of 1×3 to 22” for the stiles. Cut 2 pieces of 1×3 to 13-15/16” for the rails. Drill pocket holes in each end of the rails.
Step 2. Rout the Groove for the Panel
Place the stiles and rails (with the pocket holes facing down) on your workbench. Use a pencil to mark the intersection where each rail meets the stile. I also labeled each joint (A, B, C, D or 1, 2, 3, 4 etc.) Labeling will help to properly position the workpieces when routing the grooves and for assembling the doors.
The rails will have grooves cut from end to end. The stiles will have grooves that extend 7/16” past the pencil marks so they’ll match up with the grooves in the rails. (See The Panel Floats in a Groove above for more information about why we need to do this.)
Install a 1/4″ straight cutting bit in the router, and set the depth of the bit to 7/16”. Then adjust the router fence so the bit is centered from side to side on the edge of the workpieces.
Place a speed square against the fence and draw a straight line on the front and back edge of the router bit. These lines will be used when routing the grooves in the stiles.
Place the workpieces with the joint label (A, B, C, D or 1, 2, 3, 4 etc.) towards the fence.
NOTE: Placing the label (letter or number) towards the fence will ensure the faces of the door frame and panel are flush to the front of the door. In other words, if the stiles and rails vary in thickness the front of the door will be flush and any irregularities will be on the back of the door.
Place the stile against the fence and lower the left mark on the workpiece over the left mark on the router table. Rout the groove by pushing the workpiece to the left until the right mark on the workpiece meets the right mark on the router table. Repeat for the other stile.
Rout the groove in the rails from end to end.
Step 3. Cut the Panel
Cut the panel to 14-7/16” x 17-1/2”.
Step 4. Assemble the Cabinet Doors
This is probably the trickiest part of making the cabinet doors. We have to keep five pieces aligned while we’re trying to clamp everything together. It never fails when I get one piece properly positioned that another piece moves out of position. Take your time. You’ll get it!
First, dry fit (no glue) all of the pieces by placing the stiles, rails, and panel in the clamps to be sure everything fits properly. If everything fits we can begin assembling. Place 2 Spacer Balls in each rail and 3 Spacer Balls in each stile.
Insert the panel into one of the stiles. Do not apply glue to the panel. Apply glue to the rails, and place the second stile over the panel and rails. Clamp and check that all of the joints are properly aligned. Attach using 1-1/4″ pocket screws.
Attach one 1/2″ pin nail at the top rail and one pin nail at the bottom rail. This will prevent the panel from shifting. No glue will be used to attach the panel.
Step 5. Finish the Cabinet Doors
Drill any mounting holes for hinges or hardware and sand the door smooth. Then stain and top coat or prime and paint.
That’s it! Now you know how to build cabinet doors the easy way! You can use these free plans to make doors to update the look of your kitchen, bathroom or anywhere you need some cabinet doors.
Thank you for stopping by. If you found this information helpful, would you please pin it to Pinterest? Other DIYers would appreciate it and I would too! Thank you – Scott