DIY Cabinet Doors

My previous post was about how to paint veneer furniture and my IKEA cabinet makeover. As promised, today I am showing you the doors I’ve made for this cabinet! From radiator surround panels and some oilcloth 🙂

I’ve always had and still have many open cabinets and bookcases. When I was a student I bought a lot of not too expensive but very functional furniture, mainly veneered cabinets or bookcases without doors. I’m a bit of a hoarder, I must say, so you can imagine that our place is full of stuff (“I may need it one day…!”) Okay, it’s a big mess from time to time!

So, I’ve been busy reorganizing our house for the last few months ( BIG project 🙂 ). And since open, messy bookcases are disturbing my inner peace, I decided to add (make) some doors to the cabinets.

DIY level: easy.

Tools: A handsaw, my precious dremel and a stapling gun. Oh, and some old hinges.

As with any other project, I like to use what I already have instead of buying a lot of new stuff. Why?

  1. It’s cheaper.
  2. I get to use my creativity.
  3. I’m much more proud of myself once I’ve solved the problem :).

Because the cabinet was not too solid, I had to make a door that’s not too heavy. At first, I wanted to make a frame myself: use some decorative trim and hardboard panels. Maybe even some leftover laminate flooring boards on the back, instead of hardboard. In the end I decided that I don’t have the right tools to take on this project (for now) and decided to buy something to get started.

And there it was! Radiator surround panels! I have no idea what the correct English word is, but you probably know the panels people use to hide (and decorate) their radiators? Well, these are perfect for making doors for veneer furniture 🙂 I bought two 60×60 cm frames. You could buy some decorative panel for the back as well, if you like.

First, I used a handsaw to cut them to size. The standard sizes weren’t right for my cabinet, so I had to take off 4 cm or so. Which took me 2 hours, because they were still too wide after two attempts (MAKE SURE TO MEASURE THE SIZE OF THE HINGES AS WELL! 😉 )

Radiator Panel

Radiator Panel

Then, I used my dremel tool to perfect the edges, primed and painted the frames.

Sand, Prime, Paint in pearl white.

Sand, Prime, Paint in pearl white.

I finally used the tip I got from Pinterest (in the picture) to put tin foil in my paint tray to prevent paint from drying and leaving chips later… I can tell you: it works wonders!

After the paint had dried, I measured where to drill the holes for the hinges. I got some old hinges from two old doors, I picked up for free a few weeks ago.


I drilled some holes into the frames, and corresponding holes into the cabinet itself. And I placed some doorknobs of course.

I wasn’t completely satisfied, since one of the hinges was crooked and therefore the left door is not hanging perfectly straight, but I decided to leave it like this. Perhaps I’ll fix that someday.

My first attempt to make a backside to the frame, was to staple some pillow cases to the back. I was planning on printing something on them, like a picture of my cats, or a nice text. Perhaps even use image transfer onto canvas. But that didn’t work out. I didn’t like the sight of it. I hoped it would improve by adding some white trim, but it just wasn’t what I wanted.

First attempt... I got bored by the sight of it after one day already.

First attempt… I got bored by the sight of it after one day already.

So then I thought: why not use some oilcloth (‘Tafelzeil’ in Dutch) and staple it to the back? It is light weighted, easy to work with, easy to clean and you can buy any length you like.

I got inspired by a very nice, white display cabinet I came across recently at ShabbyLittleSecret, with a rose pattern on the inside. With all the freshly painted furniture in our home, we could do with some colour, so I bought 60 cm x 180 cm of pearl white, shiny oilcloth with a rose pattern.

I cut it to size and stapled it to the back of the frames.

I love it!!!

Radiator panel with oilcloth.

Radiator panel with oilcloth.

Complete Makeover. Hooray!

Complete Makeover. Hooray!

I am so totally going to make doors for every cabinet in this house!!!

But in the end, I would love to make the doors by hand. Need the perfect tools, though, so that’s something to add to my ‘want’-list.

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