Making the doors was almost the end of me. It took me bloody ages but it was worth spending the time to get them just right as the doors are what you see 99% of the time. I’d advise doing one door at a time all the way through to sorting out the hinges before moving onto the next door. Be prepared for a serious amount of mess and noise.
#1 | Cutting MDF
Our doors are made out of a 12mm MDF backing, with 12mm MDF panels on the front to match the style of our existing 1930s doors. You can create just about any look by gluing MDF together so even if your design looks very different to what we went for, this technique will likely work well.
As with the shelving, Zach at B&Q was a bloody lifesaver as he cut all the doors and panels to size which was around 40 different sections. DEFINITELY have some sort of coding system for the cuts as it’ll save so much time when you’re assembling the doors. Unlike the shelf cuts, I got doors cut with a 2mm additional buffer to each dimension for some buffer. Whether or not you get your wood cut with a buffer is totally down to you.
Once you’ve got the wood home, put the door backs into the space they’ll be filling to check they fit squarely into the space. After propping the door up in place, you can use a metal ruler to mark on the amount of material that needs to be removed.
With the door back clamped onto a work surface, grab a planer and begin steadily adjusting the door to fit the space, allowing 3-5mm around each door to allow for opening and closing. Repeat this process until you’re happy that the door back fits neatly into the space. BEWARE: this is an incredibly messy process and requires a lot of trial and error.
#2 | Assembling the doors
When joining the panels to the door backs, it’s really important that you are using a perfectly flat work surface or you risk creating crooked doors. You’re now ready to glue the panels in place so get a pencil and combination square at the ready so you can mark on exactly where the panels need to be glued. The combination square is a key tool as the inside of angle of where panels meet needs to be 90 degrees or the door will look wonky. If this means that the panel overlaps the door back slightly don’t worry as this can be planed/sanded off once the glue has set.
Grab some wood glue and apply liberally. Use a scraper to spread the glue, then secure the panel in place with a load of clamps. Be careful to check that the clamps haven’t moved the panel when they’ve been tightening.
Once the glue is dry, knock a few panel pins in to make sure the panels are securely fused to the door back. The tiny holes left can be easily hidden with wood filler and then sanded with a fine grit paper. Gaps between panels can also be filled with wood filler.
Don’t be a dick like me and knock the panel pins in where the hinges are going to be positioned – this can be avoided by planning your hinge positioning before adding pins which as a general rule should be as widely spaced as possible.
#3 | Final door adjustments
With the panels fixed in place, you can get the planer out again to shave off any excess panel overhang. As a final step, use a finishing sander with 120 grit paper to give the door edges a smooth finish.
The angle that the edges of the door are planed/sanded at is important as if you remove too much material from the front edge you may find the doors graze each other when opening/closing and the gap between doors will appear large. Therefore, leave a very slight angle to the edges so that the front edge protrudes further than the back edge.
After a fair amount of trial and error, you’ll eventually have doors which sit nicely in the space with a small allowance for opening and closing. If you have top and bottom doors, making sure the gaps between doors line up is key as otherwise your wardrobe is gonna look butters.
One really important piece of advice I’d give is to take into account that painting the doors will add thickness so doors that close perfectly unpainted may butt against each other when painted. To avoid this, take 1mm or so more than you think you need to off each door edge.
#4 | Adding beading inside door panels
I actually put the hinges in before this stage but in hindsight it would have been wise to complete the doors before this.
This may be a step you wish to miss but it tied our wardrobe in nicely with our interior doors. It’s super quick as it’s just a case of mitre cutting the beading to size and then gluing in place with wood glue before removing any excess. There’s a range of different styles of beading at B&Q so pop in for a browse (I am not being paid to write this).
Believe it or not, this post could have been 4 times longer. There’s a load of tips and tricks that can save you a lot of time during this process so if you’ve got any questions do leave a comment.
- Finishing sander
- Combination square
- Measuring tape
- Metal ruler
- Mitre saw or mitre box with wood saw
- 12mm thick MDF sheets
- Wood glue
- Panel pins
- Wood filler