If your house was built before 1985 you probably have these hollow core wood veneer doors. I don't have any special woodworking or construction skill, but, I decided these doors needed a facelift. I've included the files I created for gate hinges and lettering.
Step 1: Clean Reclaimed Window Frames
I picked up a couple of reclaimed window frames for $15 each. I decided to start with framed in windows because I don't like working with glass, and didn't want to build my own frames.
TSP is a cleaner I use on any reclaimed stuff. Just scrub the wood and let dry.
I also sanded them down because that's just what I do with reclaimed wood! You probably want to get them as smooth as you can for painting.
Step 2: Frost Glass
I used Krylon frosted glass spray and applied 4 layers about 30 minutes apart. Be sure your glass is CLEAN before you do this. I chose to spray on the backside of the glass (facing inward to the closet) before I put the frame into the door.
Step 3: Measure & Cut Door
Place your framed glass on your door and draw your cut lines. I put my door on blocks so I could use my jigsaw for easy cutting. You're really supposed to use a reverse-cutting blade for a veneer, hollow-core door (http://www.woodworkingtips.com/etips/etip010727wb.... to avoid chipout. But, I knew no one would see the chipout, and didn't care to buy a new blade.
Step 4: Draw Support Lines
Inside your hollow core door you should find small supports. Mark these on the outside of your door as we will need these marks later.
Step 5: Set Window in Door, Cut Frame Pieces, Glue Frame
Tap your window into the new hole and try to make it as flush as possible.
I used 1/4" finished plywood to cut strips which would become my framing. For one door I cut 90° and the other I cut 45°. They ended up looking about the same, so, work with whatever is easier for you!
Once my frame pieces were cut I measured guide lines around the door to be sure the frames looked pretty straight. Not sure if there's a better way to do this, but, you get the idea!
I used wood glue to put the frame pieces in place.
Step 6: (Optional) Nails
Remember those lines you drew to indicate the small supports in the door? I nailed the frames into those supports. Not sure if this matters, but, it felt right. It's probably optional if you've got good glue.
Step 7: (Optional) Spray Paint Handles
I wasn't born in the 60's, so, I'm not a big fan of brass door handles. Luckily, I had some primer and black spray paint to give them an update.
Step 8: Add Barn Look, Wood Fill, Sand
To add some character I decided to add the classic "X" pattern from a barn door. I used the same 1/4" finished plywood from the window frame step to create the look. Note: I've never done anything like this before, and had no idea what I was doing. But, after some measuring and cutting I got it to look pretty good. You can totally do this.
After gluing and nailing (optional) the "X" pattern onto the door I applied wood filler to all the gaps. Let the filler set for at least 30 min then use at least a 100-grit to sand nice and smooth. My finished plywood was really smooth, so I used 250-grit.
Step 9: Add Decorative Interior Framing
Because my reclaimed window was old I had to scrape out the broken caulk which left an ugly gap. To cover it I just picked up some cheap, decorative moulding and used clear construction adhesive to stick it. Don't know if that's the right way, and don't care. Keep in mind that because these are closet doors no one will see the other side, so, I only care what the front looks like ... the back is a total disaster.
Step 10: Caulk Your Moulding
Fill in all those gaps with some paintable caulk. After it dried I went back with a sanding sponge to try and smooth it a bit more. You should probably vacuum it to get the crap out before painting.
Step 11: Paint
I had Home Depot color-match Sherwin-Williams alabaster as a semi-gloss. At first I thought semi-gloass would be too much (and maybe it is) but I liked the idea that they would be easier to clean down the road (we have kids and they have crayons).
It took 2 coats, but, I primed the door before I painted ... so is that 3 coats?
You'll notice I didn't tape and painted right onto the glass. Paint is easy to scrape off glass, and I hate taping.
Step 12: Scrape Paint (optional)
If you opted not to tape before painting you'll be scraping some paint. It takes like 30 seconds if you have a nifty paint scraper or razor blade. Once you get it all off it'd be good to vacuum around the edges.
Step 13: Put Hardware Back
You can see how little I care about the back of the door here! I just added back the original sliding closet hardware and my fantastic spray-painted door handles.
You'll also notice how bad the frost looks here. That's because I saw a dog hair and tried to wipe it off before the frost had dried. Fantastic idea. I had to scrape all the frost off and respray. Super fun.
Note: If you're Type-A, be sure you're applying your frost spray in an area where your dog isn't scratching her ears 10 times a day.
Step 14: Put Closet Doors Back On
This was by far the most difficult part. Even though I didn't really add that much depth to the doors, there just wasn't enough gap between them to slide without scraping each other.
Luckily, you should be able to widen the gap by adding a few washers in front of the sliding hardware screws of THE OUTSIDE CLOSET DOOR! This way you push the outside closet door further away from the inside one. Getting the spacing right is a bit of trial-and-error, but, stick with it!
Step 15: More Caulking (optional)
After getting the doors on (and apologizing to myself for all the bad words I said) I decided the gap between the glass and decorative framing looked unfinished. I added a bit of caulk and then scraped to finish it out. It looked much better!
Step 16: Gate Hinges (optional)
I wanted to add more accent, but, metal gate hinges are really expensive. So, I decided to design my own using sticky, black vinyl. I've attached the Photoshop and Silhouette cutout I created. I don't know how to use a Silhouette machine, so, this is where my wife jumped in!
You might not like the flat hinge look here, but, it worked for us. If you decide to work with real hinges be sure they are thin enough to fit in the narrow gap between your doors!
Step 17: His & Hers Decals + Closet Lighting (optional)
From the beginning I really wanted a cool "His & Hers" on the glass. I designed it using the Silhouette Software and attached the files for you here.
Finally, I added some cheap LED lighting strips inside the closet to really make the decal lettering pop. Plus, it's nice to have closet lighting sometimes.
I hope you enjoyed the tutorial and I wish you the best in trying this out for yourself. I'm excited to see your results, so please share them!