In this tutorial, I'm going to show you step-by-step how I built a 36″ sliding barn door from scratch for under $200. It can make for an appealing, unique addition to any home, and to get you started, I'm including the FREE Downloadable Plans for this door on my website, so make sure to download those to follow along!
Step 1: The Door's Components
To start, let's take a look at the components of the door we will be making. A detailed materials and cut list can be found in the downloadable plans.
- 2 - 84" vertical pieces, also called "stiles"
- 3 - 27" horizontal pieces, also called "rails"
- 2 - 41.75" diagonal pieces
- The inner tongue & groove paneling of the door
For my door, I chose .75" tongue & groove common pine with two sections, one for the top and another for the bottom.
The final dimensions of my door will be 1.5" x 36" x 84", so be sure to check the dimensions of your doorway and adjust accordingly.
Step 2: Cutting the Pieces
To start, we'll rip each 2 x 6 on the table saw to ensure each is exactly 5.5" wide.
Next, we can head to the chop saw and cut these to the required length for each component.
At this point, I changed my table saw blade to my dado stack to carve a .75" dado through the vertical stiles. From here we can start on the horizontal rails. For this I set my blade height to 3/8" and make a couple passes to make sure it fits within the vertical stiles channel.
Before starting on the diagonal pieces double check your measurements to make sure that it's square with the middle rail. Mark the center of each stile and center rail. When putting these together later, they should line up.
Next, cut a dado through the rail pieces for the paneling to sit in. the top and bottom pieces wil each get one cut, while the center will have a dado on both sides.
Finally, cut the pieces that will serve as the inner paneling.
Step 3: Assembling the Door
Now that your pieces are cut and ready, disassemble them to prepare for the glue up. I begin by wrapping the pieces that hold the door up so that the door itself won't stick to them.
Starting at the bottom of the door, apply wood glue to each piece and begin assembling the door itself. As you glue everything in place, be sure to check the markings you made earlier on the middle rail to ensure that everything lines up. Before continuing to the top half of the door, clamp the door to keep it steady. Make sure to put some scrap wood or another buffer between the door itself and the clamp so you don't end up with clamp marks on the frame. Now you can repeat the gluing process for the top section of the door.
Now move to the diagonal pieces, the finishing touches of the door. To prepare for this, I took a common 3/8" piece of pine, marked the center point on each end, and on the door corners themselves, noting the angles so that the diagonal pieces will fit snugly in place. After cutting the diagonal pieces, apply plenty of wood glue and weigh them down until the glue sets overnight.
After letting the glue set overnight, go over the door with an orbital sander and belt sander. Focus on the outer frame if you want the inner paneling to keep a rough texture.
Step 4: The Track's Components
Before moving forward, it's important to make sure you have all the pieces you'll need for the track. There are 5 main components to look for:
- 75" long 1 x 4 common pine backing board
- 1.25" dowel spacers to extend the track from the wall
- 2" flat bar steel track and support brackets which support the wheels
- 4" lag bolts and 2" angled steel to cap the ends of the track
- 2 - 4" diameter wheels
Step 5: Making the Track
To start, cut two pieces of the flat bar steel to make the brackets that hold the wheels to the door. Then take them to the drill press (or use a drill) to drill the holes for the carriage bolts. Line up the brackets and mark the holes on your door frame before drilling them out. Be careful when drilling to avoid any tear out.
Put washers on either side of the bracket and then tighten them down onto the door. Next, use another carriage bolt and washers to attach the wheel to the bracket. This should complete the door portion of the build.
Now we move to the main track assembly. My track is going to be 72" inches long, so I measure an inch and a half from each end. Next, starting at the end that attaches above the door, lay out marks every 16 inches where the backing plate will attach to the studs. Then, measure and cut 2" sections of dowel to act as spacers between the track and the wall.
Using the drill press, drill a .25" hole down the center of each spacer. Lay everything out and then mark and drill the recesses that the spacers will fit into. Then drill corresponding holes in the track itself for the lag bolts to pass through.
Finally, drill a hole through the angled steel for the lag bolts to go through on each end. Make sure they line up. Now you can bring everything inside and dry fit it in place.
Step 6: Installing the Track and Door
Use some decking screws to attach the backing plate to the wall at each stud. Next, attach the track using your lag bolts. They should fit through the pre-drilled holes and attach to the studs.
Once the track is in place, dry fit the door and make sure that it works.
With the dry fit complete, disassemble the pieces and paint all the pieces. I went with white for my door and covered all the hardware in black paint.
Now that everything is painted, reassemble everything and mount it back on the wall, attaching the stops at the end of the track.
Lastly, I added a few finishing touches. I used a standard door stop to use as a guide for the door and installed a simple decorative handle. Now, just double-check the motion of your door, and if everything is solid, you're done!
I hope you enjoyed this project, and if you think this design is perfect for your own project, remember to download the plans for free here! Also, check out some of the other projects I've been working on.
Thanks again for checking out this project, and I'll see you next time!