Installing Kitchen Cabinet Door Handles




About: Did you know that sewing needles are sharp, and that hot glue from a glue gun really is hot? ouch! I never learn. i should be an honorary spokeswoman for Band-Aid brand first aid products considering the ...

My boyfriend and I spent weeks remodeling our kitchen.  After countless hours scraping paint, sanding wood, primering and painting doors, and staining cabinets, we finally got to the last part to complete our kitchen.... installing the final hardware bits!  I was adamant that the handles be even and perfect.  My partner in crime showed me this great and inexpensive trick to making sure that all the handles matched up, without the use of fancy tools, or the annoyance of having to measure each door. 

Saving time and money means more time for eating and lounging!

Step 1: Tools

Drill & Bits
Masking Tape

Step 2: Placement & Drill

Take a good look at the overall design of the kitchen and decide where you want the handles to be. 

Measure up where you want the holes to be drilled.  Once you have marked that, take a piece of masking tape, mark the drill holes with a pencil and drill!

Step 3: Peel Tape and Repeat!

Peel the masking tape and reapply to the next door.  (Be sure to use this tape on the doors that open in the same direction!  Otherwise, your handles and drilled holes will not be even!)

Once all the doors are completed, restart from step 1 on the doors that open the other direction!

TA DA!  now you have perfectly aligned cabinet handles in a jiffy!

Step 4: R&R

admire your newly finished kitchen from afar with appropriate robot tee & four legged friends.



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    11 Discussions


    8 years ago on Introduction

    What if you don't have a kitchen? Or your cabinets already have door handles? Or you don't have a kitchen and your cabinets already have door handles? Then what do you do?

    4 replies

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    uhmmm get takeout and call it a day? i mean, even if you DID have handles and cabinets, and doors, and kitchens, takeout is still a good option.


    8 years ago on Introduction

    Doesn't look like you'd have had a problem, but here's a tip for those who try this.

    Some panel-style doors use steel biscuits to hold the corners together. If yours do, make sure to put the handle in from the corner far enough to miss them or you might just be in for some unhappy drilling.

    (And yes, I found this out the hard way.)

    1 reply

    8 years ago on Introduction

    I've done a lot of doors in my time. Your method will work if your careful but it's easy to make mistakes. Also if you have a lot of doors to do, the drill hole in the masking tape can get chewed up and no longer be accurate.

    What I do is make a hole guide template using some scrap pieces of wood.
    this can also be done with cardboard. Because I always have projects going on I have no shortage of scrap wood.

    first take double stick tape and use it to stick the handles onto the door so that you can visually pick where you want them. this will determine the measurements to use on the guide.

    I make the guide jig using a 6x10x1/2" scrap piece of plywood with (2) 6"1x2's glued and nailed to 2 sides to create an "L". Attach the 1x2's so the plywood is centered on the 1x2. this way the template can be flipped for opposite doors. i then transfer the handle measurements onto the plywood and drill holes (I drill 1/16" holes). check and re-check your measurements several times before drillings. then i stick some double stick tape to both sides of the template. usign the L of the 1x2, I align the guide in the corner of the door and press so the double stick tape holds it in place while I drill the handle holes. the guide can be flipped for the opposite door.
    Although you could use this to drill the 1/4" holes for the hardware, I've found that a 1/4" bit can drift, even with the jig, so I actually do a 1/16" pilot holes (which is what I drill on the guide) on all the doors then go back with a 1/4" bit to finish the job. make sure that you use a good quality drill bit and that you don't use to much pressure so that you don't chip the wood of have tear out when you pop thru.

    3 replies

    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Excellent advice- this is what I did on my cabinets. the other tip I have is when trying to line up magnetic closers in the cupboard with the small metal piece that is fastened to the door; screw the closer down to the cabinet, use a dry erase marker and color the contacts. when you shut the door you can see where it will line up exactly from where the marker rubs off on the door. saved a lot of time lining stuff up.


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    That is a great idea! Thankfully we dont have magnetic closures, so it was one less thing to fuss over for us. We just put the little rubber bumpers around the perimeter to prevent scuffing and banging when i slam the doors shut. :)


    Reply 8 years ago on Introduction

    Great suggestions. I love the cardboard idea. We have a tiny kitchen, and only have 10 cabinet doors to work with, and your totally right, for the last two, the tape was not as cooperative.

    I would have to say that for someone like me....measuring each one would not have worked, mainly bc im impatient, and they would have all ended up crooked. Thats the main reason i was left doing "plate holding duty" to catch the shavings.

    We did chip the wood in the back a bit, but thankfully the screw head was large enough to cover up any imperfections!

    Thanks for those suggestions! We have to put handles in our bathroom cabinets next and we will totally try your method!