This kitchen remodel has been my biggest undertaking yet, and definitely the most fun! When we were looking to buy this house I knew without a doubt something had to be done with the kitchen. On the bright side the cabinets are solid oak and were in overall great condition, but they were coated, and I mean coated in grease. This house was a foreclosure, but I’m pretty sure that whoever lived here before us fried food in the kitchen daily. I bleached it twice, but it just need to be completely redone. Since I was starting off with flat doors, I had to turn them into shaker style cabinets somehow. I have always loved Shaker Style Cabinets.
UPDATE: See my latest kitchen renovations HERE.
After lots of research and planning – I created a plan. I briefly considered making completely new doors, but as you might expect, that can cost quite a bit. What I ended up doing is transforming my flat doors into shaker style cabinets by simply adding trim to the doors. I was shocked how easy this came together. It is time consuming, but not difficult… I promise. This might get a little lengthy, so let’s jump right in shall we. You will need some supplies. It took me about 100 trips to the hardware store, so maybe I can help you reduce that number a little! ; )
This tutorial will be for how I actually transformed the doors into shaker style cabinets. I will be sharing with you my process for painting kitchen cabinets and doors tomorrow.
– 1 or 2 sheets of 4×8 1/4″ plywood ripped down into 2.5″ strips
– Miter Saw
– Nail Gun
– Orbital Sander
– Detail Sander
– Wood Filler
– Putty Knife
DIY Shaker Style Cabinets from Flat Doors
DISCLAIMER: I am a DIYer, not a professional carpenter. This is a budget friendly solution I found to transform my kitchen without breaking the bank. These doors are NOT perfect, but you would have to look pretty hard to find a problem with them. I very often notice my mistakes, and when I’m in my kitchen, I see nothing I regret. Please use this as a guide and as suggestions. Use all tools with caution! I am not responsible for any errors you might encounter when using this tutorial as a guide.
To get started you will first need to remove all the doors and hardware from your cabinet bases, clean them with a pretty strong cleaner, and sand them down. I started with 80 grit sand paper, then 150, and finished it with 220 grit sandpaper using my Ryobi Orbital Sander. Like I mentioned my cabinets are oak. I’m not personally a fan of the wide grain in oak, so I was trying to smooth it out as much as possible. Be sure to wipe it clean and so that there is no dust left on the doors.
Once they are all sanded it’s time to work on the trim (plywood strips). The super nice people at the hardware store ripped down my plywood for me. This saved me tons and tons of time and most likely lots of frustration. I measured all my doors and decided on going with a trim width of 2.5″ and I’m very happy with that size. So once you have this done you will leave with lots of 8′ strips of plywood. Measure each of your doors individually before cutting your trim to the size of your door. I like to go with the whole measure twice cut once theory! ; )
I did full length strips vertically first, and then filled in the tops and bottoms between those two strips. Be sure to take this under consideration when you are measuring for your horizontal strips. My doors have a slightly rounded edge, so I measured right were the rounding started, this does leave a small lip on the outside of all my trim.
When you have your pieces cut you will notice that the inside of the plywood isn’t solid wood. I took all my pieces, stood them on their sides and sanded that part down as much as I could with the 220 grit sandpaper. It won’t be perfect, but when you apply the primer and paint, it will fill that in petty well.
Once you have your pieces cut and the edges sanded, using your Ryobi Airstrike Nailer, nail each trim peace onto the door starting with your two vertical pieces, and then your horizontal pieces. Nail in the center first, then move to the ends.
As soon as you have all your doors build it’s time to get out the wood filler. Become friends with this stuff. You will be using it A LOT! Fill in all the spaces between the trim pieces and the nail holes in the trim. If you have any deep scratches or holes in your doors, now is a good time to repair those as well. Following the directions on your container let dry, and sand with 220 grit sandpaper until smooth.
I chose not to caulk the inside and outside edges of the trim. There weren’t any gaps between the trim and door, so I skipped it. It worked out well for me, but if you’re a super perfectionist, you might want to caulk here. I did take my detail sander and sand the edges of the plywood again in any spots where it looked a little rough. It is soft on the inside and I wanted it to be as smooth as possible. Again, caulk if you want, but the primer and paint did a great job of hiding it for me.
You will get the hang of where to sand once you get in the rhythm of building these doors.
Make sure you have all your holes filled/sanded and the doors wiped down free of any dust…. then it’s time to move on to painting the doors.
I will be sharing how I painted my Shaker Style cabinets and doors tomorrow, so be sure to stop back by for my tips on that!
– What type of plywood did you use?
I used 1/4″ oak plywood. I went with oak because that is what my cabinets are. I personally prefer something with less of a grain. It will depend on your cabinets for what you should by.
– How did you line up the trim pieces?
To be honest, I measured as best I could, but I did have to do a lot of extra cutting. I always leaned to the longer side so I could just trim it off if need be. Trying to find an exact measurement on rounded corners is a little hard. I did one door at a time. There was no way to set up an assembly line without making tons of errors.
– Why didn’t you glue your trim down?
You can glue it down as well as nailing it, but I’m a firm believer in nails so I wouldn’t skip out on those. I didn’t do the glue because I just felt it was an unnecessary expense. The plywood is extremely light and I didn’t think it needed it. I’m no expert, so feel free to glue away if you want : )
– How long did it take you to build the doors?
I wish I could tell you. I planned on building all the doors in one weekend, but come to find out… kids are very good at distracting you and needing your attention. I also did lots of stuff in different phases so I could take pictures for you guys. I did all my lower cabinets first and painted them before building my top ones. Sometimes a blogger’s life isn’t all it’s cracked up to be ; ) I also had a walking 1 year old so I couldn’t just leave my bottom doors off while I finished up all the top ones. With that said, I can’t really answer this question. It is definitely time consuming…. I would plan for several FULL days of working. If you can work from morning til night and you are familiar with the process of building, you could probably do it in one day depending on the size of your kitchen.
Where did you get those awesome countertops?
You can read all about my countertops here.
Still have questions? Leave them below and I will do my best to answer any questions you might have.
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