Inside: Transform a bifold closet door to look like a barn door for $15 using a 1/4 inch sheet of plywood.
Our hallway linen closet was without a door for, ahem, I am embarrassed to say over two years. My husband decided it was time to do something. He offered
threatened to take care of it himself so I knew I needed to take action.
At first, I wanted a sliding barn door, but with the shortness of the wall to the right of the closest, which would inhibit the door being open to clear the opening of the closet fully, it wasn’t ideal. So the bifold door barn door became more of an option. I first saw this project from my friend Erin over at Lemons Lavender and Laundry.
In this tutorial, I will show how you can add a farmhouse touch to a closet door using a piece of 1/4 inch plywood. As part of my Hallway Refresh, one of my goals was to add some character to the hallway by adding a barn door look to the closet door. I also added Bifold Door Frame Trim to complete the look of the whole closet opening.
We purchased the 6-panel hollow core bifold door and removed the trim that was in place from the previous homeowners.
Then we installed the 6-panel bifold door.
Even if I had never gotten around to making the barn door, the 6-panel bifold door looked 100% better then the gaping hole…but don’t tell my husband that. 😉
There are many different styles of barn doors. I wanted a simpler style and I didn’t want to deal with cutting any angles. If you’re unsure of a certain design then check out my post where I shared 10 bifold door makeovers.
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*Before you get started make sure you have your Safety Gear. For this project, I recommend safety goggles, ear protection and N95 mask for staining.
TOOLS FOR DIY BIFOLD BARN DOOR
- Measuring tape
- Table saw – I use the Rigid Table Saw or a circular saw
- Saw – I use this Miter saw
- Brad nailer – I use the Ryobi 18G Brad Nailer (you could also use a pin nailer, mine was malfunctioning at that time)
- Carpenter’s square
- Sander/sandpaper – I use the Ryobi Orbital Sander
- Drill – I use this drill
SUPPLIES FOR DIY BIFOLD BARN DOOR
- Bifold door – this is the bifold door we bought – make sure to buy the correct bifold door for your closet opening.
- 1 – 1/4 inch 4 x 8 ft plywood
- Liquid nails
- 5/8 inch 18 G brad nails
- Wood filler
- Wood stain – I used Rust-oleum in Kona
- Sea Salt paint – Sherwin Williams
- Foam roller
- Polyurethane sealer – I used Rust-oleum Triple Thick
- Barn door handle
CUTS FOR DIY BIFOLD BARN DOOR
*If you don’t own a table saw have your local hardware store cut them for you.
*Your cuts with vary depending on the size of your particular bifold door. Despite what the bifold door packaging said the door actually measured 78 3/4 x 35 1/2 inches.
*Please note that all sizing is approximate. Measure twice cut once.
The bifold door measured app 17 3/4 for each folded side.
Vertical Pieces – First Layer
- 4 – 78 3/4 x 6 inches (middle four planks)
- 2 – 78 3/4 x 5 3/4 inches (outer pieces)
Horizontal Pieces – Second Layer
- 4 – 14 3/4 x 5 inches (top and below)
- 2 – 13 3/4 x 5 inches (middle)
Vertical Pieces – Second Layer
*Measure these last after everything is already applied.
- 2 – 68 3/4 x 4 inches (sides)
STEPS TO COMPLETE DIY BIFOLD BARN DOOR
Step 1) Lay the bifold door flat. Sawhorses are a good option. I tested my cuts by dry fitting the planks.
Once you are happy with your cuts number the planks with a pencil for easy placement. Apply Liquid Nails and nail the planks to the bifold door.
Remember do not apply the planks over the fold. I used a craft stick to slide it between the fold to keep the plywood layers from shifting. If your cuts are off on any of the outside edges you will be able to hide the imperfection with the second layer.
Step 2) For the second layer, add the top and bottom horizontal planks, gluing and nailing like in the first step. Then add the two vertical side planks.
To attach the middle horizontal plank, mark and line up the center of the vertical side frame and the center of the middle of the horizontal piece. Use a carpenter square to align it in place.
Step 3) Apply wood filler to the nail holes and sand it. Then apply your chosen stain. I used Kona stain. If you plan on leaving it stained beware that you can’t stain over liquid nails. If Liquid Nails seeped through the planks, like in the case below, sand the area really well then reapply the stain. I didn’t worry about it thought, since I was planning to cover it with paint.
Step 4) Apply two coats of your chosen paint color over the stain. I used Sea Salt colored paint from Sherwin Williams. The reason for the stain is that after the pain is applied you will sand off areas allowing the stain to peek through. This gives a worn look appearing as if the years have worn away the paint. Don’t forget to apply the paint to where the door folds as well. I recommend doing this before sanding. Unfortunately, I did this after sanding and I had to touch up some spots.
Sand off several random and the edges to give it a worn/rustic look. Once you are satisfied then apply a sealer.
Step 5) Add the door handle.
Install your transformed bifold door back into its place.
I am so in love with it!
*A few things to consider: The extra planks will increase the depth of the door. Make sure the bifold door is installed far enough back that it doesn’t stick out further than the wall. The extra weight added to the door does risk pulling the door down, however this wasn’t a problem for me…but something to consider. Consider where to install the handle. Where I ended up installing it is a little more difficult to open than if it is closer to the center.
PIN now to save for later!
Ok ok, so I suppose it was good that my husband got me moving to fix the closet door.
Now you have a budget-friendly way to add character to your space by transforming your closet doors!
Jeanne Vogel says
Looks great! Now I wish I had a door to do….oh, wait, I could do the bypass doors downstairs! Thanks for sharing!
Thanks so much. I hope you get to do the project. Make sure to share if you do.
Would it be possible to convert a louvered bifold door into a barn style?
That is a good question. I am not going to say that it is impossible it just might be a little more difficult as you don’t have as much of the surface area for the planks to adhere to. You could try gluing over the louvered areas but you wouldn’t be able to nail over those areas. You would be able to nail over the frame of the louvered door though. I hope that helps.
Jason Flowers says
I just did this on louvered doors just fine. You just have to nail it at the highest point of the louver.
Thanks Jason for sharing.
also, a louvered door fits into a door jam differently than a bifold door does and i think that would mean you couldn’t put the ‘barn’ wood all the way to the edges of the door.
Thanks Gwen for your help with answering this question.
Another option – just buy the hardware (tracks, pins and hinges) then build your own bi-fold barn doors using 1 by X boards (1×3, 1×4, etc). Use the 1/4 thickness to trim a frame like you did. Then you end up with 1″ framed, 3/4 thick door.
That works too Ron. Thanks so much for sharing.
Can I achieve this by not taking the door down? Or do you risk having the door fall due to the added weight? I’m not worried about the added depth with the way my current bifold door is in place
I don’t advise trying to do this with the door attached. I think you risk it not being level and increase your chance of making mistakes. I found it pretty easy to remove the bifold door and the extra weight didn’t seem to cause any issues, especially since the bifold door not only attaches at the top but it also rests on the floor. I hope that helps.