Inexpensive DIY Rustic Barn Door

Inexpensive DIY Rustic Barn Door

To date, I have made 9 barn doors. 3 are alike since they were all my first creations and intended for one room. Since then I have made 6 more that are all different. I love that each one has given me creative expression and also allowed me to make them inexpensively because I use what materials I find for free or cheap to make them. My latest is probably the most creative and the most inexpensive of the barn doors.

We have a mobile home lake house. A few things make mobile homes different from regular construction. One of the first things that impact my choices for what I can do with the remodel is that the interior wall studs are 24″ centers of 2 x 3″ studs instead of regular construction that is 16″ centers of 2 x 4″ studs. It basically means I am dealing with less structural stability so I am careful not to put too much load on. I try to calculate and distribute my load when pre-planning my design. The second part is that almost all the components are made cheaply and more lightweight. It’s not really a bad thing but, you just need to know how to overcome it and work with it.

I made a barn door from a friend’s discards for our son’s room at the lake house. We typically refer to the room as the red room as I haven’t had a chance to paint it since we bought it 14 months ago but, he does like the color so that transformation project is on the bottom of our remodel priority list. The door turned out great and I had a hard time deciding if it should go in the red room or the blue room (guest room). As my husband and I were removing the hollow core closet door in our son’s room, I thought surely I can make something from this and ultimately have less in the landfill. I didn’t think that there would be a high demand for a mobile home closet door on a resale site. It didn’t take long for the perfect idea to come to mind. I usually grab a notebook and start my projects by taking measurements and writing sidebar notes of potential issues I need to address.

This barn door project is easily a quick weekend DIY project that you can do for $30-$35 dollars. I actually created mine for $15 dollars because I had a few scrap items that are on the materials list that I didn’t need to buy.

Materials List:

  • hollow core door that you are removing
  • 3 – 8′ 2 x 4’s or 2 x 3’s (depending on the frame look you desire. I used 2 x 4’s)
  • 1/4″ paneling ripped into faux shiplap. (I typically rip all my faux shiplap into 7 7/8″ widths so that a full sheet provides for the loss of material the saw blade makes and creates the most boards). You can either buy just a half of a sheet if you are only adding faux shiplap to the front of the closet door or a full sheet if you want both sides with a more complete look.
  • kreg jig and screws if you have available
  • drill
  • circular saw or mitre saw to cut your 2 x 4’s
  • wood glue
  • paint

I love that this project allows you to repurpose the hollow core door you are removing. When I walk on bulk trash pick-up day, I am always disappointed to see how many people throw away hollow core doors to just end up in the landfill. However, since this type of door is constructed lightweight, it is hard to figure out what you can repurpose them into. This does fit the bill perfectly.

Based on my design measurements, I wanted to barn door to be a little shorter than it was. I just ripped off 2″ of the length and inserted a scrap piece of wood that duplicated the base support of the door I removed when I ripped it. However, this barn door can easily be created with the length that it was. Afterall, you want the completed barn door to cover the opening plus cover the doorway trim. Adding a 2 x 3 or 2 x 4 door frame to the hollow core allows the correct coverage. It really just depends on your door trim and what look you envision.

I just secured the scrap piece of wood back in the base to provide the needed support to attach the frame since I choose to cut the door shorter.

My kreg jig has quickly turned into my favorite tool in my garage. It is amazing how handy it is.

Then just sand all your frame boards. I chose to stain mine because I wanted a rustic finish to peek out from the paint.

It doesn’t hurt that when things are in the drying stage, I just get to enjoy this!

Construction is easy. Just secure the frame all the way around the hollow core door. I drilled in my screws from the frame into the interior supports that make up the hollow core door. I also used wood glue as well to strengthen the frame and door connection.

Because your frame board has a larger depth than your hollow core door, it provides you with a great background to add your faux shiplap into.

I had repurposed three independent bookcases to look like a built as a previous project. For that project, I had to remove the 1/4″ plywood backer that seems to come on all bookcases. My husband wanted to throw it away. I told him surely I would find a good use for it that would ultimately save us money. He wasn’t too happy but it did get stored in the garage for several months til this project came up.

Just like when I use faux shiplap (plywood ripped into planks) to do my walls at the lakehouse, I used nickels as spacers for this project. I allows uniform spacing that is typical of real shiplap. The good thing about the faux shiplap on this project is that it also allows the completed barn door to be light weight. I mentioned earlier that mobile homes have lighter weight interior walls so when I am creating and installing a barn door, I try to make the components of the project all fairly lightweight.

It never fails that I use our weights for many purposes besides just working out. Since the hollow core door only has a frame around the perimeter of it to secure the faux shiplap with nails or a nail gun, I used wood glue and weighted the inside portions down until I felt the planks had fully dried.

Like I said earlier, you don’t have to faux shiplap the backside of the barn door because it will be in the closet and no one should see it. I had plenty of paneling left from that bookcase project so it worked well for me to do both sides to get the stash out of our garage to make my husband happy. I have been told that I tend to be a little bit of a wood hoarder! If it is a walk in closet, you may want to do both sides. This is why I say the barn door costs between $30 to $35 dollars. Faux shiplap to one side is only half a sheet of plywood (or you can buy 2 quarter sheets that are already pre-cut into 2′ x 4′ pieces at most hardware stores). If you add faux shiplap to both sides you will need to buy a full sheet of plywood and your cost for this project will be more like $35.

I love the rustic chippy wood finish I was able to create. Good thing is that when I do a finish like this, everyone can help paint. Even my 3 year old grandson!

It looks great and so much better than what was there. Please keep following me so you can see how much better this room will look once I add the faux shiplap to the walls and paint the room a different color. I love white shiplap walls but this will probably be one area that I let my husband think he won. He loves Repose Gray walls (kind of a Beige Gray or a Greige…).

The good thing about doing projects here at the drab mobile home turned fab lake cottage is that I get to enjoy the dock and the lake once I am all done for the day.

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