I am constantly looking up how-to ideas for various build projects. Sometimes I lean on them for a few pointers, other times, I lean on like a crutch or life support…aka I have no idea what I am doing. My most recent search (other than recipes, which I am constantly searching), was for a how to build a bench out of an old door. I absolutely loved the simplicity of the post I found and you can visit my Pinterest page to see how it turned out. I kinda adore it!
Fast forward to needing a new project to busy my already busy life. I have a lonely built in bookshelf in my living room. It’s quite plain and sad. I decided it totally needed a barn door on it and so about a month ago I went on a door hunt. I found the perfect door at my local antique store. HOWEVER….they wanted $75 for it and I wasn’t willing to pay that…So, this is my first attempt at a how-to post. Let’s build a barn wood out of a repurposed pallet and freshen up this sad bookshelf!
1. Find some good quality pallets.
You are going to need several depending on what size door you are making. The door I made was 80″ x 27″ and we only used 2 pallets. In your search for pallets it is also important to find pallets that are similar in size. This will be very important when you’re lining up the planks of the door. I am lucky enough to have an endless supply of free pallets at my job, but I know plenty of places that sell them for $10 a pop.
2. Disassemble Pallets
The easiest way we found to do this is with a saw zaw equipped with a serrated blade. Simply cut between the wood and the attaching board. The saw will cut the nails in half and leave a flat surface. Be careful not to cut into the wood, any of it,you’re going to need it all.
3. Select boards.
Once you’re done disassembling, select which boards you are going to use. It is normal that some will be split or disproportional. Along with the actual planks, you will also be using the pallets brace boards, so set a few of those aside too.
4. Position the boards.
You will need some saw horses to make this easier. Begin positioning the first tier of planks in the desired length. You will need to play with this a little in order to find the pieces that fit together the best. The lengths of the boards shouldn’t be an issue, rather the width and the way they fit together to prevent gaps between pieces.
5. Measure, cut and place your back board.
Remember I said you will need the bracing boards from the pallets? In this step, you will need to measure this board to match the length you want your door. Once measured, cut the length and place behind the previously positioned planks. You can see in the below picture how we lined this board up with the planks.
6. Attach boards.
We used torque screws for this project. They provide the most secure attachment. We used 2 screws per plank and attached to bracing board. Below is a picture of the screws we used, 1 1/4″ in length.
7. Remove Gaps.
Because you are using repurposed wood, gaps are a for sure problem. As you begin securing the planks, you will start to see these gaps forming. A simple fix is to apply clamps. These will apply pressure to the boards and reduce the appearance of gaps. While these clamps are in place, you will finish up the screwing.
You will also want to even up the ends. In the below picture, you see we used a skill saw to remove the uneven pieces. Once all boards have been secured and you are happy with the end lines, you can remove the clamps.
8. Repeat at the other end.
Okay, let’s take this step by step. As you repeat the other end, you will need to attach a middle bracing board and position your bottom brace board. The middle board will be placed to allow the top board to attach, but also leaving room for the bottom boards to attach as well. This is why I said saw horses are a must! Potentially you will need 3 saw horses to hold the very fragile door in this step.
Depending on your door height, you will also need to cut the boards to the appropriate sizes. I decided to make my door with a little character. This meant long boards on bottom and short boards on top, but you decide what you want and how you want your door to look.
9. Clamp and attach.
This is just a repeat step. Clamp and attach.
10. Cross beams.
Not only do cross beams add character, they offer support! Using another plank board, measure the length and angles you need for these boards. In my opinion, this is the most frustrating step, I HATE ANGLES! The easiest way to do this is with a speed square. Place to board as seen in the picture. Slide your speed square or any straight object underneath the board, flush with the brace board, apply pressure and lift cross beam with speed square in place. Have your help mark the angle on the back of the board. Then cut (see below picture):
11. Screw cross beams in place.
In my final picture you will see we did a crisscross design on both top and bottom panels. The reason we chose this was due to the mounting brackets for the slide hardware.
I purchased the mounting hardware on Amazon for $50, my kit was a little more pricy because I needed a specialized length.
I am totally in love with this door and I hope my instructions help you build one that you will love too!!