DIY: How to Make Your Own Sliding Barn Door

During one of my trips to the Christie Antique Show, I found an old door that was picked up from a diner they were tearing down. See my other finds from past shows here and here.

Pantry door

Originally I wanted to hang it for our pantry door but that didn’t work so we decided to make it slide across the opening to our servery from the kitchen. For more pictures, see the final reveal of our kitchen.beforeafter

Let’s talk about the finish of the door. I struggled with the colour of the door. A lot of people (including Tommy Smythe and Suzanne Dimma) told me to leave it, don’t touch it. After giving it a lot of thought, I decided I wanted a whitewash look. When we went to sand it down, the original paint wasn’t coming off easily so I decided to paint it grey and then lightly brush white over and lightly sanded it down…. I really had no idea what I was doing.

during

It ended up working out better than I thought it would but I may sand down a few spots later on so you can see more of the grey come through. Our kitchen is white and grey with light quartz countertops, and opens right up to our living room which is also light and airy, so I like that it is part of the whole room instead of standing out too much.

Let’s talk about the hardware. I had no idea how much it would cost to buy it… I went into a local store and they quoted me $2100!! After the guy saw the shocked look on my face, he quickly referred me to 1925 Workbench. The tracks started at $195… I thought “sold” until I talked to my husband and he said he would make it.

photo 3 (3)

Cost: $ 52

Difficulty: I would say medium… you do need to have some knowledge of basic tools, be able to use a grinder and a drill. Welding is optional.

1. Buy a 10 ft length of 1 1/2″ x 1/8″ flat bar. We got ours from a local steel manufacturer for $7 – I found the same thing at Home Depot but it’s more $$.

homedepot

2. We bought (2) pulley wheels, (5) bearing spacers, nuts, bolts and washers. We got everything from a Canadian store called Princess Auto.

3. Using a grinder, cut the flat bar lengths. The top rod would be approx. 6 feet. To make the 2 rolling hangers, start at 2 ft each.

grindsander

4. Use a bench vise, bend the flat bars to go around the pulley wheels. You may need to manually bend the flat bar all the way around, the vise won’t be able to make it tight enough. Make sure you have the pulley wheel there to test it.

during1

5. Cut the hangers to the right size for your door. We made the front 12″ long and the back 1″ past the centre of the pulley. You should end up with something like this…

photo 5 (2)

6. We welded stoppers for the ends of the track so the door wouldn’t slide off but if you don’t have access to a welder, you could bolt something like a pulley spacer on the front of the track.

photo 2 (5)

7. Mount the flat bar rail. Use a stud-finder to find the studs. Make sure to leave enough space on the bottom so that the door is about 1/2″ off the floor. Once you locate your studs, transfer the dimensions onto the flat bar to drill your 3/8″ holes.

8. Using a ratchet, install the flat bar with 5/16″ x 3″ lag bolt. Make sure the washers are against the drywall – Washer, space, another washer.

beforeafter1

9. Mount the bent flat bar pieces onto the door with 5/16″ x 1 1/2″ hex bolts.

10. Hang the door on the track!

If you have any questions, please leave a comment or message me! I had a look at this DIY tutorial to get us started.

photo 2 (3)(1)

photo 3 (5)

photo 1 (3)(1)

photo 4 (5)

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56 Responses to “DIY: How to Make Your Own Sliding Barn Door”

  1. Kitchen Reveal |

    […] welcoming, bright space, that was timeless.  I wanted to mix the new with the old by adding a sliding barn door and the antique pendant lighting I bought at the Christie Antique Show. I loved white cabinets but […]

    Reply
  2. Happy New Year! |

    […] managed to share a few DIY projects around the house this year like building our own sliding barn door, how to personalize your kitchen with window treatments, and how to make a changing table topper […]

    Reply
  3. kairosphotography

    Hi There:
    Love your blog. Can you tell me what is the sku# of the pulley wheel you purchased @ Princess Auto? I liked the wheel you purchased but I can’t find the same style?
    Thanks

    Reply
    • Sweet Maple

      Hey! Thanks for stopping by. I wish I had the sku # or more details but I don’t. Are you looking only online? I did look up the pulley wheels when I was writing the post and I couldn’t find it. My husband went into the store and said it was easy to find, so maybe it’s only in the store and not online? Good luck!

      Reply
    • Quin

      Thanks for sharing Your instructions for makeing your own sliding barn door. Yours looks great. I hope to make my own too. I have a few questions.
      1) do the pullie wheels need to have bearings. If so, can I add bearings to wheels that don’t have bearings??
      2) How do I install the wheel into the 2′ bent flat bar? What kind of bolt? Any spacer or just washers on each side of the wheel?
      Sorry for all the questions. I am not a builder but I enjoy making things I know nothing about. You made me think I can do this myself. THANKS!

      Reply
      • Sweet Maple

        Hi Quin, no they do not need bearings. It’s hard to find a pulley that size that has bearings. In response to q 2, use a hex bolt that is long enough, that’s about 1/4 – 1/2 inch longer than the bent steel piece. We used washers on the inside and outside of the steel… So 4 total for each wheel. Good luck and let me know if you have any other questions!!:)

    • Gerald Moore

      SKU: 3801602 is the product number used for the pulleys for this project from Princess Auto. Very helpful staff!

      Thanks for posting this Sweet Maple!!! Very helpful for me and I plan to use it soon!

      Reply
  4. Nick williams

    Hi, the link to Home Depots metal bar is Aluminum….did you actually use Aluminum or Steel? So far I’am having difficulty finding 8ft. Flat Steel in my area. All is flimsy Aluminum, but maybe this from Home Depot is better? Again, just wondering if you used real Steel or not. Thank you.

    Reply
    • Sweet Maple

      Sorry about that! Yes it was steel. My husband says you need to find a small steel supplier/shop in your area. Good luck!!

      Reply
  5. Julie

    I would have gone with the whitewash too, and you did a fabulous job! You could also do a light crackled finish on top of it for even more rustic goodness and make the door totally pop against your beautifully flawless kitchen. I was looking for an inexpensive way of building a sliding door, and your blog has given me confidence I can do it. I checked out Princess Auto (thank you for the link). Would you mind sharing the exact part names involved? They have pages of pulleys and bearing spacers…

    Reply
  6. Cordale

    How did you stop the bottom of the door from pushing out off the wall when opening/closing?

    Reply
    • Sweet Maple

      The weight of the door keeps it straight when moving the door across.. No issues of it swinging or anything. Is that what you mean?

      Reply
  7. mojo911

    Reblogged this on Adventures in Updating and commented:
    Here is a great door. I made a door for my bedroom & hung it. I did buy the hardware for the rail & hangers from Home Depot for about $150 in a kit. I wanted to do it all myself, but I don’t quite have the skill set. Yes the barn door hardware can be cost prohibitive, which is why it took me over a year to find a set I could afford.

    Reply
  8. mojo911

    I’m a little late in seeing this, but what a great job!!!! I made my door for my bedroom & bought the hardware from Home Depot for about $150. I’m not that skillful. Yes, the hardware can be cost prohibitive, which is why I was doorless for over a year. I knew what I wanted, I just had to wait until I could afford it – then I found the set at HD. Ya’ll did a great job!

    Reply
  9. Travis Smith

    How has the weight of the door with the handmade hardware. Does it lean or warped the metal? I am wondering if the metal I got is too thin. That door looked a little heavy. Look great!

    Reply
    • Sweet Maple

      The metal hasn’t moved/warped at all, looks the same! That’s a good question though. Thanks! Good luck with your project, let me know if you have any other questions!!

      Reply
  10. Amanda

    Thank you for sharing, it looks beautiful! Quick question, I have a double door entry into my bathroom from my bedroom. I want something that is very quiet to open and shut. I have a barn door for another bathroom where we purchased the hardware and it does not make a sound to open and shut the door. Just wondering if yours is as quiet as I would love to save money and build it ourselves.

    Reply
    • Sweet Maple

      Thanks Amanda! It is quiet but it does make noise – definitely sounds like a door sliding across a track. I haven’t heard any other doors on different tracks so I really can’t compare.

      Reply
  11. John Wilson

    Looks great! Nice finish and love the ambition of building your own track. They are most definitely overpriced to purchase as a kit. If I could make a suggestion I would say buy/build a stay roller to keep the door more cleanly against the wall. It will also make it much easier and safer to open and close the door.

    Reply
  12. Bu

    Could you explain to me how the bottom part of the rolling door would be like:
    I mean How to prevent it from scratching the wall while on the move -right & left- and Maintain the same distance between the wall and the door just like the top part?
    Or Gravity and door weight should keep that balance?

    Reply
    • Sweet Maple

      There are two pieces of supports on the back of the door that seem to work as a barrier. But I was looking at it this morning and the gravity and door weight really do keep the balance as it moves and hangs there. I could push it and it would easily hit the wall, so it just works when moving left and right, if we were pushing the door while moving it, the door would scratch the wall. Our baseboards aren’t very thick either so it’s not a problem on the bottom. Hope that helps… Sorry for the delay in responding! Good luck.

      Reply
  13. Glenn

    It obviously works for your kitchen, but I’m in the ‘why would you do that to an antique door, with such an amazing colour story/history’ camp. You could have done it with a newer door to the same end.
    That said, if it looks as good in person as it does in the photos, good on you. The antique hardware is what makes the door.

    Reply
    • Sweet Maple

      Hi Glenn, I had this door for a looong time before I touched the colour. I definitely wanted to keep the blue because of the history! In the end, there was more yellowing in the blue from age, so it definitely could have still worked in a different space but I wanted it for our kitchen. It does look as good in person so I’m happy! You’re right, the antique hardware is what makes the door. 🙂

      Reply
  14. Debra

    Great job on the door. Where did you get the wheels (rollers) I am having trouble finding some that can carry the weight of the doors.

    Reply
    • Sweet Maple

      Thanks Debra! We found them at a local store that sells mostly auto parts… My husband went in and found the pulleys. Maybe you have one nearby? Or if you live in the states, I’m sure you could find them on Amazon? Good luck!:)

      Reply
  15. Kimberly Sparks

    This looks wonderful. I have installed a few barn doors now, but always buying the kits. I want to make the bar and put the holes exactly where the studs are. that way it balances the door. How are you drilling the holes?

    Reply
    • Sweet Maple

      Hi Kimberley, sorry for the delay! Use a stud finder to find the studs and marks the holes on the bar and drill the holes through the bar using a steel bit. Let me know if you have any questions!

      Reply
  16. Lisa

    I have never seen anyone try to explain how to make the tracks and pulleys. If no one has ever thanked you..Let me be the first!! Thank You!!

    Reply
  17. John

    Does the groove in the pulley need to match the thickness of the rail, can it be bigger?

    Reply
  18. Painting Furniture |

    […] garbage, my childhood bedroom dresser, updated some old lights with spray paint, and painted an old barn door in our kitchen. I really could keep going but I’m sure you get the […]

    Reply
  19. Danette

    This was great! I noticed you have the hook and eye for a latch. Do you use it or just for looks? I want to do this for our bedrooms in new house and I wondered how you would latch them. Do you suggest some other locking sysrem? Great tutorial!!!

    Reply
    • Sweet Maple

      Hi Danette, it was just for looks… we don’t use it but I’m sure there are some great latch systems out there! Good luck, thanks for visiting!

      Reply
  20. Karen

    Thanks for providing such a great tutorial! I love everything you did here! It looks beautiful! Can I ask what color paint you used on your walls? It provides such a nice soft backdrop for everything!

    Reply
    • Sweet Maple

      Thanks Karen! It is Collingwood OC-28 from Benjamin Moore. I do love it, haven’t gotten tired of it and it’s been 4 years!

      Reply

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