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How to Build a Sliding Barn Door: A Guide

How to Build a Sliding Barn Door: A Guide

Are you wondering how to build a sliding barn door? Old West Iron can help with their sliding barn door hardware and kits. Learn more.

Sliding barn doors are all the rage. They work with any style of the home but are exceptional when looking for a more rustic or country homestyle. If you look online for premade doors, you probably gasp at the cost. 

You don't have to break the bank to create the perfect barn door for your home. All you need is sliding barn door hardware and this guide that will tell you everything you need to do to build your perfect sliding barn door. 

Consider Your Options 

Barn doors come in many shapes and sizes. Every door type has a base of five or six wood panels pushed together. The amount of panels depends on the size of the space you need to cover. 

One of the simplest door styles is all the panels lined up with one plank on the top and bottom holding it together. Other styles include having a piece of wood diagonal across the door, two planks in the middle, or an X-shape on the bottom half. 

You also have options for how much DIY is involved in the process. We recommend purchasing a hardware kit. This kit can reduce the stress of finding individual pieces that work well together. 

Some kits have wood included. These kits tend to be more expensive.

What You Need

If you are going to DIY a barn door, here are some of the things you'll need to get the job done: 


  • Box Saw
  • Drill
  • Hammer
  • Nails
  • Screwdrivers
  • Screws
  • Tape Measure


  • One 4x8 sheet of 5 mm plywood
  • Two 10' 2x2s
  • Two 10' 1x2s
  • Paint or wood stain(color of your choice)
  • Barn Door Hardware Kit
  • 12 count (or more) 1x6 8 ft No. 2 pine boards

Make sure you get all of your supplies ahead of time. You should also measure everything to ensure you have the right amount of tools. 

Measure Your Space

Barn doors are supposed to extend one inch on either side of the door. Measure the length and width of the area to know how many boards you need and how long they should be.

When you purchase the hardware, the manufacturer will also list height requirements. 

If you want the door to slide completely open, make sure one of the sides of your opening is the same size as your door. When you slide the door, there's enough room for the door to open all the way. You will want your hardware kit to extend the full length the door will slide. 

Mount the Track to the Wall

Before you mount your track, install a wood backing on the wall where the track will be. This lets you install the mounting screws for the track anywhere. The more flexibility you have, the more the track and the barn door will be supported. 

If there is not a board and you are just putting the track directly into the wall, mark the studs and move the track openings to where those studs are. 

Your kit might come with spacers that will keep the track away from the wall. If it does not, we recommend purchasing them so when the door moves it doesn't scrape your wall. 

Depending on how you mount your track and the height of the door, the size of your spacers will vary. 

The height of the track will depend on how tall your door is.

Install a Rolling Guide

Rolling guides help keep the door from swinging out of place. L-shaped metal brackets will mount to your floor and slide nicely into a groove at the bottom of the door. 

If you don't have a groove in your door, there are many other roller guides you can easily install that don't require one. 

Build the Door

Step 1: Remove the Existing Door

  • Unscrew the hinges and remove any additional hardware from the door frame.
  • Fill any holes or voids left on the door with wood filler.
  • Sand the filled areas until smooth.
  • Repaint the doorframe to match the existing trim.

Step 2: Enhance Door Dimensions

  • Cut the 2x2s to size and securely attach them around all door edges using wood glue and nails; this will add height and width to the original door.
  • Attach 1x2 boards to increase width and height further, ensuring they fit snugly against the 2x2s.

Step 3: Design the Door

  • Mark the center line of the door to guide your design.
  • Cut strips from the 5 mm plywood sheet according to your desired pattern, such as a herringbone pattern.
  • Layout the design on the door starting from the centerline and working towards the edges, ensuring the pattern is mirrored on both the top and bottom halves.

For those looking to infuse their doors with a touch of rustic sophistication, this alternative guide outlines how to craft a door with a chic modern farmhouse herringbone motif, framed by classic shaker trim.

1. Design and Materials

Kick off your project with slender strips of plywood, ideally 5mm thick and cut to a width of 4 inches. To begin, draw a line down the middle of your door and temporarily fix a straight board along this central guideline to aid in positioning your herringbone pattern starting at the top.

2. Laying Out Your Herringbone Pattern

You'll want to cut each strip at a 45-degree angle at one end before arranging them in place. Use coins like dimes for even spacing between the strips, placing weights on top to hold the layout steady. Once a section of strips is temporarily placed, mark where they meet the door's edge. This is where you'll need to trim the strips at another 45-degree angle so they fit snugly against the side. Step by step, cover the upper part of the door with the pattern, then mirror the process for the lower half, carefully aligning it with the upper section for a cohesive design.

To avoid confusion, especially if you plan on painting the strips beforehand, labeling each piece can save you from a mixing mishap during final assembly. By following these steps, you'll be on your way to a door that's not just a barrier, but a statement of craftsmanship and style.

Step 4: Prime and Paint

  • Prime all wood strips and the door itself.
  • Apply two coats of paint to each, allowing for adequate drying time between coats.

Step 5: Assemble the Door

  • Arrange the painted strips on the door as per your design, using spacers for even placement.
  • Secure the strips onto the door with 1" brad nails.
  • Attach Shaker-style trim along the perimeter of your newly designed door, if desired.
  • Use wood filler to fill any visible nail holes.
  • Caulk the seams for a clean, seamless look.
  • Apply touch-up paint where required to ensure a polished appearance.

Step 6: Install the Door Hardware

  • Follow the instructions provided in your interior barn door hardware kit to mount the hardware to the door.
  • Hang the door in place and attach your chosen door pull.

Staining and Decorating the Door

Enhancing your door with painted wood strips is straightforward:

  1. Gather the wooden strips that you’ll be dressing up the door with.
  2. Coat each strip with primer thoroughly—choose from either spray or brush-on varieties.
  3. Wait for the primer to dry completely before moving on.
  4. Next, apply your favorite paint color onto the primer. Two layers should suffice for a sleek finish.
  5. Painting the door itself? Don’t forget to cover both sides with the new hue, especially if it differs from the original.
  6. For an extra pop, play around with contrasting colors beneath where the wood strips would go.
  7. Paint the reverse side of the door to match the strips and round off the look.

Following these streamlined steps, you’ll get an artfully painted barn door, perfect for any modern farmhouse-inspired space.

If you want a more rustic look, start with a lighter gold stain. Then, use a rag to randomly apply a random pattern with a dark stain. Finally, apply a thin, uneven layer of gray stain. 

There are a variety of different colors of wood stain you can pick from to match your space. You don't have to layer the stain either, you can just have one solid color.


Attach the Door Hangers

Once everything is dry, follow the instructions of your hardware kit for attaching the door hangers. Mark where the bolts need to go, drill holes, and attach the hangers to the door. 

Hang the Barn Door 

Place the door on the track. You may need another person to help you do this. 

Once the door is on the track, roll it to each end. See where you can comfortably have the door stop and add the stoppers and other hardware that comes with your kit. 

Extra Decorations to Make Your Door Special 

If you want to add a decorative touch to your barn door, you're in luck! 

Door pulls are a great addition. They come in all styles from farmhouse to early American. It makes it easier to move your door and adds some flair. 

Faux hinge straps are easy to install. They can help your door fit your home even more. Clavos and decorative nail heads are easy to install and add an enhanced look to any visible screws. 

Get the Perfect Sliding Barn Door Hardware to Make Your Barn Door Unique 

Building your sliding door is easy as long as you have the right sliding barn door hardware! With a little bit of elbow grease, you can enhance the look of your home in a matter of days. 

If you're ready to build your barn door, check out our online catalog for more DIY tips to bring your door to the next level. 

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