CLOSET HACK: DIY SLAT DOORS
Updated: Jul 12, 2021
Wowza! It's been a hot minute (and also a scorching month in Denver) since I've shared a DIY project update! We started this project at the beginning of August and I never got around to writing the blog and DIY steps. Somehow the month of August flew by and September has arrived!
This project was a relatively easy one, however it does take some math to get the door sizes correct.
When we bought the house, this wide closet had only a single shelf and rod that stretched the length of the closet (along with full length mirror doors). I was graced with my own walk-in closet in our last home, so we needed to get creative with storage solutions since we were downsizing closet space. It just so happened that the IKEA PAX system would fit perfectly inside the framed closet, so away we went with planning out storage space. Besides a few heavy winter items, we were able to accommodate both our clothes without having to downsize our wardrobes.
Since the PAX system fit inside a framed closet, the standard IKEA doors would not work with the system. (See how the framed walls protrude over the closet frames). This was okay, because I had a different aesthetic in mind anyways.
Slat walls, slat doors, and slat furniture are making big waves these days and I couldn't help but get in on the fun! Since this is a small room, I wanted to incorporate slat doors, which would offer a sense of additional depth in the room. The light wood tones would also coordinate with our bedroom furniture and provided a contrast with the opposite dark grey wall.
Due to the pull out drawers in the middle closet sections, we wouldn't be able to simply use a by-pass door system, because the opening clearance wouldn't accommodate the pull out drawers. So, we used a multi-pass (3) door system. I'll do my best to walk through how we built these and what materials we used. Of course, if you have any questions, please reach out!
Johnson Sliding door hardware: We ordered ours through Home Depot.
Tip: Johnson hardware offers many different widths and styles of track. They even offer tracks that are up to 142" long. Our closet is actually 116 wide. However, the track to fit this opening would come with a $125 oversized shipping cost. To avoid that charge, we ordered the 106" track and simply offset the ball bearing door hangers further inside the doors. (Example: rather than have them located 3" from the door edge, we located ours 7" from the door edge, to ensure that the door would fully close without the door hanger coming loose from the track.
Birch Plywood Veneer : We used a birch veneer 4'x8'x1/2" in size and cut the boards into 2" strips to create the slats.
Common Board : We used 1x10x8 common board to build the frames. The horizontal frame braces were cut into 4" strips and the vertical frame pieces are 2" strips (to match the slat width).
2" Corner Bracket : These are for creating the outer frames of the doors
1.5" Corner Bracket: These are for securing the middle brace to the door frame
1/2" White MDF Base Moulding : We used this to create the trim across the top of the closet that serves to conceal the track
1" MDF Base Moulding : We used this for the header that the ceiling track attaches to
1" Finishing Nails : (We utilized 1" finishing nails so that we could secure the slats to the frames, from the backside, so that we wouldn't need to fill holes on the fronts side.
Clamps (not necessary but very helpful)
Step 1: Determine your door dimensions. Be sure to account for a 2" overlap on the bypassing doors. This will ensure that you don't have an gaps, when the doors are closed. Also be sure to account for the height of the ball bearing door hangers (as well as the celing header for the track) and subtract that height from you finished door height.
Step 2: Build your door frames utilizing the corner braces and a square.
Step 3: Secure the middle wood brace using the 1.5" corner braces.
Step 4: For additional strength we screwed the exterior frame corners from the exterior of the frame, as well.
Step 5: Attach the end slats to the frames and beginning laying out the slats using a "spacer" that is the appropriate width. Our gap is 1", so we cut a 1" spacer to lay out the slats. We used clamps to assist in keeping the slats in place while glueing and nailing.
Step 6: Apply glue to the backside of the slats and attach to frame. Then nail the slats to the frame from the backside of the door.
Step 7: Once all the doors were assembled, I used a water based urethane and applied 2 coats to the wood. (You can see the difference between the left half and the right half, which has a coat applied.
Step 8: Install the ball bearing door hangers and door guides on the doors per manufacturers instructions. If you are installing a multi-pass door (3 or more), you'll also want to install door catchers, so that the doors catch and slide together, when moving from one side to the other.
Step 9. Install a header to the ceiling (This will disperse the load and carry the wight of the doors). The header attaches to ceiling joists and the track attaches to the header). We used 1" thick MDF moulding to make the header. You can see the screws used to anchor the header.
Step 10: Install the ceiling track and floor guides, per manufacturers instructions.
Photo Above: Ceiling Track attached to header
Tip (Photo Above): We didn't end up using the metal floor guide that came with the hardware, since it wasn't the full length of the closet opening and we wanted it that way for aesthetics. Instead, we built our own floor guide out of trim and quarter-round to guide the doors. (Note these haven't been painted yet, since painting is my least favorite activity, this last step is taking longer than it should to complete!)
Step 11: Hang the Doors
Step 12: Install the1/2" x 3.5" trim across the opening, at the ceiling. This will conceal the metal tracks. (This piece also still needs to be painted. September's looking good for that!)
Step 13: Sit back and enjoy the view!
Don't forget to follow our adventures in renovation and design on Instagram at @Hyyge_Spruce!