DIY Projects

DIY Shaker Cabinet Door Update

DIY Shaker Cabinet Doors

Shaker cabinets are such a timeless and classic style.

They are always on trend and go with almost any kitchen design.

However, not every kitchen is graced with their presence…

Mine definitely was not.

Kitchen with dated cabinets

Somehow, somewhere, some builder thought to himself,

 “It’s 2003. I’m going to build a brand new house with beautiful hardwood floors, updated technology, added character, and high end finishes.”

And he (or she) did. Except they forgot about the kitchen.

Maybe they ran out of money.

Maybe they ordered gorgeous cabinets and decided to keep them for themselves.

Maybe they were tired from the floor installation.

Either way, our pretty house came with 80’s style flat panel cabinets.

Not so pretty.

Lumber bundle for framing cabinets

So with a tiny budget and a big imagination, I headed to the home improvement store in hopes of working a miracle.

I really didn’t have a shopping list or a game plan or anything.

I just wandered around until inspiration struck.

(Not the best practice for projects, but every once in a while it works for me.)

In the midst of my wandering, I found these babies.

A bundled up ten pack of long skinny strips of hobby wood.

YES! That will totally work!

I started by sanding them all down with sanding sponges.

I knew a palm sander would be too rough on the soft wood.

Use tape to minimize wood splinters when cutting

After removing all my cabinet doors and bringing them all out onto the back deck, I measured and cut the long sides of each cabinet frame first, then measured and cut the two shorter top and bottom pieces.

Since a shaker style cabinet doesn’t require mitered edges, I was able to line it all up without cutting any angles.

It’s pretty and it saves a ton of time!

You’ll want to cut the pieces with a circular saw or table saw, but I loaned my circular out so I used a jigsaw with a precision blade. It actually worked out great.

If a jigsaw is all you have, you’ll need to put a little painter’s tape on your cut line to reduce splintering.

This hobby wood is kind of soft, so it splinters very easily.

Use wood glue when framing cabinets even if you are nailing them on

After all my pieces were cut for each individual cabinet and the edges were sanded smooth, I broke out the wood glue and started slapping them on.

By the time I finished gluing on the frame for the last cabinet door, the first one I had done was nice and dry.

DIY Shaker Cabinet Shopping List

Use a nail set tool to make sure nail heads are not visible

Then I started adding finishing nails for extra security.

The glue will hold well, but I like an insurance plan.

I used a nail set tool to drive the nail a little lower than the frame so they’ll be completely invisible after filling and painting.

I used two nails per wood piece, so eight nails per door.

Shaker cabinet door diy upgrade

And just as I was finishing up the final nails on the final door frame, I get a text from my husband, who was at work, telling me that we are under a tornado watch.

Umm, what???

I’ve been outside with overcast skies this whole time, completely unaware that the weather may get bad.

I scurried around the deck bringing in the doors as fast as possible, and minutes later, the downpour happened.

Ahh, the joys of weekend projects!

Fill handle holes

So from my new project space, aka the kitchen, I began filling in the holes on the inside of each door with wood filler.

I like these squeeze tubes better than the tubs because the precision point is much easier to fill a big hole like this.

Fill holes

I also used the wood filler to cover the inset nail holes on the frames and the cracks between the frame.

Once it was all dry, I sanded it all over again.

Just a heads up, by now, you’ll despise sanding.

You’ll never want to sand anything ever again.

Fair warning.

caulk seams

Next up, caulk.

Again, I used the precision tube.

Mainly because my caulk gun is hard to use. And messy. And I’m lazy.

I caulked around each edge on the inside and outside of the frames.

After 24 hours, they were all ready to paint!

PS: You can view the cabinet door painting tutorial here.

DIY Flat Cabinet to Shaker Cabinet Door Tutorial

So for those of you who like numbers, be prepared to be persuaded.

To reface cabinets, you have to purchase custom sizes.

These doors range from $15 to $60 each. Plus extra money to drill hinge holes.

Let’s say you considered the mid-range option, plus hole drilling.

If your kitchen has 16 cabinet doors like mine, you’re looking at between $800 and $1000 including shipping.

Download DIY Shaker Cabinet Shopping List

OR you can be awesome like me, DIY your own, and throw down a whopping $20-ish dollars.

The wood bundle was under $10, the wood glue was $3, and the tubes of caulk and filler were $3 each.

I already owned the finishing nails, paint, and tools, so this project was one of the cheapest I’ve done.

I did, however, change up the hinges and hardware, but those are totally optional.

More on the hardware I used in the next post of this series.

Want to follow along with my low-cost kitchen renovation?

Check out these other posts I shared during the process.

How To Paint Cabinet Doors And Install Hardware The Right Way

Open Shelving Kitchen Pantry And Coffee Bar

Create Open Shelving With Existing Upper Cabinets

Coming Soon: How To Install Tile Backsplash On A Budget AND My Kitchen Reveal!

17 Comments

  1. Hi there, can’t wait to start this project, thank you for sharing! I was just wondering; when you cauked the outer edge, did that help hide any rounding your original door had? I’m confident in my ability to follow your instructions, but concerned I’ll have a gap due to the existing rounded edge? Thanks so much!

    • Brad - Admin

      Hi, Heather! The caulking did help, but you’ll still have a tiny bit of gap due to a rounded edge. It’s minimally noticeable, though, so you’ll only see it when you’re right in front of the door. I hope this helps, and good luck with your project.

  2. William L Rawls

    Standard size for a 1 x 3 is actually 3/4 x 2 1/2 for those width inquiring minds. We’re about to start this project for 20 doors. Thanks for the great instructions. Our doors currently look exactly like your old ones did so we’re looking forward to getting the same results.

    • Brad - Admin

      Thanks for the added info, William! Good luck with your own project, and get ready for a massive leap forward. It’s like your entire kitchen jumps into a time machine and realizes that it left the Motley Crue Halloween wig behind, but it still knows how to rock out anyway.

  3. Hi. I love it!! I’m in the process of updating my kitchen. Can you please tell me the exact name of that wood trim from Lowes? From all that’s happening right now, they only have online shopping and I have to order the exact one online.

    • Brad - Admin

      Hi, Merl! I’m glad you love it! Both of the materials Lela used for this are from DAP. The wood trim is the DAP DryDex white spackling and nail hole filler, and the caulk is the DAP Alex Fast Dry White Paintable Latex Caulk. Be sure to grab them in the squeeze bottles. She used the 5.5 ounce bottles of each, and they’re so much easier than those big tubs. I hope this helps!

    • Lela Burris

      Hey Merl! I just realized Brad replied with the spackle and caulk materials but forgot the actual wood trim. It was a 1x2x8 furring strip. If you can find a half inch furring strip instead of a one inch, it will be better. In the blog post above there’s a linked image that gives the entire list of materials used, but this link will take you to it also. https://www.lelaburris.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/06/Shaker-Cabinet-Door-Shopping-List.pdf

    • Following because I have been looking for a week for this particular wood also. This is the best diy I have found for the style cabinets we have.

      • Lela Burris

        Hi Bri! So glad you found the tutorial! I used furring strips for this project. It’s very easy to pull off.

  4. I’m a huge fan of DIY! Sometimes the result is way better than it would have been if you had gone to the professionals.

  5. What an upgrade Lela, and they look so simple to do as well. I love the fact that they are so cheap, when purchasing kitchen cabinets the carcass is usually pretty cheap, but the fascia’s are the expensive bits, you’ve shown that they don’t need to be. at ~$20 a door, well super budget friendly.

  6. Sandy Gandy

    They are beautiful!

  7. Where did you purchase the wood bundle? Any specifics you can provide to me would be helpful. length, width.

    • Lela Burris

      Hi Bea! I got them at Lowes. I’m not exactly sure what the length was but I know they were 2 inches wide and 1 inch thick.

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