This post contains affiliate links & photos. See our full disclosure here.

In this post: Do you love the look of barn doors but not the price tag? We’ve got a DIY Barn Door and DIY Barn Door Track tutorial – that won’t break the bank!


Dean and I dreamed about building a sliding barn door for our house for years. But the cost was always a wee bit prohibitive. Have you ever felt the same way? Like you want a barn door but it’s too expensive? Well no more, because we’ve got a DIY tutorial for a barn door AND track that won’t break the bank!

UPCYCLED BARN DOOR no title

Since we built this barn door, we’ve installed double barn doors in our living room (at our last house), and single barn doors in our master bedroom/bathroom, guest room, and laundry room. 

Why we didn’t use reclaimed barn wood

We were initially going to use reclaimed barn boards for this barn door project and tutorial. After all what better project to use barn boards for than a barn door?!

But when we went to look at them at a shop in the city they were about $20 a board and really rough to the touch. I’m talking snag-your-best-sweater-from-a-foot-away kind of rough. Which would sort of hamper the cozy feeling in your home, yes?!

barn boards

So we decided to go for Plan B. Wood Pallets stained grey. 

aka design piano and barn door

These can usually be found almost everywhere…the side of the road, big box stores, free exchange sites, etc.

In our case, Dean had a couple of really chunky wood pallets at his work that his company wasn’t using anymore. He dismantled them and chose fifteen of the straightest boards. They were dinged and worn and full of character, but they weren’t all wonky and warped if you know what I mean.

After you’ve chosen the wood for your barn door, you’ll need rails and wheels.

DIY sliding barn door rails and wheels idea

One of the reasons we personally let this project drop to the bottom of the list for so long was figuring out the rail and wheels for the sliding action.

Typically buying the barn door hardware from somewhere costs several hundred dollars. And when we originally built this door, the big box stores didn’t even have barn door tracks or hardware kits.

But you can always get creative. This time my most talented hubby thought of using two of the kids’ broken scooter wheels minus the rubber and tubing!

RAIL AND WHEEL

DIY barn door & track materials

Materials for the track

  • 3″ x 1/8″ x 84″ long steel flat bar qty=1 (used as the track piece that goes against the wall)
  • 1-1/2″ x 1/4″ x 84″ long steel flat bar qty=1 (used as the track piece that sits out from the wall)
  • 1/2″ x 1/16″ x 2″ long steel tubing qty=7 (used as the spacers)
  • 5/16″ x 3-1/2″ long plated lag bolts qty=7 (used to attach the flat bar and spacers to each other and the wall)
  • Rust-Oleum Oil Rubbed Bronze spray paint (to paint all the metal)

Materials for the barn door

Materials for the barn door handle

  • fitting black iron floor flange 1″ qty=4
  • fitting black iron 90-degree elbow 1″ qty=4
  • black steel pipe nipple 1″ x close qty=4
  • black steel pipe nipple 1″ x 16″ long qty=2
  • #12 x 1-1/4″ long screws qty=16 (to attach the handles to the door)
  • Rust-Oleum Oil Rubbed Bronze spray paint (to paint all the metal)

Tips for making your DIY barn door

  • This really is not a beginner project, so be sure to get help or take your time with it. 
  • You will need to measure your own doorway and make adjustments to the measurements to fit, as our door opening was extra wide.
  • Make sure that you mount the DIY barn door track to studs in a few places so that it is sturdy.
  • Stain your boards before you assemble the door. 
  • Once you’ve drilled all the holes and before assembly, spray paint all of the metal flat bar, the wheels, and the lag nuts and bolts with oil-rubbed bronze.  Let dry.
  • All the long steel flat bar was purchased via Metal Supermarket.
grey-wash-wood-finish-sidebar

How to grey wash your boards

With a little trial and error, I’ve found a great way to get this look on any type of wood – old scrap wood, pallets found at the side of the road, and even brand new wood from the nearest Home Depot!

Grey wash materials

Grey wash tools

Grey wash instructions

  1. Sand each piece of wood. Get rid of any rough patches but keep any character marks like knots, stamps, and such. These look really amazing after this finish.
  2. Using a foam brush or foam roller apply Dark Walnut stain going with the grain to the wood in a well-ventilated area. Let sit for 5 minutes. Wipe off excess stain with a lint-free cloth or rag. Repeat on all sides for each piece. Let dry.
  3. Mix a small amount of light grey latex paint and water into a plastic cup. This will be a light grey wash. I used a mixture of about 1 part paint to 4 parts water, using CIL Stratosphere (the color) color matched into Sherwin Williams paint (at the store). Honestly, I just had them mix it into one of their “lower quality” sample pots, but I found it worked just fine. Using a foam brush apply to each piece of wood over the dry stain. This will lighten the wood and give it an aged appearance.
  4. Repeat on all sides for each piece. Let dry.
DIY BARN DOOR AND BARN DOOR TRACK

How to build your barn door – barn door & track plans

Dean and I really wanted to give you clear instructions for making your own barn door – but it’s a LOT to explain. We went back and forth between step-by-step instructions and a drawing. 

In the end, we decided it would be best to provide old-school hand-drawn plans and some explanation. 

Just click on the plan image below and you’ll be taken to a printable PDF. (Please remember this is for your own personal use and can’t be sold or otherwise modified or distributed.)

Next, you need to source the material for the rustic handles.

how to make pipe fitting handles

How to Make Pipe Fitting Handles

Since any large rustic handles that can be pre-purchased are rather pricey, we decided to DIY some really large handles using pipe fittings.

DIY Barn Door Handle Supplies

  • fitting black iron floor flange 1″ qty=4
  • fitting black iron 90-degree elbow 1″ qty=4
  • black steel pipe nipple 1″ x close qty=4
  • black steel pipe nipple 1″ x 16″ long qty=2
  • #12 x 1-1/4″ long screws qty=16

DIY Barn Door Handle Instructions

1. Twist one black steel pipe nipple 1″ x close into one fitting black iron floor flange 1″.

2. Add one fitting black iron 90-degree elbow 1″ to the nipple.

3. Attach black steel pipe nipple 1″ x 16″ long to 90-degree elbow from step 2.

4. Twist one black steel pipe nipple 1″ x close onto 16″ long steel pipe from step 3.

5. Attach one fitting black iron floor flange 1″ to the other end of the black steel pipe nipple 1″ x close from step 4.

6. Repeat Steps 1-5 for the second handle. See the photo above for visual aid. Set both handles aside until the door is assembled.

AKA Design neutral fall barn door corner

Have you ever built your own DIY barn door? Or installed a do-it-yourself barn door?

shannon photo and sig oct 2022

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

89 Comments

  1. Your barn door is beautiful! I am looking at by pass barn doors, hardware alone starts at $630 on some sites, any suggestions on how to build them?

    1. Unfortunately the way we’ve built it it’s not a privacy door and it does not lock. You could make a few changes and make it more private and locking I suppose. 🙂

  2. What did the hardware run you for this project? And how big were the wood slats that you used? What type of wood was it?
    Thanks!

    1. The whole project cost us less than $200 and all the measurements are in the post. The wood was from heavy duty pallets, so I don’t know what type it was. Hardwood for sure.

  3. I LOVE your blog and wanted to share your awesomeness with my readers. I featured this barn door that makes me swoon on my blog today. I swear, I’ve show this to my husband at least a dozen times – I hope to find the perfect space to mimic your genius!

    Thanks so much for rockin’ the inspiration!

  4. Fantastic door and wonderful tutorial!
    When you hang the door to the rail, does it swing and need a floor guide to hold it vertically aligned or is it sufficiently balanced?

    Thanks for sharing.

    1. A floor guide would be useful, but not necessary. If you have small children who are going to be prone to swinging on it then yes, add a floor rail of some sort!

  5. I love this!! What color paint did you use on your wall behind the door? the wood and your wall color look awesome together!!!

    1. The walls in our living room are painted Sherwin Williams Bungalow Beige – which is the color that was here when we moved in.

  6. Do you know the scooter wheel size. Im looking on Amazon for wheels, they come in 100mm or 110mm…..looking for metal core wheels…Are yours metal?…Dont want to design and build based on your specs and make the one wrong mistake with wheel size….Inline wheels might be another option, If i only knew the size…..Barn door problems! …..so excited to start this project ……bathroom door here i come and out it goes…

    1. I honestly don’t know for sure! I’m so sorry – the scooter was a hand me down. And yes, most definitely when we removed the rubber the wheels are metal!

  7. I was thinking of doing the reclaimed wood headboard, but with these metal pieces bracing the wood on both sides. My ex and I made one from scratch with the best starbursts and knots. He was supposed to keep it for me for little while after we split. :/ Worst decision ever. He sold it. :{

  8. Hi there,

    I love the coverlet you have on your couch beside the beautiful barn door. (white, grey and yellow) Where did you find it, I would love it in my home. Thanks W

  9. Where did you guys get the flat steel in those lengths? The longest I can find at Home Depot is 6′

    Thanks

    1. As we’ve mentioned in the tutorial post, we bought the longer metal from Metal Supermarket.

  10. Hello! We love this door and are looking at putting this on our office we are building. Can you show us a pic of the back of the door? Thank you!

    1. I’ll try to get a photo of it. Basically it looks like the front except there are no vertical metal bars!

  11. Your barn door is beautiful! We have lived in our home for two years and making one for our pantry keeps getting pushed down as well 🙁 So ready to have it done! I was wondering how hard it is to open and shut? Like I mentioned, we are using it for our pantry so it will be opened and shut a lot and wondering how much of a “pain” it might be. Thank you!

    1. It is heavy. So it’s not hard to open and close exactly. But for frequent use you may want to put a wheel on the bottom too to take some of the weight.

  12. Sorry! One more question! I was curious to know how tall your door opening is? Mine is 89″. I think based on your measurements mine might be a bit taller than yours and I will need to make adjustments to the length of the steel bars. Thank you again! I am so excited to get this project going 🙂

  13. We have been working on building out our basement for the last 4 months and this is the very final step to be completed – the assembly and hanging of these barn doors!! I have been looking at the wood pieces for months now but it was hard to get all the steel in and prepared for the project but tomorrow is the day! I know already – they will be fabulous!

    -Vickey, Atlanta Georgia

  14. Hi everything looks very easy and simple ! Thanks a lot !

    I only have 2 questions: the are some spacers the 2 doors tracks. Where can I get these !!? What should I seek for !?

    Thanks again for your reply !

  15. Were the scooter wheels hard plastic or did you use metal wheels? All the standard scooter wheels seem to be hard plastic. With the weight of this door I want to be sure I am using the right wheels. Thank you!

  16. So I ended up picking up metal scooter wheels at a local skate shop. I have attempted to cut off the rubber but it is darn painful to even make an incision and the rubber appears to be molded o to the actual wheel. How did you actually remove the rubber? In theory it doesnt seem like it should be difficult, so i thought perhaps there may be some trick to doing this. Any help here would be greatly appreciated. I am SO looking forward to getting this door hung and seeing the final results!

    1. Hmm. I do remember Dean had some trouble getting the rubber off, yes. But in the end he cut the rubber and peeled it off.

    2. Did you ever find an easier solution to getting the rubber off the rim? I am having the same problem.

  17. On your sliding Barn Door what was this used for? [1/2″ x 1/16″ x 2″ long steel tubing qty=7] everything else makes sense to me except this.

    Thank you and your door looks beautiful.

  18. Hi everything looks very easy and simple ! Thanks a lot !

    I only have 2 questions: the are some spacers between the 2 doors tracks.

    Where can I get these !!?

    What should I seek for !?

    Thanks again for your reply !

  19. Greetings from Cape Town, South Africa. I love, love, love the barn door and your coffee table is just as gorgeous. Trusting that you will have a very blessed and productive 2016.

  20. Beautiful work. I’m looking to install something similar to muffle the noises from one room to the next. Haven’t quite figured out the logistics and time, but your post has given me some great inspiration.

    How long did it take you to get all that installed?

    1. To install it wasn’t too bad. Since we did it for a contest originally we had it complete in less than a week.

    1. No varnish. The strong smell lasts only a few hours. After that there’s some lingering smell, but it doesn’t usually bother me much.

  21. I am curious to know what you use for a handle or latch on the inside of the door so you can close it. Seems to me that a handle like you use on the outside would not work it would be up against the frame.
    Thanks

    1. Because our door opening is larger than the space to the side of the door, the handles don’t get in the way at all (because the door is always part way into the opening). If it is an issue for you, install handles only on one side of the door like the majority of barn door installations.

    1. 🙂 not from us! There are lots of stores that have kits now though. Try Home Depot?

    1. Well as we’ve mentioned in other comments about the doors, one side rolls towards a wall and can’t fall off. On the other side the handle on the back side and the doorway prevents the door from even getting to the end of the rail. If your door is in a different place, you may have to include some sort of stopper.

  22. I love so many ideas I’m running out of space on Pinterest!! I love the antique country look and especially cozy! I got so many projects I really need some ideas on entertainment center I want to make for son for Christmas that will hold a flat screen 60″.. At moment working on bed frame out of old by fold doors I found in and old basement from apartment complex built in 1949 can’t wait to see them finished as its my first project & a big one, need some ideas to paint ? I like the white wash but not real sure how to do? Definitely will post when finished ……Thank you very much

    1. I agree DeeDee, so many great and beautiful ideas. Yikes! I want to save every thing I see, it’s all just so awesome.

      Thanks to everyone who contributes to Pinterest. I love it!

  23. For my birthday I asked my husband to build a sliding barn door for my office. He has been having a hard time finding affordable barn wood, so I really appreciated your suggestion to try using pallets instead. I will pass this information on to him and cross my finger for a great birthday surprise!

  24. We love your barndoor! Did much do we just built one for our house :). Before we hang it, my hubby wanted me to ask if yours is holding up okay without any support on the back. Ours seems a bit flimsy so we were just wondering. Thanks so much!
    PA – love your kitchen, too 🙂

    1. LOL. Thanks so much for getting back to me so quickly. I checked our receipt and it appears we purchased 1/8″ thick steel. The problem is with us. However, since the door will be visible from both sides when shit, I wanted the back side to be done, too. So the error works out for the best 😉

    2. Oh my… I meant totype shut. So sry.
      And say we are going to attach the right thickness of flat steel on the backside of the doors so all works out perfectly

  25. I scoured the comments looking for this question before I asked it and didn’t find it! I can’t tell if your doorway has trim or not, do these plans factor in a doorway with trim? Or what precautions can I take that will help me best hang the door? I saw on one of the posts there’s something of a spacer, I think.. Would I just need to get that material in a bigger size?
    I’m so excited to start this project this weekend! Thank you for posting!

    1. Hello Jennifer. The doorway itself did not have trim. But there were baseboards for sure. The spacers and track allowed the door to open and close freely without touching the baseboards.

  26. Hi Shannon,

    I love these plans and I’m about to tackle this project. It looks like the links in the supplies list to Amazon items are broken.
    Is there any chance you could update them? Or maybe confirm that they’re working for you?
    Thank you.
    Sandy

    1. Oh dear! That’s crazy. They worked for me from the writing side of the blog, but not on what you would see. I’m so sorry! I think I’ve fixed them. Please try again, Sandy!

    2. Thanks for having a look at it. Oddly, it’s not working in Chrome, but it worked just fine in Internet Explorer. That’s me trying just now. Anyway, I was able to get where I needed to go, and I’m excited to get going on this!

    3. Weird. I’m glad you could make them work. I apologize again that it was difficult!

  27. I absolutely love this idea. I too have seen the horrific high prices for barn doors and your idea is way more cost efficient for me!! One question, was the door heavy once it was completed and hung?

  28. Wow, what amazing/creative ideas you have here. there’s at least three locations in our home that we plan to install barn doors. Thank you for your money saving ideas. Your door, well yeah, you nailed it!

    1. Hi Darla,

      Well, we don’t live in that house anymore, so I’m not 100% sure how it’s holding up now.

      But, your husband is correct (sort of), it was not rigid.

      Although, it didn’t/doesn’t need to be since it was just for some privacy and the look.

      Maybe ask him why he would like it to be rigid?