The Magic of Molding: An Easy DIY to Transform Your Boring Flat Doors

Have some uninspired doors you don't know what to do with? Make it 3-D with this simple DIY.
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Doors before.

This is what the doors looked like before we started. They were plain, white, and boring! To transform them into something special, you will need just a little bit of elbow grease and some basic installation skills. If you can use a saw, a drill, and a hammer, then you have what it takes to get the job done! Here is what you need to get started:

  • Panel molding (molding that's about one inch wide and has a flatter profile of between 1/4" to 3/8" works best)
  • Miter box and saw or electric miter saw
  • Hammer and drill
  • Tape measure and level
  • Fast-drying wood glue
  • Painter's tape
  • Small brad nails
  • Wood filler, sandpaper, paintable caulk, and paint

Before jumping into the project, you'll need to figure out the paneling design that you want to create on your doors. From basic square panels to modern geometric panels or something uniquely your own, the possibilities are endless. Once you've decided on your design, measure your doors and figure out how long each piece of panel molding needs to be cut in order to create a centered pattern on your doors. Then mark the spots on your door where your pieces will go, using a level to ensure that your paneling design will be straight. Also, add up the length of panel molding that you'll need and add 15% to determine how much to buy for the project.

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Once you have all your supplies, use an electric saw (or miter box and hand saw) to cut your molding pieces to size. The end of each piece should be cut at a 45-angle so that it fits seamlessly with the pieces it abuts to.

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Prep your doors by using wood filler to fill holes and nicks and then lightly sanding them. Then use painter's tape to tape each piece into place at the marked spots on your doors. Double check that all of your pieces are level and aligned.

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To adhere the pieces to your door, add a small line of fast-drying wood glue to the back of each piece, push and hold it in place for a few seconds, and secure it in place with the painter's tape until it dries. Use a damp rag to wipe away any excess glue.


It's not uncommon for older doors to be slightly warped, which can mean that a molding piece or two won't lay flush on the door after being glued. If this happens, simply drill a tiny hole in the end of the piece that's sticking up, lightly hammer a small brad nail into it until it lays flat, and fill the nail hole with wood filler.

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Doors after!

Once you're done adhering all of your pieces to the door and the glue has dried, simply remove the painter's tape, caulk any gaps, and paint your doors. Update older door knobs with new knobs or pulls and you've transformed your boring flat doors into beautiful paneled stunners!

About the Author

Kris Jarrett

Kris has lived in more than 20 homes in eight different states -- and that more than anything has made her appreciate the importance of creating welcoming, stylish spaces that really feel like home. She shares some of the decorating expertise she picked up along the way on her blog, Driven by Decor, where she also features DIY projects that are affordable, stylish, and timeless.


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