Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Kitchen Update: How to Convert Flat Doors into Shaker-style Doors

Hey all!  So one of the things that I mentioned when I first brought up my kitchen renovation was converting my flat panel kitchen cabinet doors into shaker-style doors.  Well, I finally started working on it last weekend, so I figured I'd show you how things are looking so far!


First, while I was busy painting the insides of cabinets, I had the husband sand down all of the kitchen cabinet doors and fill in any holes from hardware/hinges etc.  As always, he was thrilled to be helping...you can tell by the ecstatic look that he has on his face ;) 


Sanding the cabinet shells themselves was quite the handful, so I was thankful not to have to sand the doors as well!  

After a lot of hemming and hawing, I finally selected a thin plywood called Apple Ply for the shaker-style trim.  The stuff that I used was 1/4" thick and 2.5" wide because that's what looked best on my doors.  I say that because they also make trim that's thicker and wider and/or narrower.  If you can't find it in your hardware store right away that's because it's not shelved with the rest of the traditional wood molding--it's in with the smaller pieces of wood, like the ones you'd use for hobbies/models etc.



As a side note, Lowes also had similarly-sized pieces of solid poplar wood trim that I could have used (they were also slightly cheaper).  But the poplar didn't seem as sturdy--it looked like it would dent easily if it got hit with something because you could nick it with your fingernail.  

Instead of jumping straight to attaching trim to cabinets, I chose to prime everything first.  If there is one thing that I learned from painting the insides of the kitchen cabinets, it's that you should use a roller on everything that you possibly can!  If I put the trim on the doors first, I'd have to use a brush on the cracks and crevices for priming, and I wanted to avoid some of that, if possible.  

  
Once everything was primed, I cut my trim to size.  It just so happens that the day that I did this, Upstate NY decided that April was going to revert back to a winter month, and we had snow flurries throughout the afternoon.  And of course, in an effort to keep the house "clean" I had my miter saw out on the back deck...


After the trim was cut to size, I put some liquid nails wood glue on the back of the trim...


...and secured it down with some nails using my little air compressor and nail gun.  My parents got me a small Campbell Hausfield air compressor and nail gun combo kit for Christmas--it's got a 2 gallon tank that holds enough compressed air for what I do, and it's lightweight so I can carry it around with me wherever I need it.  I used it for the first time on my bathroom closet makeover, and it was wonderful!


So, because I'm obviously not a wood-worker, the joints between the wood pieces were not perfect.  I filled in cracks/nail holes with wood putty and then got busy sanding stuff smooth.  Wood putty is a LOT harder than joint compound, which means that it is also harder to sand and get super smooth.  Once I sanded the wood putty as well as I could, I followed it up with a layer of joint compound to get things really smooth.



The catch-22 there is that joint compound also sucks up paint like it's going out of style, so I also had to re-prime over the spots where I had filled in cracks/nail holes so that it wasn't glaringly obvious when I finally used my really nice expensive paint.  Hmm...have I mentioned I'm tired of painting yet?

About half of the doors are completely done, while the other half are a work in progress.  Can you say "I can't wait to be able to hide all my crap behind kitchen doors again?!"  Umm yeah, I can't WAIT.  Stay tuned!  

17 comments:

  1. Oh and I can say that I can't wait to see it all up. This is so awesome and exciting! You did a fabulous job!!!

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    1. Thank you! I can't wait to see it all up too haha. It's been a long 2 months with limited use of the cabinets ;)

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  2. Wow I am impressed by the amount of work you are doing. Worth it but SO hard when you're going through it. So excited for you to get the doors done and up - it will be such a relief. They are going to look awesome!

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    1. Well thank you! At this point, I can totally understand why people pay big money to have their kitchens installed/updated by a contractor!

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  3. This is really awesome! My husband and I just bought our first house, and the cabinets are sturdy but plain flat fronts! This is great!

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    1. Thanks Rebecca! Good luck with your kitchen :)

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  4. I would like to do this with my cabinets but I am so confused! Would you be able to tell me exactly what size wood you bought? I don't know what to buy to even begin this! Thanks!

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    1. Hi Jaimie! First off, I purchased Apple Ply wood trim at my local home improvement store. The stuff that I got was 1/4" thick, 2.5" wide, and came in 4' lengths. For the most part, each door I did needed two pieces of wood trim (so, 2 pieces of wood trim per door). I cut the wood trim to size for my existing cabinet doors using my mitre saw (you could use a hand saw and mitre box instead if you don't want to use powered mitre saw--ask at your local home improvement store and they can hook you up). I attached the wood trim to the doors using liquid nails (comes in a caulk-like tube), and then secured everything in place with some finishing nails. I filled in the holes later on with putty. I hope that this helps! Feel free to email me if you have any more questions :)

      -Sara

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  7. This is exactly what i was looking for! I cant wait to try this myself :) thanks for sharing !

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  8. Hi Sara. Love the cabinets! Just wondering...it looks like the outside of the doors aren't a straight edge. You can really see what I mean in the pic where you're nailing the trim on. Did you do something fancy here? Thanks!

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    1. Sincerely,
      Miranda (fr Nova Scotia Canada)

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    2. Hi Miranda! The outside edges of my doors were already routered with a little round edge (kind of like a piece of quarter-round?). I decided to put the trim after the beveled edge had stopped. So nothing intentionally fancy :)

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  9. That is great Idea.It's really great post. Thank you for that sharing with us.
    Plywood Manufacturer in India, Plywood Company in India,


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  10. Hi. I'm wondering what you did about your kitchen drawers -- did you give them the same raised treatment, or did you leave them flat? I'm considering doing something similar to my kitchen (built in '54), but I'm really not sure about the drawers. Do you think they need to match the cabinets? How did you solve this problem? Also, I'd love to see the finished project. Any pics yet?

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