Creating a Barn Door


The barn door can be an attractive and functional solution to the real challenge of dividing rooms where architecture and/or space don’t allow for a traditional door.  For my class project I have chosen to create a barn door for my home, partly out of necessity and partly for the challenge.  

tree4My guest bathroom opens directly to the laundry room with nothing in place to effectively divide the two areas.   The hamper with dirty laundry spilling out onto the floor and shelves of cleaning products aren’t really the things I would prefer to have on display when having family and friends over. Instead, I would prefer that people see something that is attractive, visually interesting, and unique.

The door will need to be 35″ wide and about 8′ tall to effectively block the passageway between to bathroom area and the laundry area.  It will slide back and forth on a steel rod or railing.   I have obtained old pallets and begun tearing them apart to repurpose the wood for the door.  



Pulley wheels are often used for these types of projects, though they may create too much unpleasant noise when rolling over the railing, so I’m considering the use of plastic wheels, like those on roller blades or skates.  If I use those on both the top and the bottom it will help support the door and provide stability. One additional consideration is that I need to leave enough space under the door for my cat to squeeze under to access his food and water.







The Atree5esthetic

It occurred to me that the barn door itself could be a large, yet functional, piece of art.  I like the rustic look of old painted wood as it makes me think that things have a past and an interesting story to tell.  Additionally, I enjoy the look of trees – the sense of longevity and strength that they impart – and have quite a few pieces of art incorporating trees in my home.  Combining these through the use of materials and color I hope to achieve my goal.  



tree 1
Reclaimed Barn Wood







Tree with love birds



Materials and Process

The pallets were obtained from a local retailer for free several weeks ago. It is possible to purchase hardware kits for sliding barn doors from local retailers, but for a relatively substantial investment of $90 or more.  My goal is to assemble the hardware from significantly cheaper pulleys ($6) or wheels.

The pallet wood will be sanded then the frame assembled.  I haven’t decided whether the boards will be placed horizontally or vertically and won’t really know that until I see how everything lays out.  Once everything is pieced together the painting and final design work will be added.  I will also need to purchase a steel bar or find an appropriate substitute such as an old bed frame.  The same goes for wheels and brackets.

Beyond the actual door assembly, a big challenge will be some renovations to the current bathroom/laundry room.  Currently there are shelves that run right up against the wall where the door will need to slide across.  Removing those shelves and installing some cabinets will be necessary before the door can be completely installed and functional.


In order to complete this project by the assigned deadline, my tentative schedule is as follows:

3/7  Completely disassembling pallets, measure and sand

3/14 Build frame and assemble restored wood to create desired look

3/28 Finalize assembly and begin painting / Locate and obtain materials for hardware

4/4 Finish painting and design

4/11 Remove existing obstacles and install door

4/18 Final Project Presentation


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2 Comments. Leave new

  • Joseph Yoshimura
    March 9, 2016 12:19 pm

    I really like that you focused first on something that you need. I was curious if you discovered anything more about the studs on the wall. If you did, you might be able to use them to support a great deal of the weight, but if not, I agree with Rachel that it could probably be beneficial to have a track on the bottom.

  • Rachel Grosskrueger
    March 6, 2016 6:51 pm

    I love this idea! I really wish I could see a picture of your wall/doorway that you are working with. My recommendation would be to also add wheels or rollers and a track to the bottom of the door. The door is going to be really heavy and might damage your wall if it’s not strong enough to support that weight. I know sliding doors generally have that additional roller/track at the bottom to help allow a smoother motion when opening the door. Are you planning on staining or varnishing the wood?


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