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How-to Make Folding Doors for Cupboards

Updated on August 21, 2020
Nathanville profile image

Arthur strives to balance aesthetics, functionality, and quality with costs when planning DIY projects in the home and garden.

Intro

This was a mini-project, as part of our home-office makeover. I removed the original doors to the cupboard above the built-in wardrobe years ago because of their design they restricted access to this cupboard. Also, when we converted the spare bedroom into our office I fixed the rear computer speakers to the outside of the cupboard.

However, as part of the home-office makeover I decided to recess the rear speakers into the cupboard, and fit folding doors in the same style as the ones I’d previously fitted to our built-in wardrobe below the cupboard.

Relocating, and recessing the rear speakers weren’t just for aesthetics, it was also to get them out of the way so that I could fit a folding door.

Cupboard Modifications Prior to Fitting Folding Doors

As well as relocating and recessing the rear speakers I also laid laminate flooring, which was spare from repairing the office floor in the alcove, in the cupboard. To secure the laminate flooring in place I glued and screwed a piece of decorative scrap wood to the cupboard front. The decorative scrap wood would serve two purposes:

  • It holds the laminate flooring securely in place, giving a neat finish e.g. bridging the gap between flooring and cupboard front, and
  • It would provide a convenient door stop for when the folding door was fitted.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
This was the cupboard before I made any modifications. Laminate flooring laid inside the cupboard, using spare flooring leftover from repairs made to the office alcove.Wooden trim added to the front of the wardrobe, fixing the laminate flooring in place, and to act as a door stop for the new folding door.
This was the cupboard before I made any modifications.
This was the cupboard before I made any modifications.
Laminate flooring laid inside the cupboard, using spare flooring leftover from repairs made to the office alcove.
Laminate flooring laid inside the cupboard, using spare flooring leftover from repairs made to the office alcove.
Wooden trim added to the front of the wardrobe, fixing the laminate flooring in place, and to act as a door stop for the new folding door.
Wooden trim added to the front of the wardrobe, fixing the laminate flooring in place, and to act as a door stop for the new folding door.

Recycling Scrap Wood to Make the Folding Door

For the folding door I wanted something that was:-

  • Relatively light weight, for easier fitting.
  • Decorative, and which would blend in with the existing wardrobe folding door.

I was also keen on using recycled material if possible.

As it so happened, a couple of 12mm (½ inch) plywood offcuts from making a new corner wall unit in the office was just ideal for making the folding door.

For the hinges, as for all the folding doors I’ve made around the house, I opted to use piano hinges.

For the hinge cover plate for the middle hinge, as with the folding door for the wardrobe, I used a strip of 4mm plywood.

For the hinge jamb and latch jamb I recycled a piece of varnished pine salvaged from a redundant shoe rack which we were given for recycling.

Step-by-step Guide to Making the Folding Door

The steps I took to make the folding door were:-

  1. Carefully measure the opening in the cupboard, and add about ½ inch to the measurement all round (except for the hinged side); so that the doors will overlap the opening when fitted e.g. so that the cupboard frame acts as a door stop.
  2. Get together all the wood and tools I would need.
  3. Clamp the two pieces of plywood together to measure and mark them for cutting to the correct width.
  4. Use a circular saw to cut both pieces to the same width.
  5. Lay the two panels side by side to mark out the overall shape and height of the folding door.
  6. Use the circular saw to cut the pieces to shape.
  7. Screw the piano hinge to the panel that will be hinged to the cupboard; ensuring the hinged will open outwards when fitted. Also, use screws with small screw heads so that the door will close properly.
  8. Clamp the hinge jamb to the first door panel and screw the piano hinge in place.
  9. Clamp the two side panels together and fit the 2nd piano hinge; but this time reverse the hinge so that it opens inwards instead of outwards.
  10. Cut and fit the trim to cover the middle piano hinge, using 4mm plywood and fixing it to one panel only.
  11. Round off the corners and edges with an electric sander.
  12. Wipe clean with white spirit to remove surplus sawdust, then colour and shine it was teak oil and coloured beeswax. Alternatively you could paint, varnish or wood stain the door.

Once the door was complete, I screwed it in position, and tested it.

Having finished and fitted the new folding door, and being satisfied that it opened and closed as intended, I then focused on making and fitting the latch jamb, as follows:-

  • I removed the old block of wood that was acting as a latch jamb for the existing wardrobe door.
  • I trimmed and cut to size a piece of varnished pine wood to use as the latch jamb, salvaged from the old shoe rack, and
  • Fitted it in place in the gap between the existing wardrobe door and the new cupboard folding door.
  • Then finally fitted the bolts to both folding doors so that they stay closed when not in use.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
All the wood and tools gathered together before making a start.Measuring and marking the wood ready to cut to the correct width.Using a circular saw to cut the wood panels to the correct width.Laying the two panels next to each other to  mark out the correct shape and size for cutting.Screwing the piano hinge to the first panel.Clamping the hinge jamb and door panel together, to screw the piano hinge to the hinge jamb; ensuring it opens outwards.Clamping the two panels together, to join them with a piano; ensuring they open inwards e.g. the revers for the hinge on the hinge jamb.Cutting a strip from 4mm plywood to cover the middle piano hinge; fixing the cover to one panel only.Rounding all the edges and corners with an electric sander.After wiping clean with white spirit to remove sawdust, using teak oil and coloured beeswax to enrichen the colour and shine of the natural wood.Trimming the latch jamb to fit in the gap between the wardrobe and cupboard folding doors; so that bolts can be fixed to keep the doors shut when access to the cupboard and wardrobe are not required.New folding door fitted.
All the wood and tools gathered together before making a start.
All the wood and tools gathered together before making a start.
Measuring and marking the wood ready to cut to the correct width.
Measuring and marking the wood ready to cut to the correct width.
Using a circular saw to cut the wood panels to the correct width.
Using a circular saw to cut the wood panels to the correct width.
Laying the two panels next to each other to  mark out the correct shape and size for cutting.
Laying the two panels next to each other to mark out the correct shape and size for cutting.
Screwing the piano hinge to the first panel.
Screwing the piano hinge to the first panel.
Clamping the hinge jamb and door panel together, to screw the piano hinge to the hinge jamb; ensuring it opens outwards.
Clamping the hinge jamb and door panel together, to screw the piano hinge to the hinge jamb; ensuring it opens outwards.
Clamping the two panels together, to join them with a piano; ensuring they open inwards e.g. the revers for the hinge on the hinge jamb.
Clamping the two panels together, to join them with a piano; ensuring they open inwards e.g. the revers for the hinge on the hinge jamb.
Cutting a strip from 4mm plywood to cover the middle piano hinge; fixing the cover to one panel only.
Cutting a strip from 4mm plywood to cover the middle piano hinge; fixing the cover to one panel only.
Rounding all the edges and corners with an electric sander.
Rounding all the edges and corners with an electric sander.
After wiping clean with white spirit to remove sawdust, using teak oil and coloured beeswax to enrichen the colour and shine of the natural wood.
After wiping clean with white spirit to remove sawdust, using teak oil and coloured beeswax to enrichen the colour and shine of the natural wood.
Trimming the latch jamb to fit in the gap between the wardrobe and cupboard folding doors; so that bolts can be fixed to keep the doors shut when access to the cupboard and wardrobe are not required.
Trimming the latch jamb to fit in the gap between the wardrobe and cupboard folding doors; so that bolts can be fixed to keep the doors shut when access to the cupboard and wardrobe are not required.
New folding door fitted.
New folding door fitted.
New folding door fitted, and in the open position.
New folding door fitted, and in the open position.

Popularity of Folding Doors

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This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Arthur Russ

Your Comments

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    • Nathanville profile imageAUTHOR

      Arthur Russ 

      11 months ago from England

      Thanks. Yes, that's what we've done previously e.g. I've also fitted similar folding doors to our central heating combi-boiler, in our airing cupboard, in our bathroom. And for the same reason e.g. the folding doors take up less floor space, and is a convenient way to access the combi-boiler or towels etc. stored in the airing cupboard.

    • Eurofile profile image

      Liz Westwood 

      11 months ago from UK

      It is interesting to see how you have broken your big project down into smaller tasks. This one in particular could be put to use in different parts of the house.

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