Upcycled Barn Door {Tutorial by AKA Design + Life}

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hey there! I'm monica 

I pride myself on making amazing style and design accessible for everyone, regardless of location, budget, or ability! My design philosophy is rooted in authenticity + attainability - If I can do it, you can too! My work has been featured in countless publications, but I take the most pride in homeowners that have been personally inspired by my DIY ideas and have tried something in their own homes!

learn more about ME + MY BIZ

CWTS logo A week3 cropped

Welcome to the top three Shannon, we’re so excited to have you here and share your beautiful upcycled barn door with everyone. If you haven’t checked out her blog, AKA Design + Life, it’s a must. Shannon is coming to us from Canada and we’re in love with her rustic chic style. Did you know that she was featured on the Steven and Chris show, which also airs on the Live Well Network with our show Knock It Off, what a small world!

This is Shannon’s first time in the top three, her amazing “Old” Brick Wall Advertising for the paint round landed her in 5th place, while her Restoration Hardware Brickmaker’s Table Knockoff gave her a close spot to the top three coming in 4th place in the knock off round. Congrats on making it to the final round Shannon!


Dean and I have honestly been thinking about building a sliding barn door for our house for years. But it always sort of just fell to the bottom of the to-do list that is perpetually a mile long. To say we finally got to cross it off the list and enjoy our barn door is an understatement!


Because we built the door for the Upcycle round of CWTS, we were initially going to use reclaimed barn boards. 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.

barn boards

Time for Plan B. 

Fortunately 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.

Next up – the rails.


One of the reasons we always let this project drop to the bottom of the list was figuring out the rail and wheels for the sliding action. This time my most talented hubby thought of using two of the kids’ broken scooter wheels minus the rubber and tubing!

And the handles.

Oh those beautiful handles! Again our initial idea wasn’t quite what we wanted (purchased handles). So we decided to DIY some really large handles using pipe fittings. And we fell in love!


Also, aside from its beauty, our Reclaimed Barn Door actually helps to keep some of the kid noise out of the living room when we have company too. Bonus!

So are you ready for the tutorial? You will need to measure your own doorway and make adjustments to the measurements to fit.


scooter wheels (with rubber removed) or pulley wheels (disassembled pulleys) qty=2
1-1/4″ x  1/4″ x 86-1/8″ long steel flat bar qty=2
1-1/2″ x 1/4″ x 84″ long steel flat bar qty=1
3″ x 1/8″ x 84″ long steel flat bar qty=1
1/2″ x 1/16″ x 2″ long steel tubing qty=7
2″ x 6″ x 48″ long wood qty=15
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
1/4″ x 1-1/2″ long plated lag bolts qty=60
5/16″ x 3-1/2″ long plated lag bolts qty=7
#12 x 1-1/4″ long screws qty=16
5/16″ x 2″ long – 18 thread plated hex bolts qty=2
5/16″ – 18 thread plated hex nuts qty=2
5/16″ plated flat washers qty=4
Minwax Dark Walnut stain
Rust-Oleum Oil Rubbed Bronze spray paint
white or light grey paint

Instructions for Wood Finish

1. Sand each piece of wood. Get rid of any rough patches but keep character like knots, stamps and such.

staining wood

2. Using a foam brush apply Dark Walnut stain (going with the grain) to 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 white or light grey paint and water into a plastic cup. This will be a light white-wash. I used a mixture of about 1 part paint to 4 parts water. Using a foam brush apply to each piece of wood over dry stain. This will lighten the wood and give it an aged appearance. Repeat on all sides for each piece. Let dry.

Pipe Fitting 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 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 other end of  black steel pipe nipple 1″ x close from step 4.

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

Sliding Barn Door Plans

Dean and I really struggled with how to give instructions for building the barn door. It’s not that it’s complicated. It just has a lot of parts – including some moving parts! In the end we decided it would be best to provide old-school hand-drawn plans. 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.)

NOTE: 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.

Barn Door Plans jpg

If you have any questions, give us a shout and we’ll try to walk you through them. 🙂



If you liked our Upcycled Barn Door, you might just like a few of our other projects:


Our Cottage Farmhouse Dining Room


He Is Risen FREE Easter Printables

breakfast bar

Our Imperfect White Kitchen Makeover

bed side

Our Rustic Chic Master Bedroom

Or just come on over and visit Dean and I on our blog AKA Design. We’d love to have you!


Another fabulous tutorial from our top three, we love that Shannon and her husband worked on this together and drew plans for everyone to follow along so you guys can make your own DIY barn door! Their home is pretty impressive, just look at all of those rustic chic projects they have put together. They are going to do something amazing for the final round, just you wait!

This isn’t it for our tutorial round up for the upcycle week, we have one more for you tomorrow! Stop by to see who won the link up party and then on Monday we will be kicking off the Grand Prize Round of Creating with the Stars, can you believe it?!

CWTS LOGO 2014 Sponsors Final

The comments +

  1. Laura says:

    Oh how I love this idea. I have it on the list for our new house, and saw some doors in person at a Parade of Homes house. The only drawback I can think of is that the walls on either side have to remain clear to allow the doors to open. And that’s not such a bad thing.

  2. leigh says:

    I was wondering if you could possibly be more specific about the “scooter wheels” that you used? What exactly does this “scooter” look like? Are you talking about a child’s scooter that I might buy at the toy store? And finally, does the door glide easily and smoothly over the rail or is it a little heavy and drag a little bit when it’s all said and done?
    Thank you so much

  3. […] Always wanted a barn door, but never knew how to install one? Worry no more. East Coast Creative shows us how it’s done with their Upcycled Barn Door. […]

  4. hehehe barn doors in vogue 🙂 ..all i can say is wow… them barn doors above look great, just wasn’t thinking about them scooter wheels and all you know

  5. Jeff Brant says:

    I like this idea. It’s very nice project. When I will ever shift in new home, then use this great idea.

  6. devin says:

    I found a great barn door in the GTA!

    He delivers to Toronto, Barrie, Oakville, Whitby, Burlington, Orillia, Newmarket, Orangeville, Brampton

    John Peoples is one of the best barn door makers out there, he has great prices and is family oriented

  7. […] from galvanized pipe and the sliders from her kids’ scooter wheels! Read the tutorial at East Coast Creative from Shannon at AKA […]

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