How to Make Shaker Cabinet Doors From Old Flat Fronts

Do you have old flat front cabinets but crave the updated, contemporary look of shaker cabinet doors? Don’t despair—you can transform your existing cabinets into stylish shaker-style features using some common supplies! With a few simple skills, some basic tools and materials, and this helpful guide to show you how it’s done, you’ll be able to get that modernized kitchen or bathroom in no time.

How to Make Shaker Cabinet Doors From Old Flat Fronts

From sanding and staining to shaping panels and creating butt hinges, learn all the steps for making beautiful cabinet door facelifts from repurposing generic ones.

What is a Shaker Cabinet Door?

Shaker-style cabinets feature clean, simple lines and flat panels with minimal adornment. They are the perfect choice for those who want to achieve a timeless look while maintaining a modern style.

This classic design originated from the Shaker religious community in the 18th century and has since become a popular choice in homes all around the world. It’s no wonder why—the simple, elegant design of shaker cabinet doors can fit into any interior style, making them a versatile and timeless choice.

Materials and Tools Needed

Before you get started on your DIY project, make sure you have the following materials and tools:

  • Flat Front Cabinet Doors
  • Sandpaper (Various Grits)
  • Stain or Paint of Your Choice
  • Paintbrush or Foam Roller
  • Wood Filler
  • Putty Knife
  • Miter Saw or Circular Saw
  • Clamps
  • Butt Hinges

11 Step-by-step Guides on How to Make Shaker Cabinet Doors From Old Flat Fronts

Step 1: Remove the Flat Front Doors

Begin by removing the flat front doors from your cabinets. This can be done by using a screwdriver to loosen and remove any hinges or hardware. It’s essential to keep track of any hardware you remove so that you can reuse it later. It’s also helpful to label the doors and their corresponding locations in the cabinet for easier reinstallation.

Step 2: Sand Down the Doors

Using sandpaper, sand down the flat front doors to remove any existing finish or imperfections. Start with a coarse grit (around 80-100) and work your way up to a fine grit (around 220). This will ensure a smooth and even surface for painting or staining. But be careful not to sand too much, as you don’t want to damage the wood.

Sand Down the Flat Front Doors

Step 3: Fill in any Holes or Imperfections

Use wood filler and a putty knife to fill in any holes or dents on the doors. Once dry, sand down the filled areas until they are flush with the rest of the door’s surface. But don’t worry too much about making them perfect, as the Shaker style is known for its imperfections and character. You can also opt to leave the holes and dents for a more rustic look.

Step 4: Cut the Wood for the Panels

Measure and cut your wood pieces to fit the panels of your cabinet doors. You can use either a miter saw or a circular saw for this step. Make sure to add an extra 1/4 inch to the measurements for a snug fit. Otherwise, the panels may be too small and not stay in place. It’s also essential to use the same type of wood as your cabinet doors for a cohesive look.

Step 5: Sand the Panels

Just like with the flat front doors, sand down the panels using various grits of sandpaper until smooth. This will help the stain or paint adhere better to the wood and create a professional-looking finish. It’s also a good idea to round the edges of the panels slightly for a more shaker-style look. It’s all about the details! It’s also a good idea to sand the back of the panels lightly to ensure they fit into the door frame without any obstructions.

Step 6: Stain or Paint the Wood Panels

Now comes the fun part—staining or painting your wood panels! Choose a stain or paint color that complements your existing cabinets and interior design. Use a paintbrush or foam roller to apply an even coat, following the manufacturer’s instructions. You may need to do multiple coats, depending on the look you want to achieve. But make sure to let each coat dry completely before applying the next one.

Choose a Stain or Paint Color

Step 7: Attach the Panels to the Doors

Once your panels are dry, use wood glue or a nail gun to attach them to the cabinet doors. Be sure to use clamps to hold them in place while they dry for a secure bond. It’s also essential to ensure the panels are centered and straight before attaching them. You don’t want any wonky shaker cabinet doors! But again, some imperfections can add character.

Step 8: Measure and Cut the Trim

Measure and cut your wood trim pieces to fit on the door frames around the panels. Make sure to cut them at a 45-degree angle for a seamless corner once installed. You can also opt for rounded edges for a more traditional shaker look. It’s all about personal preference! It’s best to use the same wood as your panels for a cohesive design. But you can also mix and match for a unique look.

Step 9: Sand and Stain or Pain the Trim

Just like with the panels, sand down your trim pieces and then stain or paint them to match your cabinet doors. This will help create a cohesive look and make your shaker cabinet doors look professionally made. This step can also be done before attaching the trim to the doors if it’s easier for you. However, be careful not to damage the finish while installing.

Step 10: Attach the Trim to the Doors

Using wood glue or a nail gun, attach the trim pieces around the panels on your cabinet doors. Make sure they are straight and flush with the edges of the door frames. You can use clamps again to hold them in place while they dry for a secure bond. And don’t forget to wipe away any excess glue that may have squeezed out.

Step 11: Install Butt Hinges

Finally, it’s time to install the butt hinges onto your newly made shaker cabinet doors. Use the old ones you removed at the beginning of this project, or purchase new ones if needed. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for installation, and make sure to double-check that your doors are aligned correctly before screwing in the hinges. And voila! You now have beautiful shaker cabinet doors made from old flat fronts.

It is Time to Install the Butt Hinges

Following these steps on how to make shaker cabinet doors from old flat fronts, you can transform your outdated cabinets into a stunning shaker-style design. And the best part? You can customize it to fit your personal style and interior design. So gather your materials and tools, and get ready to make some shaker magic happen in your kitchen!

Do You Need to Use Professionals?

Although this project can be done by yourself, it’s always a good idea to consult with professionals if you’re unsure or uncomfortable with any step. They can offer guidance and advice on the best materials and techniques to use for your specific cabinets.

Plus, they have the experience and expertise to give you the best results possible. But if you feel confident in your DIY skills, go ahead and tackle this project on your own! Just make sure to take your time and follow the steps carefully for a successful outcome.

Overall, making shaker cabinet doors from old flat fronts is a budget-friendly way to give your kitchen a fresh new look without breaking the bank. And with a little bit of elbow grease and creativity, you can achieve professional-looking results that will impress anyone who sees your cabinets. So don’t be afraid to take on this DIY project and transform your kitchen into a shaker-style dream!

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can I Use Different Types of Wood for the Panels and Trim?

A: While it’s best to use the same type of wood for a cohesive look, you can mix and match if you prefer a more unique design. Just make sure all the wood is similar in thickness for proper installation.

Q: Do I Need Special Tools for This Project?

A: You will need basic woodworking tools such as a saw, sandpaper, an electric drill, and clamps. You can also use a nail gun for easier installation, but it’s not necessary.

You Can Also Use a Nail Gun

Q: Can I Use Paint Instead of Stain?

A: Yes, you can paint your shaker cabinet doors instead of staining them. Just make sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for proper application and drying time.

Q: How Long Will This Project Take?

A: The project time will vary depending on the size of your cabinets and how many doors you are making. But on average, it can take 1-2 days to complete.


With all of the aforementioned information, you should now have a good understanding of how to make shaker cabinet doors from old flat fronts. From collecting the materials and tools needed to creating the doors from scratch, taking on this DIY project is a great way to add a unique touch to any home.

Having custom, handmade cabinets can also bring an extra level of individualization into any kitchen and can be something you are proud of for years to come. So why wait? Get your practice pieces ready and give it a try – you never know what sorts of great things you can create with your own two hands!

Photo of author

Adrian Green

Adrian is a woodworking hobbyist and has loved Woodworking since he was 10 years old. Back then in childhood, his father used to have a furniture shop. He used to help his dad and learned a lot from him about how to fix woodworking furniture, basic carpentry knowledge and also about how to work hard and take care of business. He enjoys woodworking as a hobby. He loves the feeling of creating something with his own hands, and the satisfaction that comes from seeing his finished products used by others.

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