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Upcycled Shelf From a Cabinet Door

Learn how to turn an old cabinet door into a functional shelf that is perfect for any craft room or office!
Author: Beth Kingston


  • Solid Wood Cabinet Door
  • Rustoleum Semi-Gloss White Spray Paint
  • two (2) 1″x2″x6ft Boards
  • 12 x 1 1/2″ Size 8 Screws
  • Titebond Wood Glue
  • 220 grit Sandpaper
  • Mitre Saw or Handsaw
  • lint free rag
  • denatured alcohol
  • spring clamps
  • drill with bits


  • PREP – Lightly scuff sand all surfaces of the cabinet door with 220 grit sandpaper, it helps the paint adhere later. Once sanded, clean the cabinet door of dust with a lint free rag and some denatured alcohol. Use your saw to cut the 1″x2″ into the shelf boards. I measured mine to overhang the cabinet door by one inch on each side. My cabinet door was 18 inches wide so each shelf board was cut to 20″ long. After all the shelves are cut, lightly sand them too. We added some extra flair to our shelves and put a bevel on the edges but you can just break the sharp edges with the sandpaper.
  • LAYOUT – Lay out your shelf boards across the door ensuring that they are square and evenly spaced. We were building this shelf for a specific purpose (to hold paint bottles) so we spaced our shelves to fit. Each bottle was 4″ tall so we made the space between each shelf 4 1/4″. Once you have your spacing and number of shelves worked out, lay them out square across the door and mark where each shelf goes. To add some strength, we notched the cabinet door for our shelves using a router, but if you aren’t going to put anything too heavy on them it is not necessary. Just use a slightly longer screw.
  • ATTACH – Attach the shelf boards to the door using glue and screws. Clamp each shelf in place, ensuring it is aligned to the marks you made earlier, drill a pilot hole (here is a good chart to find the right pilot hole size), then drive the screw. Once you are happy with the overall look, temporarily detach the shelves, spread some glue and reattach them.
    Use clamps to hold boards in place and then drive screws into the shelf boards from the back of the cabinet door.
  • PAINT – Get out your spray paint and go crazy! Just remember if you don’t prime the bare wood it may take a good bit of paint to get the finish you want – we used almost an entire can of the semi-gloss white paint. If you used semi-gloss or gloss paint let it dry for a few days to ensure you prevent items from tacking to the paint.
  • HANG – Mount your new shelf system to the wall and enjoy.