Easy How to Build a Modern Sliding Door that is Timeless

October 18, 2023

Hi! I'm Nicole

Fearless DIY. Sharing building project tutorials and interior design tips. Let’s build something beautiful together. For more projects, design tips and behind the scenes, follow me @designtobuild.nicole

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I have shared many times, in past posts, how to build a sliding barn door. But there are so many different styles of barn doors and as my style has changed from modern farmhouse to more of a mid century modern vibe, so have my sliding barn doors.

View of kitchen remodel with diy sliding doors

When remodeling my kitchen this past winter, I went back and forth on whether to take down our double sliding doors or keep them.

The problem was, I love these beautiful doors. They are such a focal point (not to mention statement piece) in our home.

But no matter how hard I tried, I could not get past this feeling of…something’s not right with them. They just didn’t feel like they fit with my new kitchen.

And my motto is always, if it doesn’t feel right–it’s not right. Plain and simple.

Just as I was getting ready to remove them, a lightbulb went off. What if I just add a vertical piece or two to each door? Will that give me the look I want?

So, I loosely attached two trim pieces to each door and YES!!! That was exactly what it needed!

Crazy how just the simple addition of two wood pieces changed the entire look. This was the modern barn door I was going for…

how to build a sliding barn door by adding 2 trim pieces

But of course, this doesn’t help you, if you don’t already have your own DIY barn door like mine.

So, let’s start from the top and conquer step one: How to build a sliding barn door…..

How to Measure for your DIY Barn Door

Ideally, you’re going to want your sliding barn door to extend 2 inches (on both sides) beyond the opening to your doorway.

For instance, my door opening is 41 inches wide, therefore, my sliding door will be an additional 4 inches wider at, 45 inches wide.

To determine the height of your barn door, simply measure from the floor to the top of the door opening.

You’ll want to leave space for the bottom of the door to clear the floor when sliding. Therefore, be sure to subtract 1/2 inch. 

My doors measure at 89 inches tall.

Now that you have the measurements for your DIY barn door, you’re ready to start building.

How to Build a DIY Sliding Barn Door

Instructions are based on a 89″ tall x 45″ wide sliding barn door. 

If building a different size, be sure to adjust measurements accordingly. 

Note: I built two sliding doors because my space allowed for it. 

For simplicity sake, I’m going to share the plans for the wider door on the left. (The doorways are two different widths, just to clarify). 

Wood Needed for Sliding Barn Door:

  • 8–1x5x8 pine boards
  • 1–1x6x10 pine board
  • 1–1x6x8 pine board
  • 2–1x4x8 pine boards
  • 3–1x2x8 pine boards

Materials Needed for Sliding Barn Door:

(Amazon Affiliate Links Included)

Tools Needed:

NOTE: If you’ve never used a Kreg Jig, here’s a great tutorial.If you don’t have one, I highly recommend buying one. You will use it all the time in the DIY realm! 

And it makes builds so much easier!  Amazon has a great price for them! Here’s the link!!

Step One: Cut the Boards for your Frame

Cut two 1×4’s at 89″ (These will be your vertical boards).

Cut three 1×6’s at 38″ (These will be your horizontal boards).

Frames for the how to build a sliding barn door project

Step Two: Build the Frame

Drill 3/4″ pocket holes, using your Kreg Jig, into each end of your three 1×6 boards.

3 boards with pocket holes and a container of pocket hole screws on top

Attach 1×6 top and bottom pieces to the two 1×4 vertical boards, using 1 1/4″ pocket hole screws.

Be sure to work on a flat surface, to ensure your boards line up flush with one another. 

Frame built with pine wood

I like to use these clamps from Kreg Jig to hold my wood together, when attaching my screws….

Clamp holding two pieces of wood pocket holed together

Measure to find the center point of your two 1×4 vertical boards, and attach another 1×6 board, using 1 1/4″ pocket hole screws….

Frame with center built for how to build a sliding barn door project

Step Three: Add the Back Trim

Cut two 1×2’s at 89″ each. Using a nail gun, (with 1 1/4″ nail gun nails) attach each 89″ 1×2 to the two 89″ vertical side boards.

Both 1×2’s should be flush to the edge of the 89″ vertical side board. This will be the back side of the door…

boards pocket holed together

Cut two 1×2’s at 38″ each. Attach these two boards to your top and bottom 1×6’s.

Once again, both 1×2’s should be flush to the edge of the 38″ top and bottom board….

boards pocket holed together

You should now have a border of 1×2’s going around the entire back perimeter of your sliding door frame.

The sides of the door will now be thicker than they were before…

Frame and back support built for how to build a sliding barn door project

Step Four: Add the diagonal boards

This step is so easy! Simply, cut each 1×5 to fit diagonally across the back of your sliding door frame.

Starting with the top section, attach your first board in the middle with 1 1/4″ nail gun nails…

Board placed diagonally across the back side of the sliding barn door frame

Continue adding boards, attaching with 1 1/4″ nail gun nails on both ends.

Each of these boards will butt up against the inside edge of the back trim you added in step three…

3 boards placed diagonally across the back side of the sliding barn door frame

Do this until the top section is complete…

One section of diagonal boards completed across the backside of the frame for the how to build a sliding barn door project

And then move onto the bottom section; repeating what you did above. 

Be sure to run your bottom diagonal boards In the opposite direction of the top! 

Both sections complete with diagonal boards running across the backside of the sliding barn door frame

When you turn the door over, you have a beautiful DIY sliding barn door.

Notice how the horizontal pieces hide the rough edges of the diagonal pieces?…

Sliding barn door standing unfinished wood

Now we could stop there and it would still look great.

But for a more modern sliding barn door look, we’re going to simply add two more horizontal pieces, spanning the width of the door.

Add these two trim pieces by finding the center of your top section and bottom section and attaching your 1×6’s, using a nail gun and 1 1/4″ nails.

Sliding barn doors hung for the how to build a sliding barn door project

Step Five: Ready for Paint (Or stain)

Now you’re ready for paint. However, before adding paint, I spray painted my original black handle a Champagne Bronze color.

After giving it a couple coats of spray paint, I could see the look I was going for coming together.

I love how this simple touch gives my barn door hardware a much more modern look. 

Here’s a great price on a similar style of handle….

Metal handle spray painted champagne bronze

Painting these doors black was the best decision. The blue gave more of that modern farmhouse look (which is great, but no longer fit in with my kitchen).

Painting the sliding barn doors black (Sherwin Williams Tricorn Black, to be exact) with the champagne bronze handles gave them a very sleek and modern look.

Much more in line with the modern sliding door I was going for…

Two sliding barn doors with a kitchen island next to them

Along with my kitchen remodel came brand new flooring. With these black sliding barn doors, the room is stunning!

View of kitchen with a center island and new flooring

Step Six: Hanging the DIY Sliding Barn Door

To hang our door, I attached a 1×4 pine board above our header trim and painted it to match our wall color.

This board causes the door to clear the trim around the doorway. Without the board, the sliding barn door would rub against the trim casing around the entryway.

Be sure to attach your 1×4 into studs. These doors are heavy and you’re going to want to be sure the tracking is securely attached to the wall.

When choosing what tracking to buy, the primary thing you need to consider is what length you need.

Simply double the width of your door and that’s the length of tracking you’ll want to purchase.

The most common options are 5ft, 6ft, and 7ft. Always round UP to the nearest feet when you’re deciding on what length to get.

Better to install a longer track than a shorter track that your door is not able to clear….

black sliding door next to floating shelves

 As for the actual install of the tracking for your sliding barn door, here’s an easy to follow, full tutorial. 

Building my own sliding barn doors has proven to be the best option every time.

At the big box stores, like Home Depot, their barn door kits run from $300-$600 .

Building it myself allows me to custom design it to how I want it and it saves me a ton of money.

I like the cheap DIY barn door option. The tracking and hardware can be expensive too.

But I have found this option on Amazon to be the best price for the tracking, hands down!

And once again this link for the handle is a great price too!

View of kitchen with center island and diy sliding doors


I hope you’ve found this How to Build a Modern Sliding Barn Door post to be very helpful and informative.

Have you found the perfect spot for one and are you ready to go build your own?

While this is the first space I’ve added double doors, it’s not the only place you’ll find a wooden sliding door in my home.

I find them to be not only decorative but also functional. Therefore, I have added them in my:

  • Living room separating an alcove area
  • Sons’ bedroom as a closet door
  • Master bathroom in place of a pocket door 

As always, please let me know if you have any questions. I love helping you turn these building plans into something tangible.

You’ve got this!

Let’s go beyond the design to build something beautiful together!

Until next week,

Happy Building, Friend!!

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Kitchen Sources:

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