How to Build a DIY Modern Sliding Door

How to build your own DIY modern sliding door with mid century style frosted glass panes!

Much like barn wood walls (remember this one??), sliding doors are so in right now.  They’ve been in for a while, actually.  I made my first set of DIY sliding doors over two years ago!  But I’m not sure they’re going to go away any time soon.


Not only do sliding doors LOOK nice, but they also save space and could save you a lot of money if you need to replace an odd shaped door that they don’t make standard anymore.  They are a fairly easy DIY project and the possibilities are endless when it comes to style and size.


You can make them solid wood with a farmhouse style barn door like these.  Or you can make them more of a traditional look with some frosted glass like these.  But, lately, I’m digging modern and mid-century style, so this time, I made one like this...How to build your own DIY modern sliding door with mid century style frosted glass panes!

A friend of mine also loves the mid-century modern look and needed a space saving door for her newly remodeled bathroom.  PS remember this floating vanity??  That’s this same bathroom!


Don’t you love this slatted glass panel door??  I do! It reminds me of those southern California mid century houses.


If you’re ready to make one of your own, I’ve got the how to for you right here 🙂


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To make your own DIY modern sliding door, you will need:


Tools and Materials:

Miter Saw

Kreg Jig for Pocket Hole Screws



3/8″ Rabbet Bit

Hammer and Chisel


Tape Measure

Speed Square


(5) 1x4x8

(4) 1x6x8

(5) glass panels (for size, see step 4)

Wood Glue

1 1/4″ pocket hole screws

Sliding Door Hardware


1/8″ x 2″ x 7′ steel flat bar

(2) 1/8″ x 1″ x 12″ steel flat bar

(4) 3/8″ x 4″ lag screws

(4) 3/8″ lock washers

3/8″ flat washers (get several for spacing adjustments)

(4) 1/4″ x 1 1/4″ lag screws

(4) 1/4″ lock washers

(4) 1/4″ flat washers

(2) garage door pulleys

Spray paint for hardware

Frosted Glass spray paint for glass panels


Step 1: Cut Pieces for DIY Modern Sliding Door Frame

Measure your door opening. If your door opening is trimmed, include the trim in your measurement.  Now, add 2″ to the WIDTH of your door.  You can add to the height if you want but don’t have to.  Now you have the size you need your door to be.  Cut 4 pieces of 1×4 the length of the height you want your door.


Now, subtract 7″ from the total width you want your door to be and cut 12 pieces of 1×6 this length.  Shown below is half of the cuts…two 1x4s and six 1x6s.  This will make one frame, but you will need two.

Step 2: Assemble the DIY Modern Sliding Door Frame

Drill 3/4″ pocket holes in both ends of all the 1×6 boards.

Using 1 1/4″ pocket hole screws, assemble two door frames like shown.  The 1x4s will be the sides and the 1x6s will be the slats.


Depending on the height of your door, your openings may be different than mine.  Take your door height and subtract 33″, then divide by 5 (the number of openings) and that is how much space should be between the slats.  Make sure you space evenly!  Use a square to make sure you attach everything square.  This is important once you get to inserting the glass panels.

Step 3: Route Out Slots for Glass Panels

Insert a 3/8″ rabbet bit (you could use another size if you wish, I just use 3/8″) into your router.  Adjust the height to 1/8″ and route the open panels of the door.  The corners will be rounded, so square them out using a hammer and a sharp wood chisel.

Step 4: Insert Glass Panels in DIY Modern Sliding Door

Measure the opening in all the panels INCLUDING the routed grove.  Purchase 1/8″ thick glass panels to fit these openings.  Leave a little wiggle room (1/8″ or 1/16″) to make sure they’ll fit.  I buy my glass from a local glass and windshield place, but sometimes big box home improvement stores will cut glass to size for you if you don’t have a local shop.


Once you get your glass panels, make sure they fit in the grooves, then spray paint them with frosted glass spray paint. You don’t actually HAVE to do this, but it’s probably a good idea if you’re putting it on a bathroom HAHA.  NOTE: Don’t do this against your garage doors…I just set them here after I was finished to take a picture.

While the spray paint dries, you can paint or stain your two door frames .  I painted mine in Sherwin Williams Naval.  I LOVE THIS COLOR!!  Anyway…You only need to finish the fronts, not the sides with pocket holes.  You can do this later but it’s MUCH easier to do it now haha.


Once everything is dry, lay the routed door frame face down on a work surface or saw horses.  Place the glass panels in the openings.

Step 5: Glue on the Back Frame of the Sliding Door

Put wood glue along all the wood pieces–down the sides and across all the slats.  Place the other door frame on top so you kind of “sandwich the glass”. Make sure everything lines up and clamp along the edges to hold in place.  If you have a nail gun, you can shoot a few nails to hold it, but if you don’t, clamps work fine.


Putty the nail holes if you used any.  Once the glue is dry, you can sand and touch up the paint in these spots.

Now your door is done!

Step 6:  Prepare the Sliding Door Hardware

Double the width of your door and add about 3-4″.  Get an 1/8″ thick x 2″ tall piece of steel flat stock this length. In my case, it was 7′ long.  This will be your main sliding rail.  You can buy steel flat stock at your local hardware store or metal yard.  It’s cheap!  Also, while you’re there, grab 2 pieces of 1/8″ thick x 1″ wide x 12″ long steel flat stock.  These will be the pieces that attach the pulleys to the door.


You can follow the tutorial in this post for how to mount it to the wall.  The only difference will be that unless you have a large obstacle to clear behind the door, you shouldn’t need the long spacers and you also don’t have to have the wood piece on the back either.


As long as you can locate your studs, hanging the hardware isn’t too hard 🙂  Of course, you can always buy the sliding door hardware instead of making your own for a few more dollars, but I’m cheap, so I save every penny I can 😉 ha!


Once it’s hung, you have a gorgeous new DIY modern sliding door!

DIY Modern Sliding Door with DIY hardware instructions too! Glass panels make this mid century modern design unique

I love how the frosted glass lets the light through, but also provides privacy so it can still be used for this bathroom space.

DIY Modern sliding door with frosted glass panels painted in Sherwin Williams Naval

Modern Navy Sliding Door for bathroom--learn how to make your own!

How to build your own Mid Century Style sliding door with frosted glass panes!

If you didn’t need the privacy, you could totally skip the frosted glass and leave them clear.  That would be cute for an office space or dining room or even a kids playroom.


So how do you like this modern take on a sliding door??  Yay or nay??  Let me know in the comments!


Also, I’d love it if you’d pin this for later 🙂

How to build a DIY modern sliding door with frosted glass

And if you’d like some more sliding door tutorials, check out this one and this one 🙂  Or, if you’d like more modern style projects, check out this dresser, this retro cabinet, and this floating vanity!  There are plenty more projects coming up…don’t miss out on them!!  Sign up below to receive email updates on new projects!


Until next time, happy building!! 🙂


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9 Comment

  1. Andrea
    January 20, 2018 at 11:28 pm

    Thank you so much for this! I have a small office that currently has french doors (which it completely impractical for a small room). I wanted to replace them with a stationary door and then one that can slide behind it, both with frosted glass panels, but I wasn’t sure how I was going to make them. This is perfect. Thank you, thank you.

    1. Shara, Woodshop Diaries
      January 28, 2018 at 8:09 am

      Awesome! So glad this post was helpful 🙂 That frosted glass spray paint is awesome…I use it a lot!

  2. Rex
    January 28, 2018 at 8:31 pm

    How do you fix the glass if it breaks?

    1. Shara, Woodshop Diaries
      January 29, 2018 at 4:10 pm

      Since the pieces are glued together, it would be difficult to replace the glass without having to pry the door apart, which would likely cause some damage. If this was a concern, you could always screw the front and back together so that if that happened, you could unscrew, replace, then screw back together. However, since this is very inexpensive to make, if it was me and a glass broke, I would just remake the door. It would only cost $30 or so for the lumber plus one glass pane.

  3. Ivory
    February 21, 2018 at 11:00 pm

    Outstanding! I love this post. You. Alway do excellent work/design

    1. Shara, Woodshop Diaries
      February 28, 2018 at 9:32 pm

      Thank you so much!! 🙂

  4. Ed K
    August 3, 2018 at 6:44 pm

    This is brilliant! I was looking for a solution to a mid century modern barn door problem and this is it! As for those concerned on glass breakage I see 2 possible mods. 1, I like how you do the double door frame to hide all screws, so using the same technique, they could NOT use a router, get glass cut to fit the actual opening, and use thin trim on both sides of the glass to hold it in. Or 2, build the frame with 2x, you would see the Kreig joints, and use the same thin trim style to hold glass in place.

  5. mike
    August 22, 2018 at 10:10 am

    Can this be mounted someway to the ceiling instead of a wall? I want to build sliding panels to hide a wall of tools.

    1. Shara, Woodshop Diaries
      August 28, 2018 at 4:25 pm

      You can look into other ways to mount this possibly. Maybe use eye hooks screwed into the top of the door and they slide along a galvanized pipe mounted to the ceiling? I’ve never tried this before, but seen it done.

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