Fit a Shelf Unit Inside a Door

Here’s a great way to add much-needed storage without taking up any extra space. This solid core door has been fitted with a shelf unit. This is a great idea for a children’s bedroom, study, or kitchen, where there’s no room for extra furniture. You will find great deals on affordable doors at your local timber merchant from around R350.


Solid core door
Laminate pine shelving – or PG Bison SupaWood
Pine moulding
Pine quarter-round trim
Masonite backing board
Panel pins
Wood glue
No More Nails Adhesive
Tape measure and pencil
Mitre saw or mitrebox and backsaw
Circular saw
Drill/Driver and assorted bits
Hammer and punch
Carpenter’s square
Multisander plus 120- and 240-grit sanding pads

You will be replacing the old door with a new door and can use the old door as a template for marking the height, placement of hinges, as well as the lock and handle. Put old door on new door, aligning hinge side of old door with factory edge of new door. This ensures hinge side of new door will be perfect and as strong as possible for attaching new hinges.

To cut out a centre panel in the door you perform a ‘plunge cut’ with your circular saw. Set the guide on the circular saw so that the blade is on the inside of your drawn line. Measure and mark lines 100mm in from sides and top of door, and 200mm up from bottom for opening. To perform a plunge cut, pivot front of saw plate so the blade is a little forward of corner.

Align blade with inside of cut, start saw, then feed it gently into door. When base is fully in contact with door surface, move saw forward. Finish off the corners with a jigsaw or handsaw. Circular saws come standard with a guide rail accessory that can be fitted onto the saw to provide a guide for cutting straight, accurate lines. To set the guide rail distance, use the markings on the guide rail and tighten to secure the guide rail at the set marking. Remember to allow for the thickness of the blade (3mm) when setting the cutting distance.

Have someone to help you hold the new door against the door frame to hang the door. Use 1 or 2 screws to test and adjust, if necessary, then remove the door.

Use pine shelving or particle board to make a shelf unit. Cut shelving sides to length: From bottom, mark 19, 339, 358, 678, 697, 967, 986, 1256, 1275, 1481, 1500 and 1706mm to give you two 320mm-high shelves, two 270mm-high shelves and two 206mm-high shelves. Square lines across both sides and pre-drill 2 pilot holes between lines. Glue and screw one side to each shelf.

Glue and nail on lip beading along line to form a small lip along front edge of each shelf. This will prevent books and objects sliding off the shelves. Finish nails with a punch to avoid bruising pine.

To finish off the shelving unit, draw lines 5mm back from front edges of shelving. Cut pine moulding with a 45° mitre at each end. You can use a mitrebox or mitre saw to do this. Glue and nail beading around perimeter of shelving unit.

Sand the shelf unit with 120- and then 240-grit sandpaper and wipe clean. Apply No More Nails adhesive around perimeter of opening in door, then lower shelving unit into position. Make sure it is seated down properly before driving screws through sides into the new door.

Turn the door over and fit pine quarter-round beading – with a 45° mitre – around the shelving unit. Glue and nail this in place. This will hide the joint between the shelving unit and door.

Fill all screw and nail holes with wood filler and sand smooth with 240-grit sandpaper when dry. Apply Wood Primer with a foam roller, using a small paintbrush to get in corners and then apply 2 coats of paint in your choice of colour. After the paint has dried, fit a backing panel using panel pins. Always drive in panel pins at a slight angle, and vary the angle along the length, to firmly secure the backing panel and ensure that it doesn’t come loose. Re-hang the door. There isn’t enough space to mount a handle and lockset, but you can fit a double-roller or magnetic catch to hold the door closed.

Pine Chairs

Home Handyman

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