DIY Network

How to Build a Two-Panel Shelf

These step-by-step instructions demonstrate how to build a two-paneled shelf using an old door.

More in Remodeling

  • Time

    Under Half Day

  • Price Range

    $1 - $50

  • Difficulty

    Easy to Moderate


Step 1: Prep the Door

Remove all of the hardware on the door and then scrape the loose paint from the door surface. Use a palm sander with coarse grit paper to smooth the surface of the door. Fill small imperfections with wood putty and again sand the surface smooth. Square off the ends of the door using a circular saw.

Step 2: Route Channels in the Door

Create a router guide (Image 1) using wood scraps in order to make a smooth, flat surface for the router to move over the beveled surface of the door. Clamp the guide down, and then use a "T" square to make sure the lines are straight. Route 1/2" x 1/4" deep channels in the door that cut through all three upright frame pieces (Image 2). Make the channels every 12" to 15", starting about 1/2" up from the bottom.

Step 3: Make the Cuts

Using a table saw, cut the door in half to create two full length matching narrow "doors". Cut wood scraps into shelves 11" x 23" using a table saw. Cut another at 11" x 24-1/2" to use as a cap. Cut a 1/4" plywood backer using a table saw. Use a router to cut square holes out of the doors where the inset panels. Sand the cut edges smooth.

Step 4: Sand, Paint and Assemble

Sand all the surfaces and apply a coat of primer. Paint the vertical supports and shelves. Assemble the piece on a low table using a nail gun and wood glue. Attach the bottom shelf and the top cap first, followed by the remaining shelves. Make sure to apply a thin bead of glue in the shelf channels to hold them firmly in place.