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How to Create a Period Reproduction Arts-and-Crafts Door

Restoration Realities shows you how to make a period-authentic door in an arts-and-crafts style.

More in Windows Walls and Doors

create an authentic door in arts and crafts style

Step 1: Create the Door Design

Begin by setting the door slab on sawhorses and laying out a pattern as per the drawing for the cuts on the door slab (Images 1 and 2).

Use blue painter's tape to tape off the center area for the window to prevent splintering.

Using the circular saw, plunge cut the center area to be removed for the window, and carefully remove the cut-out section (Image 3).

Rip down 4-quarter oak stock to the door thickness for the window frame.

Cut a rabbet on one side of the frame material 1/4" wide x 1" deep. This will form the outside of the window frame (Image 4).

Rabbet-cut an additional piece 1/4" wide x 1" deep on two sides to form the center muntin bars (Image 5).

Step 2: Assemble the Window Frame

Begin assembly of the window frame by measuring the inside of the window opening and mitering the single side rabbeted pieces. Glue and nail the pieces into place (Image 1).

Center the muntin pieces inside the frame and mortise the muntins into the outside frame (Image 2). Glue and nail the pieces into place (Image 3).

Step 3: Create the Applique Pieces

Plane down 3/4" oak to 1/4". Cut one piece to 32" x 5-1/2". Rip down four pieces to 1-1/2" and one additional piece to 3" x 32".

Rip down 8-quarter oak pieces to 1-3/4" x 32" Cut additional blocks 1-1/2" x 1-1/2" for brackets.

Insert a V-groove bit into the router. Place a fence along the outside edge using a 1x piece of material and wood clamps. Route the V-groove detail along both outside edges to the center 5-1/2" from the outside edges.

Install the ledger strip (1-1/2" x 1-3/4" piece) under the window frame by using a 1/2" dowel and glue.

Place the 1/4" x 5-1/2" x 32" piece beneath the ledger piece, then glue and nail it into place.

Place the 1/4" strip into place, glue and fasten. Place the remaining piece along the bottom of those three strips and fasten.

Attach the additional blocks beneath the ledger, glue and fasten.

create applique pieces

Step 4: Add the Glass Pieces and Door Accessories

Insert the glass pieces into the frame. Cut and miter the glass stop to fit, and nail it into place.

Using the router and dado bit, place a dado groove into the bottom of the door to accept the door sweep.

Prepare the door for a new deadbolt and lockset. Using a hole saw, cut the required diameter hole for the required backset of both the latch set and the deadbolt. Drill the hole for the latch set cannon. Assemble the pieces as required.

Step 5: Stain or Paint the Door

Note: This project is designed for a stained front door to resemble an arts and crafts period door. If you want to paint the door, use poplar instead of oak for both the slab and dimensional stock.


  • Stain the door with the stain selected. Apply the stain using a rag. Allow the stain to penetrate, then wipe it off.

  • Allow the stain to dry per the manufacturer's instructions. To achieve a darker finish, two or more applications of the stain may be required.

  • Apply a lacquer spar finish to the exterior of the door.

  • Allow to dry, sand, and apply second coat.


  • Apply oil based primer using a sable brush. Allow the primer to dry and sand it lightly.

  • Apply oil base exterior paint to the door and allow it to dry.

stain front door in arts and crafts style

Step 6: Replace the Door Trim

Remove the existing inside door jamb and header (Image 1).

Fill the existing hinge mortises using thin wood pieces and two-part polyester resin. Sand and prime as required.

Chisel a new location for both the deadbolt and latch set strike-plates (Image 2).

Patch and repair the surfaces as required (Image 3).

Secure the new trim (Images 4 and 5), and apply a weather strip as required.

Step 7: Hang the Door

With the door complete and stained, and the interior door jamb and header replaced, measure the placement of the three locations for new ball-bearing hinges.

Using a plywood template, temporarily attach to the outside edge of door.

Using a router with a hinge mortise bit, cut the profile of the hinge out to the required depth.

Disassemble the hinge and attach one side to the door. Prep the jamb following the same procedure as above.

Attach the corresponding hinge side to the jamb and hang the door.

hanging the door