DIY Barn Door Track Tutorail

Scott, my husband, is an AMAZING DIY handyman. I like to call him the Handy Husband. Between the hardwood floors, our entire home office, the kitchen table, and now these closet doors, hung from a barn-style track system that he designed and engineered himself, we have saved tens of thousands of dollars to get such custom touches in our home.

We fell in love with barn-style track systems that are hanging gorgeous doors in and on all the design magazines and websites right now. What we couldn’t stomach was the $400+ price tag. We searched high and low for a tutorial that would tell us how to re-create the rustic-meets-modern look of this exposed hardware, but couldn’t find any that were detailed enough or produced the look similar to the kits we would buy if we had a limitless budget.

So Scott spent weeks designing and putting them together himself, for a total of less than $120 (not including tools).

He is so extremely thorough and pays so much attention to detail it kinda makes my head spin. We’re very opposite like that. So I’m sure you can imagine how much “fun” we’ve had collaborating on this blog post. And hopefully you can understand why it’s taken over a month to get it up after I let you all peek at our doors this summer.

Let me say, because of his attention to detail and insistence on creating a very thorough tutorial, complete with materials list and illustrated diagrams, it should (hopefully) be easy for the intermediate handyman/woman to recreate in a weekend.

Please note: THIS IS NOT A BEGINNER’S PROJECT. I’m not saying you can’t do this as your first DIY project, but it’s definitely challenging if you’re new to using these tools. 

Please also note: You will need a variety of tools to do this. That said, most of the tools would likely be found in your garage if you’ve done a few home-improvement projects.

Click here to access the materials list, which includes the tools needed (the big ones being a miter saw and bench grinder).

To start, you’re going to attach the track wheels to the bars that will hold up your doors. The diagram above can be viewed at full size by clicking on it, or going here.

Let’s walk through each of the steps illustrated above.

1. Grab a 3/4″ x 36″ x 3/16″ flat bar, and begin to bend the bar about 6-8 inches from the top. Bend the bar to a 90 degree angle.

This part is not exactly easy and takes some strength. Scott started the bend by laying it over a piece of the bent angle steel on the floor with about 6-8 inches sticking off one side, standing on top of the steel bar. He started bending it with his weight by stepping down on it. After he got the bend started, he hammered it until it reached 90 degrees. 

2. Place the steel round rod (dowel rod) inside the seam. Hammer the flat bar another 90 degrees until the bar has completely folded over.  Keep the rod in the seam of the bend the entire time so your bend is curricular to allow head space for the wheel.

The rod and the flat bar need to be held in place (preferably by someone else standing on them) as you continue to hammer the flat bar until it’s folded. That someone else, in our case, MAY have been our 4-year-old. 

  

3. Place your drill 1.5 inches from the top of the bend. Drill a 7/32″ pilot hole through both sides of the bended rod. To prevent from burning out your drill bit, you  may want to dip your drill bit periodically into some engine oil. If it does get dull, sharpen the tip with your grinder.

4. Using a crowbar, pry the bent end of the bar away from the straight end to make room to insert the wheel. Only pry it about 45 degrees.

5. Insert the wheel and shaft. Line up the shaft with the drilled holes. As you can see in the image, the shaft will likely have to go in at an angle. As you slowly hammer it down, it will straighten out. (Make sure the shaft doesn’t get pinned between the steel pieces or pressure from the hammer might break or jam it.)

6. Now cut the extra length off (at 11 3/4″ from the top of the bend) from the long end of the bar and the short end, using your miter saw with a masonry blade. The excess from the long end will be used for a second wheel and bar.

Please be careful when you cut the excess off at the top near the wheel that you don’t hit the wheel with the blade.  Be prepared for sparks!

7. Drill 3/8″ pilot holes 5″ from the top of the bend and 10″ from the top of the bend. Again, use motor oil if needed to keep your bit from dulling, and use the grinder to re-sharpen your drill bit as you work. You can also use the grinder to smooth out the cuts at the ends and where the holes are drilled.

Repeat those steps 3 more times (assuming you’re only hanging 2 doors and/or only need 4 wheels on bars), and then have a beer…

Unless you’re jumping right into the next part of this project: the track. (If you’re on my homepage, click through to read more.)

This image can also be viewed at a larger size by clicking on it or going here.

The key ingredients for the track system are the wooden backboard, the steel track, and the spacers between the two, which rest atop the washers.

For two or more doors, you’re probably not going to find a steel piece long enough to have a continuous track. At least not at your big box home improvement stores. You won’t have a problem finding a long enough piece of wood, though, so once you’re finished adhering the whole system to your back board, it will be one solid piece.

To make our own spacers, we bought a steel pipe and cut it to length using the miter saw with the masonry blade. It’s important the washers are sandwiched between the pipe spacers and the backboard so the pressure is distributed and they don’t dig into the wood.

 The bolts in the middle of the track need to be flush with the track (so your doors can glide over them), so it’s important to countersink them.

We left specific measurements out of the track design because it’s going to vary based on your specific use. Be sure when you’re determining the length of your backboard and track that you account for the doors opening completely, and you’re going to want the ends of the track (or as close to it) to drill into studs with lag screws (as shown in the diagram).

Note that your pilot hole in the wall for the lag screws should be 9/32″

Take your 36″ x 1″ x 1/8″ steel angle piece and cut it 1 1/4″ from the end to create your stoppers. Drill a 3/8″ pilot hole into one end of it (off-center, away from the bend) and drill the lag screw through the end piece, the track, the spacer, the washer and into the back board and wall.

If you want to stop the doors in the center of the track, repeat this process with two stoppers in the middle like we did.

We aren’t including instructions on how to make the doors in this tutorial, though we hope to have them up shortly in a separate tutorial.

To hang the track (one solid piece at this point after assembly), we rested the doors on top a 1/2″ piece of drywall we had lying around (because we knew we wanted a 1/2″ clearance from the floor). I held the doors in place while Scott placed the track on top of the doors, resting the bottom of the steel bar of the track directly onto the top of the doors. Then he measured 7/8″ from the very top of the wood back board and made a line across the width of the track.

We laid the doors back down to get them out of the way, and Scott used that line to attach the track to the wall, lining the top of the back board up to the line.

To attach the wheels and bars to the door, we set the doors back on the drywall sheet, and I held them against the closet as Scott placed the wheels over the track and marked where he wanted them to be bolted to the doors. Then we took them back down and he attached them.

Now, let’s talk about a couple added safety features. These are steps you can only take AFTER you’ve assembled your doors and attached the wheels to them.

Once you’ve got everything assembled and are ready to hang the doors, you’ll most likely want to install jump-plates to keep your doors from jumping off the track.

Measure the depth of your door (how thick it is). You’re going to want to cut a steel angle to that measurement. Hang your doors on the track. Then measure from the bottom of the track to the top of the door and subtract 1/8″ off that measurement. Trim down one side of the steel angle to this measurement with the grinder.

You’re going to have to re-measure for each wheel because the measurements may vary slightly.

On the other side of the steel angle drill a 1/4″ pilot hole and attach the piece to the top of the door using a wood screw, directly below where the wheel rests on the track.

One final safety feature we added to ours (after my many visions of our rambunctious children somehow managing to pull the doors down on top of themselves) are these back door roller assembly pieces and an aluminum c-channel strip.

The rollers attach to the wall, near the corner of the door opening, and the c-channel strip runs the width of the door along the backside. The rollers fit into the c-channel strip.

This serves double duty, keeping the doors from pulling away from the wall.

There you have it! A DIY Barn Door Track Tutorial that will leave you with a gorgeous custom piece that looks like something out of a design magazine.

While we tried to be as thorough as possible with this, it’s certainly possible we missed some things, so please chime in in the comments section with any questions you have. Please be sure to leave your comments in the blog comments portion and not the Facebook comments portion since I don’t receive notification of Facebook comments on here and may miss your question.

Click here to see the tutorial for how to build the actual doors.

Tiny Prints Cyber Monday

  • Kim @ Dirty Diaper Laundry - Ummm…….. Good luck with this folks! LOL. Your husband is quite the talented lad! It looks great! If he ever installs pocket dors for you let me know, then send him over here next.ReplyCancel

  • Mae (Life's Candy) - Oh it is so on…ReplyCancel

  • krystal - Jason is going to be so happy about this….

    for about 2.5 minutes, until he realizes that I expect him to actually do it. Thank you!ReplyCancel

  • Chelsey - Beautiful! I love how this turned out.ReplyCancel

  • Lisa - Your husband is mental, and I mean that in the nicest possible way.

    Those are some of the most amazingly detailed instructional illustrations I have ever seen.ReplyCancel

  • TheNextMartha - I love the way this looks. If I had somewhere to do this, I’d be ripping off the door right now.ReplyCancel

  • Lisa Lampert - Thank you for all your hard work on this. I too have been a fan of the barn door look but price tag steered me away from the thought. I’m holding out hope after your blog.ReplyCancel

  • The818.com - This is HARD CORE Jill Williams Krause. You guys are my idol.ReplyCancel

  • Anonymous - Thank you for sharing. What a Great idea!ReplyCancel

  • Jennifer @ Also Known As the Wife - Holy crap! My head is spinning from this tutorial. 1.) You weren’t joking…he is crazy with the details. Did he write these instructions down as he went? 2.) I think he missed his calling in life and should be a custom carpenter.

    The end result is fantastic looking!ReplyCancel

  • emily pitts - so glad i married a handyman. although this might take some serious convincing… but it looks cool!ReplyCancel

  • Beckie Jones Farrant - These Doors are just Gorgeous! Love all the detail….ReplyCancel

  • Benjamin - Hi,

    I was just wondering… where did your husband find the materials for this. This will be my first DIY project.ReplyCancel

  • Paul Morgan - AMAZING TUTORIAL! love the materials list AND resource!
    THANK YOU! can’t wait to try this.ReplyCancel

  • DIY Table Tutorial | Baby Rabies - […] long last, we finally have some instructions on how to create one yourself! Unlike the Barn Door Track, this project could probably be finished by a beginner, or at least someone who has used these […]ReplyCancel

  • Christina - I wish your husband would consider actually making the hardware system and selling it on Kickstarters. I think a lot of people out here, like me, want to get barndoor hardware to have a set, but can’t afford the high price tag. Your husband could actually have these made and sell them on Kickstarter. I a, sure it could do very well.

    Maybe check it out?
    I am not a handiperson, nor is my spouse, so we can’t do what your husband does here. But if we could buy the hardware premade, we could then put it together.

    Just an idea for you to consider. A lot of Kickstarter projects are just like this.ReplyCancel

    • Jill - I actually think we may consider this!ReplyCancel

      • Christina - That would be fantastic! Although, as I live in Canada, I fear the shipping cost might be a real killer. Nonetheless, it would be a great product.ReplyCancel

  • Cathy Minner - We just bought the barn door hardware and paid the $400 and yours is just as good. A lot of hard work really pays off. Nice job.ReplyCancel

  • lannie - We are in the middle of putting a small barn door between our living/dining area and mudroom!! My hubby is like your hubby!!! Thanks for the pointers!ReplyCancel

  • Corey Hunley - when will you post how the doors were made? Thanks for the tutorial on this.ReplyCancel

  • Francis - Where did you get the wheels? Do you have the specs for the wheels as well? i.e. diameter, V-groove or U groove etc, manufacturer etc.ReplyCancel

  • Kyle Horne - I love this project and would love to try it myself. Where did your husband purchase the materials on the material’s list? I only ask because he provided model #sReplyCancel

  • Carole White - Did you make the doors too? Is there a post on them? If you bought them – where are they from?

    Thanks. They look awesome! My husband & I are about to do this in our living room.ReplyCancel

  • Round Barn Door Track - […] DIY Barn Door Track Tutorial Between the hardwood floors, our entire home office, the kitchen table, and now these closet doors, hung from a barn-style track system that he designed and engineered himself, we have saved tens of thousands of dollars to get such custom touches in our home. We fell in love with barn-style track systems that are hanging gorgeous doors in . Place the steel round rod (dowel rod) inside the seam. Hammer the flat bar another 90 degrees until the bar has completely . […]ReplyCancel

  • Favorite Things Friday | lizmarieblog.com - […] Favorite DIY. {Source}  […]ReplyCancel

  • Kim - Thanks for taking to show us this. I have one question for you. How quiet is the roller? I want to use it for a door that will go into the bathroom. I’m thinking that you would want a very quiet door so that you don’t wake up the other person sleeping in the room when you use the door in the middle of the night. Thanks for your reply.ReplyCancel

  • DIY Barn Door Track | Savvy Living - […] Click here to view the tutorial. /* […]ReplyCancel

  • Jean Johnson - I too wonder about how loud the door is while sliding? I’ve always wanted one to block off our upstairs so we can put the kids to bed while having friends over, but I wonder how noisy the door is if we need to go upstairs. Of course I bet there are less noisy options for the wheels, etc.ReplyCancel

    • Jill - It’s certainly not silent, and I wouldn’t even say quiet. BUT we’ve never noticed that it’s overly loud or annoying. They’re not in a room where people typically sleep, though.ReplyCancel

  • Tom W. from Tennessee - I did this project! It works GREAT! The instructions you provided were VERY helpful. My wife wanted the 1″ flat bar instead of the 3/4″. That made the bending a little more difficult than expected. I won’t say that the bends for the hangers are perfect by any means but they work and look good. I did mess up on one thing. I was planning a 1″ gap between the top of the door and the bottom of the track. Somehow I messed up on the measurements and mounted the board and track highter than expected. The gap turned out to be a little over 2 inches. My wife did bring up a good point in that the extra space would prove helpful if it was ever decided to box in the track and hardware to hide it. We used antique doors we found in an second-hand shop. I did make one more modification to your design. Instead of the roller and c channel at the bottom of the door, I saw a youtube video where they used a slit cut in the bottom of the door and a plastic door guide. You cut a 1/8 – 1/4 slit along the bottom edge of the door. A thin plastic door guide (from Lowe’s) is then screwed to the floor and rides inside of the slit on bottom of the door. It’s completely invisible from view and keeps the door from swaying. Overall the results look great and my family loves it! Thanks for your posting!!!ReplyCancel

  • Christina Homonylo - Hey there! I hope people who try your instructions will post photos for others to admire (hint, hint). BTW, why not consider doing a bit of research into producing a barn door kit for people? Once you cost it out, you could then consider launching on Kickstarter or Indiegogo as a project. If you go with the “fixed funding” you then protect yourself as you only go ahead if all the necessary funds are raised — so helps protect you against risk of building and not having enough buyers. Backers are basically giving you funds in advance and waiting for production. It could be a great success! I hope you might consider it. ReplyCancel

  • Rita - Forget the Clintons or the Obamas. You two are my Couple of the Year! I have been trying for months to buy an affordable vintage hanger system on eBay. Forget that too. I can make this look vintage and who will know? Thank you very much. Merry Christmas.ReplyCancel

  • Jes Meeker - Wonderful tutorial… THANK YOU!ReplyCancel

  • Jen Castle - These are amazing! And may be going up in our studio soon. Thank you.ReplyCancel

  • Liz - Love it, just curious where you got the c channel strip and rollersReplyCancel

  • tom - The front wheels off a wheel chair are good for this painted flat black look cast but plastic and quiet. Can be purchased new for 10 bucks through away the rubber tire.ReplyCancel

    • Seattle Garden Design - Oh you rocked this project. The tutorial makes it look easy! I know how hard you worked on these and I tell ya, they are worth every ounce of back breaking sweat and tears, they are awesome!ReplyCancel

  • Stephen - So, any chance we can see that door making process? I’m needing this for an oversize opening. I was considering using your hardwood table idea to make the door, but wanted a little more interest in some trim and edging. If I do I will be sure to post some ideas.ReplyCancel

  • Shelly - Thanks for the plans. I’m in the process of doing this for a dining room door and have all the supplies except for the pulley wheels. Can’t find a god source for these,,,,where did you get them? Thx again!ReplyCancel

  • 3 Cheers For Love! An Easy Pennant Tutorial - […] felt and I hot glued them to ribbon to make streamers for our background, which was set against our barn doors in the office. Then we made a couple pennants out of felt for the kids to […]ReplyCancel

  • Shawn - HiReplyCancel

  • A Girl Can Dream… | - […] the extra chemicals that I would want to keep away when not in use.  I would love a barn door like this to divide my darkroom from the rest of the studio, but I am not quite sure if it would be able to […]ReplyCancel

  • joni kartchner - Love that you have such a handy husband. That’s a great partnership!
    I thought I would share what I’m doing with my limited budget (after the recent price increases in materials over the last month). I remembered my dad going to a local feed store when we built our barn years ago. I loved the doors he made. So, now that we are building…I want to recreate those doors and bring them inside. I called several feed stores and found they differed in pricing, but not product. Feed stores sell everything you need to create a great barn door. Here’s what CAL Ranch quoted:
    6′ galvanized track – $24
    8′ – $31
    10′ – $39
    12′ – $47

    Rollers/Hinge Set (2 per pair) – $36 – $42 (rated 400 lbs/roller)
    Hangers (24″ on center) – $3 – $5
    Stops – $2 – $8

    Hope this helps!
    Joni Kartchner
    Bradley Allen Interiors
    Herriman, UtahReplyCancel

  • Mary - Very nice tutorial. I wanted to share my experience with you in case it is useful. I just recently began seeing “barn doors” on Pinterest. This caused me lots of laughs. My husband and I built our own house. We wanted a pocket door at the top of the basement stairs but they were too pricy. So, we decided upon a barn type sliding door….in 1995! We were ahead of our time! We used reclaimed track from a barn door that we had at the farm. Our rollers are made from a poly. We fabricated the hanging straps ourselves to match other decor. The one detail that I think might be of interest is how we did the bottom. He routed a channel in the bottom of the door but not all the way through the edge of either side. Then we screwed an upside down T shaped metal piece to the floor. That channel sets over the leg of the T and the door slides on it. This way the door can’t go too far either direction while sliding and is retained at the bottom. Very handy with three boys and a door at the top of the stairs.ReplyCancel

  • Aerial Guerrilla Designs - I come from the back ground of automated gates and custom built gates I love these barn doors, like to see this take off , would love to make all these track systems.ReplyCancel

  • Doyce Smith - Well done…….thx and thx for the great detailed instructions. Love it when I know what parts to purchase up front. Save $$$$ on gas making only one trip to the home improvement store. I’m sure we can all relate to that. I will be taking on this project in the next couple of weeks now that it does not cost 400 for the hardware.ReplyCancel

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  • Dana - Hello babyrabies! Ok I have completed my door and it is gorgeous. It is HUGE 57″ wide and 83″ tall. I want to follow your tutorial for the hardware but do you think weight is a problem? I don’t know how much mine weighs but it’s really heavy. I need 116″ of track. Any advice?ReplyCancel

  • hope - love this. I am going to try my best to do!!ReplyCancel

  • Eli Wallach - Woo Hoo. Very nice! Thanks for sharing… So well written… I can’t wait to see more from you guys. My hat is off to you.ReplyCancel

  • Charlie - Hi
    I built a similar system a few years ago but I liked yours better. I also built a few for other people and a few wanted color. So I bead blasted all the steel and had it powder coated (tons of color). Ask you husband if he can figure a way of using his system for a bypass setup.ReplyCancel

  • Paul Steigerwald - Thank you so much for creating this tutorial. I used your husband’s step by step instructions to creating a barn door of my own. With a little tweaking here and there I removed a pocket door and replaced it with a 5’6″ door that looks awesome! There is a public photo album of my finished product on fb that shows how these instructions can be used to create a rail system of any size. Thanks again, PaulReplyCancel

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  • Kathi Feese - Getting ready to take on this project – Can’t wait! – Curious though-why the thicker steel bars for the ones attached to the door and not the slider bar?ReplyCancel

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  • Jessica Taylor - hi I was wondering if there is away to have 2 doors that come from one side on a double track?ReplyCancel

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  • Courtney Huddleston - I wanted to hang it from the ceiling in the middle of the room like a divider and double swing so you could push two doors in front of an other. It will drop down about two foot from the ceiling is there anyway to make it strong enough it would wobble badly.ReplyCancel

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  • Earle Lawrence - Very thorough and helpful tutorial. I’m about to embark on a barn door headboard journey (for my wife) of my own. It would be helpful to know exactly what you used for the shaft of the wheel to keep it in place. Maybe I missed it on the materials list. Thanks for the blog and any help you can offer.ReplyCancel

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  • Monday Amenities // Post 21 | - […] little reminder – don’t let the bad days convince you it’s been a bad life.DIY: Indoor Barn Door Track Tutorial. I have always wanted a big sliding antique or industrial door  – possibly separating the […]ReplyCancel

  • Colleen Forrester - Loved this detailed tutorial – kudos to you and your hubby! Wondering if you’ve had the chance to put together the door tutorial?

    Thanks very much,
    ColleenReplyCancel

  • Lisa Foreman Dixon - I was so excited to see this but when I tried to view the link with the supply list it took me to a blank screen. Can u help me outReplyCancel

  • Healthy Baby Snacks | The Coconut Hale - […] talked about putting a track door in our bedroom for a year and I am commited to getting it up in the next 60 days or […]ReplyCancel

  • Joe - What do you need for one door?ReplyCancel

  • Nancy - We are working on finishing our basement and thought about using
    these sort of doors on a closet. Your doors are beautiful! The detailed tutorial is very helpful, but could you give more detail
    on how you attached the back rollers to the doors. Like you, I have kids that may not be so gentle with the doors and don’t want to put
    a guide on the floor. ThanksReplyCancel

  • Lasso the Moon 7 Tips for Making a New Home Feel Rustic - […] Mix it up. Check out this gorgeous barn door track tutorial. The home owner writes, “We fell in love with barn-style track systems that are hanging […]ReplyCancel

  • Slidingdoor_ - we have some already made barn hardware, if you need one contact meReplyCancel

  • Cecilia Lulu Crain - Fantastic! Do you have any ideas for bypass barn doors? I do not have enough wall to the sides. Good with making the doors themselves but that hardware is tricky! Really great idea. Thank you for sharing. CReplyCancel

  • Sherry Goodman - can I see a picture of the c-channel track and rollers that keep the door against the wall ?ReplyCancel

  • Julie - This for is so coolReplyCancel

  • Kristen Walton - Can’t thank you enough for the detailed tutorial and supply list! My husband and I searched and searched for a good tutorial to build the track ourselves and never found one until last week when I came across your post through a Google image search. We put ours together this weekend and LOVE it!! http://waltonblog.com/?p=246 Exactly what we were looking for. Thanks again!ReplyCancel

  • Sliding Barn Door - […] to find a good tutorial on how to build the track ourselves, but that’s when we came across this one at BabyRabies.com, which is super detailed, and incredibly […]ReplyCancel

  • The Closet – Part Three. | food.love.home. - […] we looked at buying hardware from Rustica Hardware but then I found the Baby Rabies blog and their tutorial on how to make the hardware ourselves.  We (Kevin) decided to give it try and make it […]ReplyCancel

  • Anny - It may be in the tutorial somewhere but what is the approx door dimensions and track length in the tutorial?ReplyCancel

  • Jen - Great instructions! just a little insider scoop for other DIYers – she’s right that you can’t find flat bar steel pieces longer than 72″ in any of the big stores, but a GREAT option is to head to your local welder. They have all of this stuff on-hand with lots of different widths and will cut to length for no additional cost. I got 14 feet of steel, cut to the exact lengths I wanted, for $14.00. TOTAL!ReplyCancel

  • teal - Hi – how do I access the printable version? I’d like to make these!ReplyCancel

    • Jill - I would guess just print the screen cap?? Sorry, we haven’t made a specific printable.ReplyCancel

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