DIY Flat Track Barn Doors

Those of you who follow me on Instagram probably saw a peek of the barn doors for the passthrough on Saturday. Yes, they’re finally done and I’m sharing a reveal & how-to today! When we first started thinking about the pass through project we talked about several door options. I even pinned a few on Pinterest. Initially I wanted sliding doors that went into the wall, but it was just not feasible for us. So we decided on the next best thing: barn doors. I was in love with Dana’s door from their last house, especially the hardware, but we couldn’t buy that here and I thought it was something we could DIY for much less. So we started googling around for pics (check out some options here and here) and eventually found a way to do this. I’d love to give a super-detailed tutorial but the truth is each door/setup is different and probably requires different sizes of screws, nuts, tracks, etc. However, for someone who’s used to DIY it’s not difficult at all to figure it out, so here’s what we did.

It’s called a flat track system and basically what you need is the following:

  • The flat track: it’s a long, flat piece of metal. Ours was about 2-3cm (one inch) high  and 4mm (1/8 inch) thick. The length should span 2x the area you’re trying to cover, plus a bit of overhang on each side. In reality, since we couldn’t find a piece so long, we used two of them, as you can see in the pic below. You’ll need to drill holes in the flat track, one on each side. That’s where you’ll attach it to the wall. Since we had two tracks we drilled four holes.
  • Four (two per door) pulleys, that will slide on top of the flat track. The “valley” in the pulley should be a bit wider than the flat track of course. Our pulleys are about an inch and a half in diameter.
  • Made of the same material as the flat track, eight (four per door) smaller pieces that will join the pulleys with the doors. You’ll need to drill two holes in them as well, one to screw onto the door, the other one for the pulley.
  • Four (two per door) metal cylinders with a hole in the middle for the screw that are meant to separate the track from the wall. Ours are about 1 inch in length to account for the pass through frame but could’ve been a bit shorter.
  • Screws, nuts, etc. to assemble everything.
  • Door(s); we built ours to measure and stained them.

As you can see, all the materials are stuff you can find at a hardware/home improvement store. Once we had everything we started assembling it. You pre-drill holes into your door(s); two on each door. Then, on each hole, you’ll use two of the smaller pieces of metal and a pulley; using nuts to join everything together. You’ll need enough space between the pulley and the top of the door for the flat track to slide in, of course. Once you have each door with two pulleys assembled, slide in the track in place, take a (very) long screw and the metal cylinders, and you’re ready to hang the doors. Drill holes into the wall where you want the doors to go and screw them in. Depending on what your walls are made of you might need different screws or make sure you’re attaching them to studs, etc.

But because all of this might not make sense at all, here are the close up pics of the setup. We thought the photos of other barn doors out there did a great job of being self-explanatory, so I hope these help you out, too:

Flat track diy barn doors 4

Flat track diy barn doors 3

Flat track diy barn doors 2

And now, for the actual “after” shots…

Flat track diy barn doors 7

Flat track diy barn doors 6

Flat track diy barn doors 5

And the view from the kitchen when closed:

Flat track diy barn doors 1

We’d love to modge-podge a poster to the back of the doors so we have a prettier view from the kitchen when closed. Maybe a map? But that’s for another day… in short, we love the doors. Even if you don’t have a pass through to close up, they look good only for decor purposes. Or to cover up a TV that you don’t use very often. In fact, we love them so much that we’re going to switch our current kitchen door for something very similar. We have a smallish galley kitchen that would greatly benefit from a sliding door so now that we’ve seen the system works we’re taking the plunge and making another door for the kitchen as well.

Now, we still have to take care of some details – besides adding some art to the doors on the kitchen side like I mentioned, I’d love to paint the screws black to match the hardware, we’re researching options so the doors don’t swing outwards, and we’re also looking for handles – but in the meantime, I’m calling this project DONE. We couldn’t be happier with it.

If you missed any previous pass through posts, you can check them out here: part one, part two, part three, part four, part five.

What do you think? Share your opinion in the comments.

42 thoughts on “DIY Flat Track Barn Doors

    1. Ainhoa Post author

      Thanks Annabel, glad you like them!
      A friend actually suggested something similar for the inside of the doors, but since we already have a chalkboard on the inside of the kitchen door (and once we redo that door we want to use magnetic chalkboard paint again) I think we’ll use the kitchen door for that. We’ll see though, it’s a great idea and definitely useful!

  1. Katja @ Shift Ctrl ART

    Wow that looks fantastic. That a labor of love. I love the doors themselves and that track strikes just the right amount of sophisticated meets modern. Love this look. What a great decorative element it gives to those walls. I just makes everything look so polished. Love it!!

    1. Ainhoa Post author

      Happy to hear that! They don’t look half bad in the kitchen, at least until we do something else they’ll work :)

  2. Sarah H.

    Those are gorgeous. I love how there are two that frame the opening when open, almost like shutters. I have a guest bedroom that has a bathroom off of it with no door leading to it. (There are some quirks in my house, for sure.) I’d love to do a barn door but although they look awesome, they also just look like kind of a pain. I know yours are smaller for the pass through, but are they a pain to open and close? Noisy or squeaky? (I’m just thinking if someone needs to use the restroom in the middle of the night if it would bother their spouse type situation.) I also saw these and loved their clean lines: http://pinterest.com/pin/126241595777342034/ Thanks for the great tutorial. I think I loved the “Metal thingie” best!

    1. Ainhoa Post author

      Those look lovely! I love the green one especially. Regarding ours, they’re not too noisy and I don’t think they’d bother me; I think I’d be more likely to wake up from the noise a normal door makes when you shut it closed than from this… but how a person sleeps is such a personal thing, so I can’t be too sure. Andoni suggested using plastic or rubber pulleys instead of metal if you want to reduce the noise, too, so that’s another suggestion :)
      And they’re not a pain to open or close at all, then again, we’ve only lived with them for a couple of days and I have a feeling they’re going to stay open most of the time.

  3. Christine @ Casa-de-Christine

    They look fabulous!! You guys did such a great job! I love that you figured out how to make your own tracks too. It seems simpler when you break it down- it sounds really overwhelming at first! I think a map on the inside of the doors would be amazing!

    1. Ainhoa Post author

      Thanks Christine, I’m glad that helped! The track system is not hard to make at all. They can be expensive to buy so to anyone interested in one I’d suggest they try their hand at making their own first :D

    1. Ainhoa Post author

      Glad you liked it! And yes, the store bought tracks are expensive. They don’t sell those here but even if they did we would’ve tried to DIY it because of the price!

  4. Melanie

    Hi, they look fantastic and have given me some guidance as I intend to create my own barn door for my bathroom. Can I just ask you do the doors scrape along the wall at the bottom as you open and close them? I was wondering if it is going to be an issue I need to consider. Thanks for sharing your fab project.

    1. Ainhoa Post author

      Hi Melanie! These don’t scrape the wall (nor the pass through frame) because they’re about an inch away from the wall and when you close/open them you naturally pull them away without realizing it… but it might be because they’re smaller than a full door and lighter. We’re going to redo our kitchen door like this and we’ll see if that one scrapes. It might take a while though, before we’re done with that…

  5. Emilia

    Can’t wait to see your new kitchen door. This project looks fantastic already, and I can only imagine how awesome it will look when you add a kitchen door. Best of luck with your next project:)

    1. Ainhoa Post author

      Thanks Emilia! We already bought the material for the track, but the lumber yard is a bit far so we have to find the time to go :)

  6. sydney

    I’ve been eyeing up barn doors for a bathroom with an annoying door that swings in, but can’t afford the hardware. Although I’m in the U.S. and have different hardware stores, can you tell me what departments in the hardware store you found the tracks and pulleys?
    Thank you,
    Sydney

    1. Ainhoa Post author

      Hey Sydney, it was in the metal section, where they sell stuff like aluminum/metal “profiles” (not sure what the word is in English). Our track is made of steel. Let me know if you have any other questions!

      1. sydney

        Thanks for letting me know. I’m hitting the hardware store tomorrow, I’ll be sure to look around.

  7. Amanda

    They are beautiful! I am looking into making a track as well and was wondering how you drilled the holes through the steel? Was it a special tool or drill bit?

    Thanks so much!
    Amanda

    1. Ainhoa Post author

      Hi Amanda! Andoni did this while I wasn’t home but I’m pretty sure he used a drill bit. Let me confirm this with him this afternoon and I’ll let you know. Edit: he used a table drill (not sure how those are called in English…) sorry about the delay in my answer!

      1. Amanda

        Thanks! We call them a drill press :) basically one that doesn’t require holding it in your hand. Thanks so much!

  8. Ray Manning

    Where did you acquire the pulleys/bearings? I have searched all over an only found a source in Chine who sell in lots of a thousand.

    Looks great, thanks,

    Ray

    1. Ainhoa Post author

      Hi Ray, I apologize for the delay. We bought them at our local home improvement store (Leroy Merlin). They were next to the chains sold by the meter. I believe they were meant to be used for something else but we kept the round part only and spray painted them black (they came in metal).

    1. Ainhoa Post author

      We got them at our local home improvement store, next to the place where they sold chains by the meter/yard.

  9. Melissa

    I love these doors! Thanks for the awesome explaination. Is there an easy way to take apart the pulley and get just the inside part?

    1. Ainhoa Post author

      We took it apart ourselves, since they were pretty small, simply by pulling they came apart. Sorry for the late response!

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