A few months ago when I got the call that Woman’s Day wanted to send a photographer to photograph me and my garage, I kind of freaked a little. I mean, it was my garage, the least attractive room in our house! Part of the unattractiveness stemmed from my workbench with a huge gaping hole in it.

It was suggested that I could just cover the hole with some fabric (which, yes, I could have done.) But, being that it is my workshop and a sawdust producing place, I felt I could do a little a little better than just some fabric. I decided to build custom doors for the opening. Luckily they turned out to be less of an involved project than I originally anticipated. (I love when that happens.)

Come on in the workshop and I’ll show you how I built these open frame cabinet doors.


  • 1×4″ pine boards
  • Tape measure
  • Drill
  • Kreg jig
  • Kreg screws
  • Clamp
  • Shims
  • Level
  • Radiator screen
  • Tin snips
  • Staple gun
  • 1/4″ staples
  • Hammer
  • Primer
  • Paint
  • Hinges
  • Trim moulding (optional)
  • Wood glue
  • Finish nailer (to install trim moulding)


Measure the height of the opening.

Cut four 1″x4″ pine boards to the height of the opening (minus 1/4″).

Lay the four boards into the cabinet opening. Center the middle two boards on the center of the hole. Lay the hinges between the two outer boards and the edge of the hole in the cabinet. This will allow room for the hinges when the doors are installed. Measure the width between the outer and inner boards. The measurement should be the same on both sides.

Cut four 1″x4″ pine boards for the tops and bottoms of the doors using the width measurement you just took.

Use a kreg jig to create pocket holes in the width pieces. Two holes per side. (New to a Kreg Jig? Why not Learn how to use a Kreg Jig here.)

Clamp the cabinet door together. Use your drill to drive kreg screws into the pocket holes and secure the top and bottom of the frame to the sides.

Attach the hinges to the face frame of the workbench cabinet.

Insert the open frame door into the cabinet hole. Use shims to raise the frame slightly off the base. Use a level to make sure the cabinet door is level. Then attach the hinges to the door.

By the way, Irwin just sent me that little Series 250 Magnetic Torpedo Level and this little guy really rocks! It has more bells and whistles than I’ll ever use. (Like earth magnets for holding it against metal. And a 1.5 degree button for setting drainage pipe. A handy girl never knows when she’ll be laying drainage pipe next!) But, mainly it works great for tight spots when you want to make sure your doors are level.

Optional: The top of the workbench opening wasn’t a perfectly straight cut, so I decided to add a little decorative moulding to the top to hide the imperfections.  Cut the piece of mounding to the same width as the cabinet door. Add some wood glue to the back and then secure the trim with finish nails.

I also cut another piece of mounding to hide the center gap and secured it the same way to the side of one of the doors.

Double check to make sure that the doors fit and open and close properly.

Remove the doors and prime and paint the cabinet door frames.

After the paint dries, measure and cut radiator screen to 2″ larger than the frame opening.

Secure the radiator screen to the back of the cabinet frame with the staple gun. Any staples that don’t sink all the way in can be tapped in with a hammer.

Re-install the cabinet doors and admire your handy work!

Now you see it, now you don’t! Attractive open face cabinet doors to hide your junk.

What do you think? Better than fabric? Can you think of anywhere that you could add open faced cabinet doors? They’d make great speaker cabinet doors or privacy screen.

See ya’ later alligator.

23 replies
Newer Comments »
  1. Maren
    Maren says:

    Where, oh where do you buy your radiator screen? I’ve been all over Orange, up and down aisles, asking for help. And nada. I must make these doors for a jelly cabinet I’m building.

  2. Lucy
    Lucy says:

    I’m way behind in keeping up with blog posts, but had to drop in to read this one. Who cares (besides the dentist?) if I’m a bit late? This turned out great. I used radiator screen to redo a folding screen my sister had and wanted “fixed,” but I’m thinking I’ll try this on a cabinet door, too. I may even redo the whole kitchen! Of course, I’m still hoping I’ll get the Kreg jig for my birthday, but it’s a long shot. I may have to buy my own gift….

  3. Jeff Patterson
    Jeff Patterson says:

    The doors really look awesome, you did a fantastic job. Thanks for sharing all the details of this project. I could definitely use this concept for radiator doors at a rental home. The Kreg jig is one cool product, too 🙂

  4. Jen
    Jen says:

    These are awesome Brittany! I like the industrial feel for the garage :~) We have a small level like that too and I love it! It’s great for hanging curtain rods with the built-in magnet…use it constantly! {I even used it when I put the sliding drawers back in our kitchen cabinets to make sure I had the tracks level}


Trackbacks & Pingbacks

  1. […] was inspired by the open frame doors tutorial from Brittany of Pretty Handy Girl to give our HVAC air return cover a glam makeover. I made some modifications to make it work for […]

  2. […] side of the hallway, there is a 28″ x 23″ HVAC  intake. I’m wanting to use the open frame cabinet door tutorial by Brittany of Pretty Handy Girl to make a cover for the HVAC  intake, but it will be one door […]

  3. […] out these open frame radiator screen cabinet doors I made with the Kreg […]

Newer Comments »

Leave a Reply

Want to join the discussion?
Feel free to contribute!

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.