$20 Hollow Core Bi-Fold Closet Door Makeover

  • 1/4" thick, 4x8 sheet of plywood, cut into 3 1/2" strips the long way (I used this from Lowes) 
  • Liquid Nails
  • Caulk w/Caulk Gun 
  • Sanding Sponge 
  • Wood Filler 
  • 6" foam roller 
  • 2" Angled Paint Brush 
  • 1/2" Angled Paint Brush 
  • Primer 
  • Paint 
  • Plastic Drop Cloth 
  • Painter's Tape 
  • New Hardware (knob or pull) 
  • Miter Saw
  • Brad Nailer with 1" finishing nails
  • Pencil 
  • Level 
  • Tape Measure 
  • Drill 
  • A Second Pair of Hands (I used my trusty husband) 
Step 1:  Cut your plywood into 3 1/2" strips the long way 
  1. A very nice employee at Lowe's did this for me. Were they cut perfectly? No. But after caulk, and paint, you really couldn't see the imperfections. 
  2. You will need about 8 strips or less. 
  3. Note: There are two sizes to the plywood: One is more smooth, the other has knots. I used the smooth side because I didn't want the knots to show. 

Step 2: Remove hardware from closet 
  1. Remove knobs or pulls using a screwdriver or drill. 
Step 3: Attach top and bottom pieces on first section of bi-fold door 
  1. Attach top and bottom pieces on first section of bi-fold door. 
  2. Measure the width of the first section of the bi-fold door, then SUBTRACT 1/2". Mark and cut with a miter saw. 
  3. The reason you want to subtract 1/2" is because you will need to leave a 1/2” gap from the edge of the door. If you don’t, your closet door will not open properly. 
  4. Stick plywood to the bottom of the closet, making sure you leave that 1/2" gap on the edge. Use a level to make sure it is...well, level. 
  5. Hold in place while your partner uses a brad nailer to secure in place. We used a nail about every 3 inches. 
  6. Repeat these steps for the top of the closet. 
Sweat pants recommended.

Step 4: Attach long side piece 
  1. Measure the space in between the top and bottom pieces and cut plywood the correct length (tip: Cut a little bit longer than you need, hold the piece of plywood up to closet, and mark the excess that needs to be cut off). 
  2. Attach third piece of plywood using liquid nails, nailer, and level. 
**Follow these same steps for the second section of the closet. 

Step 5: Attach the middle paneling 
  1. Use a tape measure to measure top-to-bottom and mark the center of your closet. 
  2. This is where your middle panel piece will go. 
  3. Then, measure from the bottom to the middle piece and mark the center. 
  4. This is where your lower bottom panel piece will go. 
  5. Measure from the middle piece to the top and mark the center. 
  6. This is where your upper panel piece will go. 
  7. Figure out how long your plywood pieces need to be and cut with a miter saw. 
  8. Attach plywood to the first section of your closet. 
  9. Repeat for the second section. 

Here is a visual of the order I applied the pieces: 

**Follow these same steps for the other bi-fold door, making sure to the leave another 1/2" gap along the outer edge. 

Step 6: Cover nail holes with wood filler 
  1. Cover nail holes with wood filler 

Step 7: Sand Surface 
  1. Sand surface and nail holes until smooth. 
  2. Note: This plywood is NOT high quality. It splinters like crazy. Be careful when sanding not to destroy it. 
Step 8: Caulk 
  1. Caulk around all edges so no gaps are visible. 
Step 9: Prime 
  1. Tape the closet frame with painters tape and protect floor with a drop cloth. 
  2. Prime the surface. 
  3. I used a 6" foam roller and a 2" angled brush to cut in on the edges. The foam roller was especially effective on the plywood, which has a pretty rough surface. 
  4. Allow to dry, then prime again. 

One coat of primer. 

Step 10: Paint 
  1. Apply using a foam roller and a 2" angled paint brush to cut in on the edges. 
  2. I used Sherwin Williams Repose Graymy favorite paint color of all time. It is also the color of the walls in this room. I swear it looks good in any room, with any lighting, and it stays gray on the walls. 
  3. Use the smaller angled paint brush to paint the 1/2" gap on both edges of the closet. 
  4. Allow to try, and apply a second coat. 
Sherwin Williams Repose Gray

Step 11: Attach New Hardware 
  1. Hardware on bi-fold doors must go near the center of each door. This allows the door to open and shut properly. 
  2. Drill holes using saw and a drill bit about the same size as your screw. 
  3. I used these cute little T-Bar handle pulls, which I found for bulk on Amazon for a decent price. 
Oil-rubbed bronze T-bar handle pull. 

Step 12: Admire Your New 4-Panel Closet Doors 
  1. Doesn't it look expensive? 
  2. Not bad for less than $20 in plywood and some leftover primer and paint! 

This makes me happy. 


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