Remember that beautiful reclaimed wood barn door from Julie at DO or DIY that I shared in the past? You may have noticed the gorgeous hardware at the top.
Normally, these pieces can cost you hundreds of dollars…especially double barn door hardware. However, Julie and her husband show how you can make your own for about $45.
All you need is an afternoon and five materials to save over $300 like they did!
Julie’s husband gets into a bit of detail upfront when it comes to prepping your door opening for a new sliding barn door. It’s valuable stuff!
And while it’s necessary, I’ll assume you’re covered on A) building (or buying) your barn door, and B) having your doorway ready to go.
The latter usually just means if you’re replacing a regular swing door, you’ve removed that door and its hinges and pried off the inside door stop and all the exterior trim. You’re going to want these out of the way.
The door stop piece won’t be needed with your barn doors, and the trim will probably be replaced depending on your door’s design and size.
With that, let’s move on to the basics of DIY’ing your own hardware and saving mega bucks in the process.
How to Make Your Own Barn Door Hardware
‘Where do you even begin?’ is the question that went through my mind. Luckily, Julie’s blog post answers the questions about what parts are necessary and what dimensions they need to be. And also, WHAT materials you can use to make them (whew).
Parts You’ll Need to “Fashion” Yourself
Main Support Bar
The first piece to start with is the main support bar at the top. This is the part that literally holds up the door, so it has to be strong and virtually unbendable.
In addition to holding the weight of the door, it also functions as the track and rail for your door to roll on, and will span from your door opening and out along the wall where the barn door will rest when you have it slid open.
How big is the span?
60-inches or so. This is a pretty long piece of metal. So, what you need is called flat stock. This is just the industry term for a flattened piece of carbon steel that’s an inch wide and about the thickness of a pencil.
These steel rods usually only come in 36″ lengths, so unless you have an “oddity” hardware store nearby as Julie’s husband calls it, you’ll have to get two pieces and join them together evenly for your main bar rail.
The arms that attach the door to the pulleys can actually be made from the same flat stock as the main bar/track.
They key here is get them into a “J” shape, so that when they attach up-side-down, they can curve over and allow the pulleys to be bolted to them.
These take some muscle and a little coaxing to bend just right. Thanks to Julie’s husband (again), he figured out that if you clamp the ends of the steel flat stock you can work and bend these to the shape you need.
Use a rubber mallet and a vise-grips to”wrap” these around a 2″ pipe nipple to get the right shape you need. It’s a little bit of metal shop, but it works!
This is where the real savings begins. You don’t need anything fancy here, just strong pulleys that can smoothly roll a weighty door. It’s also important that these pulleys have grooves down the center, so they can’t just be any ol’ wheel you can think up.
The best idea?
Garage door pulleys! These are perfect and make for quiet glide barn door hardware. Get some 3″ sized pulleys made for garage doors, and you’ll have something strong enough for this job. The color or finish doesn’t matter as you’ll be painting them just like the flat stock.
And the best part is these can be bought for under $5! Check out some like these, and that’s all you’ll need to complete the main pieces of your little DIY barn door hardware set.
It’s worth mentioning that your main bar needs to have a gap between it and the wall above the door opening. Since it’s the rail for your pulleys, this gap is important and to allow the doors to have some clearance as they glide.
To make that gap, you can use some steel bushings. That’s an easy Home Depot thing.
Julie’s husband also mounted the main bar and the bushings with lag bolts right into the house studs. Finally, a 1″ x 6″ wood piece also acted as an extra supportive header between the wall and the bushings (see photo above).
Tools to Get the Job Done
You’ll be happy to know there isn’t a whole lot required in the tool department when making these parts. But here’s a few tips…
The most important tool you’ll need is a good saw with a metal cutting blade. Julie’s hubs used a mitre saw in order to cut the steel flat stock. You’ll need this for the main bar depending on the length of rods you find and what you need for your total span.
You’ll also need to cut the flat stock to make your bracket “J” shaped pieces. Just use gloves when handling the carbon steel!
It goes without saying you’ll need a heavy duty drill and the appropriate drill bits to go through the steel. The best metal bits you’ll want to use here are Cobalt (HSCO).
To complete the entire look of the hardware, Julie created a the popular look of oil rubbed bronze barn door hardware using spray paint.
For a brushed nickel barn door hardware look you can use Rust-Oleum’s Brushed Metallic Satin Nickel spray paint.
Another favorite is stainless steel barn door hardware that combines modern and sleek with a sliding barn door. Paint with a stainless paint such as this.
If you don’t want to go quite so contemporary, you can also use their paints if you want to match an antique or vintage looking barn door.
Whatever paint color you choose, it will protect the steel from corrosion, and of course, make it look super polished.
Can You Just Buy Cheap Barn Door Hardware?
So what if you’re just not up for following these steps, searching out the materials and cutting and bending steel like superman?
This is a great question that you might think is best answered as: Just go spend the hundreds of dollars these hardware kits cost!
Thankfully, you have more and more options these days. Smaller companies have figured out that creating solid products and lowering the price will attract a lot of people like us.
And there’s always a time and place for DIY, but honestly you can get barn door hardware kits for under $50. This seriously isn’t much more than what you’ll end up paying for the materials described above.
You may not have that DIY satisfaction you get when you “make” your own stuff…but it’s worth mentioning that this option is available. You’d definitely save a bit of time if you’re not used to working with metal like this!
Take a look at one like this and others on Amazon and see if you can find your style and size to match your door. You can even spend a little more for soft close barn door hardware that’s also available.
Or, take the plunge and put on your metal worker hat for a few minutes and create your own.
The inspiration for this particular design came from the Pottery Barn Artisan Hardware Z Barn Door (first photo below).
Inspiration also came from the Real Sliding Hardware’s Classic Barn Door Hardware.
You can find the complete tutorial from Julie and her husband to make your own barn door hardware on the cheap at DO or DIY.
This works for double door barn doors as well. And remember, the really hard thinking work has already been done for you, so you’re basically half way there!