Update Kitchen Cabinets With Glass Inserts

With these easy, step-by-step instructions, anyone can quickly and inexpensively transform builder-grade cabinet doors into beautiful, custom-looking glass insert doors.
Update Your Kitchen Cabinets With Glass Insert Doors

Update Your Kitchen Cabinets With Glass Insert Doors

In its former life, this kitchen cabinet door featured a builder's grade, solid frame of light brown wood. Now transformed with glass inserts following a DIY project, the door presents a beautiful, customized look for the kitchen.

In its former life, this kitchen cabinet door featured a builder's grade, solid frame of light brown wood. Now transformed with glass inserts following a DIY project, the door presents a beautiful, customized look for the kitchen.

By: Ana White

Materials Needed:

  • cabinet doors with panel insert
  • LEXAN glass sheets, 1/8" thick
  • utility knife or plastic cutting knife
  • clear silicone
  • Phillips screwdriver
  • measuring tape
  • carpenter's square or straightedge
  • circular saw
  • wood chisel
  • safety glasses
  • hearing protection
  • painters' tape

Remove Doors

Remove cabinet doors, place existing hardware in a plastic bag and label doors and cabinets openings with painters' tape, numbering them to make re-assembly easier. Note: This tutorial is for replacing cabinet door panels with LEXAN glass. The cabinet must be constructed with a frame surrounding a panel, like the cabinet in the diagram.

Installing Glass Inserts to Kitchen Cabinets: Remove Cabinets and a Diagram for Measuring

Installing Glass Inserts to Kitchen Cabinets: Remove Cabinets and a Diagram for Measuring

Step 1 in installing glass inserts to kitchen cabinets is to remove cabinet doors, placing existing hardware in a plastic bag. Then, label the doors and cabinet openings with painters' tape, numbering them to make re-assembly easier. Note: This tutorial diagram is for replacing cabinet door panels with LEXAN glass. The cabinet must be constructed with a frame surrounding a panel, like the cabinet in the diagram.

Measure Doors

Remove doors from the cabinet and inspect top edge of the door. Each door will have a tongue-and-groove joint. First, measure width of groove on inside of cabinet then measure depth of groove on the cabinet. In example shown, depth of groove is 1/2-inch and width is 1/4-inch.

Installing Glass Inserts to Kitchen Cabinets: Measuring the Doors

Installing Glass Inserts to Kitchen Cabinets: Measuring the Doors

Step 2 in installing glass inserts to existing paneled cabinets is to measure the doors. Remove the doors from the cabinet and inspect the top edge of the door. Each door will have a tongue-and-groove joint. First, measure width of groove on the inside of cabinet then measure its depth of groove. In example shown, the depth of groove is 1/2-inch and its width is 1/4-inch.

Mark Doors

On back of cabinet, mark doors in from the inside of the frame the depth of the groove. Use carpenter's square to mark all sides.

Installing Glass Inserts to Kitchen Cabinets: Mark the Cabinet Doors

Installing Glass Inserts to Kitchen Cabinets: Mark the Cabinet Doors

Step 3 in installing glass inserts to existing paneled kitchen cabinets is to mark the doors. On the back of the cabinets, mark the doors from the inside of the frame the depth of the groove. Use a carpenter's square to mark all the sides.

Cut Out Panels

Adjust circular saw cutting depth to depth taken in previous step. With eye and hearing protection, carefully cut marked lines with circular saw. Tip: Use a clamp to secure the door to the work surface.

Installing Glass Inserts to Kitchen Cabinets: Cut Out Panels

Installing Glass Inserts to Kitchen Cabinets: Cut Out Panels

Step 4 in installing glass inserts to existing paneled cabinets is to cut out the panels for the glass. Adjust the circular saw cutting depth to the depth taken in previous step. With eye and hearing protection, carefully cut marked lines with the circular saw. Tip: Use a clamp to secure the door to the work surface.

Chisel Corners

Use a wood chisel to cut corners free.

Installing Glass Inserts to Kitchen Cabinets: Chisel Cut Corners Free

Installing Glass Inserts to Kitchen Cabinets: Chisel Cut Corners Free

After cutting the marked lines of the cabinet with a circular saw, Step 5 in inserting glass panels to existing paneled cabinets is to chisel to cut corners free. Use a wood chisel for this step.

Remove Wood Panel

With the wood chisel, pry wood panel free of cabinet frame. Remove panel and measure dimensions.

Installing Glass Inserts to Kitchen Cabinets: Removing the Wood Panel

Installing Glass Inserts to Kitchen Cabinets: Removing the Wood Panel

Step 6 in installing glass inserts to existing paneled cabinets is to remove the wood panel. With a wood chisel, pry the wood panel free of the cabinet frame. Remove the panel and measure its dimensions.

Cut LEXAN Glass

Mark dimensions of plywood insert on LEXAN glass. Using plastic cutting knife or utility knife, score LEXAN glass halfway through then snap LEXAN glass on scored lines. Tip: Clamp a straight board to the LEXAN glass and use as a scoring edge.

Installing Glass Inserts to Kitchen Cabinets: Cut LEXAN Glass

Installing Glass Inserts to Kitchen Cabinets: Cut LEXAN Glass

Step 7 in installing glass inserts to existing paneled cabinets is to cut LEXAN glass. Mark the dimensions of the plywood insert on the LEXAN glass. Using a plastic cutting knife or utility knife, score the LEXAN glass halfway through, then snap the LEXAN glass on scored lines. Tip: Clamp a straight board to the LEXAN glass and use it as a scoring edge.

Apply Silicone

Apply clear silicone to interior door frame. Note: The cabinet was first painted white, this is an optional step.

Installing Glass Inserts to Kitchen Cabinets: Apply Silicone

Installing Glass Inserts to Kitchen Cabinets: Apply Silicone

Step 8 in installing glass inserts to existing paneled cabinets is to apply clear silicone to the interior door frame. Note: The cabinet was first painted white; this is an optional step.

Insert LEXAN Glass

Carefully insert LEXAN glass into frame, pressing glass firmly into frame. Wipe excess silicone off face of glass and allow to dry. Hang cabinet doors using hardware removed in the first step.

Installing Inserts to Kitchen Cabinets: Inserting the Glass

Installing Inserts to Kitchen Cabinets: Inserting the Glass

Step 9 in installing glass inserts to existing paneled cabinets is to insert the glass. Carefully insert LEXAN glass into frame, pressing the glass firmly into the frame. Wipe any excess silicone off the face of the glass and allow the silicone to dry. Hang the cabinet doors using the hardware removed in the first step of the process.

More from:

Fast Fix: Kitchens

On TV

Follow Us Everywhere

Join the party! Don't miss HGTV in your favorite social media feeds.