How to Make a DIY Interior Dutch Door

Keep an eye on kids or pets by giving an existing interior door a split-level update.

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Dutch doors, also called double-hung doors or half doors, are divided in half horizontally so the bottom half can remain shut while the top half opens. Used in early New England as a way to let light in while keeping children close, the style works equally well for a modern-day kids' room. Modify an existing door to keep an eye on your child while they play or sleep safely in an enclosed space.

Materials Needed:

  • wooden interior door
  • 1 coordinating interior door hinge
  • chisel
  • measuring tape
  • pencil
  • woodworking router
  • woodworking clamps
  • circular saw
  • orbital sander
  • 6' long 1x6" pine plank
  • wood glue
  • nail gun
  • nails
  • drill
  • hammer
  • screwdriver
  • screws
  • quart of semigloss latex paint
  • paintbrush or paint roller
  • paint pan
  • drop cloth
  • damp cloth

Remove Door

Loosen door from door frame by inserting screwdriver up through bottom of hinge, tapping each bolt with hammer until it comes loose. Remove bolts, then remove door.

Mark Door Frame for Additional Hinge

Dutch doors require four hinges to ensure proper, safe function: two to support the top panel and two to support the bottom panel. Since standard interior doors come with three hinges, only one additional hinge needs to be added. Once the original door is removed, place the new hinge up against door frame roughly 30” above the floor.

Tip: A great height for a Dutch door bottom panel to sit is 4’ above the floor. In order for the bottom panel to stand 4’ tall, the extra hinge should be installed with the top of the hinge standing 36” above the floor.

Chisel Door Frame

In order for the additional hinge to be properly installed, the door frame will need to be chiseled, allowing the hinge to sit flush with the surface of the door frame. Start with the chisel pointed downward along marked lines.

Tip: As you create an indentation in the wood surface, change the position of the chisel upward until the notched-out surface for hinge is complete.

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