DIY Fluted Cabinet Doors

DIY Fluted Cabinet Doors
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Fluted cabinet doors can look great and all, but buying them from places like IKEA or The Home Depot can be a little expensive.

Luckily, you don’t have to buy brand new fluted cabinet panels to enjoy that nice and aesthetic ridged design in your kitchen and bathrooms. You can just make some on your own.

In this post, we’re going to be looking at a tutorial that you can follow to make some DIY fluted cabinet doors for your home. The steps in this tutorial are simple, and you don’t have to get a lot of fancy equipment or products in order to follow along.

What are Fluted Cabinet Doors?

But, before we get to the tutorial, let’s go over some of the basics of fluted wood cabinet doors. You can skip down to the steps if you’re already familiar with this stuff.

Fluted cabinet doors are basically cabinet doors that have multiple decorative, circular wood moldings arranged vertically on the front side. As a result of this ‘fluting’ technique, the cabinet doors appear to have circular tube-like shapes running down the front.

Fluted door panels can either have the moldings fitted on them from one edge to the other, or they can just be placed in specific patches or portions.

What are the Benefits of Fluted Cabinets?

The main and primary reason why people usually buy or make fluted cabinets is the aesthetic looks. Fluted cabinet doors look nice, and they can give your kitchen or bathroom a new and different look.

But, apart from the whole snazzy and decorative aspect, fluted doors can also provide benefits for particular situations and circumstances.

For example, the original doors of some cabinets could be prone to getting damaged by water. By fitting some water-resistance wood moldings on top of them, they could be made more durable.

What are the Benefits of Fluted Cabinets?


Similarly, if the doors of the cabinets in your kitchen are (for some reason) easily faded by smoke and vapors, you can add some ‘flutes’ to them from a hardier type of wood to avoid this issue.

DIY Fluted Cabinet Doors: The Tutorial

Now that we’re done with the basics, let’s move on to the tutorial for making DIY fluted cabinet doors.

Things You’ll Need

Here are the items that you will need to follow this tutorial to make some DIY fluted cabinet doors:

  1. Half-round wood moldings (available online)
  2. Tape measure
  3. Lead pencil
  4. Sandpaper
  5. Miter saw
  6. Glue
  7. Screwdriver/hand-drill
  8. 2-inch paintbrush (optional)
  9. Paint (optional)

Steps to Follow

Once you have all the items ready, here are the steps that you will have to follow to make the fluted cabinet doors.

Step 1: Remove Cabinet Doors

The first thing that you need to do is remove the cabinet doors. This applies if you’re going to be working on some existing cabinets, and aren’t going to be making some from scratch.

To remove the doors, you will have to use the screwdriver or the hand drill to undo the screws on the hinges. However, if the doors are installed in such a way that it is very difficult or impossible to remove them, you can leave them on.

The reason why it’s advisable to remove them is that they’re much easier to handle and work with if you can carry them around and put them on a workbench or a table. If you leave them on, you’ll have to deal with the surrounding obstructions and impediments throughout the process.

Step 2: Measure the Length of the Cabinet Doors

Next up, you’ll have to measure the length of the cabinet doors. Here, you should take care to measure every door individually. Even if it looks as if all the doors are equal in size, you should still measure them separately.

Measure the Length of the Cabinet Doors


There could be a minor difference of a couple of millimeters or centimeters in the length of the doors. If you were to measure just one of them and take it as a standard, you could end up with a little unevenness.

To measure the cabinet doors, you can use the tape measure. Be meticulous and don’t ignore the slight differences in the lengths. Any sort of irregularity in this sizing can ruin the look of the fluted cabinet doors later on.

Step 3: Prepare the Wood Moldings

Once you have the exact measurements of each door, you’ll need to get started with the wood moldings themselves.

First off, cut the length of the wood moldings for each cabinet door according to the latter’s precise measurement. You can measure the moldings using the tape and mark them using a lead pencil.

Don’t simply mark the moldings by placing them on top of the door and then drawing a line where the door ends. There is a chance of getting an inaccurate reading this way. You should only do this if the cabinet door is completely flat without any sort of borders.

For each door, you should only measure and mark one wood molding. You can take the length of this one molding as a standard for the others to be used on the same door.

Moving on, once you’ve marked the lengths of the moldings, you’ll need to cut them using the miter saw. Here, a good technique that you can try is to bundle up all the moldings that you’re going to use on a particular door, and cut them all together. Since the lengths of the moldings on a single door will be the same, you can cut them bundled together so that they’re all evenly sized.

Prepare the Wood Moldings


When cutting the moldings for the doors, you will also have to take into consideration the handle/knob of the cabinet. You will have to leave a gap in a few moldings where the knob or the handle will have to stick out. You can do this as per the exact design of the cabinets.

According to the width of your cabinets and the width of the moldings that you want to use for the fluting, you may need around 10 – 15 moldings per door. Once you have prepared all the moldings for every door, pair each door with their respective moldings and set them aside.

Step 4: Smooth Out Any Unevenness in the Moldings and the Surface of the Door

Once you are done with the above steps, you need to prep the doors and the moldings for the gluing process.

Lay the doors flat on a surface and run your hand on them a couple of times. If you feel any sort of unevenness like ridges or bumps, smooth them out using sandpaper. The same goes for the moldings. If you find any type of irregularity on the flat sides of the moldings (the sides that will have to be glued to the doors), carefully file them to make them flat.

However, when filing the moldings and the doors, you should take care not to overdo it. If you end up filing more than necessary, you could end up creating unevenness and irregularities in the fluted cabinet doors rather than fixing them.

Step 5: Glue the Moldings to the Cabinet Doors

Once all your doors and moldings are ready, take the moldings one by one and apply the glue lengthwise to them. Start from one end and run the glue down to the other end.

Here, be sure to only apply a thin streak of glue along the length of the moldings. If you apply too much glue, it will start to ooze out and it will cause problems later on when you’ve fitted the fluted cabinet doors back in place.

Glue the Moldings to the Cabinet Doors


After applying the glue to one molding, proceed to fit it on the cabinet door. Press it gently after fitting it in place so that it gets stuck nice and properly. Once it’s fixed and set, start with the other molding. In this way, complete the whole door and move on to the next one.

Let the doors sit face-up for a couple of hours after you’re done with all of them.

Step 6: Fit the Doors Back

This is the last step that you have to follow in this tutorial for creating fluted cabinet doors.

After all the doors have been successfully ‘fluted’, you will need to fit them back on the cabinets.

Optional Step: Paint the Doors

This is something optional that you can do if you feel like the existing color of the moldings is not fitting in with the rest of the place.

Although you can do this after fitting the fluted cabinet doors back onto their places, it’s better to do it while they’re off. For example, if you want to paint a fluted cabinet for kitchen while it’s fitted in place, there is a lot of chance for all the color to splash on the surrounding areas.

Once the glue has properly dried and all the moldings are firmly in place, simply paint the whole front of the doors using the 2-inch paintbrush. Depending on the color and type of paint that you’re using, you may have to apply a couple of coats to make it look properly and thoroughly done.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1.  What is a Fluted Finish?

A fluted finish is basically a styling technique in which semi-circular wood moldings are attached vertically on top of the furniture surface. This finish is commonly seen in fluted cabinet doors, drawers, shelves etc.

Although fluting can be done on any type of furniture, it is usually done on things like cabinets and vanities found in kitchens and bathrooms respectively.

2.  Is Fluted Furniture a Trend?

Yes, fluted furniture is a trend. In fact, it’s not only a trend but a fast-growing one.

Fluted furniture can look very aesthetic and stylish in places like bathrooms and kitchens. One of the main possible reasons why fluted furniture is gaining popularity is due to the fact that it can work exceptionally well in minimalistic kitchen and bathroom settings…which also happens to be a trend.

In other words, people nowadays like to have a clean and minimalistic look in their bathrooms and kitchens. This is usually done by adding a baring number of fixtures and furniture combined with light and floaty paint jobs. In this sort of setting, fluted cabinet doors and doors can be a great way to add an aesthetic touch to the place since they don’t look obstructive or out-of-place. They can blend right in with the whole minimalist theme.

3.  Can I Just Get New Cabinet Doors?

Yes, you can.

If you think that making some fluted cabinet doors yourself is too difficult or arduous, you can go right ahead and buy some pre-made from a reliable store like IKEA or The Home Depot.

Fluted cabinet doors IKEA are much more easily available since IKEA stores are operating in around 60 countries as of 2022.

4.  What is Fluting in Cabinetry?

Fluting is the technique of placing semi-circular wooden moldings vertically on the front of the cabinet. Fluting can also be done on furniture like drawers and shelves.

The main and primary function of fluting is to revitalize the looks of the cabinet. By adding some ‘flutes’ to the front of the cabinet doors, the existing worn-out material can get hidden.

Fluted cabinet doors are usually installed in places like kitchens and bathrooms.

5.  Is it Cheaper to Reface or Replace Cabinets?

It’s cheaper to reface cabinets as compared to replacing them. However, there are some aspects that have to be considered here.

If the cabinets in question are completely worn out and are just about to fall apart, then in such a case, it will be more economical to replace them. If you were to reface such cabinets, they wouldn’t last long and you’d have to end up spending money buying some new doors pretty soon. In this sort of situation, you’ll end up spending money on the reface job and on the replacement as well.

However, if the cabinets are holding up fine and just need to be given a new and fresh look, then you can go ahead and reface them.

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