half door tutorial

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Dutch or Split Door Tutorial Using a Hollow Core Door..step by step instructions. PERFECT for dogs and toddlers! ;)For the Pinterest challenge I had shown you my laundry room door that I made into a split door. And today, I’m going to show you how we made it.  My parents were visiting, so my Dad did most of the construction for this project.

Here’s our dutch door tutorial using a hollow core door!

We started with a the standard, builder, hollow core door.

We decided where we wanted to cut the door (slightly above the handle) and made sure that after we gave the allowance for the ledge, we wouldn’t cut into the door panels.  This cut will be a matter of preference, but make sure you account for the extra ledge measurement.

Tip:  To make a straight cut without a table saw, use a straight board as a guide.

We used a 1×2″ popular board for the ledge, so we marked that with an 1/8″ clearance above the first cut.

Tip:  A 1×2 is actually 3/4″ x 1 1/2″.  Anna White has a great resource to help you with these measurements here.


It’s also helpful to keep the door supported with some scrap wood as you cut.  It will keep the hollow core door from splintering if it happens to fall the slightest.  Just cut a little then move the boards as you go OR set your blade to where it will cut through the door but not completely through the supports.

To make the ledge we cut down a 2×2 piece of scrap to fit into the center of the door and screwed it to the underside of the 1×2. This fits snugly into the door without having to secure it.

We needed to add one extra hinge on the bottom portion of the door.  If you have a router, you can purchase a template with a router bit for around $25, which would make this super easy.  I on the other hand, have a router but didn’t want to spend $25 on a tool I would probably never use again… so I found a punch template in the hardware section of the home improvement store, next to the hinges. (for about $6)

You just hit it with a hammer and it leaves a mark, like the one below.  Then you can chisel it out.  The “wood” is so soft, you can even use a flat head screwdriver to chisel it out.

To hang it, attach the hinge to the top of the door.  Put the hinge  and pin in place on the bottom of the door (this will line it up for you) and then attach the top hinge to the door frame using wood screws.

We added a little piece of trim under the ledge, but you don’t have to.

Lastly, we added a locking mechanism on the back to keep the top and bottom together when I want the door completely closed.

Now I just need to be patient!  We plan on getting a new washer and dryer some time this year, then the whole (meaning very small) laundry room will finish getting it’s makeover!




Here’s the finished laundry room!!!  To see the whole thing, click here.

For more budget friendly projects, check out these post (click on image):

Planked entryway-1-10


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      • Diane says

        I’m thinking it would be nice for a front door, especially as we live in a small bungalow. Now to talk my husband into this idea. We just moved in after remodeling it for over 2 years :)

  1. Cara Evans says

    Great tutorial! I want a Dutch Door for keeping our dogs in the bedroom when we have friends over who don’t want a dachshund in their lap! I was afraid I’d need to replace our hollow core door with a solid wood door; I’m so happy to see that’s not necessary!

  2. CarlWaterbury says

    Thank you for this. I have been looking for a way to build a half door because I don’t want to pay $400 in the store.

  3. Emily Jo says

    Beautiful! I did not realize this could be done, functionally, and look so fabulous, with a hollow door. “Oh, Huneeeeee….!”

  4. Ben P says

    Also if you’re super cheap, just trace your hinge on the door using a pencil, then use your chisel and go around the line using the chisel like a punch and outline the hinge first then chisel out the recess.

  5. nathan says

    Great post – be nice to have a ( bullet list ) supplies list and number of people required and time required – But great post…thank you

  6. Ginny says

    This is gorgeous! And a great tutorial. I am an infant and toddler teacher, and I am doing this to my classroom door this weekend! My question is.. What did you do to the bottom of the top part of the door? Did you fill it with wood like the top of the bottom half before you added the ledge?

  7. Lauren says

    Hi! I love this idea…I’m moderately handy, so I was going to attempt to do this myself – what I’m not understanding though (and maybe I missed it somewhere), but how is there room to add the shelf board in the middle and still have the door close? Do you cut the door twice so that there is an extra inch gap?


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