How to Revamp Basic Kitchen Cabinetry with DIY Glass-Front Doors

Swap out solid cabinet doors for glass panels to give your kitchen a lighter, brighter look.

Glass-front cabinet doors create a lighter, more open feel compared to solid doors, plus they provide an opportunity to showcase pretty dishes or glassware inside. Even better, you don't have to embark on a major remodel to update your cabinetry with glass inserts. This simple DIY kitchen project involves removing the center panel from an existing cabinet door and securing a piece of glass inside the frame. You can order glass panels from most home improvement stores and glass shops, selecting between clear, frosted, seeded, or ribbed glass. Many stores will also cut the glass to your desired size for free or for a small fee. Use the following steps to learn how to make a glass-front cabinet door for a DIY kitchen upgrade.

gray and white kitchen with glass cabinet fronts
Edmund Barr

How to Make a DIY Glass-Front Cabinet Door

This project works best on cabinet doors that are constructed with a center panel and frame, as opposed to slab cabinet doors that are made of one solid piece.

What You Need

  • Cabinet door with center panel and frame
  • Screwdriver
  • Router
  • Chisel
  • Clamps
  • Sander and sandpaper
  • Tack cloth
  • Trisodium phosphate solution
  • Stain-blocking primer
  • Semigloss latex paint
  • Glass panel
  • Glass clips
  • Clear silicone adhesive (optional)
carving hole in cabinet frame
Brie Passano

Step 1: Remove the cabinet's panel.

Unscrew the door from the cabinet box and remove all hardware. Use a router to cut out the door's center panel. Using a wood chisel, carve out the rounded corners left by the router so right angles remain.

sanding wooden cabinet frame
Brie Passano

Step 2: Sand and paint the frame.

Clamp the frame to your work surface and sand the entire surface. Wipe away dust with a tack cloth. Clean the frame with a trisodium phosphate (TSP) solution to remove any remaining residue. Apply a stain-blocking primer, then coat with semigloss latex paint in your color of choice.

Step 3: Install the glass panel.

Measure the frame's opening and add an extra half-inch all around. Order a glass panel cut to these measurements from a glass shop, and be sure to have the edges of the glass smoothed. Set the piece of glass into the back of the frame.

white frame glass cabinet door
Brie Passano

Step 4: Secure the glass and re-install.

Secure the glass in the frame using glass clips. If the glass shifts in the frame, apply small beads of clear silicone adhesive ($5, The Home Depot) along the perimeter of the frame to hold the glass in place. Wipe away any silicone from the face of the glass. Re-attach cabinet hardware and fasten the door to the cabinet frame.

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