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How To Make An Arched Door

April 07, 2017

Disclosure
Creating custom doors for arches is easier than you think. Just pull a door off the shelf and follow the easy DIY tutorial.

Unpainted French Door On Home Depot Sales Floor

It's no secret that my house is old.

Very, very old.

It's part of its charm and one of the main reasons we fell in love with it.

It has quirky features and architectural details that you just don't find in modern homes.

Like the archway leading into my living room
It's lovely and adds a bit of grandeur to our modest little home, and while I totally adore it, it did make the idea of adding a door quite impossible.

At first anyway.

Our last cottage was super sweet, but essentially one large space, kitchen, dining and living room, all combined. I learned very quickly that open floor plans were not for me.

I liked being separated from the kids' tv choices and they did not want to hear my phone conversations while I cooked.

So I was thrilled with the floor plan of our current home when I first saw it. There were a few tiny rooms where everyone could find a little peace if necessary and one large kitchen area for togetherness, if we desired.

Fabulous.

And that's just how it worked out, until the piano arrived. And the guitars.

And the bass...and ukulele. Oh yes, and the microphones when Kelly and Kat started recording their own music.

Burl Walnut Antique Player Piano with rooster pillow on bench

My living room, became a music room and in a house with very limited square footage, sound travels everywhere.

We needed doors.

Unfortunately, that archway was a giant impediment.

Custom arched doors for a less than perfect arched doorway, that was created long before building permits and inspectors existed, were way more  money than we were willing to pay.

And off the shelf doors for arches don't exist. So my husband and I put our heads together and came up with a solution that solved our problem for a price we could afford.

Ok, so here's what we did.

Cottage style living room with arched French doors painted white

How To Create Doors For Arches or Archways

1. Grab Stock Doors

We knew that we wanted glass French doors leading into the living room.

I wanted the room to feel open and accessible to the rest of the house, but the only glass doors at the store were rectangular and we did not need corners.

Home Depot Interior Pine French Door in the store

So we thought about trimming them, but there wasn't enough wood to create an arch if we trimmed the top of the door.

Jeld Wen Interior Pine French Door at Home Depot

But there was plenty of wood to do that at the bottom.

Jeld Wen French Glass Paned Interior Wooden Door on floor at Home Depot

2. Flip The Doors Upside Down


So our solution was to buy two interior wooden French doors and turn them upside down and trim the corners to create an arch.

A simple flip and we were set to go.

We called the manufacturer to make sure that the door was solid and not hollow ~ because that wouldn't work. When we got confirmation, we got busy.

3. Create A Template


To ensure the arch was perfect, my husband used a large piece of cardboard and created a template of the doorway.

He simply held the cardboard up to the arch and traced the arc with a pencil onto it.

4. Cut


He traced it on the doors and cut the wood with his saw.

He cut. Not me.

He's the big DIY doer around here, folks. I'm just the creative dreamer.

The closest I get to a power tool is my sewing machine and even there I have mixed results.

5. Add A Stop Moulding


Once the doors had been cut to the proper size and shape, he prepared the arch by adding a PVC stop moulding.

Hand with blue fingernail paint pointed out PVC door moulding

The PVC is very flexible, so it bent around the arch with ease. He nailed it into place and filled the nail holes with wood putty.

Silver Hinges On An Arched Doorway

6. Add Hinges

Then he added hinges and hung the doors.

Our doors open into the room, so they are mounted on that side of the arch.

Small Glass Door Knobs on white painted wooded French door

I picked out some pretty knobs and that was that.

Well, almost that...

Unpainted French Door in living room next to small table and stone fireplace

Our beautiful arched doors sat unpainted for about a year. Or two.

I lost count, but it was way too long.

The archway had been painted white decades ago, so the doors needed to match. Eventually he took them down and painted them on sawhorses in the garage.

Painting A Glass Paneled Door

It was neither a quick nor easy job, so I handed that one over to him as well. And look ma, no tape.  Is this guy talented or what?

Text overlay saying DIY Door For An Archway in cottage style living room

In the end, we got a fabulous set of custom wood arched French doors for our living room just by flipping two stock doors upside down.

Amazing.

And I think they look that way, too.

Now, when I want to listen to music, I just open the doors and let the sound drift through the house.

And when I don't.

Well. You know.

Text overlay how to create a custom arched door for less on unfinished French doors in Home Depot

Are you a creative DIYer?

  1. Kim, I knew you (and hubby) were very talented and capable and you just proved it. What a great solution to your problem and it looks just like it was supposed to be like that all along. I love your cottage. It has so many great details..Have a great weekend..xxoJudy

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    1. Thanks so much, Judy. We love a challenge and this house has certainly provided plenty! ;) I always appreciate your sweet words.

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  2. I learn something from you all the time. What a great idea! It looks great, Kim! Thank you for sharing.I had to chuckle at the line about an archway before building inspectors existed. LOL,

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    1. Oh Carla, no inspectors! The arch is certainly not perfect. It’s sturdy, but not straight! ;)

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  3. Very clever. It looks really nice. I have two arches too but not where I would be adding a door so this time I will not be copying your cleverness. How nice that you have a musical family. What a blessing that is. My girls were in band and now their band instruments sit unused in a bedroom. I am hoping that they will pick them up again at some point.

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    1. Music is a lifelong skill (that I do not possess!) and I am sure that someday they will pick it up again! :)

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  4. You (guys) did it again! Wonderful way to get an arch. Question: Was it a blank door, i.e. no holes for the door knobs?

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    1. Thanks Nancy! Yes, it was a blank door.

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  5. Very nice! Very creative. It's also very nice to have such a handy husband! We do have a nice handy man named Jim that had to do a similar thing to our side porch to fit a new door into an old, non-standard opening. He did a great job and I painted the framing. No hubby involved!!

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    1. It is nice to have a handy husband, AnnMarie. Plus he enjoys it. I think that's real key! ;)

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  6. You and your hubby go together like "biscuits and gravy" ... just love how you both are such do-it-yourselfers. I love your projects and they seem to never break the budget. Enjoy your weekend. Hugs ♥ Teri

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    1. I guess we really do have the a lot of the same interests, Teri. A matched set…on a budget! ;)

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  7. Hi Kim, wow the door looks wonderful. What a great idea and looks like it was this way all along. You and your hubby are so talented. Thanks for sharing. Have a nice weekend.

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    1. Thanks for the visit, Celestina Marie. We had fun with this one. I love it when things work out! :)

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  8. What a creative idea and your doors look beautiful! Kim, I would love a tour of your house with all its interesting nooks and crannies. I'm like you too...never go near a power tool. That's my husband's department.

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    1. It does have some crannies, that's for sure, Florence...and yes, power tools are his department. And I'm fine with that! ;)

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  9. Necessity is the mother of invention! Fabulous idea, and it looks perfect.

    My husband would have taped the doors before painting, while I would have done what your dh did. A fairly steady hand is all it takes, and any paint that gets on the glass is easy to remove once it dries. A lot easier and less time consuming than painting!

    xxx

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    1. Exactly...necessity and being cheap are very motivating!! ;) And thanks, Doreen! xo

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  10. That was some amazing "thinking outside the box"~ It looks remarkable! I'm not brave enough to be the cutter, either. :)

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    1. Ha...yes, not the cutter that is for sure!! And thanks Nancy!! :)

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  11. How pretty! You two are so creative.
    Brenda

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    1. Thanks Brenda. We work well off of each other...

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  12. Quite the team . . .
    Perfect solution . . .
    Doors, arch. . . Look great . . .

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    1. Thanks Lynne. We do work well together! :)

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  13. Oh my word, what a creative solution! The doors look fantastic in the archway. You are smart!

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    1. Thanks Stacey! I can't take all the credit. It was a joint effort kind of project. ;)

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  14. Genius idea! You are very clever. The door looks great!

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    1. Thanks Angela. We're very happy with it...and I'll pass your kind words on to my husband, too. :)

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  15. Fantastic idea! You did a wonderful job and what a creative solution. Something you won't find in a NEW house anywhere. I love it. Have a great upcoming DIY week! xo Diana

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    1. Thanks Diana! It's always important to me that we keep the original feel of the home whenever we alter something here. This was an easy solution. Thank goodness for handy hubbies!

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  16. What a clever solution! Genius!

    I love the charm that arched door way brings to your home.

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    1. Thanks Deanna. It was fun to find a solution that worked and looks original. :)

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  17. I am completely impressed! I don't think I ever would have thought of that. And I think you know that I'm not an open concept living girl either, so I get it ;)

    xo

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    1. We're pretty cheap when it comes to home decor, so we were really looking for a solution. ;) And yes, I know you love those charming original spaces as much as I do! Great minds and all that. xoxo

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  18. Very creative, indeed! I love how you had the idea to flip the doors. Genius! Those knobs are darling too!

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    1. Thanks Lisa. It worked out very well, we’re very happy with it! The knobs were from Home Depot, too. Right off the shelf…love that. :)

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  19. Very clever, and they look so good....very professional!
    Hugs, Carol

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    1. Thanks Carol! I have to say, they are very functional, too.

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  20. They look like they were made for your house. Love them! You both are smart cookies! ;)

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    1. Thank you, Kristi! That is the ultimate compliment! :)

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  21. You and your husband are quite a team! Wow! I love what you did with this door, it looks amazing. So nice to get what you wanted at a fraction of the price... way to go :)

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    1. Thanks Marilyn. We are really happy with the way it turned out and even happier with the price! ;)

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    1. Thank you, Nancy! The is the perfect compliment for this cottage girl!! :)

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  23. Can you provide a bit more detail as to the PVC stop molding- I am trying to create a door for my 1950's cape. Full of arches! I am incredibly excited to have stumbled across this DIY!

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    1. Hi there, I'm so happy that you found this DIY helpful!! The PVC is standard, stop moulding from Home Depot. It's about 1 1/4 inches wide and 3/8 inches high. It's the finished moulding inside of the door opening that covers the space between the door and the frame, providing a stop for the door so it doesn't swing too far into the room when closed and also provides a finished look. I hope I'm being clear. If you have any other questions just let me know! Good luck...your home sounds super charming!

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  24. What a beautiful doorway! Love the arch look

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  25. WOW, you did a great job. I love old houses so much character to them.

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