A stylish outdoor storage space: a new shelving unit made from an old panelled door

A DIY shelving unit made out of a door stands on a roofed patio in front of a wooden house. Floating planters and lamps hang from the ceiling. The patio also features a seating area.
This is how the DIY shelving unit looks – and it will instantly make your patio look a lot cosier.

  • Difficulty
    medium
  • Cost
    100-200 £
  • Duration
    3 - 8 h

Introduction

Is it possible to make a stylish shelving unit out of an old door? Definitely!
It doesn't matter whether you want to keep it in the garden, on the patio or on a large balcony: this shelving unit will be a stylish piece of outdoor furniture. And when you've finished making it, you won't just have built a new unique piece of furniture, you'll also have a new storage area for your flower pots, lanterns and magazines.

You need
Utilities
  • work gloves
  • paint brush
  • measuring tape
  • face mask
  • ear plugs
  • safety glasses
  • floor protector or cover sheets
  • Set square
  • paint roller
  • screw clamps
  • pencil
Materials
  • Old wooden panelled door
  • 2 pieces of square timber which are slightly shorter than the door
  • 4 pieces of square timber which are as wide as the door panels (1 piece of square timber per shelf)
  • 1 piece of square timber: 250 x 3.8 x 3.2 cm (L x W x H)
  • Wood paint, chalk paint in white: approx. 750 ml
  • Dark wood paint: approx. 750 ml
  • Clear varnish: approx. 345 ml
  • Protective sheet
  • 4 screws: 4 x 70 mm (D x L)
  • 2 screws: 4 x 80 mm (D x L)
  • 2 screws: 5 x 90 mm (D x L)
  • 4 screws per shelf: 3.5 x 35 mm (D x L)
  • 2 screws per shelf: 4 x 70 mm (D x L)
L: Length, W: Width, H: Height, D: Diameter

Let's go - step by step

Step 1 5

Cut out the panels

A man uses a NanoBlade saw to cut a panel out of a wooden door that has been secured to a sawhorse using screw clamps.
First, the panels are carefully cut out of the door.
A NanoBlade saw cuts along the outer edge of the panel.
The panels of the old door will be used as shelves.

You need: safety glasses, screw clamps, ear protectors, wooden panelled door, wood waste

To start with, cut the panels out of the old wooden door. Remember to put on safety goggles and ear defenders and secure the door using screw clamps before you start cutting it. To ensure the panels don't come loose after you've finished cutting them out or fall on your feet, you can secure them before you start. Then simply place the longer pieces of wood waste under the door so that they support the panels from below. Secure the wooden plank beforehand using screw clamps and ensure that it's not in the way when you're cutting it. Keep the panels after cutting them out. You'll need these to make the shelves for your outdoor shelving unit.

Step 2 5

Sand down the panels and the door

A man uses a multi-sander to sand down one side of a panel for the shelving unit. He's wearing a face mask.
To make sure there are no splinters on your DIY shelving unit, sand down all the sawn-off edges.
A multi-sander is used to sand down the side of the panel evenly.
Sand down the wooden pieces of your shelving unit so they're easier to paint and varnish later.

You need: Multi-sander, face mask, safety glasses, ear protectors, screw clamps

Now sand down the pieces of your outdoor shelving unit using a multi-sander. Make sure you only sand down the sawn-off edges of the panels and the door to maintain the used look of the old door. Firmly secure all the individual pieces of wood using screw clamps and put on safety goggles, a face mask and ear defenders before you start sanding.

Step 3 5

Mark the dimensions for the shelf legs

A man measures out the dimensions of a piece of square timber using a steel square.
When you're measuring out the dimensions of your shelving unit, ask someone to hold it steady for you.
The distances between the various panels/shelves are marked on a piece of square timber using a pencil.
Measure the distances precisely and make sure you mark the dimensions accurately on the pieces of square timber to ensure your DIY shelf won't wobble once it's complete.

You need: Set square, pencil, door, panels, 2 pieces of square timber that are slightly shorter than the door

To measure out the pieces of square timber accurately, lay them down on the ground or on your workbench first. Stand the door up on its side on a piece of square timber. Turn the lower side of the door a little bit away from the piece of square timber to create an acute angle between the door and the piece of square timber. Hold the lowest panel against the door frame where it was cut out earlier. The width of the lowest panel will determine the exact distance between the piece of square timber and the door. Both the door and the piece of square timber will need to be positioned precisely, because the panels which will form the shelves will be placed on horizontal pieces of wood secured against the piece of square timber. As soon as you've found the right angle, mark the exact height of each panel on the piece of square timber. Mark all of these dimensions on the second piece of square timber. The wooden cross bars should be the same length as the panels that have been cut out.

Step 4 5

Cut the shelf legs

The upper section of a piece of square timber is cut at an angle using a NanoBlade saw.
To ensure you can secure the shelf legs firmly against the door, you need to cut the two vertical pieces of square timber at an angle from above.
A cross bar is cut using a NanoBlade saw.
Cut the cross bars to the correct size.

You need: screw clamps, 2 long pieces of square timber, 4 short pieces of square timber

Thanks to shelf legs made of multiple pieces of square timber, your DIY shelving unit will be free-standing. But the top end of your outdoor shelving unit needs to fit neatly against the two vertical pieces of square timber. You can ensure they fit together nicely by cutting the two pieces of square timber at an angle using a NanoBlade saw. Afterwards, you can cut the cross bars. They should be the same length as the panels that will be used as shelves for the shelving unit. The cross bars will provide support for the shelves to keep them stable. So you need one cross bar per shelf. Use screw clamps here to ensure that the pieces of wood don't slip while you're cutting them.

Step 5 5

Put the legs and the door together

An impact drill is used to bore a hole into a piece of square timber that has been secured using screw clamps. The man uses his other hand to keep the wood stable.
Bore holes for the pieces of square timber to make it easier to screw them into the door.
A piece of square timber is screwed into a door that's lying on a workbench.
The new shelving unit slowly starts to take shape.
A point is measured out on a cross bar using a steel square. Then it's drawn on using a pencil.
The points at which you wll add the cross bars are measured out before they are drawn on.
A cross bar is screwed into a long wooden slat using a cordless combi drill.
Screw the cross bars into the vertical wooden slats – and you will be one step closer to completing your outdoor shelving unit.

You need: 2 screws: 4 x 70 mm, 2 screws: 4 x 80 mm, 2 screws: 5 x 90 mm, 2 screws per shelf: 4 x 70 mm

In this step, join the stabilising shelf legs and the door together. First, both long pieces of square timber are secured against the top outer section of the back of the door. Place the slats on the door so that they're at the same height as the panels which have been cut out. Where the door meets the piece of square timber, mark three points on the back of the pieces of square timber freehand, ensuring they are approx. 3 cm apart from one other. Drill three holes using a combi drill or an impact drill. Now secure the pieces of square timber against the door by using three screws of different lengths to drill into them from behind. The shortest screw (4 x 70 mm) goes into the top borehole, the second-longest screw (4 x 80 mm) goes in the middle, and finally the longest screw (5 x 90 mm) goes at the bottom.

Now mark the points on the long wooden slats where the cross bars will be secured. Secure the cross bars using screws by drilling through the side of the square timber into the cross bars. Now the four cross bars should be connected to both pieces of square timber like rungs on a ladder. They will help to keep your shelving unit stable.