DIY Barn Door Hardware from Washers

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How to build barn door hardware using washers and flat bar for about $15.  Tutorial by

We all love barn door anything, but the high cost of hardware can be prohibitive.  In this tutorial, I'll show you how we DIYed our own barn door hardware the absolutely least expensive way using all new off the shelf materials.  And it's pretty easy to make too, with just a drill and a jigsaw and some spray paint.

The barn door hardware is made up of two parts - the rail and the rollers.  The rail is attached to the cabinet.  The rollers are attached to the door and roll along the rail.


The Rail - Barn Door Hardware DIY

Let's start with the rail.

To make the rail track, simply use 1" wide flat metal bar, available at most any hardware store, for about $10 for six feet.  You'll need some leftover flat metal bar for the roller pieces too.  For our 4 foot wide project, I purchased a six foot long piece.

Using a drill bit designed for metal, drill holes to mount the flat metal bar to the cabinet.  Since we were using 1/4" bolts, we used a 1/4" drill bit to drill the holes.  You'll need to drill holes every two feet or so - we did three holes for a four foot wide cabinet.  Do place your holes where it makes sense in mounting to the cabinet.

The rail needs to be set off the cabinet so the door has room to pass.  You can find spacers at most any hardware store.  The spacer length should be equal to the thickness of your door panel - our door was 1" thick, so we used a 1" spacer.  

You'll also need washers, a bolt and locking nut.  We used 1/4" size.

For the bolt that attaches the rail to the cabinet, a flatter head is more desireable, so it doesn't cause the sliding door to catch.  If you can't find a flat head bolt, a round head will do.  And if you must use a hex head, just add some washers on your door rollers (see below) so the door can pass over the bolt head.

Rail Supply List

  • 1" wide x 1/8" thick  Flat Metal Bar
  • 1/4" bolt, 1" longer than cabinet header thickness plus spacer length
  • Spacers, same length as door thickness
  • 1/4" washers (get a few extra, you'll need them)
  • 1/4" locking washers
  • Jigsaw with metal blade
  • 1/4" Drill bit for drilling metal



The Rollers - Barn Door Hardware DIY

The rollers are so simple!  Here's how we put them together -

We started with a piece of flat metal bar cut with a jigsaw 8" long.  We drilled three holes in each flat metal bar, one at the top for attaching the roller wheel, and two at the bottom for attaching the door.

The roller is made up of two 2" fender washers, with a 1/4" hole in the center.  In between the larger fender washers are smaller 1-1/2" fender washers.  We used three.

We placed washers on the outsides of the larger fender washers to prevent the wheel from rubbing on the bar and scratching paint off.

Finally, a 1/4" bolt, 1-1/4" long is the "axel" - all the parts are placed on the bolt and a locking nut holds it all on.  Leave the locking nut loose enough so the "wheel" can spin freely.

If you have a two minutes, I show you how to put this together in this video-

If this is at all confusing, the video will definitely clarify it all.

Roller Supply List

  • 1" wide x 1/8" thick flat metal bar, cut to 8" lengths (two needed per door)
  • 1/4" bolt, 1-1/4" long
  • 1/4" washers (the same used for hanging the rail)
  • 1/4" locking nut (the same used for hanging the rail)
  • 2" x 1/4" fender washers
  • 1-1/2" x 1/4" fender washers
  • jigsaw for cutting flat metal bar
  • drill with metal drill bit for drilling holes in flat metal bar
  • You'll also need bolts or lag screws to attach the door to the flat metal bar - this will depend on your door thickness and construction


Just to make your life easier, here's a printable supply list that you can print out to figure out exactly what you need.

And you can also watch our video tutorial

And the project video where we built the cabient that for the barn door -


And oh yes! You can build the snack cabinet - free plans are here.


Please do share if you make this hardware, we love seeing your results too!




Tape Measure
Speed Square
Safety Glasses
Hearing Protection
Drill Bit Set



Thu, 11/08/2018 - 07:10

Like a dummy I started a project and didn't really account for the size of the "Rollers" and I framed my piece with 1x2 not 1x4, but I will have a 1.5 inch thick concrete topper on my desk with about 3 inch clearing total, can you forsee a problem of reucing the washer size from 2 inch down to 1.5 inch so I have clearance?  Im my brain it doesn't seem like it would cause a issue. 

Brian Famous

Fri, 11/09/2018 - 05:06

As long as your outer washers are larger than the inner washers you should be fine.  If they are all the same size there won't be anything to keep the "wheel" tracking on the bar.


Another option, which is what I've used multiple times on my DIY barn door hardware, is to go buy a 1.5" pulley from your local hardware store, and take the wheel out.  It's a little more "expensive" (< $5) but it works like a charm.


Good Luck in your project!

In reply to by Xocheeta75

Brian Famous

Tue, 12/18/2018 - 09:10

You absolutely can paint the pulleys any color you wish.  Though, since they are metal the number one key to a successful paint job is surface preparation.  Once you have the wheels out, you'll want a clean rag to wipe the oil off of the outside surfaces.  Then you'll want to use some steel wool in them to scuff up the surface to provide a better adhesion.   Then prime, then paint.


You can skip all of that and just go straight to paint, but the paint will chip off after limited usage due to the oils on the metal from the manufacturer that help prevent them from rusting.


Good luck!


Wed, 12/02/2020 - 23:18

PLEASE HELP!! I'm making a tv stand I saw on another page of yours. The stand has the exact same set up as your barn door hardware. When I attached the rollers to the door and placed the wheel on the rail the bottom of my doors are sticking out, they aren't hanging straight up & down. What can I do to fix this? Do I need the rail to come out further than it does?