I built this wooden bench outside the kitchen door in around 2014-15, and later thought if I added doors it might make a nice little storage area for gardening tools and seeds and so on. Plain doors on hinges would’ve worked, but they would’ve taken up more space to open and would’ve clashed with the opening of the screen-door over the kitchen door, so I decided to make sliding doors instead. This was the first time I’d ever made something like this, and I’m quite pleased with the result!

It’s perhaps worth noting that to make this, I used no fancy metal railings, casters, wheels or catches – or handles – just plain wood off-cuts and a few screws.

The first thing I did was to measure the space I needed to fit the doors into – and then set out making the slots the doors would run in. Since there are two doors moving past each other, I needed to make two separate channels, so I chose two bits of plank wide enough to accommodate the width of two doors AND the strips that would guide them.

I used bits of quarter-round and 2x2cm pine to make the strips and attached them to the plank to make the bottom frame. I then repeated the process to make an identical top frame. Then I needed to make the doors. I used a pair of old melamine or veneered chipboard cupboard doors for this purpose, and using the measurements I made previously (and after rechecking them) I cut them to size.

Then I test-fitted the whole assembly in situ under the bench, first placing the bottom frame, then the doors in the grooves, and then adding the top frame on top of the doors. If the measurements were dead-on, the whole thing should ease comfortably under the bench top. There’s more than likely going to be some adjustment needed. These are sliding doors after all, so they need to have freedom of movement in order to slide freely from side to side along the grooves!

Since there’s a gap between the doors (the center guide strip), you might want to attach another strip to one of the doors above that strip along the vertical edge of the door – either to the front of the back door, or to the back of the front door! That will reduce the passage of dust (and bugs) into the gap. There, not confusing at all, is it?

I had to adjust the upper or lower edges of the doors a few times to get the fit just right before I finally fitted the assembly. I pre-drilled mounting holes through both frames before starting. Then, in place, I marked the position of the bottom frame on the cement stoop floor under the bench – a nail or marker pen will do. Then I drilled the holes – three of them – in the cement, using a masonry drill bit to match size of the plastic wall-plugs. Then I inserted the plugs and screwed down the lower frame.

The upper frame was a little harder to mount, as I had to do that with the doors in the grooves. Once I’d assembled the lot and slid the top frame in place under the bench, I slid both doors over to the same side, and lying down on my back, used the cordless screwdriver to secure the upper frame to the bottom surface of the bench with wood screws, one at a time, moving the doors so that I could reach each hole in turn.

I made a pair of handles from bits of broom handle and fitted them with screws.

The finished cupboard keeps unsightly gardening items out of sight, and also out of reach of pets!

I hope this inspires you to come up with creative ideas of your own! 🙂

Pictures below – enjoy!


If you’d like to send Christina Engela a question about anything on this site, or her life as a writer or transactivist, please send an email to christinaengela@gmail.com or use the Contact form on her author website.

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