How to install a cabinet door in 8 simple steps

Installing a cabinet door is a very easy and functional activity and can be done with the help of few easy-to-use tools. While the need to install a door may not be so frequent, this tutorial will help when you have a creaking / broken door that needs replacement. Considering this is the first DIY tutorial on Woodooz, I would appreciate any comment/ feedback. Feel free to drop in your opinions. 
This tutorial is also useful if you are specifically looking for details on how to install door hinges / European cup hinges. Note: Click on the pictures for a bigger / clearer view if required

1,2:Cabinet identification,Materials reqd 3. Plywood door dimension 4. The European Cup Hinge
5. Mark Points to Secure Hinge 6,7 Bore hole, Install door 8. Add more hinges

Step 1 - Identifying the Cabinet
Step 2 - Materials Required

Step 1 : Identify Cabinet Needing a door (Back to Top)
  • Identify the cabinet needing a door
  • Our TV stand turned Shoe Rack badly needed a door and was the obvious choice for this exercise. The rack is in the living room, and going by the contents in the cabinet, you can pretty much understand why this needed to be covered.
  • Measure the sides of the cabinet before buying the plywood for the door

Step 2 :Materials and Tools required
  1. Plywood for the door. Measured and cut to the required dimension
  2. Screw Driver
  3. European Cup hinge. At the local hardware store, you can ask for frame-less / hidden hinges
  4. Forstner Drill bit. 35mm diameter to drill hole for the hinge cup
  5. Electric drill - Most certainly a very useful tool to have in the house
  6. Some screws
  7. Paint / stain for the desired finish (Not part of this tutorial)
Step 3 - Plywood Door

Step 3 - Plywood door dimension (Back to Top)
  • The European hinges are primarily used when the hinge needs to be hidden and the frame of the cabinet is to be covered.
  • In this case, we wanted to install the door covering the frames
  • And hence, the dimension of the plywood while buying should be measured from frame to frame
  • In this case, 2 ft x 1 ft 7"
  • We usually get the wood cut at the plywood store for a nominal fee. So if you are doing the same, you may want to finish the work in just one visit which is where the dimensions play a crucial role

Step 4 - The hinge
Step 4 - The hinge
Step 4 - The European Cup Hinge (Back to Top)
  • The Euro hinges are known as hidden hinges and come with two distinct sections - One that gets fixed to the side of the cabinet while the other is sunk into the door
  • The cup needs to be comfortably housed into a hole drilled into the door. It is the cup portion of the hinge that opens and closes while the other section that is fixed on the side of the cabinet is static
  • These hinges are not visible from the outside and are hence also known as concealed or hidden hinges
  • They are primarily used when the frames of the cabinets need to be covered (as in our case). However, there are also other modes of installation where the frame can be visible
  • In India, Euro hinges are predominantly used for Kitchen cabinets. Some carpenters prefer the regular hinges for wardrobes because of the cost factor. Euro hinges are atleast 3-4 times costlier than the regular ones
Step 5 - Mark points and install
Step 5
Step 5 - Mark points on cabinet to secure hinge (Back to Top)
  • Place the hinge on the side of the wall to mark the points where the screws need to be driven
  • Drill a pilot hole on the marked points. A pilot hole is a small hole drilled to ease driving of screw into the wood. Hammering a nail / driving a screw directly into the wood may split the wood
  • The gap between the cup and the cabinet (shown in the picture above) should be around 3-5 mm. The more this gap, the more will be the eventual gap between the cabinet and the door which will look very ackward
Step 6 - Bore the hole for the cup
Step 7 - Install the door
Step 6 - Bore hole for the cup on the Plywood door (Back to Top)
  1. Using the forstner bit, drill a hole to the desired depth on the door. This hole would house the cup portion of the hinge.
  2. This should be drilled on the inner side of the door
  3. Ensure the gap between the edge and the hole is equal to the gap as described in step 5
  4. Once the hole depth can comfortably house the hinge, drive screws to secure the hinge to the door
  5. Now the hinge is fixed to the door using the cup. What is left now is to fix the other section of the hinge with the door to the side wall of the cabinet
Step 7 - Install the door
  • Fix the hinge now to the side wall of the cabinet ensuring the screws are driven on the points marked in step5
  • You may want to redo steps 5 and 6, if you are not satisfied with the installation
  • As you can see from the picture above (Step 6), we bore the wrong cup hole initially and took us another attempt to get it right
Step 8 - Add additional hinges
The final Look
Step 8 - Add more hinges as required (Back to Top)
  • Do remember that the entire weight of the door is being supported by the hinges
  • Normally for a cabinet of this size, two hinges would suffice
  • However, use your judgement to decide if more reinforcements are required
  • An 8 feet tall wardrobe will require a minimum of 4 hinges for the necessary strength. Considering cost factors, some carpenters stop with 3 hinges.
For the final look
  • Stain or paint as per your needs. We used stain for this door which is still work in progress.
  • Install a knob / handles. There are many varieties available in the market
  • Stick a piece of scorch-bite to the inside edge of the door to prevent noise when the door is slammed

Do drop in your feedback and suggestions. Do you think there are things that could have been explained better ? What did you like and not like about this DIY ? Share your thoughts.

Note : You can also view this DIY @ Instructables
You can also download the pdf version of this DIY here

- Somu

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  1. Really!! Wow!! Wow!! This is truly awesome!! Thanks for linking in..

  2. Hi Patricia, Glad that you like it... and we are very thankful to you for giving us the opportunity to link up :)

    Not yet,thanks :) It is very heartwarming to know that u liked it.

  3. Wow..U guys are quite the DIY people!! this is so good..:)
    Thank you for visting my blog and commenting on the post. answer to your question. Its not on the dining table..but the seating hardly any spills..but u can always coat the paint with varnish and let air-dry for an appropriate amount of time!

  4. Hi Poonam,

    Thanks for dropping by... Really appreciate your feedback.

    It is indeed a wonderful idea to do a painting on top of desks and other furniture. I would love to try that out sometime too !!!

  5. This is awesome, Thanks for taking the time to post this!

  6. You really have a great idea....thanks for the post!!!

  7. just an question??? if cost is not the factor..which hinges would you prefer a traditional L-hinge or the european cup hinge?why?



    1. Hi Pravin,

      For indoor cabinets, European cup hinge is what I prefer. I like it for the fact that the hinge is not visible from outside. It also allows for the cabinet frame to be hidden which is something I love. Hiding the frame though relates to personal taste and some may have differing opinion on this.

      And naturally, these are not suited for regular doors or gates where traditional hinges score over cup hinge.


  8. Somu,

    After reading your article I was able to fix the euro hinges on my kitchen cabinet. One only needs a variable speed drill, it was so easy. The adjustment screws on the hinge ensure that the fit is perfect.

    Some time ago, I had a carpenter replace two of my old hinges. He tool 200 Rs and his work was shoddy. My work was much better than his.

    Thanks a lot.

    - Rajiv

    1. Hi Rajiv,

      Thanks a lot for the feedback. I always thought the quality of this post was not upto the mark because of the pictures (low quality taken from mobile). Been wanting to redo this entire post sometime. Am so glad that you found it useful for your own need :) The purpose of this post is now met :)

      Finding a carpenter to do something as small as this by itself is painful... and there is nothing to beat the pleasure of doing it oneself. Hope to see you here often.


  9. hi, can someone tell me where i can buy these hinges online?

  10. Hi Emmanuel, Not sure where you can buy it online. However, if you are in India, you can check out at the hardware store next street :) Just ask for Cup Hinges / Hidden hinges.

  11. I changed out all the hinges in my kitchen to European style and have some tips on my blog as well:

  12. I changed out all the hinges in my kitchen to European style and have some tips on my blog as well:

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  17. How I wish everybody knew these things! That way, nobody will depend highly on the "easy-to-install" but not that good Ikea cabinets!

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  19. This is gonna be super helpful the next time I need to fix my cabinet door. I just order a new European hinges, can't wait to fix myself up with this awesome project.


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