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January 14, 2009

DIY Cabinet Moulding

Cabinet doors can be easily detailed with wood moulding for a panelled effect that will improve the look of your entire kitchen. These cabinets were treated to a fresh coat of paint, masking the existing fake wood-grain finish. Follow these steps to start your own cabinet makeover.


  • Wood filler
  • Sandpaper
  • Standard panel moulding (used here, 3/8” thick x 3/4” wide)
  • 3/4″ finishing nails
  • Primer
  • Melamine, oil or latex paint


  • Ruler or tape measure
  • T-square
  • Mitre box and hand saw or mitre saw
  • Hammer

Step 1: Prepare the doors

Remove all cabinet doors. Mark the location of each door as you remove it to ensure they are replaced on the same cabinets. Remove existing hardware, fill holes and dents with wood filler and sand both front and back.

Step 2: Measure and mark the placement of the panel moulding

Select the side of the door that is in the best condition and work on this as the front face. Determine where you will attach the pieces of panel moulding. We attached ours 2″ in from the outer edges of the drawer fronts. With a ruler or tape measure, measure 2″ in on either side of each outside corner of the door, and 1″ in on either side of each outside corner of the drawers, and mark with a pencil. With a ruler or T-square, draw intersecting lines down both sides and across the top and bottom of the doors to indicate the placement of the outside edge of the moulding. Mark out all of the doors and drawer fronts in this way. This will also give you the measurement of the lengths of moulding to be cut. Add up all of the measurements for the door and drawer faces to determine the total amount of moulding required. Add 20% to this measurement to allow for mitering. Note: Depending on the size of your doors, the size of panel moulding you will need and the placement of it may vary. There are no set rules for this: it is a matter of personal taste. You might consider taking a door to the lumber store to help determine what looks best.

Step 3: Measure and cut the mouldings

You will need to mitre the ends of each piece of moulding at 45 degrees with a mitre box, so that when nailed on, the pieces of moulding angle together neatly to join at each corner. Measure and mark moulding to correct lengths, allowing enough space on each end for angled cuts. Lay the piece of moulding in the mitre box (so that the pencil mark is at the longest end of the angled cut) at the 45-degree angle mark and cut with your saw in the 45-degree angle groove. If using a power mitre saw, set the angle at 45 degrees.

Step 4: Attach the moulding

Line up the mitred pieces of moulding with the pencil lines on the face of the door. Using 3/4″ nails, nail on one side piece, then one top or bottom piece. Next, nail another side piece and then a final top or bottom piece. The last two pieces may need a little shifting to align them with the first two so the entire “panel” sits squarely. Using a T-square, check to make sure they are straight as you are nailing them on. Fill nail holes with wood filler, sand, prime and paint. Re-install doors.