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How to Create a Jib Door

James B. Carp

Jib doors, or hidden doors, are a playful feature of many homes. Traditionally, jib doors are invisible on one side, and perfectly normal on the other. This is achieved by blending the cracks skillfully around the door into the wall so that they are not noticed.

A successful jib door will be indestinguishable from the wall.

The actual procedure is fairly simple, but requires significant dedication to detail.

  1. Remove the door and molding from an existing door frame using a screwdriver and pry bar. Do not remove the door framing. If there is baseboard, acquire a matching piece. Measure the width and height of the opening.

  2. Attach thin plywood and drywall to the front of the removed door. If the opening is larger than the door, cut the plywood and drywall according to the size of the opening, and attach them flush to the hinge side of the door with screws. Cut the plywood with a circular saw and attach it to the door with wood screws. Cut the drywall with a razor knife and attach it to the plywood with drywall screws. Finish the drywall so that it matches the existing wall, either with paint or wallpaper. Attach baseboard to the bottom of the door, cut with the circular saw at 45-degree angles so that the angle extends away from the edge of the door without hinges and toward the edge with hinges.

  3. Reattach the door. Place the drywall side of the door flush with the existing wall and reattach the hinges with the original screws so that the door swings back from the wall. Install a magnetic latch by drilling corresponding holes in the door and frame, so that when they line up the door is perfectly flush with the wall. Glue rare earth magnets into the holes so that the door will stay shut, but can be opened with a firm push. Be sure that the baseboard lines up properly, and that there are no large cracks between the door and the wall.

  4. Tip

    When reattaching the hinges you may need to router out some space in the framing for them to fit.