How to Cover Sliding Closet Doors With Fabric
Add style to plain or dated sliding closet doors by covering them with a decorative fabric. The project won't work on louvered doors, but it's ideal for flat sliding doors with stained, painted or mirrored finishes. The change isn't permanent and it doesn't damage the doors. You can choose a new fabric when you redecorate, or return sliding doors in a rental to their original condition when you move.
Remove the doors from their tracks, according to the type. If you have guide brackets connected to the floor, unscrew them. Then, tilt the bottom of the door away from you before lifting it. For doors without bottom screws, lift each door straight up to pull it free from the bottom track. With the door raised, tilt the bottom toward you to release it from the top track.
Lay the doors on a flat surface, and then measure the length and width. Add 1 inch to the length and 1 inch to the width. Cut one piece of fabric per door to those measurements.
Pin 1/4-inch iron-on hem tape along the sides of each fabric panel on the wrong side of the fabric. Pin it with the edges aligned with the panels outer edges, and with the paper backing facing away from the fabric. Iron the hem tape to the fabric, according the manufacturer's instructions.
Remove the pins and the paper backing from the fused hem tape. Fold both sides of each panel to the wrong side of the fabric by 1/2 inch. Iron the fold to fuse the unattached side of the tape to the fabric, and to create crisp, finished hem.
Repeat Steps 3 and 4 with the top and bottom of each fabric panel.
Pour liquid starch into a wallpaper tray. Fold each fabric panel into loose, width-wise accordion folds, and then dip the panels into the liquid starch one at a time.
Affix the starch-coated panels to the sliding doors while the fabric is still wet. Align all four edges of the panels with the doors. Smooth any wrinkles with a plastic, straight-edge wallpaper smoother, working out from the center in all directions. Let the starched fabric dry, which affixes it to the doors.
Lift the doors back into their top tracks, with the bottom tilted in the direction used to remove it. With the doors still raised, straighten them and lower them into the bottom tracks. Reattach the screws that connect the guide brackets to the floor, if you have them.
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- Many sliding doors are designed without any type of hardware for opening the doors. Simply slide the doors open by applying pressure with your hand. For this type of sliding door, avoid light-colored fabric that gets grubby from repeated handling. Opt for medium to dark colors or prints instead.
- If your sliding doors have inset metal or plastic disks for opening and closing the doors, pry or pop them out before attaching the fabric. Once you've attached the fabric and it dries, feel for the holes. Pierce the fabric in the center of the hole with a utility knife, and then use scissors to cut a hole in the fabric. Cut the fabric hole slightly smaller than the hole in the door. When you reattach the the disks, their rims will cover the the raw edges of the fabric holes.
- You can use spray adhesive to attach the fabric to the doors if you prefer, but affixing them with starch prevents damage to the door and the fabric. When you want a new look, you simply peel the fabric from the doors, and then wash the door and fabric to remove any starch residue.
Leah James has been a full-time freelance writer and editor since 2008. With more than a decade of experience in interior decorating, she frequently writes about home design. She studied English literature at Lyon College.
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