How to build a rustic screen door from scratch

Learn how to build this charming rustic screen door from scratch! Features pet screen material, plus how to use a Kreg Jig. Click for full tutorial and video. #building #screendoor #curbappeal #frontdoors #kregjig

How to build a rustic screen door from scratch

Adding ‘professional builder’ to my long list of to-dos was really never in my sights. For the past 10 years, I’ve gotten along with my somewhat primitive (rustic) building techniques teaming up reclaimed wood and screws. Easy! Done! Imperfectly perfect!

But then there comes a time when you want to make something that forces your hand in a slightly new direction. I wanted to build my own version of a rustic screen door, however needed to come up with a way to join the wood without micky-mousing a thousand brackets together and such.

That’s when I decided to bite the bullet and buy a new tool toy! 

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Learn how to build this charming rustic screen door from scratch! Features pet screen material, plus how to use a Kreg Jig. Click for full tutorial and video. #building #screendoor #curbappeal #frontdoors #kregjig

Meet Kreg! This is a Kreg Jig to be exact. And this guy is gonna help me build a rustic screen door… from scratch!

So I bought it without knowing how to use it, vowing to figure it out once I got home. Nothing like a little confidence boost after a good dose of retail therapy…

What is a Kreg Jig?

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A Kreg Jig is a specialty tool that creates pocket holes in wood, making it effortless to join wood at right angles, such as picture frames.


Video of Kreg Jig in action

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Click above to watch a short video on how to use a Kreg Jig!


So now that you too are an ‘expert’ on this new building tool mastery, let’s build a rustic screen door using it!


How to build a rustic screen door from scratch

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Learn how to build this charming rustic screen door from scratch! Features pet screen material, plus how to use a Kreg Jig. Click for full tutorial and video. #building #screendoor #curbappeal #frontdoors #kregjig

Supplies I used:

 

Standard lumber planks:

I used 1×2 / 1×3 / 1×4 / cedar strips.

You will be cutting to fit your door opening, however here are my measurements anyway:

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Top: 1×3 – 36″ long

Bottom: 1×4 – 36″ long

Sides: 1×3 – 75″ long (x2)

Middle: 1×3 – 32″ long

Middle: 1×2 – 32″ long

Lower verticals:

1×3 – 29″ long

1×2 – 29″ long (x2)

Cedar strips – to fit around entire door frame (see below for more on this)

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Tools:

Kreg Jig K4

Automatic staple gun

Cordless drill

Palm sander

Measuring tape

Miter saw

Pocket hole screws


Supplies:

Fusion Mineral Paint’s Stain & Finishing Oil in a mix of Cappuccino and Golden Pine

(find a local Fusion merchant from HERE)

Pet screen

Short black screws (I like using Phillips Truss Head Screws)

Paint brush and rags for staining

Higher grit sandpaper for finishing


Hardware:

Spring hinges

Door pull

Hook and eye latch


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How-to steps:

 

Learn how to build this charming rustic screen door from scratch! Features pet screen material, plus how to use a Kreg Jig. Click for full tutorial and video. #building #screendoor #curbappeal #frontdoors #kregjig

Learn how to build this charming rustic screen door from scratch! Features pet screen material, plus how to use a Kreg Jig. Click for full tutorial and video. #building #screendoor #curbappeal #frontdoors #kregjig

How to build the frame

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1. Measure the open doorway where you desire your screen door to be, then cut lumber to create a simple frame that fits inside, with a little room to spare.

Be sure to leave room to clear a door mat.

Top: 1×3 – 36″ long

Bottom: 1×4 – 36″ long

Sides: 1×3 – 75″ long (x2)

Learn how to build this charming rustic screen door from scratch! Features pet screen material, plus how to use a Kreg Jig. Click for full tutorial and video. #building #screendoor #curbappeal #frontdoors #kregjig

Learn how to build this charming rustic screen door from scratch! Features pet screen material, plus how to use a Kreg Jig. Click for full tutorial and video. #building #screendoor #curbappeal #frontdoors #kregjig

2. Use the Kreg jig to join the 4 corners.

I added pocket holes to the tops and bottoms of the side boards.

Where should you make the pocket holes?

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So how to decide what piece to add holes to vs. screw into?

If you do some deep reading on this tool, it’s suggested to run the screws into the sides of wood grain (vs. into it straight on) for a stronger hold. 

Think of wood grain as loose straws. There’s more strength if drilling into the sides of them vs. straight onto them.

Good tip, huh?

HERE is the video on YouTube where I learned that valuable tip.

Learn how to build this charming rustic screen door from scratch! Features pet screen material, plus how to use a Kreg Jig. Click for full tutorial and video. #building #screendoor #curbappeal #frontdoors #kregjig

3. Dry-fit the corners, then screw them together using pocket screws.

Tip: I actually had the wood split on me on several occasions as I learned how to use the tool, so I suggest to practice on scrap pieces of wood before doing your project.

I also changed out to drywall screws which I personally found split the wood less.

Learn how to build this charming rustic screen door from scratch! Features pet screen material, plus how to use a Kreg Jig. Click for full tutorial and video. #building #screendoor #curbappeal #frontdoors #kregjig

Learn how to build this charming rustic screen door from scratch! Features pet screen material, plus how to use a Kreg Jig. Click for full tutorial and video. #building #screendoor #curbappeal #frontdoors #kregjig

Style the door

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4. Start styling your door with additional wood pieces for support and design, then attach them with the jig.

I placed the basic frame against the outside of my exterior door so I could decide where I wanted to add details.

Note how I ensured the screen door didn’t interfere with the door window?

Learn how to build this charming rustic screen door from scratch! Features pet screen material, plus how to use a Kreg Jig. Click for full tutorial and video. #building #screendoor #curbappeal #frontdoors #kregjig

Attaching the screen door to the house

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I couldn’t wait to pretty up my newly painted black-ish brown front door even more!

5. Prepare your door frame to mount the screen door hinges.

I ended up adding one strip of 1 x 2 to the left side of the door opening, and painted it out like the rest of the door frame. This appeared to work best over all other options tried.

Learn how to stain a rustic screen door with Fusion Mineral Paint's Stain and Finishing Oil. Click for full tutorial plus video. #stain #fusionmineralpaint #screendoor #buildling

Learn how to stain a rustic screen door with Fusion Mineral Paint's Stain and Finishing Oil. Click for full tutorial plus video. #stain #fusionmineralpaint #screendoor #buildling

Stain or paint the door

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6. Stain or paint your screen door.

  • appy with a brush
  • two coats works best
  • sand in between coats

Because I desired rustic wood accents on the outside of my own home and to bounce off that gorgeous black-brown door, I chose a custom stain mix made from Fusion Mineral Paint’s Stain and Finishing Oil.

I mixed mostly Cappuccino with a little bit of Golden Pine.

Two coats worked best, helped to deepen the tone and gave the wood a slightly satin finish. Beautiful!

High grit sandpaper was used in between staining to achieve the smoothest finish possible.

Note: this stain is not rated for outdoor use due to not having UV protection. Fusion SFO is the only stain I like to use due to it not smelling as toxic as most, so I took a chance because my door is well protected. If it fades, I’ll just restain it.

Learn how to build this charming rustic screen door from scratch! Features pet screen material, plus how to use a Kreg Jig. Click for full tutorial and video. #building #screendoor #curbappeal #frontdoors #kregjig

Attaching pet screen

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I started with standard screen door screen, but within two days, my cats climbed the screen door, creating pulls in the mesh! Before I got pictures. Bah!

So that’s when I decided to bite the bullet and try pet screen instead.

Learn how to build this charming rustic screen door from scratch! Features pet screen material, plus how to use a Kreg Jig. Click for full tutorial and video. #building #screendoor #curbappeal #frontdoors #kregjig

Standard screen (left) vs. Pet screen (right)

Pet screen is SO much stronger. It’s infused with some kind of nylon for added strength.

The price was dramatically different too. The standard screen cost $15 while the pet screen was $60. Ouch.

But I was curious about trying it anyway as the cats climb up ALL my screens, so I’ll report back once I (we) have some experience with it.

Learn how to build this charming rustic screen door from scratch! Features pet screen material, plus how to use a Kreg Jig. Click for full tutorial and video. #building #screendoor #curbappeal #frontdoors #kregjig

Learn how to build this charming rustic screen door from scratch! Features pet screen material, plus how to use a Kreg Jig. Click for full tutorial and video. #building #screendoor #curbappeal #frontdoors #kregjig

7. Unroll the screen on the back of the screen door, and use push pins to hold the screen in place while gently pulling the screen taut.

8. Use an automatic staple gun to attach the screen to the door frame.

I stapled along one side, then the opposite, then finally the two ends. It worked wonderful!

Learn how to build this charming rustic screen door from scratch! Features pet screen material, plus how to use a Kreg Jig. Click for full tutorial and video. #building #screendoor #curbappeal #frontdoors #kregjig

Learn how to build this charming rustic screen door from scratch! Features pet screen material, plus how to use a Kreg Jig. Click for full tutorial and video. #building #screendoor #curbappeal #frontdoors #kregjig

Learn how to build this charming rustic screen door from scratch! Features pet screen material, plus how to use a Kreg Jig. Click for full tutorial and video. #building #screendoor #curbappeal #frontdoors #kregjig

Adding cedar trim to hide staples

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9. Dry-fit and cut cedar wood strips to frame the edge of the screen, then stain or paint as desired.

Because this was my front door and I’d see the inside all the time, I decided to cover up the screen edges and staples with cedar wood strips. They were cut to size, then stained.

Learn how to build this charming rustic screen door from scratch! Features pet screen material, plus how to use a Kreg Jig. Click for full tutorial and video. #building #screendoor #curbappeal #frontdoors #kregjig

Adding corner supports

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10. Attach the cedar strips by pre-drilling holes, then using short screws (I use THESE) to hold in place.

11. Add some painted cedar strips to some corners to help keep the door square. It looks cool too!

I cut 4 additional cedar strips, painted them in black-brown, then created a triangle template out of paper to help guild even placement.

Tip: I suggest to add the corner supports AFTER the door is hung. If the door sags a little, you can then hold it into the position desired, then attach the corner supports to keep it that way. It really helps!

12. Trim screen excess, or leave extra in case you desire to re-tighten the screen in the future.

I left extra just in case, as shown above.

How to spray paint screen door hardware to make a rustic screen door.

Learn how to build this charming rustic screen door from scratch! Features pet screen material, plus how to use a Kreg Jig. Click for full tutorial and video. #building #screendoor #curbappeal #frontdoors #kregjig

Attaching hardware

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13. Select 2 spring hinges, a door pull and a hook and eye lock.

If you can find adjusting spring hinges, I think they are a better choice so you can tighten them up as time goes on. I used standard non-adjusting on this door so I’ll report back how they do. 

Visit how to install self adjusting hinges HERE on another screen door post I did.

14. Paint if desired.

I spray painted the door hinges and door pull in a gloss black to match the door’s aesthetic.

How to install the screen door

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15. Attach screen door to the house.

  1. Position door frame inside opening.
  2. Place blocks of wood under the door to lift the door into position, ensuring it clears carpets, etc.
  3. Attach hinges to house frame (6″ from top, 9″ from bottom) and onto the door.
  4. Remove blocks of wood.
  5. Check movement, ensuring the door clears the frame. Trim with a chisel if needed.
  6. If the door sags, hold the door into the desired position, then mount the corner brackets while pushing the door into the desired position, then attach. It helps!
  7. Add cabinet bumpers if desired so door closure sound becomes muffled.

And are you even ready for the full tour of my brand spankin’ new DIY rustic screen door from scratch?!

Learn how to build this charming rustic screen door from scratch! Features pet screen material, plus how to use a Kreg Jig. Click for full tutorial and video. #building #screendoor #curbappeal #frontdoors #kregjig

The finished door!

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I mean… look at it! Aint’ it a beauty?!

Learn how to build this charming rustic screen door from scratch! Features pet screen material, plus how to use a Kreg Jig. Click for full tutorial and video. #building #screendoor #curbappeal #frontdoors #kregjig

Because I desired to add the black license plate, I added one more wood piece to help brace it in place.

Don’t you think the additional junk factor is cool?

I had planned to create a soda pop stencil to add a faux enamel advertising sign however my ideas weren’t working out, so I’ll save that idea for another project!

Learn how to build this charming rustic screen door from scratch! Features pet screen material, plus how to use a Kreg Jig. Click for full tutorial and video. #building #screendoor #curbappeal #frontdoors #kregjig

Doesn’t that rustic wood tone really pop against that blackish-brown door? I adore it! The door kinda disappears allowing the screen door to shine. No fist fighting here!

Visit how I painted my front door blackish-brown HERE

Learn how to build this charming rustic screen door from scratch! Features pet screen material, plus how to use a Kreg Jig. Click for full tutorial and video. #building #screendoor #curbappeal #frontdoors #kregjig

I just love the old charm cozyiness this wooden rustic screen door adds!

Teamed up with the Buffalo Checked front door mat HERE, it’s perfection.

Find the Buffalo Check stencil HERE

Learn how to build this charming rustic screen door from scratch! Features pet screen material, plus how to use a Kreg Jig. Click for full tutorial and video. #building #screendoor #curbappeal #frontdoors #kregjig

The little wicker bench faces the front yard and is the perfect little spot for a quick chat at the front door or to enjoy an evening coffee.

Learn how to build this charming rustic screen door from scratch! Features pet screen material, plus how to use a Kreg Jig. Click for full tutorial and video. #building #screendoor #curbappeal #frontdoors #kregjig

Oops! Forgot the pillows!

Learn how I made the Wild Flower Seeds pillow HERE

Find the Wild Flower Seeds stencil HERE

Learn how to build this charming rustic screen door from scratch! Features pet screen material, plus how to use a Kreg Jig. Click for full tutorial and video. #building #screendoor #curbappeal #frontdoors #kregjig

And here is how the screen door looks with the front door open.

Why, hello Sky! How nice of you to step into the picture. Perfect timing! Both cats adore the screen door and sit in front of it all. the. time.

I admit I’m super curious how that pet screen will take on cat climbing though… I will report back with my findings!

Another super awesome perk is the added airflow through the house. The cooler air sweeps right upstairs now, so it’s already been amazing, and we haven’t even hit the middle of summer yet. Great timing!

Learn how to build this charming rustic screen door from scratch! Features pet screen material, plus how to use a Kreg Jig. Click for full tutorial and video. #building #screendoor #curbappeal #frontdoors #kregjig

I’ve wanted a screen door on this house for over 10 years. But I didn’t like the price nor the looks of the ready made ones.

However making one was the best decision I’ve ever made. Not only did it allow me to do what I desired, plus it grew my building skills!

I just about feel like a real builder now! Ok, maybe after the 4 more I wish to make…

See what can happen when you learn something new?!

Think you’ll try to build a rustic screen door? How would you want yours to look like?

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Other related projects you’ll also like:

Learn how to build a garden-themed scrap wood walkway. #gardening #stencils #reclaimedwood #gardenwalkway

How to make a garden-themed scrap wood walkway

Learn how to replace your own window screens! #windows #windowscreens #diy #homeimprovement

Learn how to replace window screens

Learn how to add screen doors to french doors price efficiently! #frenchdoors #screens #screendoors

How I added screen doors to french doors – easily!

Visit many more outdoor projects HERE

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Categories: All Cool Projects, DIY, How To Build, Junk Drawer, Outdoors, Summer, Tools & Building
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20 thoughts on “How to build a rustic screen door from scratch

  1. Very Nice!

    I was just thinking …. I need a screen door for my Back door…
    now I know what to do-Thanks!

    I got my screen door for my Front door from the local dump!
    Was in perfect shape so I brought it home, spray painted it and put on some new door pulls-fit Perfectly -looks great.

    Went to the Hardware store shortly after, and there was my screen door-
    same door selling for over $100!

    Amazing what people throw away.

  2. I am seriously impressed. WoW! You make the build sound so easy.Great tutorial and great tips. I hate our screen door, and love yours, so maybe…but first. I have to get our front door painted 🙂

    • Thanks Kim! The concept is actually simple. It’s just learning how to do all the steps to make it fit right is tricky! Then again, I’m not a pro door maker…

      I was on this for a few days… and even did a few steps twice. With long breaks in between. LOL

      I’d hope my next round would place the level of difficulty in the Medium category at this point!

  3. Your screen door is AWESOME! I love the addition of the license plate – it looks kinda like a push plate. Remember on old country grocery store doors they used to have Coke or 7Up or name brand bread advertisements on the pushplates? Those vintage push plates go for big money in antique stores and your’s looks so much better! You’re going to love the pet screen. We bit the bullet and replaced our old window screens with pet screen because a four legged member of our family (Zoey the dog) liked to push her nose up against the screen when looking outside. It has held up well for the last couple years to “dog nose” and I think the black screen even looks better than regular screen.

    • Thanks Sharon! And yes, my initial idea had been to create a faux push plate with some soda pop advertising. It didn’t work out as imagined for this door, so I’m going to save that look for my french doors in the kitchen!

      Good to hear the pet screen works well! I’m thrilled! My cats love to climb the stuff…

      And I agree. The black screen is GORGEOUS and does not hide the view at all!

  4. Very impressive building skills, Donna! Your rustic screen door looks so good with your freshly painted door color. Don’t you just love your new tool? I haven’t met a Kreg jig I didn’t love yet. LOL

  5. Donna — have always wanted this type screen door for both front and back doors. Hate what i have now. Plus 3 cats! Wondered how that pet screen worked. I have several windows the cats have made holes in.

    I have the jig but have never used it. Have a circular saw but am a little afraid of it! LOL Must make this door this summer.

    • Hey Carla, I myself much prefer a miter saw over circular! If you don’t have one yet, I highly recommend it. It’s much safer to work a blade that is staying put than to carry it around imo!

  6. I love your screen door and instructions. You can buy the pet screen in different colors at Fabricville, and I’ve seen it at Canadian Tire. I’ve used pet screen to make roomy beach bags.

  7. This is great! I’m going to be looking for a new screen door very soon. Now, I’m really glad I came across this link. Thank you so much for this!

  8. Donna, I was looking for an after picture of the inside of the door and didn’t see it. The reason being is I was curious if you cut that excess screen off that was hanging past the cedar strips? Great choice of color, did you just experiment or how did you come up with doing that? Thanks.

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