Dining Room/ Home Office {How to Install Inset Door Hinges}

I’ve installed inset door hinges on a number of my projects now, and I’ve finally come up with a way to do it easily.  And by myself.  Sometimes it seems like you need about 7 pairs of hands to keep things where you want them when you are building, and with this method all I needed was my own set.

This is the magic ingredient for only needing two hands to install hinges.

Carpet tape to install hinges

Two-sided carpet tape.  Best $4.50 I’ve ever spent because I used it for a lot of different things on this build AND it made the hinge installation a piece of cake.

The hinges I need for this project were partial wrap inset door hinges and I ordered mine from Amazon.  I have bought all of my hinges from an actual Woodcraft store up until this point because I didn’t really know what I was looking for and they are always helpful for figuring that stuff out.  This time I knew more about hinges so I felt comfortable ordering them online.  These are called partial wrap because they do not wrap around a face frame.

Here’s a FULL wrap hinge that you would use on a cabinet WITH a face frame.  The  red arrow point to the part that wraps around the back of the face frame piece.  The blue arrow points to the part that attaches to the side of the face frame.  Green is the side of the door and pink attaches to the back of the door.  If you don’t have a face frame, then the red arrow part doesn’t fit.  For inset doors without a face frame you need a partial-wrap inset hinge.

full wrap inset hingeHere’s a partial-wrap inset hinge and its parts:

Partial wrap hinge with arrows

No red arrow part getting in the way on this one.  The blue arrow attaches to the side of the cabinet, green to the side of the door, and pink to the back of the door.

First off, you need to do a test run on how your doors fit in the spot so you don’t have any surprises.  I have found that inset hinges can vary in the space they leave after you install them as well–and I had to shave some off the edges of some of my doors to get them just right. I used my new table saw this time, but in the past I have used my circular saw with a straight edge jig.

Once I’m pretty sure the fit is good, I install the hinges on the doors.  I made a mark 2.75″ down from the top and bottom and then screwed the hinge on.

Hinges attached to cabinet door

I put nickels to use as spacers on the bottom of the doors.  Nickels are 1/16″ wide and that is the spacing I want on all the door edges, so they work great for this.

Nickels to space inset cabinet door

Next part is where the tape comes in.  I applied the double-sided tape on in three spots on the hinge to help me hold it to the cabinet where I wanted it long enough to screw it in place.

Double sided tape to attach hinges to cabinet

Set the door on the nickels and push it against the cabinet side.  Apply pressure to the door to get the tape to stick, hold the door in place as best you can to open it, and then really push the hinge against the cabinet to get it to stick.  The door will still want to slide down a bit from the weight of the door, but if you gently give a little pressure up before you drive the screw all the way, it helps with this.  It is still light years better than trying to have someone else hold the door open at just the right spot until you get it attached.  These hinges allow a bit of adjustment if you screw in the middle of the opening in the hinge.  You can loosen the screw a bit and move the door up or down depending on what you need (you can see that in the photo below this–I had to adjust the door up a bit so the screws are toward the bottom of the hinge openings).

Inset door attached to cabinet

Now in my imperfect world, the doors always want to stay ajar the last little bit with these hinges.  I can’t take credit for this next part because Hubs came up with it on the Living Room built in I did last year.  I use an empty macaroni and cheese box that was flattened for this, because I’m fancy like that.  Put the box  where the hinge closes and gently close the door on it.

You may have to be less gentle if need be, just go slowly with the amount of force you use because these hinges will also warp if you get too rough.  I’ve been able to get the doors to close perfectly this way (so far).  Even so, you’ll need magnetic clasps to hold them entirely closed.

Get inset doors to close all the way

And voila!!  I was dreading putting on 8 doors for this build, but it was all so easy doing it this way.

Inset door hinges

Inset doors installed

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About Pink Toes and Power Tools

I'm a DIY girl with a blog. Trying to complete one project before I jump into the next one!

14 responses to “Dining Room/ Home Office {How to Install Inset Door Hinges}”

  1. Candi says :

    Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!!!! I started attempting to put cabinet doors on my new entertainment center that I built using these exact hinges and was about ready to scream and cry yesterday… building an 8’x8′ entertainment center was easy, putting on 5 doors… not so much. I think you’ve saved my sanity!


    • Pink Toes and Power Tools says :

      So glad that this helped you out! I have definitely been to the “ready to scream and cry” place in my builds before, lol :) That’s about the point when I swear this will be the last project I take on…and then I get done and start dreaming about the next one!


  2. Cheryl says :

    Great ideas!! Thanks. Your tutorial makes this so doable.


  3. Tracy Smith says :

    Now since I’ve done quite a bit of building, I though I knew the best way to out on doors – the screaming and crying thing (lol) but this makes it seem sooooooooo much easier!!!! Love the macaroni box idea too! Necessity is the mother of invention and that’s just perfect!!!! Thanks for sharing this!!


    • Pink Toes and Power Tools says :

      Tracy–somehow I missed this comment way back when in October. I was answering them on my phone so I’m going to blame that!! I think I’ve about forgotten all the screaming and crying problems (like we all eventually do, since we begin another project!) so it must be time to start building again ;)


  4. Laurie says :

    I’m still in awe over what you made!


  5. Kat says :

    Thanks so much for this post, Kristen! I love it. I am having door envy over your doors for your dining room build. Some day I’ll get a router, but I had to fudge it on the doors for my entertainment center build so it looks good from the outside, but barely adequate on the inside.


    • Pink Toes and Power Tools says :

      That’s how I started out with my doors in the laundry room cabinet. I glued narrow strips of hobby board onto 1/2″ plywood and then tried to sand the edges smooth. The backs looked ok, but the sides didn’t! I have to say, the inside of my doors are not beautiful on the dining room built-in because I nailed the backs in. Someday, if I care enough, I’m going to have to learn how to join with dowels or some other method, but for now I’m hoping that the people who visit my house are distracted by all the dust bunnies, and never open the doors to inspect the backs, lol!

      I’d love to see your entertainment center once you are done–if you get a chance, send it to me or post it on the Pink Toes facebook page!


  6. Sue P. says :

    You are pure inspiration!


  7. Tory says :

    I took a peek around your blog today (via Pinterest). Keep up the good work, your home looks great!


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