How to DIY Cabinet Door Glass Installation in 11 Easy Steps

Upgrade your kitchen cabinets with glass 

Paige Novak
Written by Paige Novak
Updated June 29, 2022
A Scandinavian style kitchen with glass door cabinets
Photo: anyaberkut / iStock / Getty Images Plus / Getty images
Difficulty

Challenging

Only DIY if you know what you're doing.

Time to complete

48 hours

This one may take one or two days, depending on how many cabinets you have.

Cost

$20–$200

Make room—this DIY requires a lot of supplies!

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Get quotes from top-rated pros.

What you'll need:

TOOLS

  • Circular saw
  • Wood chisel
  • Screwdriver
  • Straight edge
  • Safety glasses
  • Utility knife

SUPPLIES

  • Glass or plexiglass (1/8-inch thick)
  • Cabinet doors
  • Silicone sealant
  • Painter’s tape
  • New hardware (if you desire)
  • Glass fasteners

There’s no need to settle for cabinets that hide your gorgeous china anymore. Instead, enhance the beauty of your current cabinetry with glass inserts that allow your favorite dinnerware to shine like never before. Even better? This is a project you can tackle over a weekend if you’re a savvy DIYer.

If cabinet glass insert installation is your ideal enhancement, follow along below to get stunning glass cabinetry in your kitchen.

11 Steps to Cabinet Door Glass Insert Installation 

  1. Remove Cabinet Doors and Hardware

    A woman removing a cabinet door
    Photo: PixelsEffect / E+ / Getty Images

    Ready to get started? Begin by removing the cabinet doors from the wall. To do this, you’re going to need a screwdriver to take off the door from screwed-on hinges. 

    Bonus tip—it’s a good idea to keep a labeled storage container or plastic bag to place the screws and hardware in for each cabinet. This way, everything is good to go and ready to go once the project is over.

  2. Measure and Mark the Outline

    After you’ve removed the cabinet and hardware, it’s time to use your straightedge to measure the desired section that you’ll later fill with glass. Before you measure and mark the outline for the glass insert, you’ll want to determine if you have recessed cabinets or not.

    Recessed cabinets have a thick border that creates a recessed area where you can remove the middle panel. Your measurements must be exact with a recessed panel cabinet since you have a particular frame already in place that must remain intact. 

    For recessed cabinets, don’t mark beyond half an inch from the border on the inside of your cabinet. If you don’t have a recessed cabinet, you will measure your desired glass panel size. Using a straight edge, mark your desired glass size to cut the shape.

  3. Cut out Panel

    It's installation time, which is your cue to break out the circular saw and safety glasses. You should place your cabinet, marked side up, on a work surface. Set your saw to the correct depth of 1/4 to 1/2 an inch. 

    Make sure to use your circular saw to cut out the shape. Turn off and unplug your circular saw for safety after you’re finished.

  4. Chisel the Corners

    After you’ve used the circular saw, it’s time to use a wood chisel to work on loosening the corners of the cut panel. Use the wood chisel on each corner until the panel is ready to come out. 

  5. Release the Panel

    Use the chisel to prop up the cut panel. You know what they say, slow and steady wins the race. Follow this as you carefully remove the panel from the frame.

  6. Measure the Panel

    Now that you’ve removed the panel, you have to measure it. Grab your measuring tape or straight edge to get the exact measurements. The panel’s dimensions serve as the dimensions you’ll use to cut the glass in the next step.

  7. Cut the Glass

    Close-up of a hand cutting glass
    Photo: bluecinema / iStock / Getty Images Plus / Getty Images

    After you purchase plexiglass or glass that’s only 1/8 an inch thick, you’ll want to begin cutting it. To cut the glass, you simply mark your measurements onto the back of the glass.

    For better control, use a straightedge to help make more seamless cuts.  From here, you’ll want to score the glass with your utility knife carefully. Then, go ahead and snap the cut piece off to reveal your perfectly measured glass panel.

  8. Apply the Silicone

    With your flawless glass panel in hand, you can insert it into the open panel. Now, you’re ready for the silicone sealant. Place a fine strip of adhesive into the interior side of the cabinet. 

    Gently yet firmly place the glass panel onto this silicone sealant. When things get a little messy, wipe away any silicone that makes its way out of the glass panel and onto the cabinet frame.

  9. Let Silicone Dry

    While most silicone sealant manufacturers say it takes up to 30 minutes to dry, it’s best to wait 24 hours for maximum hold.

    You can always add glass fasteners to your cabinet if you want more hold. A glass fastener will hold the glass to the cabinet with a screw attached to the interior of the cabinet’s frame. These fasteners cost around $8 for a set of 50, making them an affordable purchase.

  10. Rehang the Cabinets

    A man installing a new glass cabinet door
    Photo: SILIN ALEXEY / iStock / Getty Images Plus / Getty Images

    Now that you’ve successfully completed your cabinet door glass insert installation, you are ready to rehang. 

    Find the corresponding screws, hinges, and hardware that you organized earlier. Then, get your screwdriver ready, and start reassembling your kitchen cabinet by cabinet.

  11. Add New Hardware

    If you’re feeling extra fancy, then it’s a good idea to invest in some unique hardware for your new glass insert cabinets. Mix it up with rose gold handles and drawer pulls for a trendy finish. 

    Whether you opt for farmhouse-style cabinet pulls or go modern with sleek nickel hardware, you can make a striking impact with this affordable kitchen cabinet upgrade.

DIY Cabinet Door Glass Insert Installation vs. Hiring a Pro

If you’ve never worked with a saw before, then starting with your cabinets might not be the best choice. Instead, hire a local cabinet contractor or general contractor near you who can safely and efficiently complete this project for you. Handling a saw without experience can result in injury. 

Glass can run from $5 to $20 per sheet, depending on the type, and new hardware is $2 to $50 per piece. General contractors typically charge $300 to $500 per day, depending on the complexity of the job, so you’ll need to factor that in if you decide to outsource.

Need professional help with your project?
Get quotes from top-rated pros.