In this post we’re going to discuss how to install concealed cabinet hinges. We use concealed hinges on a variety of DIY projects from cabinets to bathroom vanities and TV consoles. Since they are hidden when the door is closed, concealed hinges are a professional-looking hinge option that are easy to install with the right tools.
We’ll show you how to install hinges to the door and to the cabinet box. When it comes to installing them to the cabinet box, we’ll offer two methods. One requires less measuring.
- Measuring Tape or Kreg Multi-Mark Tool
- 1/16” Drill Bit
- Kreg Concealed Hinge Jig
- Clamps (our favorite are these quick-grip ones)
- Concealed Hinges (please see step 1 about choosing the right hinge for your project)
- Optional: Kreg Cabinet Door Mounting Jig
- Optional: Screw Driver
How to Install Concealed Cabinet Hinges
STEP 1: GET THE RIGHT HINGES
Before installing concealed hinges, you need to ensure you have the correct hinges for your door type. There are two main things to consider: if the box you’re installing the hinges to have a face frame or are frameless (aka euro-style), and whether your doors are inset or overlay. If they are overlaid, you also need to know by how much.
If you aren’t sure which cabinet or door type you’re working with, please refer to these posts to understand the differences and characteristics of the different styles:
Once you know what kind of cabinet and door you are working with, confirm that you have selected hinges that match these styles.
As you’re looking at hinges, you might also notice that some hinges include a degree, usually in the 105 – 120° range. This is specifying how wide your door will open. 105-110 is generally great for most situations. If your cabinet is not next to anything, you can open for a wider range to allow the door to really open up.
The next hinge feature you’ll want to consider is how adjustable the hinges are. Most concealed hinges will be adjustable in at least one direction, but you can also find options that are adjustable in 2 or 3 directions. I highly recommend spending a bit more to get more adjustment options.
The more adjustments your hinges can make, the easier installation will be since you don’t have to worry about getting things 100% perfect. Being able to make adjustments after the fact also allows you to make little tweaks to get your doors just right.
The final hinge feature that you might want to consider is soft-close. We love the added luxury of soft-close doors and you can achieve them with a simple switch of a hinge!
STEP 2: ADJUST JIG SETTINGS
We highly recommend using the Kreg Concealed Hinge Jig to install concealed hinges to cabinet doors. Why? Because it comes with the drill bits you need, it’s easy to set-up, and you don’t have to quadruple-check all the measurements. Once you set the settings, you’re pretty much good to go.
First, you need to set the distance from the edge of the doors to the edge of the hinge-cup hole. If you’re like me and buy cheap hardware on Amazon, you likely aren’t going to have instructions from the manufacturer that includes this information. If in doubt, set to 5mm.
To set the edge indexer, you simply insert a flat head screwdriver into the edge indexer and twist until the setting you need lines up with the indented line on top.
Next, you need to decide where to place your hinges. We generally place ours 2.5 – 3.5” from the top and bottom of the door. The jig has labels across the top that let you know how far the hole will be placed from the end of the door.
If you have a door that is over 60”, you’ll want to add an additional hinge or two. You might also consider adding additional hinges if your doors are extremely heavy. For standard-sized cabinet doors, 2 hinges is usually enough.
The rule is: you need at least 2, but you can always add more for additional support if you’re worried about it being enough. That’s the beauty of DIY, you can always add additional reinforcement if desired!
STEP 3: DRILL HINGE CUP HOLES
Now that your jig is ready to go, line the jig up with the top or bottom of the cabinet door at your desired measurement. Clamp the jig in place, making sure to clamp outside of the main hole.
Lock the cup hole drill bit that comes with the jig into the jig by twisting it clockwise until it clicks into place. Get your drill up to full speed and drill until the collar hits the guide. Remove the drill bit from the jig and switch to a 1/16” drill bit.
We like to place our drill bit so that only about ⅞” is sticking out. This allows the chuck of the drill to serve as a stop collar. If your drill bit is too long, you can place a piece of tape ⅞” from the tip of the drill bit to mark where you should stop drilling.
If you have two drills, it can be a time-saver to keep one drill bit in one drill and the second drill bit in the other to avoid flipping back and forth between drill bits.
Drill into the drill guides on either side of the hinge cup. Unclamp the guide and repeat on the other end of the cabinet.
See how having this concealed hinge jig makes things so much easier? So much less measuring and you don’t have to worry about drilling to the perfect depth on your own!
STEP 4: INSTALL HINGE CUPS
Place the hinge into the hole that you just drilled. Using the small screws that came with your hinges, secure the concealed hinges to the cabinet door. The small screws will go into the small holes you drilled on either side of the main hinge hole.
Now that we know how to install the concealed hinges to the door itself, let’s discuss how to install the cabinet door to the cabinet box. There are two methods. One requires a jig and one requires a little more measuring.
How to Install Cabinet Hinges with the Kreg Door Mounting Jig
STEP 1: SET DOOR MOUNTING JIG SETTINGS
Look at the manual for your Kreg Cabinet Door Mounting Jig to determine which settings are required. I’ve included a few of the most common settings below for your convenience.
If your specific overlay requires a shim, place that in the slot of the support arm. Then slide the support arm into the correct jig setting. Slide until it locks into place.
STEP 2: CLAMP THE JIG TO THE CABINET
Clamp the jig to the front of your cabinet. Place your cabinet door at a 90-degree angle to the front of the cabinet.
STEP 3: SCREW THE HINGE TO THE CABINET
If installing doors in a cabinet with a face frame, it’s easy. Slide the hinge until it is “clipped” onto the front of the face frame. Mark where your hinge holes are and screw the hinges in place.
If installing in a cabinet without a face frame and are partial or full overlay, you can mark 1 7/16” from the front of your cabinet to use as a guide of how far back to set your hinges. For inset doors, add the thickness of your doors to 1 7/16″ to determine the setback.
With this jig method, there was no need to detach the concealed hinges. In the next method, you’ll need to separate the two pieces of the hinges to install.
How to Install Cabinet Hinges without a Jig
If you don’t have a door mounting jig, no problem at all! Concealed hinges can easily with installed inside of cabinets without a jig.
STEP 1: MARK THE CABINET
Double-check the instructions that came with your hinges for where the base plate should be installed inside the cabinet. If your hinges did not come with instructions, concealed hinges generally require a 37mm setback from the front of the cabinet. Unfortunately it’s not a nice clean number when you convert that to inches…it’s about 1.46” or in between 1 7/16” and 1 ½”.
If you are installing inset doors, add the thickness of your door to that number to determine the setback for the hinges.
Next you’ll need to mark how high to place your hinges. Remember where you drilled your hinge holes before? We’ll start with that number and then either subtract the reveal for overlay cabinets, or add the gap (generally 1/16”) for inset doors. Mark from both the top and bottom of the cabinet.
You could also use a mounting jig like this to help with the measurements.
STEP 2: INSTALL MOUNTING PLATE
Unhook the back half of the concealed hinge from the part that is attached to the door. This is called the mounting plate.
Center the mounting plate on marks you made in step 1 and then screw it into place.
STEP 3: INSTALL THE CABINET DOOR
To install the cabinet door, clip the hinge onto the mounting plate until it clicks into place. Open and close the door a few times to test that the hinges are secured and working properly.
How to Adjust Concealed Cabinet Hinges
Now that your cabinet doors are installed, you might have a few tweaks that you want to make. Most concealed hinges come with the ability to adjust your doors 2-ways after installation. Some hinges even allow you to adjust up to three directions, though these usually cost a bit more.
Your hinges should come with instructions that lay out which screws correlate with which adjustments. If not, you can test them out yourself or use our guide below.
Note: when making these adjustments, I’d highly recommend setting your drill aside and using a screwdriver instead. This will minimize the likelihood of stripping screws.
If your hinges have this option, the screws that you used to attach the hinge to the cabinet can be loosened to adjust the height of the door. Loosen the screws and slide the hinge up or down. Once happy with the location, tighten the screws again to “lock” this height into place.
The rear screw allows you to move the door in and out. Clockwise will move the door closer to the cabinet frame.
The front screw can help adjust the placement of the door horizontally. Think if you need to make a gap between two doors smaller or larger. If your door is hanging crooked, try adjusting the top in one direction and the bottom in the opposite direction to even them out.
There you have it! Now you know how to install cabinet hinges. This skill will come in handy for a variety of DIY furniture projects!
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