How to Install Hidden Hinges on Old Cabinets

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Hi friends! Today I’m sharing how to install hidden hinges on old cabinets. It’s surprisingly much easier than you think, and with the right tools,  I’d even dare to call it a beginner-ish DIY project.   

When we started researching how to convert our old hinges to hidden hinges for an updated look on old cabinet doors, we quickly realized that there are a lot of cabinetry terms and so many different types of hinges that we had no clue how to get started. After a few mistakes and a purchase of the wrong hinges, we have paved the way for you! So not only am I going to walk you through how we converted front face hinges on old cabinets to hidden hinges, but I’m going to help you figure out the right hinge you’ll need for your own cabinets! So you don’t have to make the same mistakes we made (whew!)   

​This simple project went a LONG WAY in helping to upgrade our little kitchen. The new concealed hinges help our old cabinets look a bit more modern, and I’m so glad we decided to just go for it!

I also want to mention that we were worried about our cabinets not holding up to the hole boring that this project requires. We ALSO worried that we would ruin our cabinet doors by inaccurately boring a hole. I am here to assure you that if your cabinets are in decent shape, you can do this. And if you purchase the Kreg jig required, you will not mess up! 


If you’re reading this, you are most likely replacing your old visible hinges with new hinges and have stumbled upon the world of hidden hinges.

I would say hidden hinges are mostly used for aesthetic appeal and a more modern kitchen design, and come in a variety of different options. They really do so much when it comes to giving kitchen cabinets an overall cleaner and more updated look! We personally chose to convert to hidden hinges for a cleaner, more modern look. 

Concealed hinges allow for slow close without having to install new doors. I’m sure that they exist, but we could not find a surface mount hinge that was also slow close.

Hidden hinges can also fit any cabinet color effortlessly. I wanted our hinges to “disappear,” and hinge colors are honestly pretty limited unless you’re seeking a typical silver, gold, white, black, etc.  We recently painted our cabinets a light taupe color, and finding a front face hinge to match that… good luck!  In comes hidden hinges. 


Here are a few things to consider before you go about purchasing! It’s important to have the answer to each of these categories before making any purchases, not every hinge will work for every cabinet. 

Determine your type of cabinet to determine your type of hinge.  Are your cabinets face frame or frameless? Are your cabinets overlay or inset? If overlay, what is the width of your overlay? How far do you want the doors to open?  Do you want them to be soft close? 

I’m helping you answer these questions below! 



Determine whether your doors are overlay, inset, or partial overlay. Overlay doors sit on top of the frame (this is what we have). Inset doors sit flush with the frame. Partial overlay doors (what we have) doors sit on top of the frame with a gap between.


If you have an inset door, you can skip this part. But if you have overlay or partial overlay  – here is a great way to measure your overlay from Hardware Hut. 

You will place a piece of tape along your frame on the hinged side, right against the door edge. Open the door, and then measure the mark on the tape to the edge of the frame. 

CONSIDER DOOR SWING OPTIONS (Angle, Soft Close, Self Close) 

Decide how far you want the door to be able to swing open. Some hinges allow for a 90-degree opening angle, while others may allow for a wider angle. We ended up with 105-degree and find it to be just perfect. They open up all the way without bending too far the opposite direction (a concern for us with little kids and nearby appliances on the bottom cabinets). 

You can also opt for soft-close hinges or self-closing hinges. A soft close hinge will include a mechanism designed to slow down and gently close the cabinet door when it’s pushed closed (this is what we chose). A self close hinge is your basic cabinet hinge that will close as usual, and keep the door closed until opened. 


We figured this out with lots of trial and error. Don’t be like us. Figure out the answers to the above questions based on your specific cabinets before you make your purchases! 

Based on having a face frame, overlay cabinet – we chose 35 mm 105-Degree 1-1/4 in. Overlay Soft Close Cabinet Hinges.

And once we got it right, the project went incredibly smoothly. These are easy to install (with the right screws, and I will share on that below) and almost fool-proof with the right tools involved! 


– Kreg Jig for Concealed Hinges – it’s $35 and worth the extra money, just trust me on this
– Hidden Hinges (these are the ones we purchased – make sure you’ve answered the questions above to know what hinge you need) 
– Drill
– Drill Bit
– Flathead Screwdriver
– Clamps (we actually used these because it’s what we already had around, but what I link here would be easier)

All of this can be purchased at your local Home Depot or home improvement store. 


Prep your drilling area.

After you’ve determined your kind of cabinet by answering the questions above and choosing the correct hinge – prepping your drilling area is the first step. It doesn’t have to be fancy! We used a work table in our garage, put scrap 2x4s on top, and then placed a fuzzy blanket over that. The reasoning for the blanket is that we had already painted our cabinets and did not want to scuff any paint on a hard surface.

But this is pretty messy, as you can see from the wood shavings below. So make sure you’re taking this into account when you set up. An easy way to clean up would be to do this over a disposable drop cloth. 

Our first recommendation is to practice this on a scrap piece of wood. Just to get a feel for what you’re doing! 

The next step is to adjust your Kreg Jig and find the correct placement for your cabinet door. 

You jig should come with a guide to help you do this. 

Clamp your kreg jig into place. 

install hidden hinges on old cabinets

Insert the drill bit guide into the jig.

You will rotate it to lock it into place. 

Drill your hole. 

You’ll want to make sure your drill is on the fastest setting, and you will need to give this some muscle. Bore all the way down to the stop collar. 

install hidden hinges on old cabinets
install hidden hinges on old cabinets

Ready your hinge to be screwed in. 

Drill pilot holes. 

install hidden hinges on old cabinets

Screw hinge into place. 

This is where we make an adjustment in the provided screws with our hinges. The reviews were unanimously bad for the small screws that came with our hinges. We were proactive and went ahead and bought this alternative, and boy are we glad we did. Trust us! If you go with the hinges we did, buy these too. 

Disregard if you’re using another hinge.


install hidden hinges on old cabinets

Repeat on opposite end of cabinet. 

install hidden hinges on old cabinets

Once we got the hang of this, we were done with the hole boring on all cabinets within a couple of hours! 

Install hinge onto cabinet frame.

Measure your cabinet frame to center the door, and then mark and drill the pilot holes first. 

install hidden hinges on old cabinets

I hope this post gives you hope that you can absolutely install hidden hinges on old cabinets! Concealed hinges gave our cabinets a whole new look. Not to mention a luxury feel with the new slow close. This is a small but powerful kitchen upgrade.

Good luck!


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