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How to Add a Lock to a Cabinet Door? 3 Most Effective Ways

Fact checked by Teddy B.Miller

how to add a lock to a cabinet door

A cabinet is an indispensable item in every home. The items inside it, no matter how valuable, need to be kept safe. The reality shows that annual accidents come from not keeping items out of children’s reach.

Fortunately, you can minimize those risks by adding locks to your closet. Trust me, it’s easy to do and saves you a lot of money going to the hospital or calling a locksmith.

Today’s article will guide you on how to add a lock to a cabinet door. In general, the article will include an introduction and a section featuring step-by-step instructions for a push-down cabinet door lock, a magnetic cabinet door lock, and a sliding door lock.

The Variety and Importance of Attaching Locks to Cabinets

There are many types of cabinets to serve different purposes. But in general, they safeguard valuables and items that are sharp, fragile, and unsafe. Some people only care about the material and durability of the cabinet. However, it is also important to add a lock that guarantees safety.

Not all locks sold in the market can be used. There are just as many types of locks as there are types of cabinets. Therefore, you need to understand the type of cabinet you own or are about to buy, through the product number and manufacturer, to avoid wasting money on an unused item.

What You Will Need


  • Drills
  • Screws and screwdriver
  • Ruler and pencil
  • Alcohol wipes
  • Camlocks

The materials that need to be prepared are just the basic items of a locksmith or a carpenter. Drills and screws of all kinds are the first things. Nowadays, to meet the needs of users, some types of locks will not need to be drilled. But for me, the classic way still works best.

Often people will use a ruler and pencil to align the accuracy of the lock position. But if you don’t have one, you can still use a measuring tape instead. However, with painted cabinets, they can be painted if not careful. The different types of locks will be covered in the following section. They are all common locks you can buy easily at stores or e-commerce sites.

Then, alcohol wipes will help you clean the surface of the cabinet, increasing the stickiness of the glue and the effectiveness of other locks. Last, a cam lock can accommodate a wide range of door thicknesses and materials to help you find the best method of cabinet lock installation.

Step-by-step Process


1. Push-Down Cabinet Door Lock

This is a pretty advanced cabinet lock made of modern alloy material and is said to be long-lasting. As the name implies, you will not need a key to open the cabinet. You simply press the button and pull the push button to open the door. Attaching this type of lock is also quite simple with the support from some of the above items.

  • Step 1: Measure the width of the cabinet’s opening and its door

To establish how far your cabinet door extends past the cabinet opening, subtract the width of the opening from the width of the door. Mark the beginning of the inside cabinet opening on the external cabinet door. This is where you should drill a hole for the cam lock.

  • Step 2: Place the cabinet lock

Place the cabinet lock on top of the door, across the hinges. Make sure that the lock’s notch lies far below the front of the cabinet. After all, you need space to press down and pull the door open.

  • Step 3: Mark the screw holes

You can use a drill to make the mark. But the safer way is to use a pencil. You need to be careful with this step so that the screws will not be misaligned.

  • Step 4: Drill the holes

Release the lock and drill two holes based on the pencil markings. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for drill bits, or make sure the bit is slightly narrower than the screws that came with the locks. This allows the screws to securely fasten the lock to the cabinet without damaging the wood.

  • Step 5: Screw

Bring the cabinet lock back and align it to the screw holes. Use a screwdriver to attach the rivet. Stop when you feel the screw is tight enough to avoid putting too much pressure on the surface of the cabinet and damaging its material. Now, you can install a lock on a cabinet.

2. Magnetic Cabinet Door Lock

Since maglocks give a strong locking force, replacing your regular locks with them might be an ideal approach to protect yourself from thieves. These locks function by connecting a latch to the interior of the cabinet. It will stay closed until you insert the magnet-based key from the outside. All the necessary tools are included in the kit so you don’t need any extra items.

  • Step 1: Clean the surface

You can use an alcohol wipe to remove surface stains or impurities. Doing so will help the adhesive work to its full potential. But first, you need to make sure the thickness of the door is about 1.5 inches or less.

  • Step 2: Remove the 3M glue

Remove the 3M adhesive cover from the gap shown in the lock, which is known as the center groove. You should put a lock on a cabinet edge, with the middle groove facing you.

In addition, make sure the lock is about a half inch away from the neighboring cabinet barrier. Then, draw a line across the top of the door, facing the center groove to mark where the latch is attached.

  • Step 3: Turn to the latch

Remove the 3M adhesive cover and place it upwards about a half-inch below the drawn line so that the center of the head is in front of the line. You can take it off to adjust until it fits, then press it tight for a while so it sticks. However, you should still be careful because removing and attaching too many times will reduce the effectiveness of the glue.

  • Step 4: Take these notes

There is a switch on the lock so you can turn it on and off in case you don’t need it. As for the base of the key, you should stick it at a high enough height so children cannot reach it. Remember to clean the surface before sticking to ensure stickiness. For the glue to completely stabilize, let it dry naturally and minimize impact for 24 hours. After step three, you can lock the cabinet with the magnetic key.

Check through the Youtube video Source to better understand this type of lock to avoid confusion with another version.

3. Sliding Cabinet Door Lock

This sort of cabinet door lock is only suited for cabinet doors that close and open in the middle, and not for those with knobs. When you’re in your house with your family, a barrel bolt, also known as a sliding bolt, goes on the inside of the door to keep you secure. This lock is made up of two parts: one that fits on the door frame and one that goes on the door.

  • Step 1: Set up the work

Close the cabinets so they align, then push the two buttons to separate the buckle from the upper part of the lock.

  • Step 2: Attach the lock

Slip the lock’s upper opening through the cabinet’s two hinges. The lock’s lowest end will dangle underneath the handles, enabling the lock to tighten and prevent the cabinets from moving.

  • Step 3: Check the result

To fasten the cabinet doors, slip the buckle over the cabinet handle hoops until the two hinges can no longer move. To release the buckle is also simple. You just need to press two buttons at the same time and slide to open it.


These kinds of locks are all popular in the market and are recommended by many people, so you need to be careful in finding a reputable source. If you want more information on how to choose a good and suitable lock for your cabinet or a similar topic, feel free to leave a comment below or send us an email.

There are now many types of locks in the market to meet the needs of consumers, so be a smart consumer. In this article on how to add a lock to a cabinet door, we have shared with you the most honest experiences of adding a lock to a cabinet. With the three most popular kinds of cabinet locks, we hope that you will be able to ensure the safety of not only your property but also your children and your whole family.

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