Building Kitchen Cabinets – Here’s a Quick Do-It-Yourself Guide

Unfinished kitchen cabinets
Unfinished kitchen cabinets. Photo courtesy of

Most people have the misconception that building a dream kitchen is as difficult as finding a good house of one’s choice. However, it’s not the same anymore. With simple “Do it yourself” techniques, you can build kitchen cabinets for your kitchen and give it a perfect furnished look without burning a hole in your pockets.

One does not need to be an expert woodworker or an excellent designer to build kitchen cabinets. All one needs to have is a creative mind and basic skills in cutting, sawing, painting and polishing, which you would probably know already.

How to build kitchen cabinets

Getting prepared

Before you start with building kitchen cabinets, try bringing a rough sketch of the kitchen design that you have in your mind, on a piece of paper. You can even take ideas from magazines/Internet and improvise them as per you needs. Plan beforehand, the number, the shapes and the sizes of the kitchen cabinets that you would like in your kitchen, not ignoring the dimensions of your kitchen area. There are various options that are available in building kitchen cabinets.

Starting from the very basics on how to build kitchen cabinets, here is a list of things you need before commencing the DIY job of building kitchen cabinets for your kitchen.

  • Half inch plywood (depending upon the budget, you can choose the kind of wood that fits into your budget).
  • Measuring tape, table saw, cutter, drill, sand papers, claw hammer, and pencil.
  • Face frames made of oak or other hardwood, wood putty, drawer slides.
  • Hinges, bolts, clamps, flathead screws or 1.5-3 inch deck screws, finishing nails, nuts, knobs that can be obtained from any local hardware stores.
  • Wood glues and adhesives.
  • Paints and varnishes of choice.

Building kitchen cabinets

1. Take the actual measurements of the walls and the length and breadth of the cabinets that you wish for your kitchen. Also take into account the depth of each cabinet in order to assess the amount of plywood you would be required to purchase.

2. Cut the frame for your kitchen cabinets, and screw the frames together to make it act like a box case for the cabinets. Apply glue to the pieces before nailing them together. Clamps will help you hold the wood in place while the glue dries.

3. Install the supporting rods against the walls to support the kitchen cabinets.

4. As per the estimates and calculations, cut out the backing of the cabinets from the plywood that you have purchased, and mount it firmly against the walls.

5. With half the job done, the next step in how to make kitchen cabinets is to carve out the sides for the kitchen cabinets. And double secure them with wood adhesive and nails for a neater and long lasting touch.

6. The pre-cut kitchen cabinet doors and drawer fronts can be purchased from the stores or you can cut out from the plywood for finishing the kitchen cabinetry. Choice is all yours.

7. Pre-cut doors already have hinges attached. But if you are doing all by yourself, then also attach hinges to the door sides by first drilling holes in it and then fixing the hinges with the screws. The more the number of hinges, the more secure would be your kitchen cabinet door.

8. Once the body of the kitchen cabinet is ready, all you need to add is the extra touches and accessories. Depending upon your personal preference, you can choose either a handle or knob for the doors.

9. Now mount the body of the cabinet next to the wooden back that is already mounted next to the wall.

10. Finally, for adding the finishing touches use a good quality wood varnish for polishing the wooden surface of the kitchen cabinets so that they look lustrous and also remain protected from wood lice and termites.

Some helpful tips when building your own kitchen cabinets

1. You need to be extra wary while taking the measurements for your kitchen cupboards so that you don’t end up cutting and re-cutting the wood, which would ultimately lead to wastage of time and money.

2. To get a neater appearance and uniform margins, smoothen out the fresh cut surfaces with the sand paper.

3. For inspiration and creative ideas, you can browse for designs on net or catalogues and DIY.

4. Take precautions while doing the cutting job. Use gloves to avoid cuts and bruises, and protect your eyes from wood flakes by wearing goggles.

5. Last but not the least; keep a first aid box handy.

Building kitchen cabinets on your own is known to be time consuming and requires a lot of patience but it’s less expensive and an ideal way to customize your kitchen and once ready, the sense of contentment it gives is definitely priceless. After all, you will not just have food to suit your taste but everything else too, according to your taste in the kitchen.

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