According to a recent study, homeowners spend an average of $15,000 on a kitchen remodel, with cabinets being one of the biggest expenses. Just imagine what you could’ve done with that money instead; you could’ve bought a turtle, cosplayed as your mom, or published a book of bad avocado puns entitled “Guac ‘N Roll”: the opportunities would’ve been limitless!
Don’t worry, it’s not too late to be weird with your money. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you build your dream kitchen cabinet.
Step-by-Step Guide to Making a Kitchen Cabinet DIY
1. Choose a Design
The design sets the tone for the entire room. So when choosing a design idea, consider your personal style and the overall aesthetic of your home. Do you prefer a traditional look or something more contemporary? Minimalistic or rustic? Once you have a sense of the style you want, research different cabinet designs and layouts to find inspiration.
Another crucial factor to consider is the functionality of your cabinets. Think about your kitchen use and what storage solutions would work best for you. Do you need deep drawers for pots and pans or open shelves for frequently used items? Take the time to consider your storage needs and find a design that can accommodate them.
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2. Measure Your Space and Gather the Required Materials
This includes the length, width, and height of the area. Make sure to account for any obstacles or uneven surfaces that may affect the cabinet installation. After measuring your space, it's time to gather the necessary materials and tools for the project.
This can include the following:
- Wood boards: Choose a type of wood that fits your design and budget. You'll need enough boards to create the cabinet frames, shelves, and doors.
- Screws and nails: These will be used to secure the cabinets together.
- Cabinet hardware: This includes hinges, knobs, and drawer slides.
- Power tools: A table saw, circular saw, drill, and jigsaw are essential for cutting and shaping the wood.
- Measuring tools: A tape measure, level, and speed square will help you ensure accurate cuts and installation.
- Safety gear: Wear gloves, safety glasses, and a mask to protect yourself during construction.
Once you have all of those checked, you can move on to the nitty-gritty part.
3. Cut and Construct Your Base Cabinets
Here are some tips to help you get started:
- Cut the materials to size: Use a circular saw, or table saw to cut the plywood or MDF sheets to the required dimensions for the cabinet sides, back, and bottom. Wear appropriate safety gear, such as goggles and ear protection.
- Construct the cabinet frame: Begin by constructing the cabinet frame using pocket hole joinery. This involves drilling angled holes into the edges of the cabinet sides and using screws to connect them to the bottom and back. Use clamps to hold the pieces in place while you work.
- Install the shelves and drawers: Once the frame is constructed, install the shelves and drawers. Measure and cut the plywood or MDF for the shelves and install them using shelf pins or cleats. For the drawers, use a dovetail jig or drawer slide kit to create the drawer box and install the drawer slides. Be sure to leave enough space for the drawer fronts to fit correctly.
- Install the cabinet doors: Once the base cabinets are constructed, it's time to install the cabinet doors. Use a jig to drill the hinge holes in the cabinet and door, then attach the hinges and mount the doors onto the cabinet. Be sure to adjust the hinges for proper alignment and smooth operation.
4. Assemble Doors, Drawers, and Shelves for Cabinets
Here are some key points to consider:
- Begin by constructing the doors and drawers according to your design plan. For doors, you can use a router to create decorative edges or keep it simple with a square design. For drawers, ensure they fit snugly and operate smoothly in their tracks.
- Next, assemble the shelves that fit inside your base and wall cabinets. Measure the height and width of the cabinet, and cut your shelves to size accordingly. Sand the edges and corners to remove any roughness or splinters.
- Attach the doors and drawers to their corresponding cabinets using appropriate hinges, screws, and drawer slides. Ensure that they are level and properly aligned. Install the shelves inside the cabinets, making any necessary adjustments to their height to accommodate your storage needs.
5. Install Hinges and Door Pulls on the Doors
Here are the steps you need to follow:
- First, determine the placement of your hinges. This will depend on the size and weight of your doors and the type of hinge you are using. Measure and mark where the hinges will go on both the door and the cabinet.
- Next, attach the hinges to the door. Use a drill to make pilot holes for the screws, then secure the hinges.
- Once the hinges are attached to the door, hold the door up to the cabinet and attach the hinges to the cabinet frame. Make adjustments to ensure the door hangs straight and opens and closes smoothly.
- After the doors are in place, it's time to install the door pulls. Measure and mark where you want the pulls to go on the doors, then use a drill to make pilot holes for the screws. Attach the pulls to the doors using screws.
- Finally, test the doors to ensure they open and close smoothly and make any necessary adjustments to the hinges or pulls as needed.
6. Secure the Cabinets in Place
Here’s what you need to do:
- Start by positioning the base cabinets against the wall where they will be installed. Use shims to level the cabinets and adjust their position until perfectly aligned.
- Once the base cabinets are in place, drill pilot holes through the back of the cabinets and into the wall studs. Then, secure the cabinets to the wall using screws.
- For upper cabinets, the process is similar. Use a stud finder to locate the wall studs where the cabinets will be installed. Then, attach a ledger board to the wall, ensuring it is level. The ledger board will support the cabinets while they are being installed.
- Next, lift the upper cabinets onto the ledger board and align them with the lower cabinets. Use clamps to hold the cabinets together while you drill pilot holes and secure the cabinets to the wall.
- Finally, install filler strips or moldings to cover gaps between the cabinets and the walls. Use wood glue or nails to attach them securely.
7. Varnish or Stain Your Completed Kitchen Cabinets
The final step in making your DIY kitchen cabinets is to apply a protective finish to the wood. Not only does it add a professional-looking touch, but it also helps protect the wood from moisture, and other hazards.
Here's how to do this:
- First, prepare the surface of the cabinets by lightly sanding them with a fine-grit sandpaper. This will create a smooth surface for the varnish or stain to adhere to and remove rough spots.
- Apply a pre-stain conditioner to the cabinets to ensure the stain penetrates the wood evenly. This will also help to prevent blotchiness in the final finish.
- Apply your chosen varnish or stain using a brush or cloth, following the manufacturer's instructions. Apply the finish in a well-ventilated area and wear appropriate protective gear.
- Allow the varnish or stain to dry completely before applying a second coat. Repeat this process until you achieve the desired level of color and protection.
- After the final coat has dried, apply a top coat of clear varnish or polyurethane to seal and protect the cabinets from further damage.
That’s all! Simple, isn’t it? Well, if it didn’t feel like that for you then you can check out more of our DIY guides and find a kitchen makeover that piques your interest. If you have any questions or need additional guidance, feel free to seek advice from professionals or online communities.