Hey there! I’m excited to share that I recently built my own kitchen cabinets, and I couldn’t be happier with the results. It was a challenging and rewarding project that required some hard work and dedication, but the end result was worth it. I learned a lot along the way and gained a sense of pride in knowing that I had created something special for my home. In this blog, I’ll show you how to build your own kitchen base cabinet with double doors and double drawers in an easy step-by-step process.
If you’re considering building your own cabinets, I want to encourage you to take the leap and give it a try. With some research, planning, and a bit of patience, anyone can build their own cabinets and achieve the satisfaction of completing a DIY project. So, don’t be afraid to tackle something new and create a unique and personal space for your home.
Visit my shop to see other cabinet sizes and styles.
Why Build Your Own Kitchen Cabinets?
There are several reasons why someone might choose to build their own base kitchen cabinets rather than buying pre-made ones:
- Cost savings: Building your own cabinets can be more cost-effective than buying pre-made ones. This is especially true if you have access to inexpensive or salvaged materials and if you are willing to invest some time and effort into the project.
- Customization: When you build your own cabinets, you have complete control over the design, size, and finish. This means that you can create cabinets that perfectly fit your kitchen space and meet your specific needs.
- Quality: Building your own cabinets allows you to use high-quality materials and construction techniques, ensuring that your cabinets are strong, durable, and long-lasting.
- Satisfaction: There is a certain sense of satisfaction that comes from creating something with your own hands. Building your own cabinets can be a rewarding and fulfilling experience, and it can give you a sense of pride and accomplishment.
Overall, building your own base kitchen cabinets can be a great option if you are looking for a cost-effective, customizable, high-quality, and satisfying way to improve your kitchen space. However, it does require a certain level of skill and expertise, so it may not be the best choice for everyone.
What Tools Do I Need to Build the DIY Kitchen Cabinets
When constructing cabinets, it is essential to be meticulous when measuring and cutting the pieces. Utilizing proper tools will help ensure that the components are accurately cut and aligned for a successful outcome. The following are the basic tools needed for this project: tape measure, drill, table saw or Kreg Accu-cut circular saw, miter saw, Kreg Jig, nail gun, random orbital sander, clamps, Kreg Concealed Hinge Jig, and a dovetail saw. These tools will enable precision and quality of work. Having the proper tools ensures that the job is completed efficiently and effectively.
What is the Best Plywood to Use for DIY Kitchen Cabinets?
When it comes to choosing the best plywood for kitchen cabinets, there are a few features you should look out for. The most important is the grade of the plywood – A-grade plywood is generally more reliable and durable than B-grade or lower-grade boards. You also want to make sure your plywood is rotary cut, as this ensures greater uniformity of strength and fewer knots and defects in the wood.
In terms of thickness, 3/4-inch thick cabinet-grade plywood tends to be considered optimal. Any thinner than this may begin to bend or warp over time with use, while any thicker can start adding unnecessary weight (and cost) without providing significant additional protection against warping or bending. Lastly, consider opting for a birch veneer face on both sides of your plywood – this will not only reinforce its structural integrity but add an elegant touch of aesthetic beauty that will last even longer than solid wood cabinets might.
Time to Complete
Download Printable Plans in PDF
Tools for this project
- Available with the purchase of PDF plans.
Note: Lumber dimensions are listed as nominal size. See lumber sizes for actual dimensions vs nominal.
Disclosure: Some of the links on this page as well as links in “tools for this project” and “material list” sections are affiliate links.
Kitchen Base Cabinet Diagram
Step 1 – Cut Side Panels for the Kitchen Base Cabinet
Start by dimensioning the largest pieces on the sheet of plywood as shown on the cut list layout. The placement and orientation of the pieces on the cut list have been designed to reduce material waste.
Using 3/4″ cabinet grade plywood, cut two side panels to 23 1/4″ x 34 1/2″ with a table saw or a Kreg Accu-cut circular saw. Then, on the bottom corner, cut out a 4 1/4″ x 2 3/4″ toe-kick section on both side panels as shown in the picture. If you’re building multiple base cabinets, make yourself a toe-kick template. You’ll save time by tracing the template instead of repeatedly pulling the exact measurement.
Step 2 – Drill Pocket Holes on the Side Panels of the Cabinet
Next, set your Kreg Jig to 3/4″ wood thickness. Then drill four pocket holes on the front end of the side panels.
When drilling pocket holes, the spacing between the holes could vary depending on how strong you what the connection to be. The closer the pocket holes are to each other, the stronger the seam will be. But don’t go into the extreme by having too many unnecessary holes. It will just make your cabinet building much longer than needed.
The pocket holes could be drilled on the inside or the outside of the cabinet. If they are on the outside and the cabinet side is exposed/visible, you will need a 1/4″ end panel. See cabinet diagram for end panel location. Otherwise, you could drill pocket holes in the inside of the cabinet. Most people prefer not to see the pocket holes inside the cabinets.
Step 3 – Cut the Bottom and the Shelf Board
Again, using 3/4″ plywood, cut one bottom piece to 34″ x 23 1/4″ and one shelf piece to 34″ x 9″. Then drill pocket holes on the shelf and the bottom piece, as shown in the picture. These pocket holes will be facing down.
Step 4 – Cut the Back Panel and the Base Pieces
Cut one back panel to 34″ x 29 1/2″ and two base pieces to 34″ x 4 1/4″. Also, cut one top stretcher to 34″ x 2 1/2″. Then drill pocket holes as shown in the picture.
Step 5 – Connect the Base Pieces to the Side Panel
When joining boards together using the pocket hole method, you can use just the screws or a combination of screws and wood glue. Using wood glue strengthens the connection and prevents it from becoming loose. But you cannot take the pieces apart once the glue dries, so keep that in mind.
Since the cabinet frame is secured to the wall and does not move around, wood glue is unnecessary, except for the doors and drawer.
Take the left cabinet panel (pocket holes on the outside) and attach the front and the back base pieces using 1 1/4″ pocket hole screws. The front base piece will need to come out temporarily to connect the face of the cabinet. See step 11.
When driving in the pocket hole screws, clamping the boards together is essential if you want the cabinet to look good. If you don’t clamp the board, they will shift and misalign, no matter how hard you hold them together with your hands.
Step 6 – Attach the Bottom Board to the Cabinet
Attach the bottom board to the left cabinet panel and the back base piece with 1 1/4″ pocket hole screws. Since the front base piece will need to be removed temporarily, use only one screw to hold it in place for now.
Step 7 – Place and Connect the Back Panel to the Kitchen Cabinet
Take the back panel board and attach it to the cabinet. Make sure the pocket holes are facing the back.
Step 8 – Attach the Right Panel and the Shelf Board to the Cabinet
Next, attach the right panel to the cabinet. Again make sure the pocket holes are on the outside.
Now attach the shelf with the pocket holes facing down. To ensure the shelf is not slanted or sloped, first, determine how high you want to install the shelf. Then cut two template boards to that length. Then place the template boards on each side, under the shelf, and drive in the screws. Once all the screws are in, remove the template boards.
Then connect the front and back stretcher board on top of the kitchen base cabinet.
Step 9 – Cut Boards for the Face of the Cabinet
For the face of the cabinet, you want to use real wood boards, such as pine or oak, instead of plywood. Natural wood looks much better than plywood. Also, when using natural wood, you have the ability to sand the edges to make a smooth surface.
Take a 1×2 board and cut two stile boards (sides) to 31″ in length. Then cut the bottom, mid and top rails to 33″ in length.
Next, take a 1×3 board and cut one middle piece to 21″ in length and one piece to 5 1/2″ in length.
Drill two pocket holes on each end of the boards except for the side stile boards. See picture.
Step 10 – Assemble the Face of the Cabinet
Now attach the boards together using wood glue and 1 1/4″ pocket hole screws. Make sure to clamp the boards together before driving in the screws to prevent misalignment. If you get a slight misalignment of the boards, you could use a random orbital sander for sanding the boards.
Step 11 – Attach the Face to the Cabinet Frame
As stated in the previous step, use a random orbital sander for sanding the cabinets’ faces. Start with 80 grid sandpaper, then finish with 120 grid.
If you plan to paint the cabinets, it’s better to paint the face before attaching it to the cabinet frame. It makes the painting much easier when the face is detached. If you don’t have a sprayer, use a roller to apply the paint.
Take the face and clamp it to the cabinet frame. (The cabinet’s face will be 1/4″ wider than the cabinet frame on both ends.) Then drive in 1 1/4″ pocket hole screws from the side panels and the top stretcher. Notice that you can’t access the bottom screws because of the front base. As I mentioned earlier, you will need to remove it temporarily to drive in the bottom face screws and then reattach the front base board.
Step 12 – Cut Plywood Pieces for the Drawer Boxes
To make the drawer boxes, you will need to use 1/2″ plywood or 1/2″ MDF board.
Take 1/2″ plywood and cut two bottom pieces to 22 1/2″ x 13 1/4″. Then cut four end pieces to 13 1/4″ x 4 1/4″ and four side pieces to 22 1/2″ x 4 3/4″.
Step 13 – Assemble the Drawer Boxes
For this step, you will need to use wood glue and your nail gun with brad nails. First, take the bottom piece and attach the front and back pieces with glue and 1″ brad nails. Then attach the side boards.
Step 14 – Cut and Assemble Drawer Slide Supports
Depending on the style of drawer slides you use, you may not need to build additional supports. Some drawer slides come with brackets that allow you to attach the slides to the cabinet’s back panel. If you have those brackets, you may skip this step.
If you need the slider supports, take 1/2″ plywood and cut four pieces to 22 1/2″ x 2″. Then take 3/4″ plywood and cut two pieces to 22 1/2″ x 1 1/2″. Finally, drill two pocket holes on each end of the 3/4″ pieces.
Next, for the middle support, take both 3/4″ pieces and two 1/2″ boards and connect them together with wood glue and brad nails, as shown in the picture. Make sure the pocket holes of the 3/4″ boards are on the top and bottom.
Step 15 – Attach the Drawer Slide Supports to the Kitchen Base Cabinet
Installing the drawer slides straight is crucial for the drawers to work properly. If one drawer slide is installed slightly sloping down and the other sloping up, you’ll have difficulty pulling the drawer in or out. That’s why ensuring both slides are parallel and not sloping in different directions is essential.
To simplify the installation process, you just need to make a small template.
Take a leftover plywood board and cut one piece to 3 1/2″ x 16″. Starting with the left side panel of the cabinet, clamp the template board so that it is flush with the top of the kitchen base cabinet. Next, hold the left drawer slide support below the template and nail it with 1″ brad nails. Repeat the process on the right side.
The center support for the slides also needs to be installed at the same height as the side supports. Use 1 1/2″ pocket hole screws to secure the center support.
Now it’s time to attach the actual drawer slides. Measure 1 1/4″ from the top of the support board and draw a line across. Then place the drawer slide on the support board, aligning the slide’s screw holes to the line you drew. Ensure the slider’s edge is flush with the front of the cabinet. Finally, drive in the screws into the center of the line.
Step 16 – Secure Drawer Slides to the Drawer Boxes
Slide out the inner drawer slide and press on the clip to separate them into two pieces. The inner piece will need to be attached to the drawer box side.
Measure 2″ from the bottom of the drawer box and draw a line. Next, align the screw holes of the drawer slide to the center of the line and drive in the screws. Repeat the process for all the drawer slides.
Once the slides are secured, insert the drawer boxes into the cabinet.
You shouldn’t have to adjust the slide if you follow the steps above, but you still do that if you need slight adjustments.
Step 17 – Cut Boards for the Cabinet Doors and Drawer Covers
Building your own doors and drawer covers is the most challenging part of the cabinets. Some people prefer to order them separately from a professional woodworking shop. But if you have the tools to make and paint them, follow the steps below.
Take a 1×4 board and cut four stile boards to 22 3/4″ in length and four drawer side boards to 6 7/8″ in length. Then take a 1×3 board and cut eight boards for the top and bottom rails to 10 5/8″ in length.
For the middle recessed panel of the doors, take 1/4″ MDF board and cut two pieces to 11 1/8″ x 18 1/4″. Also, for the drawer covers, cut two pieces to 11 1/8″ x 2 3/8″.
Step 18 – Prepare Cabinet Doors Pieces to be Assembled
There are different ways to build and assemble cabinet doors. The first common method is to drill pocket holes and join the boards with screws. The second method is using a rail with stile router bits set and joining the boards with wood glue.
In this tutorial, we will use pocket hole screws.
As shown in the picture, take 1×2 stile boards and drill two pocket holes on each end.
Next, you will need to cut 1/4″ deep groves on the side of the 1×2 and 1×4 boards for the 1/4″ MDF recessed panel to slide in. Raise your table saw blade 1/4″ high for the 1/4″ deep groves. Then adjust your table saw fence to cut the groove on the side of the board. You might want to use a scrap board initially for testing and making blade adjustments before cutting the stile or rail boards.
Once everything is set correctly, cut the grooves on all the boards. Note: The grooves on the 1×4 stile boards must stop short about 1/2″ from the edge. See picture.
Finally, use a random orbital sander and sand the boards and 1/4″ MDF recessed panels using 320 grid sandpaper.
Step 19 – Assemble the Cabinet Doors and Drawer Covers
Now assemble the doors and drawer covers using wood glue and 1 1/4″ pocket hole screws. Make sure to clamp the boards when driving in the screws to prevent misalignment.
Once the cabinet doors are assembled, you could fill in the pocket holes with wood dowels.
Cut a 3/8″ dowel rod into bunch of small pieces about 1 1/2″ in length. Then dip one end of the dowel into the wood glue and hammer it into the pocket hole. Next, use a flexible dovetail saw to cut off the excess dowel rod flush with the cabinet door.
Finally, use a random orbital sander for sanding any high/low spots and rough edges.
Step 20 – Install the Door Hinges and Attach Doors to the Cabinet
Once the doors are painted and completely dry, drill the hinge holes with a Kreg Concealed Hinge Jig. Follow the jig instructions to determine the edge distance for the hinge holes. Next, install 1 1/4″ overlay cabinet hinges on the door. Now, install the doors to the side of the cabinet. Adjust the door hinges if necessary.
Once the doors are installed, hold the drawer cover over the drawer box, ensuring the gaps between the door and drawer cover are the same. Then screw in the covers from the inside of the drawer box.
Step 21 – Install Door and Drawer Handles
Use the measuring tape to measure the distance between the holes for the handles. Make sure to measure from the center of the holes. Then, use a pencil to mark the spot where you want to install the handles on the doors and drawers.
Use a drill bit that is the same size as the screws that came with the handles to drill holes in the cabinet doors and drawers where you made the marks.
Place the handles over the holes you drilled and insert the screws into the holes. Use a screwdriver to tighten the screws, being careful not to over-tighten them and strip the wood.
Once all the handles are installed, test them to ensure they are secure and functioning correctly.
Step 22 – Attach Kitchen Base Cabinet End Panels
Before making the end panels, you need to determine if you actually need them. So, if this base cabinet piece is installed between other cabinets, then you will not need to make end panels. But if the cabinets’ side is exposed (or at the end), then you will need to make the end panel. You might only have one end panel if only one side is exposed.
Use 1/4″ MDF board for the end panels. The measurements for the panels are exactly the same as the side panels.
Once the end panels are cut, attach them to the side of the cabinet with 1″ brad nails. You could also install baseboard trim to cover the pocket holes under the kick toe.
You are done with the DIY Kitchen Base Cabinet.
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