Renovate Your Place And Learn How To Build A Cupboard

If you’re looking for home improvement ways at the lowest cost, then you’ll be happy to know that there plenty of ideas. For example, if you have a small room, you can make it look bigger with some easy tips and methods. Or, if you want to upgrade your garden, you can build a gazebo or a garden room. Another great idea to renovate your place is to create extra storage space in a room by making built-in bookshelves or building a cupboard. Don’t freak out! It isn’t so difficult as it may sound.

White kitchen cupboards filled with dishes and cups.

Building a cupboard on your own can renovate your kitchen cabinets or fill a space in your living room or bedroom. And the most important, at low cost. Thus, if you like DIY woodworking plans, here’s a step-by-step tutorial to help you learn how to build your own cupboard. Have a look!

How to measure the available space

Before starting this DIY woodworking project, you need, first, to decide where you’re going to build it and then to measure the available space to determine your cabinet’s dimensions. When you start measuring your space, you should take into account the below rules. These rules will help you create a well-shaped cabinet. Follow our tutorial!

  • If you’re going to build a kitchen cabinet between two walls, measure three different heights and choose the smallest one.
  • Your cabinets width will be the previous measurement minus 5mm.
  • Be sure that there’s no obstacle blocking the doors openings.
  • If you want a single leaf door, decide from the beginning to which direction it will open.
  • In case of a standing-on-the-floor cupboard, remove 12mm from the overall height to fit some small legs.
  • But, if you have already decided which legs to fit, subtract their length from the cupboard height.
  • For a hanging cupboard, adjust its height so as its bottom doesn’t hit your head or shoulder.
  • Don’t overdo it with the depth. Depth is the dimension that takes over most of the room’s space.
  • To be sure that the things you’re going to store in your cabinet will fit, measure them.
  • Once you know what you will keep in the DIY cupboard, measure the largest object and adjust the cabinet depth.

A man measuring a red wall where he wants to install a cupboard

When you have done all your measurements, it’s time to unleash your artistic skills and draw the cupboard of your dream on paper. First, you need to decide whether it will be built-in, freestanding, attached to the wall or an alcove cupboard. Whether it’s going to have internal shelving and the number of cabinet doors.

Prepare your working space

Once you have finished measuring, it’s time to prepare your workspace.  As you understand, a woodworking project like this is going to be a bit messy. Plus, you need enough space to move and have close to you all the needed materials and tools.

Hence, to avoid all the hassle inside your house, choose to work in the garage or outside in the garden or patio if the weather conditions are good. In case you don’t have a garage or garden, opt to work in a well-ventilated room with the least furniture, and make sure you cover them with an old sheet. Then, gather all the materials and tools you’ll use, and you are ready to start your woodworking plan.

Build your new cupboard step-by-step

Building your own cupboards for your kitchen, your living room, or any other room you want to have some extra storage space is much easier than you might think. Once you have prepared your working space, you need to gather the following tools and materials:


A young woman siitting on the floor build a cupboard

You might think that you need to be a professional carpenter to have all these tools, like a miter saw. However, if you are a DIYer and have done DIY projects like making a pallet sofa or building a garden room, you would probably have them already.

Now you can start your project. See the steps below:

Step 1: Plan the cupboard

Decide the size of your alcove cupboard. Standard kitchen cabinets are about 60cm to leave space for a 2.5cm counter lip. Counter’s height is usually 92cm. Therefore the cabinet’s height should be around 88cm tall. The countertop material would cover the rest 4cm. As for the width, it can be from 30-150 cm. The commonest sizes are 38cm, 46cm, 53cm and 60cm.

Step 2: Start cutting for the face frame

Start the project by cutting the side panels. Use 2cm MDF, plywood or any laminate. It wouldn’t matter how the material looks as the sides won’t be visible. The two things that you should look for are strength and durability. The side panels will be 87 high and 60cm wide. First, clamp the two sides together and then create the bottom front corner by cutting a 7.5x14cm toe-kick using a jigsaw. 

man cutting lumber with circular saw

Next, you have to cut the bottom, which will be the same width as the side panels. Then cut the front and base panels. Get 1×6 lumber and cut two pieces the same width as the bottom panel. Next, cut two more pieces of the same width to hold the top ends.  Finally, cut the face frame, which will be like a picture frame and the main part of your alcove cupboard’s appearance. Use lumber in a wood you like.

Once you have cut all the panels, you may need to sand the edges. Use a sanding block with 120-grit sandpaper to smooth them.

Step 3: Join the panels

Use wood glue to attach the base panels and create a flat face aligned with the back edge and one more 7.5cm back from the front end. Then, use butt joints to screw through the cupboard base and into the edge of the panels.

Keep joining the sides to the bottom. Then, using wood glue again and butt joints, attach the side panels to the base and bottom. Don’t forget to fit the toe-kick with the gab you made earlier. Check if all of the edges are aligned. For extra help, use clamps and angle measuring tools.

It’s time now to secure the top brace panels. Using the glue and butt joints, secure the back brace panel, ensuring it sits flat against the wall. Finally, place the front brace panel.

Step 4: Fit the back panel

Measure and screw a 1.3cm plywood or a 1.9cm MDF panel. Use some corner brackets and screws to support the joints.

A man screwing a piece of hardware on a DIY cupboard

Step 5: Istall shelving

Measure and mark where you want shelves. Level locations for the four corners and then put the shelf in.

Step 6: Add the face panels

Now the project is almost finished. Next, you need to put together the facing panels. Again, use flat joints, or a mitre saw. For better joining results, use pocket holes, dowels, or mortise joints.

Step 7: Put the cupboard into place

To place the cupboard and secure it, you need to screw the back panel on the wall.

Step 8: Install the doors

The final step is to install the doors onto the face panels.

Before placing the cupboard into a place, you can paint it. If you have used laminate, you can check our complete guide on painting laminate kitchen cupboards.

A young man looking at a white kitchen cupboard

Building your own cupboards can help you renovate your place without spending a fortune. You can create kitchen cabinets or others for any room you like. Plus, you can choose whether you will hang them on the wall or be freestanding. So, build a cupboard depending on your needs and taste. And who knows? Maybe your next project will be building under stairs cupboards.

Scroll to Top
Send this to a friend