Hi friends! Thank you for being here and welcome again to my brand new DIY blog! My goal is to give you tips, tricks, how-to’s and plans to build and DIY furniture and decor for your home.
Today I want to walk you through how my husband and I built our new shaker style laundry room cabinets. These have been on the to do list for an embarrassingly long time, but honestly, they felt so big and overwhelming that we put it off for a while.
We finally decided to take a staycation this fall and these were the number one must-finish. And I have to say, although they are large, the were not a complicated build. Ashley and Whitney from Shanty2Chic built these for one of their garage shops and I have loved them since they first posted about them. We did a bigger version for the laundry room because I wanted ours 18” deep, but other than that, they are built exactly the same. I’ll link their plans HERE.
Here is the original version that Ashley and Whitney built:
And here is our finished laundry room:
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- 3/4″ birch plywood
- 1/4″ birch plywood
- 1 x 2 pine boards
- 1 x 3 pine boards
- 1 x 4 pine boards
- 1 1/4″ pocket hole screws
- 1 1/4″ and 5/8″ 18 gauge brad nails
- 1/4″ x 4 1/2″ lag bolts with washers
- Hinges – these are the black ones I used
- Cabinet pulls – these are the 5″ and these are the 8″
- Shelf pins
- Wood glue
- Paint and/or stain
- Tape Measure
- Table saw*
- Miter saw*
- Random orbital sander
- Kreg jig
- Face clamp (optional)
- Right angle clamp (optional)
- Shelf pin jig (optional)
- Cabinet hardware jig (optional)
*The cuts in this build could technically be made with a circular saw if that’s all you have. Just be sure that all your cuts are square.
- Black matte sink faucet
- Black handle on bottom cabinet
- Black latch on lower cabinet door
- Free standing utility sink
Now let’s get started! The first thing we did was rip all the plywood for the sides and tops of the cabinets. My two large cabinets are 28 1/4″ x 48″ and the smaller one above the sink is 31 1/2″ x 30″. We used ¾” birch plywood.
Home Depot and Lowe’s will rip boards for you in the store, but be careful because they do not guarantee all cuts to be perfectly accurate. This will most likely vary based on the store and the employee.
TIP: If you do have to get wood ripped down to fit in your vehicle but you have access to saws at home to make the exact cuts, leave yourself an extra inch or two on each edge to account for splintering and inaccurate measurements.
After we had all our sides, tops and bottoms cut, we sanded the edges (you shouldn’t have to sand the face of birch plywood much, if at all) and drilled the pocket holes and shelf pin holes in the boards.
We attached the top of the cabinet to one side, then attached the bottom, then the other side. It’s nice to have two people for this stage of assembly to ensure your edges line up exactly, but if you don’t, we strongly recommend using a right angle clamp so your boards don’t shift.
TIP: If possible, screw pocket screws downward towards the ground. This helps stabilize the wood and it’s less likely to shift while you’re assembling.
After you have your cabinet box built, cut and attach the back brace pieces. Then measure and cut the face frame and assemble it with pocket holes and wood glue. Once assembled, attach to the cabinet box with wood glue and brad nails.
S2C added plywood backs to their cabinets, but we did not. Since these are for the laundry room, we decided we didn’t need them and saved the expense. I definitely would have backed them if they were going in a kitchen.
Now, on to the doors! Measure and cut the door frame to size. I recommend measuring each door as you go, because with inset doors, even 1/16th of an inch is going to make a difference in how they fit. Attach pieces with pocket screws and wood glue.
Once all the door frames are together, measure and cut the 1/4″ plywood for the door backs. S2C recommended cutting the backing a little smaller than the frame so we made it about 1/8″ smaller all the way around. Attach plywood backs to door frames using wood glue and 5/8″ brad nails.
TIP: Using painters tape, label each cabinet by number. Then label each door with what number cabinet it goes to, whether it’s the right or left door, and which way is up. This will be a huge help during assembly, since, as I mentioned every little measurement counts in regards to the doors fitting snugly.
Once all the doors are assembled, I like to do a dry fit with both to make sure nothing needs to be trimmed. If you do have a door that’s too big for the space, you can always run it though the table saw after it’s assembled. We did have to do that with two of them.
Ok, now the fun part… go paint your cabinets. Just kidding… not about painting them, but for me, this is not the fun part. Pro tip: if you’re rich, hire this part out. Or maybe if you have some older kids, make them do it for a few bucks 🙂
Serious painting tips:
- Use a decent quality paint. I have done this for a while, and yes, it matters. We used Valspar on these, but I honestly prefer Sherwin Williams. I find it levels better.
- PRIME. Especially if you are painting your cabinets white. Again, this is no ones favorite thing, but you will regret it if you have a knot or some other unknown who-knows-what come up as a yellow spot under your paint. I use Zinsser products. 1-2-3 is water based, Cover Stain is oil based, and B-I-N has a shellac base, which I only typically use if I am painting a light color over a darker wood. Not necessary for raw pine. I buy spray paint cans because, easy. One coat should be fine.
- Talking about quality again… use a quality brush and roller. I prefer Wooster Pro and actually used their new foam rollers for this and they were AWESOME. Spend the extra money. It’s worth it.
- Pay attention to dry times. If the first coat is not dry, the next coat won’t dry and so on. Then your paint will remain tacky indefinitely.
- We did not paint the tops of the cabinets or the sides that were touching each other or a wall. This is totally up to you, but why? Save the time and paint.
- Do another dry fit once the cabinets are painted. Although it’s minimal, the paint does add a little thickness to the door edges.
One more thing I want to mention… since we didn’t attach backs to the cabinets, we did paint the interiors of the cabinets the same color as the walls. Which in hindsight, was genius. I’m so glad I thought of it before painting them all white inside.
Once your cabinets are dry, you get to attach the hardware! YAY! I love this part because you really get to see the character start to show! See?!
The first thing I installed on the doors as the magnetic closure. I laid my cabinets face down, laid the doors in there, then marked where the pieces would go. Then I stood everything up and attached.
TIP: I will probably preach this in every post… pre-drill a hole for the screws. This not only guides the screw exactly where you want it to go, but keeps your wood from splitting. You need to remove matter (wood) to add matter (screw).
Note: My hardware is already on in the picture below, but it’s the only one showing the magnetic closure. Also please disregard our uber stylish basement rug.
After the magnetic closures were on, I started drilling holes for my cabinet pulls. I mulled back and forth about buying the Kreg cabinet hardware jig, but I am so glad I did. It helped me align everything perfectly every time.
Ta-da! Beautiful cabinet hardware attached in no time!
Once the hardware was installed, we took everything upstairs for assembly.
TIP: You may want to move your cabinets to whatever section of the house they will be in before finishing your doors. I didn’t and once we moved them and there was a change in moisture level, one of my doors expanded and no longer fit. It was a relatively quick fix… I just ran it through the table saw, but I did have to repaint that edge and wait for it to dry before hanging it.
To hang the cabinets, we found and marked the studs on the wall, then pre-drilled holes in a 2×4. We always screw the center in first, then make sure it’s level and drill in the rest of the screws. Then we set the cabinet on the 2×4, mark the studs, pre-drill the cabinet for the lag bolts, take the cabinets down, pre-drill into the studs for the lag bolts, then put the cabinets back up and anchor to studs with lag bolts. I am not sure if there is an easier method for this, but it’s worked seamlessly for us every time we have installed something this way.
Once the cabinets were hung, I began hanging the doors with the hinges. First, I placed the hinges on the doors where I wanted them. I predrilled and then screwed the middle screw in, making sure they were straight before tightening it down.
Next, I put the doors up and marked where the middle screw would go on the side being attached to the cabinet.
Pre-drill and attach middle screw for both top and bottom hinge.
TIP: Open and close your cabinet before drilling any more holes! Make sure nothing needs to be adjusted.
When your door is good to go, pre-drill remaining 4 holes and run in screws.
Here is an image of the inside of the doors:
That’s it! Enjoy your extra storage space!
Here are a few before pictures of the laundry room:
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