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Build My Own Cabinet – Like many DIYers, my workspace is my garage. I’m lucky to have a large space, but with more space comes more junk. We never fail to fill every inch of our garage with stuff…be it toys, garden equipment or supplies. I finally decided to get my space in order. Here’s how I built functional and affordable garage cabinets in my workshop.
I’m a little embarrassed to share this, but it’s the starting point for my garage workshop. As you can see, it needs one
Build My Own Cabinet
I recently finished our bathroom extension and all the leftover materials piled up on this side of the garage. Along with all the new materials, the back corner was filled with materials left over from the previous owners. Before I could come up with a plan, I had to clear everything!
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I wanted to make this space functional without spending a lot of money. My first requirement was the storage of all materials. The plan was to make a large, but cheap closet in the corner. I didn’t want to move our large tool bench or wall gear rack, so that determined the size of the cabinet.
The garage where my workshop is is a detached and unfinished garage. While most garages have drywall, mine is bare studs. Before I started building the cabinets, I installed plywood on the studs. I used some pieces of OSB I had left over from a recent project.
Since my goal for the cabinet was to hide a lot of stuff without spending a lot of money, I went with 2×4 and plywood. I built the frame out of 2×4 and used plywood for the doors, sides and top.
I started by building the base of the cabinet. The depth of the cabinet was determined by the size of the materials I wanted to store in it and the plywood I had on hand for the counter.
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Then I added vertical 2×4s that I cut to the same length to the bottom frame. I made the 2×4 flush with the front of the bottom frame. I thought about making overlapping doors and the vertical 2×4’s would be used as a frame for the doors.
Now that the vertical pieces were in place, I placed the top frame on the vertical members and secured the two frames together.
For the counter, I decided to use a piece of 3/4″ white wood plywood that I had sitting around. I bought it to make a cabinet for our bathroom, but found that it couldn’t be stained. Since I wasn’t too worried about the look, I decided to use it for the cabinet top.
I cut it a little larger than the cabinet frame so it would have a 1/2″ overhang. With the cabinet being an L shape, the countertop was made in two pieces.
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Before fully installing the countertops, I painted the OSB that extended over the counters white. I also finished the cabinet frame with a piece of 1/4″ plywood on each end.
To keep costs down, I used paint I already had on hand. I went with a semi-gloss black paint for the frame. I decided to paint the frame before adding the cabinet doors so I wouldn’t have to work around them.
For the cabinet doors, I decided to use 1/2″ birch wood. I decided to use 1/2″ plywood, as opposed to 3/4″ plywood, to keep the doors from being too heavy. I wanted to be able to stain the doors, break up all the black, and birch plywood is an affordable plywood that looks great painted. Stained wood also hides sawdust better than black… and my garage is always covered in sawdust.
As I quickly made the cabinet frame out of 2×4’s, it’s certainly not perfect. To hide any imperfections, I decided to make overlapping doors. They extend at least an inch beyond the door opening on all sides. I made the openings quite large so that I could fit all my supplies through without any problems. This means that the doors must have been quite large!
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I decided to make and install the doors one at a time. Too many times I’ve decided to cut everything at once only to find something doesn’t fit when I’m installing it. This time I wasn’t going to let that happen!
Although I already knew that white wood plywood would not stain well, I decided to give it a try. I stained it with a special walnut stain. It turned out very patchy and uneven.
I tried my best to let it grow on me, but in the end I decided to paint it black. I would prefer a stained countertop because it doesn’t show the sawdust as much as the black, but the black looks much better than the original stain job.
Since the cabinet doors were made of birch plywood and not white wood, I was able to stain the doors. The stain will keep them from looking dirty 24 hours a day.
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To protect the cabinets and countertops, I decided to apply two coats of polycrylic.
The garage is already starting to look a lot better! This small project obviously started other projects in this space. Stay tuned for a post detailing how I completely transformed this corner of our garage! Two years ago, my husband built Shaker style cabinets in our butler’s pantry, just off our kitchen, for under $200. In this honest review, I share how they are holding up after 24 months of use…
In my five and a half years of blogging, my DIY kitchen cabinet tutorial has been one of my most popular blog posts to date.
A few internet trolls have left quite a few comments on this cabinet tutorial, mostly claiming that the project is too good to be true and that there is no way to build legitimate, durable cabinets for under $200.
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From what I could gather from the skeptics, the controversy stems mainly from the materials we use for cabinet doors.
Building our door panels out of plywood (which is what kept costs to a minimum), really got some people’s panties in a wad…
So were the haters right? Could you really get away with using such a cheap material for something as vital and utilitarian as cabinets?
Well…I won’t lie to you. The actual weight of the cabinet doors feels a little lighter than solid wood cabinets.
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If you’re a fan of tactile affairs, you might not be able to get over the light feel of the doors.
But aside from the weight of the doors, over the past couple of years, the functionality of the doors has proven to be solid. We didn’t really have any issues with the cabinets.
That being said, to keep this review as honest as possible, I’m going to show you two areas of the cabinets that are experiencing a bit of wear and tear…
In the picture above, you will see a small dent in the door board. This was actually a pre-existing defect in the plywood.
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Unfortunately for us, I didn’t get this stain until I started painting the cabinets. And at that point, I just said f**k it- painting directly on it, because I’m impatient like that.
Since this gate was so cheap to build, it really wouldn’t be that big of a deal to rebuild and replace (if we really wanted to). An even simpler solution, you could probably use wood filler to remedy this problem.
Moving on to the next problem area, you’ll see how some of the paint has been scratched off, revealing the white primer I initially used to prep the doors with.
From my extensive experience with painted cabinets, I can tell you that chipping is simply inevitable. If the cabinets had been painted a lighter color, it wouldn’t have been as noticeable.
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However, what I have done in the past with my painted kitchen cabinets (which have been professionally retouched) is to apply sporadic paint touch-ups. But….
Since this is a butler’s pantry and an area that most guests don’t see, I just let it slide for now.
All in all, I am very pleased with how well these cabinets have held up. Using plywood for a face panel was a little risky, but these babies served their purpose and look pretty good to me!
No… this tutorial is not too good to be true; and no… you don’t need to spend tens of thousands of dollars on new cabinets!
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If you want to see how we built DIY wood countertops in cabinets for under $50, click here.
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