How to build your own kitchen cabinets

Welcome to the final wind down to our full kitchen reveal! You’ve seen our kitchen island (and how we built the butcher block on top of it) and our kitchen sink base. Today we’ll be moving on to the big post about how to build your own kitchen cabinets. The kitchen cabinets turned into my own little project, it was something I was equally stressed and terrified about and, don’t get me wrong, they are NOT perfect, but I’m very happy with them. When I get stressed about something to work on the worst thing is for me to have anyone around trying to help. (Sorry, Love-of-my-life, but, you know its true, I cannot be helped when I’m worried about screwing up a project.) So, I took several days off over the course of a couple of weeks to build the kitchen cabinets on my own. I figured, if I could build a wall I could certainly a build a cabinet! Right!?

How to build kitchen cabinets @GrandmasHousDIY

The main cabinet boxes themselves I built out of 2x4s and 3 inch long screws, they would not be going anywhere. In the photo above you can see the roughness of it all but they’re very sturdy! We ended up with a enormous amount of 1×4 scrap leftover from our floor and from doing all of our trim so, after a million cuts, I used the scrap to cover the bottom of all of the kitchen cabinets and build all of the shelves. (In the next picture you can see an already finished base cabinet on the right side of our kitchen. This is a save from when we remodeled the house and I really don’t know its history. But it has solid steel drawers and, with a coat of paint and new hardware, I think it turned out nice! I’ll be posting about it soon too!)

How to build kitchen cabinets @GrandmasHousDIY

You can see how excited we were to finally have some cabinets to put stuff in! What you see in the above picture took me two whole days. All of the 2x4s are covered in 1x4s and/or bead board and they are ready for paint! Just about everyone in my life questioned my choice to build our kitchen cabinets when I could certainly find decent cabinets used that I could modify to work. I would normally have leaned that way (we all know I’m a refinisher and not a builder!) but I wholly expected that trying to get premade kitchen cabinets to work on our very crooked walls and in our specific kitchen would have been far more trouble and we simply could not afford to have someone else build kitchen cabinets for us. On top of all of that, I had my heart set on using three old windows for cabinet doors. In my mind there wasn’t any choice and it was what I had my stubbornness set on and Lord help anyone who would try and stop me when that happens.

How to build kitchen cabinets @GrandmasHousDIY

Now that you’ve got an idea of what the rest of the kitchen had to go through to get to its “finished” state, here is a closer look on exactly how I built each cabinet. With the kitchen basically done the over the refrigerator cabinet (and pantry – I’ll tell you about that in a later post) was just screaming to be built. Just look at how empty that spot is! And it was, of course, totally covered in crap we didn’t have anywhere else to put. So, after work one day, I told Diesel (the dog in the picture – doesn’t he just look so excited?) that it was time to get to work!

How to build kitchen cabinets @GrandmasHousDIY

No, the bottom of the cabinet is NOT sitting on top of the refrigerator, the angle of the picture makes it look like that a little bit but I built the bottom frame a good two inches above the top of the refrigerator. Just like with the rest of the kitchen cabinets I started on the outside and worked my way in. I measured and secured a board across the back and cut two more identical boards for across the front. From there I secured the outside boards (four of them) and then secured the two front boards that were identical to the board across the back. Everything I leveled as I went. This turned into a four foot wide by two foot deep cabinet so I didn’t mess around when it came to getting it WELL SECURED. I used 3 inch long deck screws liberally. The board in the center across the top of the cabinet is screwed directly up into floor joists.

How to build kitchen cabinets @GrandmasHousDIY

Now I connected the top and bottom frames together with boards running vertically across the front in three places on the cabinet. These I cut the same length and forced the top and bottom frames to match. If this had not been a 100 year old house with nothing level there would not have been any “forcing” but nothing here is straight so I improvise and work with how things are. I then had to crawl into the cabinet to cover the bottom of it with 1xs.

How to build kitchen cabinets @GrandmasHousDIY

I covered the entire cabinet with 1x4s (the same boards we used on all of our trim etc) and you can see the end where I used leftover bead board that we put on all of our ceilings. I painted it with two coats of our flat white trim and ceiling paint and then put two coats of a semi gloss poly acrylic. From there I took some measurements and, after work the next day, stopped at our local lumber yard and had them cut my doors from a piece of smooth 3/4″ plywood.

How to build kitchen cabinets @GrandmasHousDIY

All of my painting had to be done inside because our temperatures are now dropping below freezing at night now so I just said “forget it” covered the floor in a bunch of towels and got to work in our entryway. I don’t know if your dog immediately has to sit or lie down on anything you put on the floor but Diesel is entirely that way so, I laid down extra towels for him so he could “help”. The doors got the same white paint and poly treatment as all the rest of the cabinets. Then, my shiny knobs and hinges!

How to build kitchen cabinets @GrandmasHousDIY

It is absolutely wonderful to have the cabinets in the kitchen FINALLY all complete! Over the next couple of weeks we’ll be moving on to other aspects of the kitchen, the before & after of the base cabinet that was my grandparents’ that we salvaged from the house, the easy tip & tutorial about how I built a little shelf beside the microwave, a post solely devoted to those windows that I made into cabinet doors, our tip & tutorial about our finished pantry that is the absolute love of my storage life and then, finally, the complete kitchen!! Can’t wait for you guys to see it!

How to build kitchen cabinets @GrandmasHousDIYHow to build your own kitchen cabinets country white building wood working diy do it yourself

Hi guys :) Thank you so much for coming by and reading my posts! You might also like my Weekly DIY newsletter so you don't miss anything! Just type in your email to sign up!


  1. Kim domingue
    October 22, 2015 at 3:45 pm

    Wow! I’m so impressed! I’m hitting the both boxes at the bottom of the comment box and crossing my fingers that it will sign me up to get your blog posts delivered to my email…..for some reason, only a quarter of the right hand, information side of your page shows up in the browser. Any who…..the hubs and I are embarking upon a remodeling journey of his parent’s home, circa 1950. I’m looking forward to referencing your fabulous remodel for idea, tips and inspiration. Might take us a liiiiittle longer than y’all….. the hubs and I have about 3 decades on you guys…..but we’ll get ‘er done nonetheless! Y’all did a praise worthy job on your grandparent’s place. I’m sure they would be proud!

    • October 22, 2015 at 4:19 pm

      Oh thank you so much for commenting! 🙂 The renovation was a BIG job, it took us fifteen months but grandma’s house was built in 1915 and most of it hadn’t been updated since then so the whole place had to start with a complete gut. So, maybe your place built in the ’50s won’t be quite so bad! *crossing fingers for you* good luck!! I would love to see pictures too when you’re all done and once your start your renovation! Email me at (Also, sorry about that – the new site design is really wide! I’ll have to think about scaling it back a tad.)

  2. Sandra Gibson
    October 22, 2015 at 7:36 pm


  3. Kathy Wood
    October 25, 2015 at 8:34 pm

    I have a question. In the pic your husband took of you in the cupboard above the refrigerator I can see the 2x4s, especially the one coming down the middle. My question is how did you get to the flush finished look? You said you used 1x4s but a 2×4 is 1 1/2″ thick while the 1×4 is only 1/2″ thick. ? ? Confused. Lol

    Thanks in advance. Needless to say, beautiful job gal! Love the rolling pantry too.

    • October 25, 2015 at 10:32 pm

      Hello! The 2x4s on the entire “box” I put up so their widest edge was facing out – so the 1×4 covered them exactly (because they’re the same 3 1/2″ width). Does that make sense? Feel free to email me! I can send more detailed pictures etc. thanks!

  4. January 21, 2016 at 7:19 pm

    Wow, that is really impressive that you built your cabinets. And thanks for sharing how you did it. I don’t think I’m confident enough to try building my own, but I totally understand about not wanting anyone around when you’re stressed. I’m the same. I’m going to start following your blog because you’re DIY projects inspire me!

    • January 21, 2016 at 8:32 pm

      Thank you! I was so nervous going into it but, so far at least, we’re really happy with them! 🙂 Thanks again for stopping by!

  5. March 19, 2016 at 5:08 pm

    Wow, what an undertaking! You did a great job!

  6. March 19, 2016 at 5:38 pm

    Great coverage in this post! Thanks for sharing with the Thursday Blog Hop…makes me want to tackle my kitchen!

    • March 21, 2016 at 3:10 pm

      Thank you! It was a big job but over a year later and we’re still happy with them!

  7. April 7, 2016 at 2:56 pm

    OH MY GOODNESS you two are not only ambitious … you are talented! Mad skills indeed! This looks great! Very impressive! I hope you have an amazing day!
    The Curator’s Collection & Making Broken Beautiful (Thursdays)

    • April 7, 2016 at 3:13 pm

      Terry thank you so much! 😀

  8. Ali
    April 15, 2016 at 6:36 pm

    Your kitchen is exactly like ours! Our house is just 20 years old but we are in need of a remodel too. We have very little storage and cabinet space. My husband wants to build our new cabinets , and go all the way to the ceiling for more storage, so I’m very glad I came across your blog! How is everything holding up?

    • April 15, 2016 at 7:56 pm

      They’re holding up really well however, I learned the hard way with the 1x4s on the fronts of the cabinets to absolutely ALWAYS use at leach 2 inch long brad nails! I had a couple of pieces of trim start popping off when it got really dry in the house this winter *shaking my head*. Other then that though the main cabinet boxes etc look exactly like the day I built them and, so far, we’re very happy with them. A note: I can’t believe how much storage I have! A lot of it is vertical storage so I keep a stool around but I would encourage anyone to get or build their cabinets all the way to the ceiling – its amazing just how much room they offer!

  9. May 18, 2016 at 2:02 pm

    holy WOW – you are seriously a ROCK STAR!!! I’m so impressed with your handiwork and positive attitude. You did a beautiful job on the cabinets and I love that they are 100% custom and built with love. BTW, my hubby would totally take the same photo of me working if I asked, MEN lol – great job!

    • May 18, 2016 at 3:15 pm

      THANK YOU!! It was a really big and scary job lol so glad they turned out ok! Men! Right!? lol

  10. May 19, 2016 at 4:19 pm

    Loved your project!!The cabinets are amazing..I am so impressed! You have been Pinned, Tweeted and Posted to facebook! Congratulations -Your post will be featured this week at the Friday Favorites Link Party. The party goes LIVE on Thursdays at 7PM at I hope to see your there! Hugs – Christine at Must Love Home

    • May 19, 2016 at 6:48 pm

      Oh my Gosh Christine Thank you SOOOO much!!

  11. May 30, 2016 at 1:59 am

    This is so impressive…great job!! Thanks for sharing…hope to see you next week at Welcome Home Wednesdays!

  12. June 12, 2016 at 7:01 pm

    Ohmygoodness! I just had to come over from the link party to see a post about how to build your own kitchen cabinets! You are amazing, and I can’t wait to read more of your blog.

    • June 13, 2016 at 5:41 pm

      Thank you so much Jean! I was so nervous when I tackled our kitchen but, so far so good! 🙂

  13. June 15, 2016 at 9:13 pm

    You guys did an amazing job, nice to have a handy helper too!!

    I would never tackle a whole job like that, but I did tear out a kitchen and prepare for new cabinets to be installed, new sink, plumbing, and appliances and flooring, had it all coordinated with the workers and was done in 1 week. That was the way I roll.

    Thank you for sharing on #OMHGWW and for sharing my party banners below!!
    Hope you enjoy your week!

    • June 16, 2016 at 3:23 pm

      I dream of being able to roll like that someday but I’m such a control freak that I have to admit that doing it all myself might be the only way I’m capable of rolling lmao! Thank you for coming by!

  14. June 23, 2016 at 3:25 pm

    wow – you make it look so easy!! Thanks for sharing on the Pleasures of the NW’s DIY party!

  15. July 8, 2016 at 1:45 pm

    Tarahlynn, I am so impressed. I’ve never heard of anyone building their own kitchen cabinets from scratch. Thank you for sharing at Your Inspired Designs.

  16. July 11, 2016 at 1:28 am

    Wow! A lot of work went into this. Thanks so much for sharing with us at Merry Monday.

  17. July 15, 2016 at 12:19 am

    Wow! You are amazing! Such a detailed post and of course the action shots made me smile. Thank you so much for joining the gathering at Thoughts of Home on Thursday.

  18. July 18, 2016 at 2:18 am

    Wow! Your kitchen looks beautiful! Your amazing dedication and hard work has definitely paid off. Thanks for sharing with us at Merry Monday!

  19. July 18, 2016 at 4:44 am

    I super impressed and intimidated. You’ve wowed me. Thanks for sharing at the #ThisIsHowWeRoll Link Party.

    • July 18, 2016 at 1:51 pm

      Thank you Susan 🙂 It was a lot of work – I’m so relieved they turned out ok!

  20. July 18, 2016 at 9:36 pm

    very interested in how you built the cabinets and doors. Will be looking back through old posts to see how you build stuff. I’m your newest subscriber. r/sharon

    • July 19, 2016 at 4:05 pm

      So glad you found me! Thanks for coming by 🙂

  21. July 19, 2016 at 8:55 pm

    Wow…these look so great! 🙂

    I would love for you to share this with my Facebook Group for recipe, crafts, and tips:

    Thanks for joining Cooking and Crafting with J & J!

  22. July 19, 2016 at 10:11 pm

    Wow never ever thought of build cabinets myself. But you all did a great job they look awesome & look sturdy! Love the look! Happy to visit from #happynowlinkup!

    • July 20, 2016 at 1:43 pm

      Thank you Suzie!! We’re happy with them so far! 🙂

  23. July 20, 2016 at 12:29 am

    Wow! That is awesome! I wonder if I could use the same concept to build a new bathroom vanity…

    • July 20, 2016 at 1:44 pm

      Dara, absolutely! I just used the same concept and built a little grill station out on my deck (project for the blog next week). Thanks for coming by!

  24. July 20, 2016 at 3:57 pm

    What a great big project…but it turned out beautiful!! Great Job!! Thanks for sharing on My 2 Favorite Things on Thursday! Pinned!

  25. July 21, 2016 at 3:25 am

    Wow that is impressive and it all turned out so cute! Well done and thanks for sharing all your great tips at the Happy Now link-up!

  26. July 24, 2016 at 4:41 pm

    Wow just wow! Looking forward to the next installment and thanks for linking up with us again at Celebrate Your Story.

  27. July 24, 2016 at 9:02 pm

    Wow, these look amazing! I wouldn’t even know where to begin on a project like this! You make it look very easy, good job!

  28. July 27, 2016 at 12:43 am

    Hi Tarah. How lovely to meet you. Thank you so much for linking up to Thriving on Thursdays last week. I’ve been thinking about giving my kitchen a makeover and I would never have thought to make my own cabinets. My husband is pretty clever. I’ll get him onto it! I’m featuring your post at tomorrow’s party. Hope to see you again.

    Anne @ Domesblissity xx

    • July 27, 2016 at 1:21 pm

      Oh Anne thank you so much!!

  29. July 27, 2016 at 5:29 pm

    Great tips.
    Love the ideas to build cabinets for kitchen at home. It can help one to save money.

  30. August 1, 2016 at 2:03 am

    They came out so beautiful! Thank you for sharing at The Homesteader Hop

  31. August 1, 2016 at 4:49 pm

    You Rock! These look amazing and in awe. It’s great to see this and we loved that you shared it at Dishing it and Digging it link party. We love having you.

  32. August 2, 2016 at 11:25 pm

    Wow, I am so impressed! You are a hands on woman…you go! I never would have tried this, but I give huge kudos. Thanks again for sharing your creative spirit and venture at DI&DI.

    • August 3, 2016 at 1:37 pm

      Thank you Linda! I was terrified and SO relieved that they turned out ok.

  33. August 3, 2016 at 5:37 pm

    Taralynn, what a great job you did! My hubby built my kitchen cabinets when we were remodeling the kitchen. They were much cheaper that purchasing a full cabinet redo. I love them! Thank you so much for sharing with us at #SimplifyWednesdays. Have a beautiful week! Pinned, Tweeted, Shared

    • August 3, 2016 at 5:54 pm

      That’s very cool Carla, I knew we weren’t alone in building those cabinets – store bought cabinets are just SO ridiculously expensive! Thanks!

  34. August 16, 2016 at 3:47 pm

    You are really amazing at building and finishing these wonderful cabinets! I could never do such a thing! Thanks for sharing with us at Together on Tuesdays, especially all the terrific photos. I especially love the dog helping, too 🙂

    • August 16, 2016 at 3:58 pm

      Thank you so much! Yes, Diesel always helped me a lot on the house 🙂

  35. August 18, 2016 at 3:52 am

    This is such a big project! Amazing. I want to reface mine with new cabinet doors but, I can’t get my Mr. to commit. I wanted partial glass. I think we’ll just be sanding and painting our existing cabinets. I love how yours are turning out. Congrats! Pinned & shared. Thanks for joining the #InspriationSpotlight party @DearCreatives.

    • August 18, 2016 at 1:14 pm

      Thanks Theresa and good luck with your project!

  36. August 28, 2016 at 8:56 pm

    I am loving your cabinets! We want to do something in our kitchen and have no idea what we want for cabinets. But, this look, I can dig it and it fits our desired lifestyle and a vision I have for our home/family! 🙂

    • August 29, 2016 at 2:59 pm

      Kendall, we’re so far really happy with our cabinets! They’re so sturdy and because we built them ourselves, they were tailored to us too! 🙂 Thanks for coming by!

  37. August 30, 2016 at 6:13 pm

    Wow for building your own cabinets! I refer all building projects to my husband. As in “Honey, I want this.” Then he is supposed to figure out how to make it happen.Thanks for sharing on Family Joy Blog Link-up. Please come back and join us again! Remember to leave your host a comment to increase the chance of being featured.

  38. August 30, 2016 at 10:29 pm

    Beautiful kitchen. Thanks for sharing with us at Family Joy Blog Link Up Party this week.

  39. September 9, 2016 at 12:30 am

    You are amazing with all of the stuff you’ve done yourself to that house! Loving every update!

  40. September 13, 2016 at 12:41 pm

    Nice ideas to build kitchen cabinets. Thanks for sharing. 🙂

  41. September 13, 2016 at 2:18 pm

    Wow! Very impressive! I don’t know too many ladies who would take on a big project like this. Amazing job and I love white cabinets! Thanks for sharing with us.

    • September 13, 2016 at 2:43 pm

      Thank you so much Sandi!

Leave a Comment

Iris Nacole


Everything you see here on this blog the author has chosen to do so entirely at her own risk. And that is: risk to herself and risk to whatever she may be working on/her home and her own wallet. The author assumes absolutely no liability if you choose to follow in her foot steps and attempt anything you see on this website yourself. The author strongly urges you to do your due dilligence before attempting anything of a diy nature at home.

Disclosure and Privacy Policy

This post may contain affiliate links and, if you do choose to use them it will cost you nothing, but you will be supporting our little farm as well as this blog and our future projects. Likewise for the banners and ads you see around this site. Thank you so much for your support!
For our Full Disclosure, click HERE
For the Privacy Policy, click HERE

Copyright Notice

All the photos and text on this blog are copyright Protected and owned by the author. If you would like to feature or use any of the photos or work you see here that is wonderful! You may share one photo from a post, if linked back to the original post. You may not copy entire articles and posts (even if you link back to me) without my express permission. Email requests using the contact form HERE