Learn how to build basic cabinets for your next DIY project, including creating blueprints for your own custom cabinets.
Basic cabinets are the type of cabinets you'll use to build basic kitchen cabinets, kitchen islands, and bathroom vanities. You can also use them to create deeper backgrounds to build cabinets in other rooms.
Things that make a base cabinet unique:
- They do not have a lid and are covered with a stove.
- They have a kicking area on their toes.
- They are deeper than other cabinets.
Make sure you read the overview.how to build post cabinets hereso you can see the different types of cases, pros and cons of each, an overview of case parts and general assembly.
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In this post, we will look at the specific dimensions and assembly of base cabinets.
table of contents
- Things to Consider When Building Base Cabinets
- How tall are the base cabinets?
- How deep are the base cabinets?
- What is the purpose of a kicked toe?
- Add drawers or not?
- base cabinet plans
- Front Frame Base Cabinet Cut List
- Frameless Base Cabinets Cut List
- How to build a base cabinet box
- Cut toe kick
- Assemble the cabinet box
- Assemble the face frame
- Tips for an easy-to-install professional cabinet
Things to Consider When Building Base Cabinets
When building your own base cabinets, you need to figure out a few things before making your base cabinet plans. Let's look at the different options you have when building basic cabinets so you can make some decisions.
What cabinet style do you want?
You can build your basic cabinets as framed cabinets or frameless cabinets (European style).Read all about the different types of cabinets (including pictures) hereto see which type is right for you.
How tall are the base cabinets?
The height of your base cabinet will depend on the type of base cabinet you are building. But remember, you can set them higher if you are above average or lower if you are below average. That's the joy of building them yourself! Keep in mind that if you plan on selling your home one day, custom heights can be an issue for a potential home buyer.
Here are some standard height recommendations for various base cabinets.
- Kitchen cabinets: 34 1/2″ tall before countertops
- Bathroom vanities: 32″ (but you can typically find ranges from 30″ to 36″)
- Built: There is no standard, think about what you want in the space and go from there.
How deep are the base cabinets?
The depth of your base cabinets is similar to the height, it depends on the type of cabinet you are building. But then again, you're doing this custom so you can do whatever you want!
Here are some standard depth recommendations for various base cabinets.
- Kitchen cabinets: 24″ deep
- Bathroom vanities: 21″
- Built-ins – Bookcases are usually 12″ deep;
- table cabinets: 24-30″ deep, but if you are using a laptop you can make it as shallow as 18″
What is the purpose of a kicked toe?
A stand is a cutout in the bottom of a base cabinet that allows you to move closer to the cabinet because your feet have room to move. This reduces the stress on the body when bending over. Toe kicks also cause your closet to wobble off the floor a few inches.
Baseboards are very useful in kitchens and bathrooms, as you spend a lot of time in front of cabinets. For built-in cabinets in a living room, office, etc., a support is probably not necessary, but you'll still want to raise the cabinet opening off the floor a few inches to ensure your cabinets can be easily opened. without letting them get hooked on carpet or other items that might be on the floor.
Kitchen islands are sometimes built without a baseboard so that they look like a piece of furniture and not just cupboards in the middle of the room. To make it more comfortable to be close to the island, you can give your counter an extra inch of overhang.
There are a few different ways to create a stand for your basic cabinets.
- You can fit the foot on the side of the cabinet and cover the front with a piece of wood.
- You can build a 2×4 base to sit on top of the slightly shorter base cabinet, then cover the front of the 2×4 base with lumber.
If you are building a large bank of base cabinets (such as in a kitchen), building a large 2×4 base to fit all the cabinets might be an easier option. You can easily level the base with wedges and secure it to the floor. Then just put the cabinets on top.
Also, when building standard kitchen height base cabinets, you can get 6 sides of a 4×8 plywood sheet if you build the cabinets with the 2×4 base. use less plywood.
If you're just building some cabinets or a bathroom vanity, this might not be an economical or easier option.
How big is a toe kick?
A standard outlet is 3" deep and 3 1/2"-4" high. Footers longer than 4″ will not help the cabinet stand up more easily, but will reduce the space inside the cabinet. It is not recommended that you go below 3″.
Note that if you are building a front frame cabinet on a 2×4 base, the toe box will be slightly smaller than 3 1/2″ because the front frame drops slightly below the base of the cabinet.
that's how II built my kitchenand I have no problem standing on cupboards for hours. But my vacuum cleaner occasionally gets stuck under the foot of the foot.
Add drawers or not?
Basic closets can be built with just one closet area, or you can add a 1-drawer closet area (usually on top). This is a great way to add extra drawer space to your kitchen.
If you want a low cabinet with just drawers, take a look atHow to build base cabinets with drawerspost. To learn how to build drawers, check out these3 easy ways to build DIY drawers.
When deciding whether or not to add a drawer to the base cabinet, consider the following:
- How many drawers do I need/want?
- Do you want all your drawers in one or two base sections or do you want to spread your drawers out across your room?
- How tall are the items you will be storing in the lower cabinets? Do you need the extra space that a drawer takes up?
There is no correct answer to how many drawers you should have and where they should be. The joy of building your own cabinets is that you can build exactly what you want!
You can also customize any base cabinet to make special cabinets like this one.Removing the Trash Cabinet🇧🇷 Build with or without drawer.
And to learn more about cajons, check out this post with tips and tricks onhow to install drawers.
base cabinet plans
Once you've found the answers to the questions above, it's time to create plans for your own baseboards! I'll walk you through creating plans for your basic custom cabinets and you'll be ready to start building.
Each base cabinet will have the following parts:
- 2 side pieces
- 1 bottom
- 1 back
- 2 pieces of support
- Optional: 1 piece of extra support if you want to add a drawer to your frameless base cabinet
- Optional: kick
- Optional: face frame
- 2 front frame pins
- 2 sided frame rails
- 1 additional front frame rail if you want to add a drawer to your base cabinet
To build your basic cabinets you will want to use 3/4″ plywood for the bulk of the cabinet box. I recommend using 1/4″ plywood for the back and nose cover to save money and make your lightest box.
To finish facing the plywood edges, you will need to use an edge band to create a frameless cabinet or a front frame to create a framed front cabinet. Face frames are usually constructed from 1x2 boards (which are actually 3/4" thick and 1 1/2" wide). If you want a bigger, more noticeable frame, you can use wide planks.
Front Frame Base Cabinet Cut List
Use the table below to calculate the dimensions of all cabinet parts from the base to the front frame.
Important notes for face frame cabinets:
- Face frames hang on the sides of 1/4″ cabinets. This makes installation easier, but if the side of the base cabinet is visible, you will need to add a side panel (use 1/4" plywood and cut it to the exact size of the sides of the base and glue it together) or adjust your measurements to account for the extra 1/4" on one side.
- The back panel is not inserted into the back with a groove, but simply nailed. As the case is built-in, you will only see the rear panel if the side of the case is visible. Fix this with the panel mentioned above (cut it 1/4″ deeper to cover the back panel) or route the slots and size the back panel to fit those slots.
Once you've figured out the dimensions of all your pieces, you'll need to cut them out.
Frameless Base Cabinets Cut List
Use the table below to calculate the dimensions of all parts of your frameless base cabinet.
Important notes for frameless cabinets:
- Plywood is not 3/4" thick, it's a little smaller. And not all plywood is exactly the same. I would recommend that you press down hard on two pieces of plywood you are using and measure them. You can substitute this measurement for the rest 1 1/2″ for the bottom and support pieces This will give you more demanding cabinet widths.
- The back panel is not inserted into the back with a groove, but simply nailed. As the case is built-in, you will only see the rear panel if the side of the case is visible. If you intend to have the sides of the case visible, orient the slots and size the back panel to fit these slots.
How to build a base cabinet box
Once the pieces are cut out, it's time to assemble them.
Necessary tools(I went into detail inhow to build cabinets without expensive tools here)
- Circular saw with guide or table saw
- pocket hole template
- impact unit
- Measuring tape
- Corner clips and front frame clips are very useful
- Wood products:
- 3/4" plywood
- 1/4" offset
- Optional: 1x front frame cabinet boards
- Optional: plywood edging for frameless cabinets
- Optional: 2x4 skirting boards
- wood glue
- If using pre-finished plywood, use melamine glue for strong joints
- 1 1/4" pocket screws
Cut toe kick
If you are building base cabinets with a baseboard, use a circular saw, jigsaw, or bandsaw to cut the face of both side boards.
If you're making a 2×4 base for cabinets, you don't need to make notches on the sides; Rather than making lots of small 2x4 bases, I like to make one large base for all the cabinets that will be next to each other.
Assemble the cabinet box
Be sure to read the Perfect Closet Box Tips section in this post for helpful tips.
Drill 3/4″ material pocket holes in the sides of the bottom piece. You should have pocket holes every 4-5 inches for strong closet boxes.
For cabinets with a front frame: Also drill pocket holes in the front of the bottom piece and both side pieces.
Line up the bottom with the top of the bracket (or the bottom of the side board if making a 2×4 base for the bracket). Secure it with wood glue and pocket screws. Use corner clamps to ensure the piece is secured at a 90 degree angle.
Repeat with the other side.
Attach 2 pieces of support. This will help keep the box square and provide support. Use pieces of plywood to cut them. They can be 3 to 4 inches thick.
One will be at the top of the box and the other at the back. Secure with pocket holes using 1 1/4″ pocket hole screws.
If you are building a frameless closet with drawers, use a third support board to separate the chest of drawers from the closet area.
You can make the drawer as deep or shallow as you like, but you need at least 1/2" of additional height in the drawer area than the drawer box size.
So, if you want a 4 1/2" deep drawer (about 4" clearance after inserting the drawer base), install the drawer support piece 5" below the top support.
Secure the back with wood glue and finishing nails.
If the sides of your case are visible, you may want to target a slot on the back to place the panel inside. Or you can make a slightly larger side panel to cover the sides and back panel together.
Also, you can cut and join the base face now, or cut it larger to cover an entire bank of cabinets.
Now your basic cabinet structure is ready!
For frameless cabinets, cover the face of the plywood with edge strips.
For front frame enclosures, continue with the following steps.
Assemble the face frame
Cut the rails and pegs for the face frame. Drill 3/4" material holes at each end of the rails.
Set the rails between the pegs so they are flush with the top or bottom. Use wood glue and 1 1/4″ screws.
Use a face frame clamp to keep the frame face level and snug when securing them.
If you are building a front frame base cabinet with one drawer, cut a third rail from the front frame and attach it the same way you did the top and bottom rails.
You can make the drawer as deep or shallow as you like, but you need at least 1/2" of additional height in the drawer area than the drawer box size.
So, if you want a drawer that is 4 1/2" deep (about 4" of clearance after inserting the drawer base), you must install the drawer rail piece 5" below the top bracket.
The face frame is now ready to be attached to the front of the cabinet box.
The front bezel should be 1/4" from each side of the cabinet. Also make sure the top is flush with the top of the cabinet box and the top of the bottom rail is flush with the top of the cabinet. bottom.
Add some wood glue to the face of the plywood, then use the holes you already drilled in the sides and bottom of the cabinet to attach the face frame.
Your cabinet is now assembled and ready to be installed.
Tips for an easy-to-install professional cabinet
1-Route small bevels on the side edges of the face frames. That way, if the cabinets aren't perfectly aligned during installation, it won't be as obvious.
2-For the exposed sides of the cabinets, you will want to cut 1/4" panels to cover the sides. This will hide the pocket holes and make the side of the front frame flush with the cabinet.
3-Cut the baseboard panel to cover an entire section of cabinets instead of individual cabinets to eliminate another edge that needs to line up perfectly.
4-Build your cabinet box out of pre-finished plywood so all you need to do is paint/finish the face frames to have your cabinets ready to install. To seeHow to get a smooth, professional paint finishin their closets.
5-Add a center pin to large base cabinets to provide extra center support and make cabinet door installation easier (no need to worry so much about the center).
And if there are any questions or anything I missed, leave a message and I'll do my best to answer. I want to give you the confidence to build your own cabinets too!
While building your own cabinets saves about 66%, the cost of tools and time eats into this significantly for someone who is not an experienced woodworker.What are the three basic methods of cabinet construction? ›
- Base cabinets. Mounted to the floor, these cabinets provide much-needed physical support for countertops. ...
- Wall cabinets. While base cabinets can be located along walls, they are typically anchored to the ground. ...
- Pantry cabinets.
There are three types of cabinets: partial overlay, full overlay, and inset. Each term is used to describe how the cabinet door or drawer sits on or in the cabinet frame.Are all base cabinets 24 inches deep? ›
As far as depth goes, a standard base cabinet is 24 inches deep. For islands or other areas where there isn't enough space for such a deep cabinet, the size is generally reduced by three inches at a time. The shallowest base cabinets are 12 inches deep (Usually, a wall cabinet is used to achieve this depth).What is a 10x10 cabinet layout? ›
The 10x10 kitchen layout is a standard dimension that cabinet retailers use to help you estimate and compare the cost of new cabinets for your kitchen. The 10x10 represents the square footage of a kitchen, 100 square feet in total—the size of most small to average kitchen layouts.How many layers of primer do you need for cabinets? ›
Depending on what kind of primer you're using and the state of the cabinets, you will need 1-2 coats of primer. For many cabinets, one coat is plenty, but if you're uncertain, a second coat won't hurt as long as it's not applied too thick. When it comes to the actual paint, you will need at least two coats.Is it easy to make your own cabinets? ›
While building kitchen cabinets is not overly difficult, it can be a big job–even for an experienced carpenter. Before you take on this DIY project in your own home, you should understand that it does require some basic woodworking knowledge, precise measurements, and certain tools of the trade.What is the difference between a base cabinet and a wall cabinet? ›
The term base cabinet refers to storage cabinets that rest on the floor, as opposed to the wall cabinets that are hung from the wall or suspended from the ceiling.What is the best material to build cabinets? ›
Hardwood. Arguably the most durable material for kitchen cabinets, hardwood is solid wood. Some hardwood types, such as hickory or maple, will resist scratching and denting more than softwood species like walnut and mahogany. However, the former will cost more due to durability and overall quality.How much should I charge for the labor to install cabinets? ›
Average labor cost
Including preparation and cleanup, the typical labor cost to install kitchen cabinets can range between $80 and $190 per cabinet, or $50 to $450 per linear foot.
For a kitchen base cabinet, material cost is between $200 to $600. Meanwhile, labor costs fall between $60 to $300. Overall, your expected average cost for constructing and installing a kitchen base cabinet is between $110 to $250 per square foot.What are the two most common styles of cabinet construction? ›
There are two types of cabinetry styles: face framed and frameless. In the past, most cabinets were constructed with a face-framed approach but both applications now offer endless styles and design. Stock, semi-custom and custom cabinet designs are available in both framed and frameless construction.What kind of wood is used for cabinets? ›
Kitchen Cabinet Wood Choices
The 5 best and most popular woods for kitchen cabinets are pine, oak, hickory, cherry, and maple. Pine, oak, and hickory are cheaper and easier to get. Cherry and maple look luxurious and cost more than the others.
The most widely used kinds for cabinet boxes are constructed from medium density fiberboard (MDF), plywood, particleboard with melamine and sometimes stainless steel. MDF is a high-grade composite material made from recycled wood fibers and resin.What is the most common cabinet style? ›
The most common style for cabinets today is the Shaker-style. The Shaker-style consists of five pieces of flat-panel, creating a frame with four pieces and with a single flat centre panel as the fifth piece.What are basic cabinets called? ›
A cabinet that sits on the floor. These cabinets usually support the countertops. They differ from wall cabinets which hang on the wall. Base cabinets are typically 24" deep, and vary by width.
Kitchen and bath cabinets will generally fall into one of two types of cabinets, face frame or frameless. The face frame style cabinet will have a framework which surrounds the opening of the cabinet at the door and the drawer opening.What is the size of a toe kick for cabinets? ›
Toe Kick. Below the base cabinet, there is a recessed area known as the toe kick. It typically measures 3 inches in height and the depth is approximately 3.5 – 4 inches. The toe kick is an ergonomic feature which places countertops and cabinets within arm's length.What size should toe kick be? ›
Standard Dimensions for Toe Kicks
Toe-kick depths greater than 3 inches do not hurt the effectiveness of the toe kick, but depths less than 3 inches should usually be avoided, as they interfere with ergonomic effectiveness. The optimal height for a toe kick is 4 inches, and heights up to 4 inches are common.
The optimal depth for a toe kick is 3 inches. This provides an adequate recess to stand comfortably and maintain balance while working at a countertop. Almost all factory-made stock cabinets will comply with this depth standard.
The rear of the base cabinet must be level with the front. If the highest point on the floor is closer to the wall, the front of the cabinet must be raised with shims. If the highest point on the floor is farther away from the wall, the rear of the cabinet must be raised to the equal height.What size should base cabinets be? ›
Standard kitchen base cabinet height without countertop: 34 1/2 inches. Standard kitchen base cabinet height with countertop: 35 to 36 inches. Standard kitchen base depth (front to wall) without countertop: 24 inches. Standard base cabinet depth with countertop: 25 to 26 inches.Does base cabinet depth include doors? ›
Obviously, some models of wall or base cabinets will differ from these, but this will be called out for that cabinet in the catalog as well as on your quote. These depths are from the back of the cabinet to the front of the face frame and do not include the thickness of the door and drawer front.What is the most basic kitchen layout? ›
There are five basic kitchen layouts: L-Shape, G-Shape, U-Shape, One-Wall and Galley. The size and shape of the room will typically determine your layout. Although variations and deviations do exist, most kitchen layouts are based on one of the following shapes.What is the average cost of a 10x10 kitchen? ›
On average, a 10×10 kitchen remodel costs between $15,000 and $30,000 or $75 to $150 per square foot. Most homeowners spend around $17,280 and $32,803 or $80 to $200 per square foot. Further, the total 10×10 kitchen remodel cost varies depending on various factors.What is the best thickness for kitchen cabinets? ›
Good quality kitchen cabinets will generally be 18mm thick, with an 8mm solid back for extra rigidity.Should I roll or brush primer on cabinets? ›
On the fronts and backs of drawers and doors, you can use a roller. This will apply the paint in a more smooth and even manner and is much faster than only using a paint brush. Then, use a brush for touching up small areas or for hard-to-reach spots.Do I need two coats of paint if I use primer? ›
Depending on how strong or bold the previous color is, it may be necessary to apply more than one coat of primer. However, it is not necessary to over apply the primer with so many coats. As long as the primer applies uniformly over the previous color, then one or two coats should be sufficient.Do you need 2 coats of primer? ›
In short, you will typically need 2 coats of primer for most painting projects. Apply primer liberally and allow to dry fully before applying your final coat of interior paint.What kind of plywood do you use for cabinets? ›
Oak or birch hardwood is good for cabinets, storage and furniture.
Cabinet makers use power and hand tools to craft consumer goods from timber. While there are no formal educational requirements for a career as a cabinet maker, it generally takes at least two years of on-the-job training to acquire the necessary skills of the trade.Is it expensive to build your own cabinets? ›
The cost of building your own kitchen cabinets usually ranges due to the size of the kitchen space. According to the cabinet building calculator, one can expect to pay around $800 to $1,200 per cabinet depending on the quality of the materials used.Should cabinets be darker or lighter than wall? ›
There are no strict rules as to whether painted kitchen cabinets should be lighter or darker than the walls, essentially it comes down to personal preference and the look you're trying to achieve.What do base cabinets sit on? ›
With a stationary floor, the kitchen cabinets can be attached to the subfloor or in some cases, to the flooring material itself without hampering the functionality.Do you attach base cabinets to the wall? ›
Attach the cabinets to the studs with at least two screws in each mounting rail, while attaching the cabinets to each other with at least four drywall screws. Once all cabinets are securely in place, trim off the exposed shims with a utility knife.What thickness of plywood is best for cabinets? ›
Domestic plywood used in cabinetry can be commonly found in thicknesses of 5/32 inch and up, but for the purposes of a frameless cabinet ANSI HP-1 nominal ¾-inch thick panels are ideal.What is the best grade of plywood for cabinets? ›
A-grade plywood is ideal for furniture or cabinet doors. B-grade plywood also features a smooth, sanded surface, but may have more repaired defects up to 1-inch across.What is better for cabinets MDF or plywood? ›
For interior and exterior strength, plywood is the best. However, this does not rule out MDF and particle board. MDF is the best for painted door panels. Particle board is the best for inexpensive cabinetry.Is it cheaper to buy cabinets or make them? ›
While building your own cabinets saves about 66%, the cost of tools and time eats into this significantly for someone who is not an experienced woodworker.How much does it cost to remove and install new cabinets? ›
Fully Custom Kitchen Cabinets: The average cost of replacing fully custom kitchen cabinets is between $500 to $1,200 per linear foot. Additionally, you'll need to spend between $12,500 and $18,000 for installation and materials.
Typically, you can expect to spend between $150 and $500 per cabinet, plus installation costs, or $150-$380 per linear foot for total installation. Each cabinet will take 60-90 minutes to install, so you can also expect to pay an hour or two of labor per cabinet that you are installing.What is the cheapest type of cabinet? ›
Cabinets made of MDF, particle board, or other mixed synthetic materials are going to be much less expensive than lacquered cabinets or those made of solid wood or glass.What are the cheapest cabinets made of? ›
Made of pressed wood, MD, or plywood topped by a layer of paper coloured with a heat-fused melamine resin, melamine is the least expensive cabinet material.How hard is it to build your own cabinets? ›
While building kitchen cabinets is not overly difficult, it can be a big job–even for an experienced carpenter. Before you take on this DIY project in your own home, you should understand that it does require some basic woodworking knowledge, precise measurements, and certain tools of the trade.What materials do I need to build a cabinet? ›
- Solid Wood.
- Wood Veneers.
- High-Density Fiberboard (HDF)
- Medium-Density Fiberboard (MDF)
- Particle Board.
The most widely used kinds for cabinet boxes are constructed from medium density fiberboard (MDF), plywood, particleboard with melamine and sometimes stainless steel. MDF is a high-grade composite material made from recycled wood fibers and resin.What is the best wood to build cabinets? ›
The 5 best and most popular woods for kitchen cabinets are pine, oak, hickory, cherry, and maple. Pine, oak, and hickory are cheaper and easier to get. Cherry and maple look luxurious and cost more than the others. All 5 work well in the kitchen's hot and humid environment.How many hours does it take to build cabinets? ›
A cabinet install normally takes two to three days. And, countertops take an additional two weeks from template to install. Long story short, a kitchen remodel timelines for a simple remove and replace typically spans six to eight weeks.