real wood cabinet ikea

24″ Base Cabinets

Making Our Own Kitchen Cabinets

We started on our kitchen cabinet making project last weekend. In case you missed it, we are building our own wood cabinets using Ikea cabinets as our template. Check out why were are building our own cabinets here.

Building an Ikea kitchen is super simple. Every cabinet hangs on a rail and the legs are adjustable for easy leveling.  So we wanted to use all of these hanging mechanisms on our kitchen build. We’ve also never made any cabinets before so we thought starting with templates and making them the same size as other cabinets we’ve installed would be easier for our first time. Thus we spent a little extra time in the beginning making templates, but i’ll be worth it in the end.

We wanted to start with a small simple cabinet so we decided to buy a bunch of Ikea kits to use as our template. We will be reusing these cabinet parts in the laundry room so they won’t go to waste. We also purchased a few door fronts to use as templates as well.

We started with the 24 inch base cabinet. We have about 7 of these in our kitchen design.

Step 1
Making Templates

kitchen cabinet templates

Templates are required for all of the drill holes for locators for the legs, drawer sliders, dado slot for the back panel to slide into, and other hardware that is used to hang and set the cabinets in place.

Here is the template for the leg holes.
leg template for the kitchen cabinets made from ikea cabinet sizes
We just built it around the bottom panel. The jig is also a check to make sure our cut piece bottom panel depth will be the perfect size. Using the appropriate sized drill bit for the existing hole we drill through the particle board and the template underneath.
bottom panel jig template for kitchen cabinet legs
The key to making good templates is making sure they are sturdy and secure, and label everything! Make sure you know the top, bottom, back, front, and label the reverse side too if you have to flip it for the opposite side.
bottom panel template jig for leg placement holes wood cabinets
Next was the dado template. We wanted to make a template for this so we could set the fence and the blade depth the same every time. This piece is also used as a template for the width of upper cabinet supports.

dado template for back panel slot

To measure this dado we used a combination square with a stop to measure the slot from the Ikea side panel. We used this measurement to set the height on the saw blade. We set the fence about 1/4″ away from the blade. Then we made a couple of passes to get the slot, each time moving the fence away from the blade a teeny bit until we came to 1/4″ thick dado (the material thickness of the back panel). We tested a piece to make sure it slid easily in the slot but not too tight.

Now we can use this template to set the blade height and fence depth all at the same time and it will be the same every time!

kitchen cabinet back panel dado slot template

We made a template for the cut out at the top of the back panel. This cutout is used to accommodate the hardware used to hang the cabinet on the rail. Since it is not super important to be perfect on this a jig wasn’t necessary.

back template for kitchen cabinets

This is a piece of the back panel that we keep with our templates just to test the dados and when assembling the cabinet it helps to place this template in the dado while screwing together the bottom and sides. With the template in place there is no chance that the dados will not line up!
test piece for dado slot for back panel on kitchen cabinets
The last template we made was for the holes for the drawer sliders. We drilled every hole for the template, but for the actual cabinet we’ll just drill through the exact holes we need. If doing this it helps to circle the holes with a different color marker. So if you have a three-drawer cabinet like this one you’d drill through all the green holes, for a 4 drawer cabinet you might drill through all the red holes.

side panel template jig for drilling drawer slider holes and placement

Set a stopper on your drill bits for the exact depth you’ll need and you’re all set to start drilling away!

Step 2
Making the Cabinet

We took careful measurements of all of the Ikea cabinets down to 1/16th of an inch so we can be as accurate as possible throughout the entire kitchen.

24″ Base Cabinet

*The depth (d) and height (h) measurement for each panel will always be the same for all of base cabinets.

2 Sides: 23 9/16 d x  30 h
1 Bottom: 23 9/16 d x 22 1/2 w
1 Back: 23 3/8 w x 30 h
2 Top Supports: 22 1/2 w x 3 d (these are made from scrap material so the depth does not have to be exact, but no less than 2 1/2 inches).

maple plywood kitchen cabinet carcus

We cut each panel to size using the table saw.
Next we cut a dado into each side panel and bottom panel for the back to slide into.
kitchen cabinet wall attachment

Using a Kreg pocket hole jig we drilled holes in the bottom panel; 6 on the right side and 6 on the left side. We also drilled 2 pocket holes on each side of the top supports. We assembled everything with wood glue and screws.

It helped to use the small piece of 1/4″ plywood to insert into the bottom panel dado and the side panel dado at the same time we were assembling to make sure that the dado slot would line up properly in the end.

pocket hole screws and attachmentBefore the top supports were secured in place we slide the back panel into the dado slots.  This made it easier to slide in the back panel because the top of the side were still a bit flexible.

real wood cabinet ikea


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