How to Build a DIY Sideboard Cabinet from Stock Wall Cabinets

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Project Total: $344

We desperately needed a new storage cabinet for my sons growing toy collection but when I was looking at sideboards, buffet tables and cabinets only they were going to cost me an arm and a leg and I really didn’t love any of them. I decided to buy two stock wall cabinets and turn them into a custom DIY sideboard!

Step 1: Secure your stock wall cabinets together

For this cabinet build, I decided to purchase two stock wall cabinets (you can buy them at home depot or Lowe’s) instead of building the cabinets from scratch. This saved me a TON of time.

  1. Cut your pine board into two 28in pieces. You will place these boards between the two cabinets, one near the front and one near the back.
  2. Lay the cabinets on their sides and make sure they are perfectly lined up. I tried several times using a level and doing it upright but had a much easier time once I laid them down on their backs.
  3. Place your boards between the two cabinets and have someone hold them in place or use a clamp. Screw from the inside of the cabinet on both sides into your board that you placed between the cabinets. Originally, I screwed through the shelf holes because I thought it would be easier but I regret this decision. Screw directly into the side of the cabinet (not the holes).
  4. Screw into multiple places to ensure a snug fit

Step 2: Add the furniture legs

The next thing you want to do is install your furniture legs. You will need 6 legs to make sure it is stable. 2 on the left, 2 in the middle and 2 on the right.


  1. Flip your cabinet upside down so that you can attach the furniture legs
  2. Because the bottom of the cabinet sunken in you need to install a few boards so that you have something to attach the furniture legs to.
  3. Using your pine board, cut 4 pieces to fit within the bottom portion of the cabinet. (See photo below). Install 1 on the left, 1 on the right and 2 in the middle (on each side)
  4. You may need to use shims underneath to make it flush but for the furniture legs I purchased, this was just fine.

Attach the Legs

  1. Use the furniture leg hardware that you purchased and install them in each corner.
  2. You will need to drill a pilot hole into the center of the wood so that the furniture leg can screw down into it
  3. Screw the furniture hardware onto the boards and screw in the furniture legs. You will be able to adjust the height if needed on any of them so that they are level

Note: because my boards weren’t flush with the middle divider of the cabinet, I used my multitool to carve out some of the wood. To avoid this, use shims or thicker wood to make everything flush.

Step 3: Add the top + side boards

Once you have the furniture legs attached, flip the cabinet right-side up and make sure you are happy with the placement of the legs. You may need to adjust a few of them in order to have it level and not wobble. Once you are happy with that, you will need to create your top and side pieces. You will cut these from the birch plywood that you created. Save yourself time and energy by having the hardware store rip down the boards beforehand. The top and sides are 12in wide. I had the store rip them down to 13in and I cut off the last inch with my table saw when I got home to ensure that it was a clean cut. This is totally personal preference.

  1. Cut your top piece first to span the entire width of your cabinet. You can miter the edges at 45 degrees (this is what I did) or you can leave them square and stack one on top of the other. The mitered edge just gives it a little bit more of a professional look. Again, personal preference.
  2. Apply some wood glue and use your nail gun to attach the top board so that it is snug in place
  3. After your top piece is attached, you will want to cut your side pieces. If you are mitering the edges, cut your top edge first then mark where you will cut the bottom. Note that the top will be mitered to meet the top board but the bottom will be a straight cut to match the bottom of the cabinet.
  4. Apply some wood glue and secure with your nail gun

Step 4: Apply the Edge Banding

Because we are using plywood, we will want to apply some edge banding so that we can’t see the layers on the plywood from the front. You can see in the image above that you can see the plywood layering. Edge banding is easier than you think. Simply unroll the branding that you purchased and hold it in place. After your iron has heated up, press against the banding. This will activate the glue and it will adhere to the plywood edge. Run the iron along the edge slowly until it is secure. Make sure you tilt your iron at an angle to make sure the edges are very stuck. This will help to not peel up over time.

After you have applied it all, there may be a little bit that sticks up over the edges. Take a razer blade and run it slowly along the edge. This is easy and quick and will give you that perfectly clean look. You can see the difference in the image below.

Step 5: Fill the nail holes + sand

The next step is filling all of our nail holes and any other spots that need adjusting. Simply take your wood filler and apply it to those spots. Let it dry according to the packaging and then sand the entire cabinet smooth. The higher number grit sandpaper you use, the finer the sanding.

Step 6: Paint or Stain

I decided to paint the cabinet with the color Teak Cups by Magnolia Home and stain the legs Dark Walnut but this is totally personal preference. I used my Graco paint sprayer and it dried fairly quickly. Be sure to prep the cabinet by taping off any sections that you don’t want to get paint. I didn’t want to risk the inside paint scratching off with bins/toys so I taped off the entire inside of the cabinet to leave it natural. I removed the legs and painted the entire cabinet. You could also paint this with a roller if you don’t have a paint sprayer.

Please note: if you are wanting to stain the cabinet, be sure to test your different materials first. There is a good chance that because the cabinet, edge banding and top/side pieces are different materials that they will stain differently.

Step 7: Add hardware

Decide the sizing of your hardware and attach using the hardware guide linked above. This makes it SO much easier to make sure that all of your hardware pieces are perfectly lined up.

Ta-da! A custom DIY sideboard at a fraction of the price!



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