Kitchen Cabinet Sink Base 36 Full Overlay Face Frame

Submitted by Ana White on Tue, 01/10/2012 - 11:26
| Print this plan
Build your own kitchen cabinets!  Free plans to DIY standard sink base with full overlay doors and face frame.  As shown, built for about $100 using premium PureBond 3/4" Hardwood Oak plywood, hardwood face frame and doors.

3D Model to Download

With all kitchen plans, I'll be uploading 3D Models to Google 3D Warehouse in a Collection so you can download the models and design your own kitchens!  I've already added a few plans to the collection, more will be coming as I build and blog more plans.  This model is actually a 36" wide drawer/door base - it's the same as the sink base, but you just leave the drawer out and the back off as done in this plan.  I'll put together another plan for the 36" wide drawer/door base in a bit.

Special Thanks to PureBond

Special thanks to the kind folks over at PureBond for supplying our beautiful healthy plywood for these cabinets.  PureBond is also hosting a huge $100 Home Depot Gift Card Giveaway that anyone can enter every day in January 2012 with daily giveaways!  

If anything is surprising us about building your own kitchen cabinets, it's just how easy it is!

Yep, that's DIY!  We used PureBond Formaldehyde Free Plywood for the cabinet box or carcase (thanks for helping me out with the spelling, I really cringed every time I called the box a carcass ... so morbid!), oak for the frame and doors.
We've got all the base cabinets done.  Once we got rolling, or rather once the plywood was ripped, construction was super fast.  Like twenty minutes a cabinet fast.  Like faster than assembling flat pack cabinets (Bonus - no piles of cardboard and styrofoam to throw away afterwards!).
It's the doors that take the time, but I'll talk about different door ideas later in this post and also in dedicated door building posts.
If there's one thing I want to leave you with, besides the plans to build this cabinet, it's that you CAN build your own kitchens! 
Standard 36" wide sink base as shown in diagram.


Shopping List

1 sheet 3/4" cabinet grade plywood, MDF or Melamine (shown built with PureBond Formaldehyde Free Plywood in Oak) ripped into strips 22 3/4" wide, 8 feet long (you will only need one strip, but you will have to buy a whole sheet to get the strip)- SAVE THE SCRAP STRIP!!!

1 - 2x4 @ 8 feet long or stud length
14 feet of 1x2 boards
2 feet of 1x3 boards
1x3 furring strips or scrap plywood for supports
Doors and Drawer Face not included in this plan
Cut List

2 - 3/4" plywood @ 22 3/4" wide x 31" long
1 - 3/4" plywood @ 22 3/4" wide x 34" long
3 - 1x2 @ 33"
2 - 1x2 @ 31"
1 - 1x3 @ 21"
2 - supports @ 34"
2 - supports @ 22"
2 - 2x4 @ 17 1/2"
2 - 2x4 @ 35 1/2"

Cutting Instructions

Rip plywood into strips 22 3/4" wide x 8 feet long. Save center scrap. Cross cut strips to create box pieces.

Tape Measure
Speed Square
Safety Glasses
Hearing Protection
Kreg Jig
Miter Saw
Table Saw
Power Sander
General Instructions

Please read through the entire plan and all comments before beginning this project. It is also advisable to review the Getting Started Section. Take all necessary precautions to build safely and smartly. Work on a clean level surface, free of imperfections or debris. Always use straight boards. Check for square after each step. Always predrill holes before attaching with screws. Use glue with finish nails for a stronger hold. Wipe excess glue off bare wood for stained projects, as dried glue will not take stain. Be safe, have fun, and ask for help if you need it. Good luck!


Step 1

Please read this post before beginning any cabinet construction. It talks about general building techniques, how to modify, and other good stuff about cabinet building!

Build the base as shown in diagram. Plan ahead and drill pocket holes to attach base to underside of cabinet in later steps. Once base is built, set aside. Note that base is 1/2" less in width than cabinet to account for face frame overhang.

Step 2

Build the carcase as shown in diagram. Make sure you also drill 3/4" pocket holes along front edges for attaching face frames in later steps.

Step 3

We used scrap plywood strip for the back supports, but 1x3 or 1x4 boards can also be used. These supports add a ton of strength to the cabinet - especially since this is a sink base and is backless.

Step 4

The trick to face frames is clamping each joint, marking each joint, and having a flat level surface. Use glue and build with 3/4" pocket holes and 1 1/4" pocket hole screws. NOTE: If your face frames are hardwood - recommended if you are attaching hinges to the face frame - then use fine threaded pocket hole screws.

Step 5

Step 6

These guys are for attaching the top plywood when all your cabinets are in place to support the countertop. They also provide corner support, keeping your cabinets square. We used scrap plywood pieces, but 1x3 or 1x4 boards would do the trick too.

Step 7

Once the carcase has been built, attach the base, flush to back and sides.

Step 8

We found the most time consuming part of building the cabinets was the doors. Here's the measurements but I'm going to save door construction for another post - so we can use the same building techniques regardless of the door size.

The drawer face is of course just a 1x8 ripped down to size.

Step 9

An alternative is to use a door building service. Because doors take such high abuse and are more likely to warp, could be a good idea to look into ordering doors unfinished. Doors also require more tools and know-how, and are the part that you see on your cabinets. They are also cheap to ship. 

The cabinet box cost us about $50 to build.  Ordering two doors will put us up to $90 - not bad for PureBond 3/4" plywood cabinets, built with glue and screws!  Very reasonable, especially if you are planning lots of open cabinetry up top (no doors = less $$$$).
 PS - Barker door has no idea who I am, they just are the least expensive door option I've found online.  I have never used them or worked with them but we are considering ordering doors from them for the second kitchen for fancier drawers and doors.

Would love to hear your thoughts on ordering doors!
Finishing Instructions
Preparation Instructions
Fill all holes with wood filler and let dry. Apply additional coats of wood filler as needed. When wood filler is completely dry, sand the project in the direction of the wood grain with 120 grit sandpaper. Vacuum sanded project to remove sanding residue. Remove all sanding residue on work surfaces as well. Wipe project clean with damp cloth.

It is always recommended to apply a test coat on a hidden area or scrap piece to ensure color evenness and adhesion. Use primer or wood conditioner as needed.


Guest (not verified)

Tue, 01/10/2012 - 21:26

thanks for the plans - very encouraging! planning new house & I had already decided to do the doors & drawer fronts myself when I found your site. I was going to buy the carcases - the standard here in australia is a white melamine panel construction (16mm) - the panels are labelled as high moisture resistant & kitchen shops tend to show you a piece of board in a glass of water. unfortunately these are full of formaldehyde.
your plywood cabinets look stunning - and yes, I too would just lacquer or stain+lacquer. your plans make me wonder whether I should try a plywood prototype, I am a bit daunted by the face frames and how dificult they'll make fitting doors & drawers. we do not have formaldehyde free, but E0 standing for for low emissions is available. presumably it needs to be exteriour grade for moisture resistance?
my doors (and front for deep drawers) are going to be made simply from standard size pine (dressed all round 3x1), with an in-fill of v-joint pine lining boards (12mm) for a 'country look' with clear varnish. I've done it for our current kitchen: dowel joints for the frames (but I am sorely tempted to invest in a kreg jig for the new one), 12mm rebates cut with a router (and I cheat and round of the corners of my infills rather than chiseling out the corners of the rebate). drawer fronts for the shallower drawers are going to be plain bits of pine with breadboard ends the same width as the door styles for a bit of interest ....
looking forward to the next installments of your kitchens!!!

Anonymous Coward (not verified)

Wed, 01/11/2012 - 04:00

Definitely build a prototype or even two until you figure out what you are doing.

Make a couple of small face frame cabinets with the door you are planning and use them somewhere in the house or garage.

Anonymous Coward (not verified)

Wed, 01/11/2012 - 03:57

Ana, and anyone else planning to make painted cabinets.

Oak is not the best wood because of the grain. Takes a lot to hide it. Birch, even in the lower cost "spliced" grade, is less prep and sanding and does not cost more.

In some areas you may be able to get ash or alder plywood, probably special order. They both have fine grain and paint or stain very well.

Guest (not verified)

Wed, 01/11/2012 - 06:07

Good work but a word of caution to anyone about to tackle the same project with minimal experience. Build a few trial cabinets first. Maybe put them in your garage.

The hinges on the doors can be a little tricky.

LisaT (not verified)

Wed, 01/11/2012 - 06:59

Ana, your doors look great! We are building our own house and are making plans to move into our basement soon! So, thank you because I was looking for cheap, used kitchen cabinets for the basement, but reasonable ones are just that-cheaply made, very used, etc. Now, I think we can make our basement kitchen cabinets at a reasonable price and they'll fit perfectly. Plus, that kitchen will always get used later, too, so nice Ana-inspired cabinets will be great! We just needed the encouragement-thanks so much! I think we would just go ahead and make our own doors. You can go as cheap or expensive as you want, and as plain or personalized as you want, too. Beginners, don't forget the retired carpenter, cabinet builder, etc in your community that may be willing to help (teach) you with doors! They're a great resource and usually enjoy small jobs. Thanks, Ana!

Guest (not verified)

Wed, 01/11/2012 - 13:38

We had good luck with a company called "Reface Depot" for cabinet doors. We remodeled a big ugly linen cabinet - it looks fabulous now! The company had very reasonable prices and good service. Maybe there are better options now; our project was a couple years ago.

Guest (not verified)

Sun, 01/15/2012 - 12:26

Based on your design, it seems like you could put all your pocket holes for your face fraiming on the outside of the box. This would result in fewer holes inside and/or holes to fill. Holes on the outside will be covered by your next cabinet.

Ana White

Mon, 01/16/2012 - 17:32

What a brilliant idea! This also puts the pocket hole screw in the centers of the face frames. Thank you for commenting, we definitely will put pocket holes to the outsides here on out! Thank you everyone for taking your time to help us improve the cabinet plans.

Blair (not verified)

Thu, 01/19/2012 - 17:10

Having built cabinets and doors in the past, I would order the doors. Having proven to myself that I can do it, I would now save myself the trouble and buy them. Barker door is right down the street from me here in Oregon. My father-in-law ordered a drawer front from Barker with an edge profile to match some existing cabinets and it matched perfectly. Of course, a simple drawer front is different that a paneled door, but I wouldn't hesitate to order from them. I also like the drawer boxes they offer with dovetailed joints that are reasonably priced as well.


Mon, 01/30/2012 - 11:38

Hi Anna, when will you be posting the kitchen cabinet door information? I am putting my plans together now to build my cabinets. I hope to begin in about two weeks. Any new kitchen cabinet post will be a great help. I want to do the ones in the picture above. Thanks in advance for you time and information.

Free Plans Made Possible By Our Sponsors