Simplest Armoire

Submitted by Ana White on Wed, 03/24/2010 - 21:43
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Sometimes you need a cluttered bookshelf. Hide the contents with beautiful doors. This armoire is simply a bookshelf with doors. A great spot to put linens, clothes, books, or even dishes. Special thanks to our readers for sharing their photos.

Overall Dimensions and Compostion Are shown above


Shopping List

2 – 1×12, 10′ Length
1 – 1×10, 12′ Length
1 – 1×4, 8′ Length
2 – 1×2, 8′ Length
1 – Sheet of 1/4″ Plywood or MDF (for the backs)
1 – Sheet of 1/2″ Plywood or MDF (for the doors)
5/8″ Brad Nails
Edge Banding if you are staining
3 Sets of Hinges for inset doors, frameless cabinets
2 Knobs

Common Materials
1 1/4 inch finish nails
2 inch finish nails
120 grit sandpaper
wood conditioner
paint brush
Cut List

Cut List for the Bookcase
2 – 1×12 @ 71 1/4″ (Sides)
1 – 1×12 @ 34 1/2″ (Bottom Shelf)
1 – 1×12 @ 36″ (Top Shelf)
4 – 1×10 @ 34 1/2″ (Shelves)
2 – 1×4 @ 34 1/2″ (Header and Footer)
4 – 1×2 @ 11 1/2″ (Side Crown)
1 – 1×2 @ 37 1/2″ (Bottom Front Crown)
1 – 1×2 @ 39″ (Top Front Crown)
1 – 1/4″ Plywood or MDF @ 36″ x 72″ (Back)
Cut List for TWO Doors
2 – 1/2″ Plywood or MDF @ 63 1/4″ x 17″ (Back of Doors)
4 – 1/4″ Plywood cut into 2 1/2″ wide strips @ 17″ (Top and Bottom Trim for Doors)
4 – 1/4″ Plywood cut into 2 1/2″ wide strips @ 58 1/4″ (Side Trim for Doors)
2 – 1/4″ Plywood cut into 2 1/2″ wide strips @ 12″ (Center Trim for Doors)

Tape Measure
Speed Square
Safety Glasses
Hearing Protection
Kreg Jig
Circular Saw
Brad Nailer
Power Sander
Staple Gun
General Instructions

Cut larger boards first. Work on a clean level surface. Adhere to proper safety guidelines. Take a square of your project after each step. Keep outside edges flush. Use 2″ nails and glue unless otherwise directed.


Step 1

Build the Box. As shown above, build the box using 2″ nails and glue. Keep back edges flush. You can place the shelves anywhere you like, the shelf placement above is for 12″ clearance on each of the lower shelves. Remember to leave a 3 1/2″ gap under the bottom shelf, and that the top sit on top of the sides.

Step 2

Back. Use 1 1/4″ nails and glue to fasten the back to the bookcase. Fasten all joining edges.

Step 3

Header and Footer. Fasten the header and footer to the bookshelf, as shown above. Use 2″ nails and glue.

Step 4

Footer Cutout. Measure and mark out the footer as shown above. Use a jigsaw to cut out the shape above on both ends.

Step 5

Step 6

Front Crown. Add the front crown as you did the side crown. If you would like to “dress” up the crown more, you can purchase and use cove moulding 3/4″ x 3/4″ in between the top and bottom crowns, or under the bottom edge. You will need to miter the outside corners.

Step 7

Door Construction. Cut your 1/2″ plywood for the backs. From leftovers from the back of the cabinet, cut 2 1/2″ strips with your tablesaw or circular saw. Then cut your trim boards from these 2 1/2″ strips to the measurements given above and in the cut list. Begin creating the doors by fastening the green trim above with 5/8″ nails and glue. Clamp and let dry. Do not clamp so hard that you loose all of your glue. Then add the blue trim, clamp and let dry. Finally, add the red trim. Dry on a flat level surface, the doors stacked, with a heavy object on top.

Step 8

Optional: If you have a scrap 1×2 and want a little extra support for the tops of the doors, I often will add a 1×2 to the header as shown above. This also makes a nice finished look when the bookcase is opened.

Step 9

Door Construction. Use 3 Hinges per door and attach the doors to the bookcase. I like to add magnetic clasps to keep the doors from opening. Add knobs or pulls.


Jasmine (not verified)

Thu, 09/30/2010 - 08:49


Thanks so much for the inspiration!

I have a question... I'd like to build this as a full size closet - basically a deeper box with a hanging rod inside. I am worried that by taking out the shelving it will not take the weight. How do I know if it will be strong enough? How do I build it stronger?


p.s. Your post "Becoming Somebody" will always be my favourite : )

Dan K (not verified)

Mon, 11/08/2010 - 16:48

Since you are going to make the armoire deeper I would suggest using 3/4" plywood for the sides. This will be stronger and easier than gluing up 1x pieces. BC grade plywood will have a nice smooth face for the outside and a fairly good face for the inside. You can then overlay the outsides with more wood to give it a paneled look. (Similar process to constructing the doors). You can also increase the back panel thickness to 1/2 inch, that will definitely add stability. Have the outer trim pieces (colored light blue) overlap the edges of the back to hide the ugly edge. I would then cover the front edge of the plywood with 1x2s. (colored red in the pictures)
Another way to strengthen the unit would be to use screws instead of nails. 2" screws will have much more holding power than nails. Predrill and countersink your holes to prevent splitting.

Dan K (not verified)

Mon, 11/08/2010 - 17:13

oops lost the second picture:
Another option:
The light green pieces are a simple 2x4 box that goes at the very top and bottom to solidify things even further. The long pieces are 33" and the short ones are 20 1/2. (this makes a 36" wide x 24" deep armoire) I'd be happy to do a full cut-list if necessary.

I think that if you make use of my ideas you'll end up with a very sturdy armoire.

JulieP (not verified)

Tue, 11/16/2010 - 16:25

I would love to see a cut list for the dimensions you have listed. I was thinking about doing this armoire 24" deep.

Dan K (not verified)

Thu, 11/18/2010 - 18:37

I created some assembly instructions here:

Shopping List:
2 --2x4 8' Length
Sheet 3/4" BC Grade Plywood
2 Sheets 1/2" Plywood
4 -- 1x2 8' Length
5 -- 1x3 8' Length
5 -- 1x4 8' Length
6 Hinges
2 Knobs or Handles

Cut list:
4 @ 33
4 @ 20

3/4 BC Plywood (or MDF)
1 @ 22 3/4 x 34 1/2 (Bottom Shelf)
2 @ 23 15/16 by 72 (Sides)
Cut the bottom shelf first Then cut the other piece to 72" and rip it in half.

1/2 Plywood
1 @36 x 72 (For the back)
2 @ 16 15/16 x 66 (Doors)
1 @ 24 x 37 1/2 (Top)

2 @ 72 (Front trim)
4 @ 24 (Crown Sides)
1 @ 39 (Crown Front)
1 @ 40 1/2 (Crown Front)

4 @ 66 (Door Trim Verticals)
6 @ 12 (Door Trim Horizontals)

4 @ 72 (Side trim verticals)
6 @ 16 (Side trim horizontals)
1 @ 34 1/2 (Front Top)

ashley (not verified)

Thu, 11/25/2010 - 17:56

that yellow cabinet is from IKEA...its a HEMNES linen cabinet. I've had my eye on it for a while...any plans for that?

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