DIY Network

How to Build a Collector's Cabinet

Everyone has something they collect, so having a place to store your hobbies is a great thing. The Wasted Spaces crew demonstrates how to build a cabinet that is ideally suited for safely storing collectibles.

More in Remodeling

build cabinet for storing collectibles
  • Time

    Two Days

  • Price Range

    $250 - $500

  • Difficulty

    Moderate to Hard


Step 1: Remove the Drywall

Before you begin, take stock of what you have and think about the dimensions of your prized items. The next step is to think about where. You will want somewhere that's accessible and it should be placed in a room that you enjoy spending time. Next, think about your walls. It's never a good idea to take out a load bearing joist.

Remove all hanging pictures from the wall.

Mark and score the drywall using a utility knife, then use a keyhole saw to cut through the drywall (Image 1).

Drywall can be easily removed by tearing it out between the studs. Use a reciprocating saw to remove the studs that were behind the drywall.

If necessary, hang drywall in the new opening.


  • Before removing any wall, check to make sure that there are no electrical wires behind it using an AC finder.
  • In demolition, be sure to aim between the studs.
  • Working with electricity can be dangerous, so be careful

Step 2: Construct the Cabinet

A great way to show where the shelves will go is to mark on the plywood with a pencil. Also, use a level so your lines will be straight.

Nail the middle shelf in place and then add the middle divider.

Attach the backing of the cabinet with a thin piece of birch plywood and screws. Screws add support for boxes, drawers and a safe to be installed later. To help support the cabinet, screw three wooden supports into the floor through the carpet. These 'skids' will be built up level with the baseboards and act as a platform for the cabinet (Image 1).

Using wood glue and nails, put together the frame of the cabinet with 3/4" birch plywood (Image 2).

To give the unit a more finished look, nail on trim.

Install mounts for the drawer runners. Mounts are narrow wooden pieces put along the sides of the cabinet so that the metal runners will have something to be screwed into.

Tip: Adding trim not only gives your cabinet a finished look, it will also make the cabinet look like it has always been there. Remember, use the same type of trim that you have throughout your home.

Step 3: Install the Cabinet

Slide the cabinet into the hole in the wall.

Measure 5" in on each side to avoid hitting any wires. Then, countersink the screws making sure to keep the unit flush with the wall.

To cover the gap between the newly installed cabinet and the remaining drywall, install trim using a nail gun.

Use screws to attach metal cornerslides to the drawer mounts.
Tip: The box will slide in along the platform skids that were installed earlier.

slide cabinet into hole in wall

Step 4: Install the Drawers

Use wood glue to attach the sides of the drawers to the bottom.

Use a router to round off the edges of the drawer fronts. Install metal guides around the sides of the drawers. Then screw on the front panel to complete each drawer.

The drawers measured 6" high by 38" wide by 19" deep. Your drawers may vary due to your wall size.


  • All four drawers will measure 6" high by 38" wide by 19" deep.
  • Building drawers shouldn't be intimidating; just think of them as boxes without tops.
  • To avoid exposed screws on the front, drive them from the inside of the drawer.
  • When using a router, always make sure to have the router plate on the wood before you start it. Also, keep the plate flat the entire time.

round off edges of drawer fronts with router

Step 5: Install the Doors

Use a table saw to cut the birch plywood for the doors, and measure and cut the trim.

Using a nail gun, add trim along the edge of the doors. The trim will give the doors a more defined look.

Paint the doors.

Once the doors are ready, line them up along the cabinet front. Place hinges on the outer trim around the cabinet. Screw the doors into the hinges and check to make sure they open and close correctly.

Tip: Cabinet doors can protect your baseball cards from over-exposure from the sun -- and your kids!

add trim along edge of doors

Step 6: Store Collectibles and Finish the Cabinet

Once baseball cards are sorted and placed into plastic sheets, use the rings from a metal card binder to hold the sheets in the new drawers.

Screw two D-rings onto the bottom of the drawers. Mount them more toward the front of the drawer to ensure maximum viewing.

Slide the drawers into the cabinet; listen for a "click" to make sure the drawer is locked in.

Tip: Metal card binders come in C or D shapes. D-ring binders have a center piece (a D-ring), especially designed to hold paper or other inserts.

Add hardware to the doors and drawers, and put pictures and shelves back up on the wall.

use rings from binder to hold plastic sheets