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How to Build and Install Storage Cabinets

The DIY to the Rescue Crew shows you how to build and install custom cabinets in a garage.

More in Remodeling

install custom cabinets in a garage Watch Video
  • Time


  • Price Range

    $100 - $250

  • Difficulty

    Moderate to Hard


Step 1: Understand the Project

In this example, all doors will be constructed of 3/4" oak plywood. All cabinet openings 24" wide or less will get one door hinged either on the right or left.

All cabinet openings wider than 24" will get two doors, hinged on each side. Cabinet doors that are 48" tall or less will have two hinges per door. Cabinet doors that are taller than 48" will have three hinges. Hinges are surface mount spring loaded cabinet hinges. The hinges mount to the door with three screws and then mount to the cabinet with two screws.

Step 2: Measure and Cut the Plywood

Measure each cabinet opening and add 1/2" to the width and height (1/4" for each side) for the door measurement.

Using the table saw, rip a 21-1/2" wide piece from a full sheet of 3/4" plywood.

To cut the door to length in a perfectly straight line, clamp a straightedge across the door so the saw blade is at the 80-1/2" mark. Set a straightedge at 1-1/2" back from this mark to allow for the 1-1/2" width of the shoe on the circular saw. (Note: Using this jig is a simple way of making a perfectly straight cut without having a large radial arm saw.)

Once it is cut, the door edges need to be lightly sanded.

measure and cut plywood

Step 3: Mark Holes for the Hinges

Using one hinge as a template, mark the three holes per hinge to be drilled using a pencil. For this tall door, hinges will be located in the exact center of the 80-1/2" length, 8" down from the top and 8" up from the bottom. On the shorter (less than 48") doors, hinges will be 8" from each end. Drill three pilot holes per hinge, being careful to drill less than the 3/4" thickness of the wood so you don't go through.

Step 4: Apply Primer and Paint

Apply one coat of primer on all surfaces and one coat of semi-gloss latex on the exterior face and edges. Paint will be applied with a 9" roller.

Prime the outside face and all four edges first. After the primer dries, flip the cabinet over and prime the inside. After that is dry, flip the cabinet back over and paint the outside face and all four edges with semi-gloss finish paint. Use a semi-gloss paint tinted to match the tan floor tiles. Primer will be tinted the same color.

Step 5: Install the Hinges and Handles

Once the paint is dry, mount the hinges to the door with three screws into the pre-drilled holes. Then mount the door to the cabinet by holding it in position, marking the hole locations, drilling pilot holes and then attaching with the doors with screws.

Handles will mount high on the base cabinets, in the middle on the tall cabinets and low on the upper wall cabinets. Install the handles last to avoid any confusion as to where the handles go in relation to each cabinet.

combination square has adjustable head