DIY: How to Build a Cabinet Inside the Wall

04.19.12 By //
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How to Build an In-Wall Cabinet:

When you’re short on space, an in-wall cabinet is a great idea! The possibilities are endless – a cabinet with shelves in the living room for displaying pictures, a bookshelf in the kids’ rooms, or a towel rack in the bathroom like I did!

The towel rack came out of the wall for the final time. I decided I was not going to put it back (again) and thought that in-wall cabinets with the towel racks mounted at the top was the perfect solution!

Wall studs are usually 16” apart on center (meaning 16” from the center of one stud to the center of the next stud) but occasionally walls like mine will have 24” centers. A word of warning, though – do not remove a stud to make a bigger cabinet without consulting a professional!

Locate the studs. Determine the height  and placement of the cabinet. Draw a line where the drywall is to be cut away. Use a box cutter or hacksaw to cut away the drywall and use caution, especially if water or electrical lines are on that wall. Once the drywall has been removed, measure the depth of the wall and begin building the cabinet.

Walls are generally 4” thick. Exterior wall or walls with plumbing fixtures are usually 6” thick. Mine are the typical 4” so I used 1×4 lumber (which measures 3-1/2” wide) and ¼” lauan to build my cabinets.

When cutting the pieces for the frames, allow at least an 1/8” between each side of the cabinet and the stud. It  can always be shimmed into place but it’s really hard to remove material if the cabinet is too wide! I drilled pocket holes in each end of the shorter boards and placed them on the outside of the box so they wouldn’t be visible. I attached the ¼” lauan back with glue and brad nails. I drilled three countersunk holes in each of the long sides. I then sanded the cabinet and painted the inside only. I set the cabinet in the opening and attached it to the stud with one 2” screw, then I checked to make sure the cabinet was level. I attached the cabinet with the remaining screws. Do not drive the screws too tight.

Since I made two cabinets side-by-side, I used only four corner blocks for trim. The top and bottom trim are continuous from the end of one cabinet to the end of the other which equaled 48”. For the center, I ripped a 3/8”x1x4 piece of craft lumber to 3” and installed it using brad nails. I filled all of the nail holes and painted the trim. I hung the towel racks with the set screw facing out (for obvious reasons). Don’t they look great??

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