Do you want a new, modern-looking kitchen but don't have the budget to invest in a full renovation? From around $60 to $200 per linear foot, even stock cabinets can be expensive for most households. However, don't let the price dampen your aspirations for the kitchen of your dreams.

One option is to construct the base of your cabinets yourself and then buy the cabinet doors separately. Although you'll need a significant amount of time and precision, you'll find that with the right tools and research, this is possible for your home. 

Read on for our DIY kitchen cabinet guide so that you can save money and achieve the aesthetic you desire! 

Start the Easy Way

When it comes to DIY kitchen cabinets, you may just want to refresh the colors in your kitchen and not the overall design and shape. If this is the case, consider keeping the same cabinets you have and simply repaint them.

You'll first want to choose appropriate paint for the material of your cabinets, whether that's wood, laminate, or metal. You'll also want to assess the quality of the cabinets and make any minor repairs that are needed.

Then, use a screwdriver to take off all the cabinet doors. This way, you'll have a far easier time painting and make less mess.

Prep the cabinets by sanding them down with medium-grit sandpaper–this makes the new paint adhere more readily to the surface. Don't forget to prime your cabinets before you begin painting them as well.

Lastly, remember that purchasing separate kitchen handles can improve the look of your kitchen with minimal investment. 

Kitchen Cabinets DIY: Build Your Own

The next step to the kitchen cabinets of your dream without the added expense is to build your own. However, it's important to keep in mind that you'll want to invest in these materials: 

  • 2x3s
  • Level
  • Face boards of your choice
  • Circular saw
  • Table saw
  • 3 1/2" construction screws
  • Trim head screws

You'll also want a dedicated space, such as your garage, in order to build these cabinets from the ground up. Start by taking a look at your space and taking as many measurements as possible, including the length, depth, and desired height of your cabinets.

You can also use kitchen design tools in order to plan out the look of your cabinets and ensure you're making choices that you'll enjoy for years to come.

Create the Frame

You'll first want to frame the height and depth of your cabinets with your 2x3s. Attach the top portion of the cabinet to the wall while taking account of the thickness of your countertop material.

You'll then mimic the rectangular shape you've created with 2x3s at the bottom. Make sure to include a front-to-rear bracing 2x3 as well as vertical supports on the corners and the middle of the frame.

A bottom rear horizontal support along the wall is also necessary. Remember to take your time with this step–ensure that all of your measurements are correct and that the horizontal 2x3s are level. 

Label Your FaceBoards

Before you install your face frames, remember to label each section with light pencil marks so that there's no confusion once it's time for assembly. Make sure that the more attractive side of the boards is facing outward.

Face boards can be attached either through trim head screws or pocket hole screws. With an affordable pocket screw jig, you won't have to worry about using additional methods to hold the face boards in place, such as wood glue or clamps.

Keep in mind that you'll want your face frames to be about 1/16th of an inch larger than your cabinet sides. This way, you'll have an easier time trimming it flush with the cabinets with a flush trim router bit. 

Buy the Doors

Although making your own cabinet doors is possible, it can be tricky because oftentimes it requires specialized cabinet-making equipment. Making the cabinet doors also takes significantly more time than the rest of the project.

Purchasing cabinet doors is also easy to do online, and they come in a variety of colors, shapes, and sizes.

The Finishing Touches

The reason you want to begin with a base is so that you can be assured that your cabinets are completely level once you're done constructing them. However, you've probably noticed that that means some unattractive wood is exposed at the bottom.

Once your cabinets are finished, you can easily cover the base with a strip of 1/4 inch plywood that matches the color and texture of your cabinets.

You'll also probably realize that the end of your cabinets look uglier than the front, as you can see all of the screws. Use 1/4 inch plywood that's the same size as the end of the cabinet in order to cover the end. You can easily use construction adhesive in order to fasten the base. 

Making the DIY Kitchen Cabinet Decision

It's important to keep in mind that kitchen cabinets DIY takes a significant amount of time and effort in order to get them right. You'll want to make sure to take plenty of measurements beforehand in order to ensure that the cabinet design works with your space.

Remember that you'll also want to measure the space between each cabinet door as well as consider the cabinet door clearance when they swing open.

If you want an easier low-cost option, consider RTA kitchen cabinets. Kitchen cabinets online can be more affordable than brick-and-mortar stores, and you'll also have a variety of options to choose from. 

Even better, more money is saved because cabinets are delivered flat-packed, allowing you to assemble them on your own for a DIY kitchen cabinet option.

Ready for more information on getting started? Take a look at our cabinetry options today!