Make Your Own Media Cabinet

TV area in Elsie Larson's Home (via A Beautiful Mess)Alright, I’m sure most of you are saying to yourselves, “What? I can’t make this! What do I look like, a dang cabinet maker with a bunch of tools and a shop and experience and know how?!” Well you’re right, this really is a technically advanced project. Even if I saw this on some blog, I would say to myself, “What do I look like, a dang cabinet maker? I’m not making that.”

When Elsie told me she needed a custom piece for under their TV, I didn’t think it would be too big of a deal. I drew a sketch of my idea, then started doing math. That’s when I started seeing that things weren’t as easy as I first imagined. But I got through the fractions and calculations (my brain hurt just a little bit). Building it took some time, but I took my time. I tried not to rush through it like I tend to do. (I like to see the finished product!) It turned out about 95% as well as I would have liked, but it was a great learning experience. 

I am aware that most of you looking at this won’t attempt to build it. You either don’t have the tools, space, funds for supplies, or even care to try. That’s okay! You should try to do something that seems a little daunting this week. Try something that initially makes you doubt your abilities (whether it’s building this or trying something else in your horizon). You’ll probably surprise yourself at how well you do! Don’t be afraid to step outside of your comfort zone. Plus, with this project, I’ve done the hard part (math) for you. 

Let me show you how I tackled this project, and even if you don’t try it, think about something you’ve been wanting to try.

-2 sheets of 4″ by 8″  3/4″ hardwood plywood
-2 sets of 14″ ball bearing drawer slides, I used these
-4 surface cabinet hinges, I used these, but I wish I would have used something like these (maybe next one)
-screws (I used Kreg 1 1/4″ pocket hole screws)

-miter saw
-table saw
-jig saw
-paint brush
-kreg pocket hole jig
-measuring tape
-pencilAbeautifulmess_mediacabinet-(click-for-more-info)Step One: Cut all the pieces. Here’s the list of pieces:

-48″ by 15.5″ (2) top and bottom pieces
-22.5″ by 14.75″ (2) outer side pieces
-22.5″ by 13.25″ (2) inner side pieces
-15.5″ by 22 7/16″ (2) doors
-22.5″ by 3 1/8″ (2) door backings
-4″ by 43″ (1) base front
-4″ by 12.5″ (2) base sides

-17″ by 11 3/16″ (2) drawer fronts
-10 7/16″ by 14.75″ (4) drawer sides
-13″ by 14.75″ (2) drawer bottom
-11.5″ by 10 3/8″ (2) drawer back

After you’re done cutting everything, sand all edges.

Media cabinet (click for more before and after pics) Media cabinet (click for more before and after pics) Step Two: Assemble cabinet. Refer to diagram for placement. Make sure to make everything as exact as possible. A piece that is 1/16″ off, can throw things off. The drawer slides need 1/2″ on the side of the drawers. For some reason after I had everything assembled the drawers fit too snugly in their openings, so I had to cut grooves into the side of the drawers, It was a real bummer! Just make sure to measure twice, take your time, and think about the project as a whole; all the steps affect each other.

Media cabinet (click for more before and after pics) Media cabinet (click for more before and after pics) Step Three: Cut finger pull holes. Lay out all 4 front panels on a flat surface, making sure to leave about 1/8″ gap between them all. Print out this handy circle guide to cut out. Place it over the panels (as pictured) and trace. After both sides are traced, cut out with your jig saw and sand.

Media cabinet - drawer assembly (click for more before and after pics)Media cabinet - drawer assembly (click for more before and after pics)Step Four: Assemble drawers. Refer to diagram for details. I pocket screwed everything together. I used Kreg’s pocket hole jig for most of my wood projects. I preach about it a lot, it really is a game changer. Get one. Do it.

After you have the drawers put together and they fit in the opening with 1/2″ space on either side, go ahead and install the sliders.

Media cabinet - taping for paint (click for more before and after pics)Step Five: Take drawers out and paint. If you want the stained top and bottom look (lets call it the ice cream sandwich option) I would stain first, apply a couple coats of poly, let dry, tape off, then paint. You can stain the base pieces at this point too.

Step Six: Attach base pieces (refer to diagram). The easiest way would be to flip the entire thing over. Attach the doors last and try to make sure the gap is even all around. If everything fits and opens and closes nicely, you are a wizard builder and I am impressed (even if you try to build this thing and it turns into a disaster, I am impressed you tried.) 

I learned a lot when I built this, I think you will too if you try it out! What are some things that you think are outside of your comfort zone, but might give a try?

TV area in Elsie Larson's Home (via A Beautiful Mess) TV area in Elsie Larson's Home (via A Beautiful Mess)TV area in Elsie Larson's Home (via A Beautiful Mess)Happy building! -Josh

Credits // Author: Joshua Rhodes. Photography: Elsie Larson and Joshua Rhodes. Photos edited with Stella from The Signature Collection.

  • This turned out great, Josh! Yeah, it’s daunting, but it looks awesome and is totally something my husband would want to try just for the learning experience of doing it. 🙂

  • So simple and elegant! Love it.

  • This looks really awesome but I would probably mess it up. Looks like I’ll have to file under something to get my future wifey to do haha.

  • You did such a fantastic job on this piece! I’m not planning on building one any time soon, but it is awesome!


  • Hey josh, can you come and build all the furniture in my future house?!? Ahah, just kidding!!! You build amazing things!!!

  • Hi Josh!

    This is definitely a big project, but I’ve been looking for something like this for a loooong time and I’m definitely gonna try it soon, I hope! Please post more of these types of projects, they’re excellent!

  • Oh man Josh. Way to take a project that many people would just glance over and never consider doing and turning into a universal challenge to try something new. Bravo!

  • oh boy, is there anything you and sarah CAN’T do? to perfection? talk about a dream team!

  • Thanks Gemma! Do you have any prospective projects coming up?


  • Maybe that can be a future project! I love making container/ storage stuff!

  • Thanks Lena, I appreciate you saying that – thanks for taking the time to read.

  • wow!! that’s super impressive! great job, Josh! thank you for challenging us too 🙂

  • Hey Sandman, yea those gaps bugged me too. Like I mentioned, Im not a professional cabinet builder, and it was my first time attempting something like it. Maybe the next one will be perfect 🙂


  • This is so great! I love the encouragement too! 😉

  • Thanks for keeping it real, Josh! You’re right – most people won’t make this, but so what? I’m glad that didn’t stop you from sharing anyway. I’m certainly not a dang cabinet maker and I would never dream of tackling a project like this, but I still enjoyed reading your post! Love the encouragement!

    Cheers – make it a great Friday, ABM team! 🙂

  • Josh, I always admire your projects and I think you and Sarah add so much to this whole “A Beautiful Mess experience”. Keep up the good work, I love all of it! Also, you all have such a funny writing style!!

  • this is awesome. With every project you put on the blog my enthusiasm for furniture building grows! you are awesome!

  • I love this DIY. I am moving in my apartment in September and love this and will def try! Thanks 🙂


  • I like the detail on the front and the overall look, but I must say that the finish is a bit sloppy – especially with white funiture, you have to take extra care alligning the drawers and doors perfectly, otherwise the gaps between panels look irregular (see 1st picture) and give bad overall impresion. I this case, hinges for doors, which can be micro-adjusted, would go a long way and the result would be so much more professional.
    Still I love the effort – building funiture from scratch is not easy.

  • I originally didn’t read this post bec…math…wood…saws, it’s all a blur for me. But! this is really inspiring and it’s nice to hear that you struggled a little a found a way to work it out. Bravo sir!

  • Golly that’s a fantastic cabinet. I don’t think I’d be able to make that myself, but the idea can now linger in my brain. :] // ☼

  • A very successful project and it is so lovely! I wish I had learned more about power tools and may have to eventually learn so that I can make projects like this. Inspiring!

  • Challenges can be fun! What a lovely display!
    Hope you have a beautiful day!!! <3


    the bbb blogger

  • I love the way this looks but I know I couldn’t make it. But I do like the idea of doing at least one daunting thing this week!

  • Sweet! I just moved a couple of days ago and we’re trying to figure out a cool way to outfit the basement into a den! This would be a sweet entertainment center for sure!

  • Oh man Josh. I love your advice. Way to take a project that many people would skip over and turn it into a challenge to improve your life in ANY way. Bravo!

  • I just can’t get over the front details of this cabinet! I love the mid-century feel.

    I’m also so glad you’re posting more furniture type DIY’s. They’re great for cost savings and typically are one of a kinds 🙂

    Keep it up ladies and gents!


  • I love how customizable this is! Can’t wait to make this when I live by myself haha 😉

  • I love the vintage feel – and the control that comes with making ones’ own piece! Definitely saving this for a weekend project. (& cute living room!)

    Warm Regards,

  • This media cabinet is a simple but a unique piece, love the detailing in the front.


  • I’m so in love with this cabinet! I will build this someday!

    PS: Nice DVD collection, Elsie 😉

  • Brilliant project! Your schematic and instructions seem easy to follow, making this seem manageable (good on you for that!). I used to woodwork with my Grandad as a little girl and he always used to say that planning well was way more than half the job! Thanks for sharing.

  • I like a challenge! I don’t think I could make this, but it looks really great!

  • great! i’d need some kind of storage for my other “media things” too, you know my macbook and cameras and stuff – not to mention of all the chords, extra lenses and stuff that come with it. how do people store their stuff nicely? how do YOU do?

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