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.

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