Here’s all you’ll need to turn two upper cabinets and a hollow core door into a storage unit:
~ 4 L-brackets and corresponding screws
~ 4 drywall anchors (optional)
~ Gorilla Glue (or other wood glue)
~ painter’s tape
~ 4 cabinet knobs of your choosing
1. Assume the position. Got that perfect spot picked out for your storage unit? Mine was a blank wall in my craft room that was just begging for some extra storage, and I lined the cabinets up against the wall.
Chances are that one of your cabinets will lean out further than the other one (like mine, above) – this is no problemo. Just wiggle them around until the fronts of the cabinets are flush and level, then put a few screws through the interior walls of the cabinets (using your trusty drill) so that the two sides of the cabinet are screwed together. This will keep them flush and perfect for all eternity.
2. Batten down the hatches. Now you’re ready to attach your cabinets to the wall. This is an important step, because you don’t want your storage unit to come crashing down the second that you put something in it – that would be pretty uncool. All you need is a few L-brackets and screws (and drywall anchors if you want, which will make your cabinet less likely to pull out from the wall). These are what I used (apparently L-brackets are also called corner braces – who knew?):
I put one L-bracket in the outer corners of each cabinet – just attach the L-bracket to the underside of the top of the cabinet with a few screws. I was driving myself crazy trying to hold the L-bracket in place with one hand and the screw with the other hand and then trying to screw in the screw – that’s for the birds. Here’s a little tip – just use some painter’s tape or masking tape and tape those little brackets to your cabinet and to the wall – voila! No more pulling your hair out while you’re trying to screw the screws in!
Here’s another little tip. If you’re going to have anything on top of your cabinet that has cords, make sure that you leave a little space behind your cabinets so that the cords can sneak through. I knew that I was going to have a TV on top of my cabinet, so I used a screwdriver to hold the cabinets out from the wall when I was placing the L-brackets. Easy!
3. Put a lid on it. Here’s the fun part, the part where your storage unit is actually going to start looking like a storage unit instead of just some random cabinets and a door. All you need to do is grab your Gorilla Glue, make some squiggles on the top of your cabinets and smush the door down on top. After you make sure everything is centered and just where you want it, grab some heavy stuff and put it on top for about an hour.
Note: If you’re going to have cords behind the unit, you might want to make a little cut-out on the back side of the door that you can sneak your cords through. To make the cut-out in my door, I just figured out where I wanted the cords to come through, made two little inch-long cuts with my hand saw, scored the wood with a utility knife, and then whacked away at it with a hammer until the pieces broke off. One piece was a little pesky, so I went after it with a pair of pliers and it finally submitted. Victory!
4. Get a handle on things. While the glue on your new countertop is drying, it’s the perfect time to put some new knobs on your storage unit. I wasn’t exactly sure where I wanted the new knobs, so I just took a look at the knobs on our kitchen cabinets and copied the placement. I figured out that the knobs should be 1 inch below the frame of the cabinet door, in the middle of the side piece.
Then I just measured down, made a little dot with a pen, and made a little hole with my trusty drill using a drill bit that was about the same size as the screws that came with the new knobs.
Final tip of the day – put a little painter’s tape on the back side of the cabinet door where you’re going to be drilling – that will prevent the wood from splintering and make your drill hole look more like Picture 1 than Picture 2.
Yay, now your storage unit is ALMOST ready to go!! Stay tuned to find out how to make that snazzy, custom countertop . . .