DIYdiy projects

diy project: stephanie and tom’s armoire

by Grace Bonney

d*s reader stephanie fell for the elan armoire from crate and barrel, featured in our armoire guide. but like many of us, stephanie couldn’t handle the $2200 price tag. so, faced with a tiny kitchen and no storage, stephanie and her husband decided to build their own. it took the daring duo one weekend, $300 (for wood and supplies) and a little bit of tung oil for finishing. the result is a wonderful take on the original armoire at only a fraction of the price. and if you’re feeling handy, you’re in luck- stephanie and her husband tom (an industrial designer) included incredible illustrations and instructions for building their diy armoire. just click here for the instructions or click “read more” below. thanks, stephanie!

D.I.Y. Modern Slat Armoire

This project may look tough but its really just building a couple of basic plywood boxes and fence style door. Measure twice, cut once and get your friends at the lumberyard to do most of your cutting.

4 sheets of 4’x8’x3/4” Birch Plywood
72.25”x39” sheet of 1/4” Birch Plywood
78’ of 1”x3” Aspen
24’ of 1”x2” Aspen
1 roll of Birch 3/4” iron-on edge banding
2 bags of 1/4” cabinet shelf brackets
Wood glue
1-gallon semi-gloss lacquer
2 sets of European door hinges



1. Cut your 1”x3” Aspen strips into x24, 39” strips
2. Cut your 1”x2” Aspen strips into x4, 70.5” strips
3. Lay your 1”x3” pieces on a clean surface rough spaced to 70”
4. Place the x4, 1”x2” strips across the top spacing them evenly across the 39” span
5. Using a carpenter’s square, align the top of the vertical strips with the horizontal, apply wood glue to the x4 intersections and (using a nail gun), nail the strips together.
6. To place the next 1”x3” board, use the 3/4” end of a scrap piece of Aspen strip. Place the next 1”x3” board and repeat the glue and nail process until all 24 boards are in place.
7. With a table saw or circular saw, cut the 39” grid of Aspen down the center to create your 2 doors.
8. Finally, sand the Aspen using a 200 grit sand paper.
9. Spray with 2 or 3 coats of lacquer

SHELVES (instructions for one shelf but x3 are recommended)

1. Cut a piece of 3/4” Birch plywood to a piece that is 20.5”x37.75”.
2. Cut x2 pieces of 1”x2” Aspen into 37.75” strips
3. Glue and nail the Aspen strips along the long edge of the Birch to create a long “U.”
4. Sand with 200 grit sand paper
5. Spray with 2 to 3 coats of lacquer


1. Using a table saw, rip x2 pieces at 36.75”x3.5” and x2 pieces at 20.5”x3.5”
2. Butt the pieces together to create a box that is 36.75”x22”x3.5”.
3. Glue and nail the butt joint together
4. Sand with 200 grit sand paper
5. Dress the unfinished plywood edges with 3.5” strips of edge banding


1. Layout your 24.5”x39”, 37.5”x23.375”, and x2 pieces of 71.5”x23.375” Birch plywood.
2. Cut a 3/4” dado (using a table saw) in the very center of the sidepieces.
3. Start assembling by butt jointing the sidepieces (71.5”x23.375”) over the bottom piece (37.5”x23.375”), glue and nail.
4. Next add the top and a center shelf inserted into the dado to prevent the cabinet from bowing in the center under weight and humidity.
5. Flip the cabinet over and glue and nail down the 1/4” Birch back to square up the box.
6. For added stability, add 4”x4” triangles to the corners of the cabinet, gluing and nailing them to the back of the box to insure a solid structure.
7. Sand with a 200 grit sand paper
8. Finish edges with 3/4” Birch edge banding
9. Glue and nail Riser Box on the base of the cabinet aligning it center with the front and flush against the back edge.
10. Mark and drill 1/4” hole every 4” spaced 3” from the front and back of the cabinet for the adjustable shelves.
11. Spray with 2 or 3 coats of lacquer.


1. With the instructions provided from the hinge manufacture, mount the European hinges to the doors and cabinet.
2. Adjust the hinges so the doors sit level and close flat.
3. If needed, add cork sticker dots to the top and bottom of the doors so they close quietly.
4. Fill with all of your crap.

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