Wednesday, February 24, 2021

How To Build Flat Panel Cabinet Doors On A Budget


 Nothing!  And I mean nothing will give you more return on investment in regards to home value than remodeling your kitchen.

Arguably the most important part of that kitchen are the cabinets.  

You could spend thousands of dollars hiring someone to tear out all those cabinets or you could save yourself thousands of dollars by simply refacing them yourself.

What is refacing?

It simply means to remove the doors and refresh them and the carcasses hanging on the walls in some manner.  That could simply mean applying a fresh coat of paint.

However, the doors on my kitchen cabinets are pretty far gone.  They are delaminating and swelling.  Plus some of them are damaged.

So for me I need to rebuild my doors.

I have chosen a flat panel rail and style design.  It is actually going to be an upgrade to the one piece MDF melamine doors that were originally there.  

Flat panel doors consist of five pieces.  2 styles and 2 rails along with a center panel.


If you have your existing doors you can simply measure your existing doors.  This will give you how wide and how tall the final dimensions that your new doors need to be.  However, you can not just go and cut the pieces to those measurements.  

You have to back into them.  If you notice in the photo above the stiles go the entire length from top to bottom.  The rails however, do not.  

They are short by the width of the two side pieces plus any joinery you may be using.

In my case I have decided to use tongue and groove joinery.


Anybody with a so-so table saw can make these happen.  You can watch my video and get a pretty good idea on how to accomplish a nice fitting joint.  I always start by cutting the groves first.


Because every piece needs a grove cut in them.  That is not true for the tongues.  So to keep things as simple as possible at first I always cut the part of the joinery that every piece needs, the groove.

How deep and how wide those grooves have been cut will then dictate the size of the tongues.  Whittling down tongues to fit grooves is a lot easier than trying to do it the other way around.

The only pieces that get tongues cut are the rails.  

I usually like to use a half inch tongue.  So the length of the rail will be the total width of the door minus the width of the two stiles plus two half inch tongues.


Door width = 20"

Door length = 30"

Tongue length = .5"

Rail and Stile width = 2.5"

20 - 2.5 - 2.5 + .5 + .5 = 16" or 20 - 5 + 1 = 16"

So in this example the length you want to cut your rails would be 16" for your doors to be the proper width.

The center panel follows a similar formula.  Using the example above, the width of the center panel needs to be 16".   (Technically I undersize my panels by a quarter inch to allow for expansion and contraction but if you didn't you would probably be fine.)

The length would follow the same formula as for the rails above except to use the doors length to work back from.

30" - 2.5 - 2.5 + .5 + .5 = 26"

So a 26" x 16" panel will need to be cut in order to get the final dimensions we need for our door.

NOTE:  Be careful not to over size the panel.  You can under size it but do not over size it. 

Now that we have the technicalities out of the way it's time to assemble our doors.  Here is a pretty nifty video, if I do say so myself, show exactly how I go about door assembly.


If you are a visual learner then this is right up your alley.

If you're interested in what to do after you've mastered the building part of the process then check out the next step.

Don't forget to visit my YouTube channel for more videos on simple and easy DIY projects.  Be sure to hit the subscribe button and click the notifications bell so you don't miss a new project. 

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Happy DIY'ing!


Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Budget Friendly Kitchen Remodel


A kitchen remodel is one of the first things people look to in order to freshen up dull living spaces.  However, the price of said remodel can quickly climb into the tens of thousands if you have professionals come in and gut the place for a completely new room.

So often times in a search for budget friendly options to remodel a kitchen the term "refacing" comes up.

Refacing kitchen cabinets is a popular project for homeowners looking for a straightforward renovation option that won't break the bank and doesn't require a ton of experience to do.

The great thing about do it yourself fixer upper projects such as refacing cabinets is that you get to pick how far and how deep you feel comfortable going.   

Option 1


You can simply repaint your current cabinets.  This is the easiest path forward for most people with limited exposure to tools.  All you need is a brush, a roller, a couple gallons of paint and a little determination.

Option 2


You can go a step further and replace your handles and hinges.  However, hardware can get expensive quick.  I've seen people's resolve melt quickly when faced with that price tag as well.  Many times I see them try to keep there current hardware.

It's amazing what a little spray paint can do for old rusted handles and pulls.

At least for a little while.

This option is not my favorite as the new paint eventually begins to chip leaving people feel like all there hard work was for nothing.

Sometimes a simple coat of paint just won't do.  Sometimes you need to go deeper.

This is when people give up.  They think their cabinets are beyond help.  They think theirs need to be replaced in whole and there is no way around it.  

In reality cabinets have to be pretty far gone in order to not be able to save them, especially the carcasses.  

What is the carcass of a cabinet?



It is the box part that is attached to the wall.  Not including the doors hanging on them or the shelves inside.  

Usually the carcass will be just fine and it's just the doors that are damaged and in need of replacing.

This was the case with my cabinets.  I knew I could save them and save the cost of replacing them. 

Is it really simple and easy?

It is if you break the project as a whole down to individual steps and tackle each one as if they were there own project.  When I look at something like refacing cabinets this is how I look at it.

1. Build new cabinet doors

2. Paint those new doors

3. Replace Handles

4. Reattach Hinges

5. Reface the carcasses

6. Rebuild kitchen drawers

7. Stand back a let my family Ohh and Ahh at my mad skillz.

So yes it is really simple and easy!  Are you ready to take on this project?  Are you ready to learn new skills and feel good about yourself when you're done?



Saturday, February 6, 2021

How To Paint Kitchen Cabinets Without Pulling Your Hair Out!

Painting cabinets is easy and simple.

How To Paint Cabinets

Painting is one of those chores that everyone usually comes face to face with at least once in their lives.  Whether it's just a bedroom or a whole house, this post is going to break down my technique I use to get consistent repeatable results.


One of the first things people think of when you mention painting anything is brushes and rollers.  Also messy paint buckets and the even messier cleanup.

It's enough to send shivers down the toughest spines.

I find one of the best ways to get the results you want when painting cabinets is to not touch either of those.  I go the way of the sprayer.

WAIT, Wait...

 I know what your thinking.

"Spraying is so complicated and daunting."

Not the way I'm going to show you in this video.


1.  Air Compressor

I use a 6 gallon pancake compressor.  I don't endorse Ryobi and have no affiliation with them.  I honestly don't even have a lot of there tools in my shop.  

I just happen to have this one because when I was shopping for a new compressor a few years ago I knew I wanted a vertical style compressor.

This was the only one I could find.

Hardly a ringing endorsement I know, but with the exception of having to replace the regulator its been a pretty good unit to date.

The main point to take away here is that you can do painting with a cheap small unit.  You don't need one of the tall large ones that sit in a corner of the garage taking up space.  Plus I am also able to use this to air up bicycle and car tires when needed.

Compressors are useful on a number of occasions outside painting.  So I endorse getting one, no matter what brand.

2.  Spray gun

This one I have in my shop is a general purpose suction sprayer that I picked up someplace I can't remember over a decade ago.  It's been a good performer for me and reliable as well.

It's simple to learn and master because it only has one onboard adjustment.  For the most part you just hook up the air hose and adjust the PSI to get the look you want when applying paint to your project.

There are other styles to choose from as well such as a gravity feed spray gun but I don't like those so I don't use them and will not be going into them in this post.

3. Cabinet Paint

Don't be fooled by the names manufacturers put on there paint cans.  Often times it's the same stuff just with a different label.

What you want for cabinets is something that is enamel based.  If you use a latex based paint your doors will stick closed anytime the humidity in your home gets to high.

Step 1

Now that we have our tools and materials on hand we can get busy painting.  Whether you have new doors like I have for my kitchen remodel or you are reusing you cabinet doors you will want a good primer for a base.

Without a primer there is a possibility you could see any imperfections in the wood below.  If you have ever seen painted oak cabinets you know what I mean.

The wood grain of oak is notorious for showing through paint.  A good coat of primer will help diminish that possibility.

Step 2

Now we can set up our air compressor and make some adjustments according to the style of sprayer you may be using.  Always be sure to check the max PSI your sprayer can safely handle.
Mine can handle a max setting of 45psi.  I like to use a pressure between 30-40psi.  This is personal preference however.  

Different pressures will give different looks.  Experiment on some scrape wood and see what you like and don't like.

How thick the paint is will also have a baring on the finish look as well.  I use a 3 cups of paint to one cup of water ratio to thin my paint for spraying.  Again play around with this and see what looks good to you.

Step 3


There are four main things I keep track of when spray painting kitchen cabinets.

1. Viscosity -  This is simply how thick or thin the material you are spraying is.  In this case the material would be paint but you can spray on all sorts of materials.

As I mentioned earlier I use a 3 to 1 ratio for most paints.  This will vary a little based on different brands of paint but for the most part 3/1 gets me what I'm looking for.  That gives me a little bit of texture to my cabinets.

I don't like a completely flat look.  I feel it tends to look fake so I go for a more organic feel in the kitchen.

2. PSI - Again different psi's will give different looks.  So play around.  Find what works for you.

3. Distance -  If you spray paint from 3 inches away that will have a certain look to it.  If you hold your sprayer 6 inches away that will have a different look to it.  In general I like to be about 12 inches away from my project.

4. Angle - This is something people get snagged by and don't even realize it.  Holding the sprayer at a 90° angle across the door will give a different look than holding it at a 45° angle.  I'm not saying 45° is bad I'm just saying don't combine 45° with 90° on the same project.

Final Thoughts

Watching the video above and keeping track of the four points I just laid out will help get a wonderfully looking new kitchen in no time.  Well it is a step in the right direction at least.  There are still a few things that need to be done to complete the look but this will get you going.

Don't forget to check out the entire series I have on a Budget Friendly Kitchen Remodel here.

If you like this project be sure to subscribe to our news feed.  Anytime a new design or article is posted we'll send you an email.  No Spam ever!!

Also don't forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel for lots of entertaining videos on projects and homesteading.

Until then!


Monday, February 1, 2021

Build A Cedar Shower Bench

Build A Cedar Bench for the Shower


4 - 2x2s

NOTE: All board lengths are 8' long unless otherwise noted.

Choice of Wood Sealant

Cut List

8 - Bench Slats @ 1.5" x 1.5" x 18"

4 - Legs @ 1.5" x 1.5" x 18

2 - Horizontal Leg Slats (top) @ 1.5" x 1.5" x 13.75"

2 - Horizontal Leg Slats (bottom) @ 1.5" x 1.5" x 10.75"

1 Bottom Slat @ 1.5" x 1.5" x 18"

Cutting Diagrams


Step 1

Cut all your pieces to length as shown in the cutting diagrams.  Then attach two vertical leg pieces to a horizontal leg piece both top and bottom.

I recommend a 1/2" dowel joint to join the everything together.  They are strong and look good.

Step 2

A similar procedure for the bench slats.  These can be glued together initially and allowed to dry.  Then 1/2" dowels can be drilled and set to strengthen the shower bench.

Step 3

The bench slats give some resistance to sheer forces but we need something for the bottom of the bench as well.

Glue the bottom slat in place.  Allow to dry.  Then set another couple dowels

Final Thoughts

The whole project needs a good sanding.  If you sanded each piece as you went along this step won't be such a chore.

Since hands and other body parts will be moving in and around the shower bench you will want to sand all the edges smooth to the touch.  Take extra care around corners and smooth heavily.

Since it is made of cedar you don't need to stain but a good weather resistant seal is recommended as cedar does change color over time to a dirty greyish green.

That is usually desired on outdoor furniture but maybe not in the shower.

If you like this project be sure to check out the other two that go along with it and make yourself a set.  

Cedar Shower Caddie

Cedar Shower Mat

Plus be sure to subscribe to our news feed.  Anytime a new design or article is posted we'll send you an email.  No Spam ever!!

Also don't forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel for lots of entertaining videos on projects and homesteading.

Until then!