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How to Build a DIY Kitchen Island

  1. Step 1 Measure and Cut the Wood

    A circular saw is used to cut lumber.

    To get started, cut your lumber according to the cut list below. You can use a circular saw, a miter saw or even a hand saw if you don’t have access to a powered saw. If using a circular saw or hand saw, try to keep your cuts as straight as possible to ensure everything fits correctly.

    Cut list:

    2"x 4" x 8' Stud

    • One 33-inch cross leg brace
    • Two 23 ¼-inch top sides

    Two 2" x 4" x 10' Studs

    • Two 29-inch aprons
    • Two 20-inch side aprons
    • Two 27-inch leg braces
    • Two 38-inch top edges

    One 4" x 4" x 12' Stud

    • Four 35-inch legs

    One 1 1/8 " x 23 ¼ " x 4' Edge-glue Board

    • One 32 x 23 ¼-inch top
    • One 36 x 23 x ¼-inch shelf
  2. Step 2 Trim the Top Edges

    A table saw cuts a length of lumber.

    To create the top, cut 1/4-inch off the width of the top edge and the side edges. Do it on one side of each piece, turning the round edge into a straight edge, keeping the trimmed sides faced inward.

  3. Step 3 Drill the Pocket Holes

    Pocket holes are drilled using a jig.

    Now you’ll drill your pocket holes. Pocket holes are great for hiding the screws, keeping your project looking neat. Home Depot sells pocket hole jigs that can make this process a whole lot easier. Drill pocket holes at the measurements below.

    • Side aprons: 6 inches and 14 inches
    • Aprons: 3 inches, 8 ½ inches, 14 ½ inches, 20 ½ inches, 26 inches and two holes on both ends
    • Cross leg brace: 3 inches, 10 inches, 16 ½ inches, 23 inches and 30 inches
    • Top side edges: 3 inches, 11 5/8 inches and 21 ¼ inches
    • Top edges: 5 inches, 11 inches, 17 inches, 21 inches, 27 inches and 33 inches
  4. Step 4 Make the Dadoes for the Legs

    A circular saw cutting out a dado.
    A chisel cleans out a dado cut.

    In order for the legs to sit flush, we’ll need to cut a dado. To do this, simply line your legs up, clamp them together and create marks at 6 inches and 9 ½ inches. Take your circular saw and set it to a depth of 1 ½ inches. Make random cuts in between those two marks until you can easily chisel out the flimsy wood areas. You’ll be left with a U-shaped cut-out. Smooth it out with a chisel.

  5. Step 5 Assemble the Legs

    Screws are used to attach the legs.

    With the legs flat and the dado cuts facing up, apply some wood glue and lay the leg brace into the dado cuts. Secure them with screws and repeat on the top brace, then do the same on the other legs.

  6. Step 6 Assemble the Frame

    Clamps are used to hold things in place.
    Wood glue is applied to make everything more sturdy.

    Mark the center of the leg brace (9 ½ inches). This is where the center leg brace will go. Attach it with screws and then repeat the leg assembly steps on the other side. Ensure everything is square before moving on.

  7. Step 7 Notch the Shelf

    The shelf is notched to fit into the assembly.

    Cut a 3 5/8-inch x 1 ¾-inch notch out of the 4 corners of your top. This will allow you to set the shelf in the center of the frame assembly.

  8. Step 8 Attach the Shelf

    Screws are drilled in to attach the shelf.

    Attach the shelf into the leg assembly with screws. You may need to prop it up to reach the bottom.

  9. Step 9 Assemble the Top

    The top is assembled.

    Align the top edges and top side edges with the center top. With your pocket holes facing upward, add some wood glue, clamp them and attach the frame to the wood top.

  10. Step 10 Sand the Wood

    A person sands the wood.

    With a dust mask on, sand the whole top and frame to ensure it’s smooth and there are no splinters or rough areas. This will make everything look cleaner.

  11. Step 11 Attach the Top to the Frame

    The top is attached to the leg assembly.

    Flip over the leg assembly and attach it to the top. Make sure 1 inch extends over the leg assembly on each side.

  12. Step 12 Finish the Wood

    A person add sealant to the top of their DIY kitchen island.

    For added protection, use a food safe stain or sealant on top of the island. This will help keep it looking great for years to come.

What You Need for This Project

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