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Kitchen Cabinet Sink Base 36 Full Overlay Face Frame

January 10, 2012 |
posted by Ana White
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Build your own kitchen cabinets!  Free plans to DIY standard sink base with full overlay doors and face frame.  As shown, built for about $100 using premium PureBond 3/4" Hardwood Oak plywood, hardwood face frame and doors.

3D Model to Download

With all kitchen plans, I'll be uploading 3D Models to Google 3D Warehouse in a Collection so you can download the models and design your own kitchens!  I've already added a few plans to the collection, more will be coming as I build and blog more plans.  This model is actually a 36" wide drawer/door base - it's the same as the sink base, but you just leave the drawer out and the back off as done in this plan.  I'll put together another plan for the 36" wide drawer/door base in a bit.

Kitchen Cabinet Sink Base 36 Full Overlay Face Frame

Handmade from this plan >>

Projects built from this plan. Thank you for submitting brag posts, it's appreciated by all!

About Project

Author Notes: 

If anything is surprising us about building your own kitchen cabinets, it's just how easy it is!

Yep, that's DIY!  We used PureBond Formaldehyde Free Plywood for the cabinet box or carcase (thanks for helping me out with the spelling, I really cringed every time I called the box a carcass ... so morbid!), oak for the frame and doors.
We've got all the base cabinets done.  Once we got rolling, or rather once the plywood was ripped, construction was super fast.  Like twenty minutes a cabinet fast.  Like faster than assembling flat pack cabinets (Bonus - no piles of cardboard and styrofoam to throw away afterwards!).
It's the doors that take the time, but I'll talk about different door ideas later in this post and also in dedicated door building posts.
If there's one thing I want to leave you with, besides the plans to build this cabinet, it's that you CAN build your own kitchens! 


Kitchen Cabinet Sink Base 36 Full Overlay Face Frame
Standard 36" wide sink base as shown in diagram.

Materials and Tools

Shopping List: 

1 sheet 3/4" cabinet grade plywood, MDF or Melamine (shown built with PureBond Formaldehyde Free Plywood in Oak) ripped into strips 22 3/4" wide, 8 feet long (you will only need one strip, but you will have to buy a whole sheet to get the strip)- SAVE THE SCRAP STRIP!!!

1 - 2x4 @ 8 feet long or stud length
14 feet of 1x2 boards
2 feet of 1x3 boards
1x3 furring strips or scrap plywood for supports
Doors and Drawer Face not included in this plan
1 1/4 inch pocket hole screws
2 1/2 inch pocket hole screws
wood glue
measuring tape
safety glasses
hearing protection
compound miter saw
table saw

Cut List

Cut List: 

2 - 3/4" plywood @ 22 3/4" wide x 31" long
1 - 3/4" plywood @ 22 3/4" wide x 34" long
3 - 1x2 @ 33"
2 - 1x2 @ 31"
1 - 1x3 @ 21"
2 - supports @ 34"
2 - supports @ 22"
2 - 2x4 @ 17 1/2"
2 - 2x4 @ 35 1/2"

Cutting Instructions: 
Rip plywood into strips 22 3/4" wide x 8 feet long. Save center scrap. Cross cut strips to create box pieces.

General Instructions

Please read through the entire plan and all comments before beginning this project. It is also advisable to review the Getting Started Section. Take all necessary precautions to build safely and smartly. Work on a clean level surface, free of imperfections or debris. Always use straight boards. Check for square after each step. Always predrill holes before attaching with screws. Use glue with finish nails for a stronger hold. Wipe excess glue off bare wood for stained projects, as dried glue will not take stain. Be safe, have fun, and ask for help if you need it. Good luck!

Step 1

Kitchen Cabinet Sink Base 36 Full Overlay Face Frame

Please read this post before beginning any cabinet construction. It talks about general building techniques, how to modify, and other good stuff about cabinet building!

Build the base as shown in diagram. Plan ahead and drill pocket holes to attach base to underside of cabinet in later steps. Once base is built, set aside. Note that base is 1/2" less in width than cabinet to account for face frame overhang.

Step 2

Kitchen Cabinet Sink Base 36 Full Overlay Face Frame

Build the carcase as shown in diagram. Make sure you also drill 3/4" pocket holes along front edges for attaching face frames in later steps.

Step 3

Kitchen Cabinet Sink Base 36 Full Overlay Face Frame

We used scrap plywood strip for the back supports, but 1x3 or 1x4 boards can also be used. These supports add a ton of strength to the cabinet - especially since this is a sink base and is backless.

Step 4

Kitchen Cabinet Sink Base 36 Full Overlay Face Frame

The trick to face frames is clamping each joint, marking each joint, and having a flat level surface. Use glue and build with 3/4" pocket holes and 1 1/4" pocket hole screws. NOTE: If your face frames are hardwood - recommended if you are attaching hinges to the face frame - then use fine threaded pocket hole screws.

Step 5

Kitchen Cabinet Sink Base 36 Full Overlay Face Frame

Mark inside edge of face frame 1/4" all the way down on both sides to guide you when attaching face frame. Face frame overextends both ends by 1/4" and is flush to top and bottom. We attached with pocket hole screws through predrilled 3/4" pocket holes. An alternative that I sometimes do - depending on the project - is to use finish nails to fasten the face frame and glue.

Step 6

Kitchen Cabinet Sink Base 36 Full Overlay Face Frame

These guys are for attaching the top plywood when all your cabinets are in place to support the countertop. They also provide corner support, keeping your cabinets square. We used scrap plywood pieces, but 1x3 or 1x4 boards would do the trick too.

Step 7

Kitchen Cabinet Sink Base 36 Full Overlay Face Frame

Once the carcase has been built, attach the base, flush to back and sides.

Step 8

Kitchen Cabinet Sink Base 36 Full Overlay Face Frame

We found the most time consuming part of building the cabinets was the doors. Here's the measurements but I'm going to save door construction for another post - so we can use the same building techniques regardless of the door size.

The drawer face is of course just a 1x8 ripped down to size.

Step 9

Kitchen Cabinet Sink Base 36 Full Overlay Face Frame

An alternative is to use a door building service. Because doors take such high abuse and are more likely to warp, could be a good idea to look into ordering doors unfinished. Doors also require more tools and know-how, and are the part that you see on your cabinets. They are also cheap to ship. 

The cabinet box cost us about $50 to build.  Ordering two doors will put us up to $90 - not bad for PureBond 3/4" plywood cabinets, built with glue and screws!  Very reasonable, especially if you are planning lots of open cabinetry up top (no doors = less $$$$).
 PS - Barker door has no idea who I am, they just are the least expensive door option I've found online.  I have never used them or worked with them but we are considering ordering doors from them for the second kitchen for fancier drawers and doors.

Would love to hear your thoughts on ordering doors!

Finishing Instructions

Preparation Instructions: 
Fill all holes with wood filler and let dry. Apply additional coats of wood filler as needed. When wood filler is completely dry, sand the project in the direction of the wood grain with 120 grit sandpaper. Vacuum sanded project to remove sanding residue. Remove all sanding residue on work surfaces as well. Wipe project clean with damp cloth. It is always recommended to apply a test coat on a hidden area or scrap piece to ensure color evenness and adhesion. Use primer or wood conditioner as needed.

Special Thanks to PureBond

Special thanks to the kind folks over at PureBond for supplying our beautiful healthy plywood for these cabinets.  PureBond is also hosting a huge $100 Home Depot Gift Card Giveaway that anyone can enter every day in January 2012 with daily giveaways!  

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Holy cow that looks beautiful considering its home made and not some cheap store bought cabinet.

posted by 1916home.net (not verified) | on Tue, 2012-01-10 15:02

Reply to comment | Ana White

I'm always investigating online for blogs which really explain something to me. Thanks a lot.

posted by how to paint your home (not verified) | on Fri, 2012-06-08 17:33
Lady Goats's picture

Ohhhh, this is exciting!

I have plans to reno my kitchen in the next 2 years, and I've seen easy plans... but you always amaze me with your ability to simplify things! I'm a lot less scared, now :-p

Gina - Lady Goats
DIY Blogger (when I'm not procrastinating)

posted by Lady Goats | on Tue, 2012-01-10 15:08
Ana White's picture

Thanks everyone! We can't

Thanks everyone! We can't wait to paint!

posted by Ana White | on Tue, 2012-01-10 16:32
claydowling's picture

Painting Problems

Ana, unless I've mistaken those photos, the surface veneer is red oak, an open-pored wood. It tends not to look very nice painted unless you fill the pores, which is going to be a fair amount of labor.

Have you considered staining instead? If there's a color scheme you're looking for you can still tint the stain. Most paint stores will do that for you, and you can always tint a water based polyurethane on your own.

posted by claydowling | on Tue, 2012-01-10 21:27

Awesome! I SO want to do

Awesome! I SO want to do this now!

posted by Karen N (not verified) | on Tue, 2012-01-10 16:49
Amy @ this DIY life's picture

Apron sink

Awesome plan! I really want to put an apron sink in my kitchen. Any suggestions about how to modify this to fit one?

posted by Amy @ this DIY life | on Tue, 2012-01-10 17:08
Ana White's picture

Hi Amy, it depends on what

Hi Amy, it depends on what type of farmhouse sink. I've seen people just cut this cabinet out to add an aprons sink, then I've also seen a squashed version of the cabinet under the sink. Maybe we should do an apron sink in the next kitchen? Either way, I plan to add plans for a base to support an apron sink.

posted by Ana White | on Tue, 2012-01-10 18:50
Amy @ this DIY life's picture

Thank you

You do so much already! I can't wait to build our kitchen cabinets!

posted by Amy @ this DIY life | on Tue, 2012-01-10 20:34

I can't wait to see those

I can't wait to see those plans. Apron sinks are so pretty; I might love one in my home.

posted by lianatempera | on Tue, 2012-01-10 22:17


Great idea ordering the doors. While I was reading this (long before I reached Step 9) I was thinking that if I ever planned to build kitchen cabinets myself, I would definitely order the doors. I also like doors better than open cabinetry. You can hide all the mess you want behind them, and cleaning the grease and other kitchen dirt from the doors is much easier than separately from all the dishes and stuff on an open cabinet. Transparent doors are also an option for cabinets where the nicer dishes are kept.

posted by Guest (not verified) | on Tue, 2012-01-10 17:09

False Drawer Front

You can hinge that false door front, add a small basket and have a place to store sponges and other small items that live around the sink. Throw on a magnet and you have an easy way to keep it closed as well.

posted by Amanda | on Tue, 2012-01-10 18:23
Lady Goats's picture

False drawer front

we have these in front of my sink. It's kind of a nice thing to have, so that you can keep sponges/plugs tucked away (we also keep our bottle cleaner in there for long, thin glasses). Good call!

Gina - Lady Goats
DIY Blogger (when I'm not procrastinating)

posted by Lady Goats | on Wed, 2012-01-11 11:21

Between these and bookcase plans ...

Wonderful execution in these kitchen cabinets!

The PureBond site led me to bookcases, that I am going to do double-sided in my Mum's home, to separate the living and dining spaces in a 59-year-old bungalow. Bookcases on the living room side and china cabinet wall on the dining room side, with an archway by the inside dining room wall.

The kitchen needs to be re-done as well, and your cabinet plans will fit the bill with only a small amount of modification :-)

Thanks so much, as always, for all you share with us, Ana :-))

posted by Brian Forbes Colgate (not verified) | on Tue, 2012-01-10 19:23

Don't Paint it.

Are you really planning on painting the cabinets? It looks awesome the way it is. I would just stain it and put a varnish. Great job. Keep up the inspiration.

posted by tnt | on Tue, 2012-01-10 19:37

So dang awesome!

Thank you so much for sharing this plan with us! I'm tucking it away for future reference. Looks awesome!

posted by Cindy from Indiana (not verified) | on Tue, 2012-01-10 19:41

You say Barker Doors don't know you.....

I am betting we should add 'yet' to that... ;-) Barker Doors doesn't know Ana White, YET..

I have my husband on board for building the cabinets, however I don't think I could get him to paint them..

How do you think it will look stained??

posted by Jen B (not verified) | on Tue, 2012-01-10 20:16

That should be "doesn't" UGH!!!

Doesn't know Ana White.

posted by Jen B (not verified) | on Tue, 2012-01-10 20:17

The Doors

FWIW, I like your doors better than any at the Barker site ...

posted by Brian Forbes Colgate (not verified) | on Tue, 2012-01-10 21:14


Fantastic! Love this idea.

posted by Cher (not verified) | on Tue, 2012-01-10 22:43

doors etc

thanks for the plans - very encouraging! planning new house & I had already decided to do the doors & drawer fronts myself when I found your site. I was going to buy the carcases - the standard here in australia is a white melamine panel construction (16mm) - the panels are labelled as high moisture resistant & kitchen shops tend to show you a piece of board in a glass of water. unfortunately these are full of formaldehyde.
your plywood cabinets look stunning - and yes, I too would just lacquer or stain+lacquer. your plans make me wonder whether I should try a plywood prototype, I am a bit daunted by the face frames and how dificult they'll make fitting doors & drawers. we do not have formaldehyde free, but E0 standing for for low emissions is available. presumably it needs to be exteriour grade for moisture resistance?
my doors (and front for deep drawers) are going to be made simply from standard size pine (dressed all round 3x1), with an in-fill of v-joint pine lining boards (12mm) for a 'country look' with clear varnish. I've done it for our current kitchen: dowel joints for the frames (but I am sorely tempted to invest in a kreg jig for the new one), 12mm rebates cut with a router (and I cheat and round of the corners of my infills rather than chiseling out the corners of the rebate). drawer fronts for the shallower drawers are going to be plain bits of pine with breadboard ends the same width as the door styles for a bit of interest ....
looking forward to the next installments of your kitchens!!!

posted by Guest (not verified) | on Wed, 2012-01-11 00:26

Build a prototype!

Definitely build a prototype or even two until you figure out what you are doing.

Make a couple of small face frame cabinets with the door you are planning and use them somewhere in the house or garage.

posted by Anonymous Coward (not verified) | on Wed, 2012-01-11 07:00

Wood species for paint-grade cabinets.

Ana, and anyone else planning to make painted cabinets.

Oak is not the best wood because of the grain. Takes a lot to hide it. Birch, even in the lower cost "spliced" grade, is less prep and sanding and does not cost more.

In some areas you may be able to get ash or alder plywood, probably special order. They both have fine grain and paint or stain very well.

posted by Anonymous Coward (not verified) | on Wed, 2012-01-11 06:57

Good work but a word of

Good work but a word of caution to anyone about to tackle the same project with minimal experience. Build a few trial cabinets first. Maybe put them in your garage.

The hinges on the doors can be a little tricky.

posted by Guest (not verified) | on Wed, 2012-01-11 09:07

Ana, love your doors and thanks for the inspiration!

Ana, your doors look great! We are building our own house and are making plans to move into our basement soon! So, thank you because I was looking for cheap, used kitchen cabinets for the basement, but reasonable ones are just that-cheaply made, very used, etc. Now, I think we can make our basement kitchen cabinets at a reasonable price and they'll fit perfectly. Plus, that kitchen will always get used later, too, so nice Ana-inspired cabinets will be great! We just needed the encouragement-thanks so much! I think we would just go ahead and make our own doors. You can go as cheap or expensive as you want, and as plain or personalized as you want, too. Beginners, don't forget the retired carpenter, cabinet builder, etc in your community that may be willing to help (teach) you with doors! They're a great resource and usually enjoy small jobs. Thanks, Ana!

posted by LisaT (not verified) | on Wed, 2012-01-11 09:59

Door ordering

We had good luck with a company called "Reface Depot" for cabinet doors. We remodeled a big ugly linen cabinet - it looks fabulous now! The company had very reasonable prices and good service. Maybe there are better options now; our project was a couple years ago.

posted by Guest (not verified) | on Wed, 2012-01-11 16:38

Pocket Holes

Based on your design, it seems like you could put all your pocket holes for your face fraiming on the outside of the box. This would result in fewer holes inside and/or holes to fill. Holes on the outside will be covered by your next cabinet.

posted by Guest (not verified) | on Sun, 2012-01-15 15:26
Ana White's picture

Pocket Holes on Outsides

What a brilliant idea! This also puts the pocket hole screw in the centers of the face frames. Thank you for commenting, we definitely will put pocket holes to the outsides here on out! Thank you everyone for taking your time to help us improve the cabinet plans.

posted by Ana White | on Mon, 2012-01-16 20:32

Ordering cabinet doors

Having built cabinets and doors in the past, I would order the doors. Having proven to myself that I can do it, I would now save myself the trouble and buy them. Barker door is right down the street from me here in Oregon. My father-in-law ordered a drawer front from Barker with an edge profile to match some existing cabinets and it matched perfectly. Of course, a simple drawer front is different that a paneled door, but I wouldn't hesitate to order from them. I also like the drawer boxes they offer with dovetailed joints that are reasonably priced as well.

posted by Blair (not verified) | on Thu, 2012-01-19 20:10

Door post

Hi Anna, when will you be posting the kitchen cabinet door information? I am putting my plans together now to build my cabinets. I hope to begin in about two weeks. Any new kitchen cabinet post will be a great help. I want to do the ones in the picture above. Thanks in advance for you time and information.

posted by Calmly | on Mon, 2012-01-30 14:38

Cabinet doors

I looked through all the comments on this post, and didn't see anyone mention MDF doors. I recently remodeled our kitchen, using the existing cabinet boxes. I ordered the MDF doors and drawer fronts from a local shop for about 14.00 each. They also drilled holes on the backs for concealed hinges. The hinges were very easy to install.

posted by MS Peg (not verified) | on Mon, 2012-03-05 07:11

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posted by Opera Mini mealf (not verified) | on Thu, 2012-03-08 19:18
trinavera's picture

Wall Cabinets.

We just purchased a new home and wanted to make the wall cabinets, which are about 30 inches tall, can these plans be used for wall cabinets too, because this will save us LOADS if there's a way to make the wall cabinets.

posted by trinavera | on Mon, 2012-04-23 20:47
claydowling's picture

A Useful Book


There is a useful book called Simply Built Cabinets that will show you how to take this design and extend it to all of your cabinets. Most book stores with a home improvement section seem to have it, and I've found it at some home centers as well.

posted by claydowling | on Tue, 2012-04-24 04:45

Google 3D

What program do I use to get the plans to download from Google 3D? Just can't figure it out.

posted by Respies (not verified) | on Tue, 2012-05-29 16:23

What program is used to get

What program is used to get the Google 3D to download?

posted by Respies (not verified) | on Tue, 2012-05-29 16:24

Door Plans

Do you have the door plans yet?

posted by Craig Chapma (not verified) | on Thu, 2012-06-14 10:03

Crude Cabinetry

I went looking and looking for basic dimensions - thank you. The project is to build out the cabinetry in our log home. In addition to the challenges building against the uneven, outside walls, all the wood (Doug Fir and Ponderosa Pine) is being harvested, milled to size and dried on site. So far I'm planning to sand the frames smooth but leave the faces rough - like the interior walls. We'll see as that faze comes together.

posted by JR Hill (not verified) | on Sun, 2012-08-12 17:42

Built in appliances

Do you think you will create plans for build in ovens, microwaves, and other appliances? I would love to see plans for tall cabinets for a hot wall, or even a built in Fridge.

posted by Sophia Henkel (not verified) | on Thu, 2012-09-06 16:28

will you make another template for these plans?

I''m thinking of redoing my moms' kitchen and was loving the look of this, but will you be doing the drawers and maybe some open cabinets? Also, I'm pretty much planning on doing custom up top ( diy custom- right?) so would you have any ideas for that? thank you so much for all you do- I come from a family of carpenters/ woodworkers that are stuck in the ice ages when it comes to " girls using power tools" and I'm so glad I can point to someone and say " well Ana can do it!"

posted by heathertheis | on Sat, 2013-01-12 12:02

Help with doors!!!!

Ana -

You keep teasing us that you will post a tutorial on cabinet doors. When do you think you will do this. I really need to update the kitchen cabinets in our late mother's home to get it on the rental market.

posted by robertmccarson | on Mon, 2013-02-11 04:13

1x2 frame

I'm currently in the process of putting together some of these cabinets but have hit a huge snag with the frames. The 1x2s keep splitting! All of my adjustments are correct and I can't possibly clamp any tighter. I have contacted kreg and they recommended beeswax on the screws then screwing in halfway pulling out and screwing in all the way again. Nothing works. Has anyone else had this problem? How did you solve it?

posted by lisajuanita | on Tue, 2013-04-30 14:39

Few days ago I've bought a

Few days ago I've bought a new house and now I need to be decorate my house and already I've done my house decoration. But I need to be decorate my kitchen and this time I've seen your post which is helps me a lot to decorate my kitchen.
custom doors

posted by Gilbert Mastro | on Sat, 2013-07-20 23:41

Few days ago I've bought a

Few days ago I've bought a new house and now I need to be decorate my house and already I've done my house decoration. But I need to be decorate my kitchen and this time I've seen your post which is helps me a lot to decorate my kitchen.
custom doors

posted by Gilbert Mastro | on Sat, 2013-07-20 23:41

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