Open Bases for the Cubby Storage Collection

Submitted by Ana White on Tue, 12/29/2009 - 23:05
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Part of the Cubby Storage Collection, this open base is part storage, part bench, and a whole lot of cuteness! Works with the drawer plan or the cubby hutches. Also available is a media console to create a media storage wall. See all plans in the Cubby Storage Collection.

Special thanks to Angela and Ashley at Shanty2Chic for sharing her photos.

15 3/4" High x 29" Wide x 23" Deep


Shopping List

1 sheet of Hardwood Plywood or MDF (see here for a post on choosing your wood types) 

30″ of 2 1/4″ base moulding (shown below) 
1 – 1×2 
29 x 15 3/4″ piece of 1/4″ plywood (you can use 1/2″ or 3/4″ scrap from the sides) 
2″ Nails 
1 1/4″ Nails 
Wood Glue 
Wood Filler
Sand Paper 
Paint, Varnish, Primer, Brushes and other finishing supplies 
Edge Banding 
You will need moulding for the footer of this cubby.

Lowes sells it here. At our local Home Depot, you can actually cut exactly how much you need, instead of having to buy a 8′ stick. This type of moulding is generally inexpensive.
Common Materials
2 inch screws
1 1/4 inch finish nails
120 grit sandpaper
Cut List

A) 2 – 3/4″ Plywood or MDF @ 15″ x 21″ (Sides) 

B) 1 – 3/4″ Plywood or MDF @ 27 1/2″ x 21″ (Bottom Shelf) 
C) 1 – 1×2 @ 27 1/2″ (Top Inside Trim) 
D) 1 – 3/4″ Plywood or MDF @ 21 1/2″ x 29″ (Top) 
E) 1 – 1/4″ Plywood @ 29″ x 15 3/4″ (Back) 
F) 1 – 2 1/2″ Base Moulding @ 29″ (Base Trim) (See above picture and link)
Tape Measure
Speed Square
Safety Glasses
Hearing Protection
Kreg Jig
Circular Saw
Table Saw
Brad Nailer
Power Sander
General Instructions

Cut all your boards. Make sure you cut straight boards, especially your plywood. Be aware of your saw blade clearance when marking out your cuts. Use a square or see the HOW-TO section for a video on checking for square. Always use glue and 2″ nails unless otherwise directed. IF YOU ARE USING MDF, YOU MUST USE SPECIAL CABINET SCREWS. Measure and mark your board before fastening.


Step 1

Cut the pieces from plywood. Be aware that your sawblade takes up space when you make your cuts, so you can't just mark and cut. Rather you need to mark each board, cut, mark, cut and so on. It is very important that you make good straight cuts.

Step 2

Build the box. Fasten the sides, A (green) to the bottom, as shown above, leaving 1 3/4″ clearance under the bottom shelf, B. Make sure you fasten this piece level and square with the sides.

Step 3

Build the box. Fasten the sides, A (green) to the bottom, as shown above, leaving 1 3/4″ clearance under the bottom shelf, B. Make sure you fasten this piece level and square with the sides.

Step 4

Fasten the top. Keeping the back and side edges flush, fasten the top, D (green) to the sides, A, using 2″ nails. Use the 1 1/4″ nails to nail the top to the top trim piece.

Step 5

Step 6

Fasten the Moulding. Nail the base moulding in place as shown above.

Finishing Instructions
Preparation Instructions
Fill nail holes with putty and sand. If you built the piece out of 3/4″ plywood, iron the edge banding to the exposed edges of the plywood. If you are using MDF, paint as desired. Add your sealer, if desired.

Comments (not verified)

Wed, 12/30/2009 - 17:05

a while back in the post about he land of nod table you mentioned you were doing a post about kids chairs. i have tried to re-read and find it but can't. can you help?

also, i love all your stuff-you are such an inspiration!

Ana White (not verified)

Thu, 12/31/2009 - 08:14

Hi Rachel, yes I did promise chair plans. I even went out in the garage and built the Land of Nod Storage chair. And it turned . . . okay.

The problem was it was too complicated. I have the plans, right here on my computer, already drawn up. But I just could not post these plans. They don't meet my requirements - easy, simple, cheap, doable.

I have been looking at other kids plans, and have decided that I will have to post a plan where the back legs are carved (you can just cut with a jigsaw). Lots of others have asked the same question, so look for plans coming soon!

Candace@crafty… (not verified)

Tue, 01/05/2010 - 05:21

I heard about your site on Funky Junk. I love it! I have a question about the nails on MDF? Do you always have to use the special cabinet screws?

Ana White (not verified)

Tue, 01/05/2010 - 07:30

Thank you for reading my blog. I just want to share MY experiences with you on MDF. The experts all say never nail, only use the spendy McFeely's fastners. I did some experiementing. I predrilled and used drywall screws. This worked fine. Just make sure that you predrill the entire depth of the screw. Do not use wood screws, as the shaft is tapered and will cause your MDF to split. Then I tried nailing with 2" finish nails and lots of glue. And it worked PERFECT! I just used less nails and did not place any nails within about 1" of the joints. For example, if you are fastening a bookcase shelf to the sides, I would nail at 1" in on each side of the shelf, and then once in the middle.

Now this is my experience and I just made 3 bookcases out of MDF. MDF is very easy to work with, is easy to finish, and very straight. No problems on my end. I did frame the entire shelf in wood (I used Pine) and the bookcase now has the look of wood (despite several coats of Antique White).

I would recommend you taking some scrap pieces and testing out your different fastening options. I have heard that there are different grades of MDF.

Make sure you check back later this week. I will be posting photos of my MDF bookcases.

In reply to by Ana White (not verified)


Thu, 04/14/2011 - 06:23

I cant seem to find the plans for the doors for this project. Can anyone direct me? I seem to be having alot of problems navigating the new webite. Also sometime I click on links and a blank page shows up. Is anyone else expierencing the same issues. Ana, If you could help me to find the plans Im looking for I would appreciate it greaatly!!!! I love this whole set!!

Lindsay (not verified)

Mon, 01/18/2010 - 09:01

SO glad I found this blog! Heard about it from Funky Junk. Do you have any tutorials for building a pottery barn-ish desk? I need one for my craft room :-)

Court (not verified)

Thu, 01/21/2010 - 06:01

I read about you over at Shanty2Chic and I love your tutorial on the PB shelves. Totally adding it for the toy room I am re-doing this spring.

jacksmom (not verified)

Mon, 02/01/2010 - 09:43

I just finished the bases for this today! Did 2 but think I will make another since it was so easy. Only problem I had was that when I had them cut everything at Lowes the machine was off so all my pieces were off by 1/8" which was a pain but workable. They weren't nice about it and told me it was my problem and I should just be happy they did the cuts in the first place because they don't cut for projects. Will be going to Home Depot for the rest of my project! Thanks again!

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