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.



Thu, 05/26/2011 - 08:24

The fault there is with the machine operator.

Each of the big box stores uses a large 12" or 14" cross cut blade.

Its 1/8" thick.if you need two 4 foot pieces, then buy a 10 foot board. The saw operator should know to cut with the saws thickness on the waste side of the marks.

If your trying to get two pieces out of one board it is better to get a longer board than necessary or cut with a thin blade like a jig saw at home.

The keep the scrap for other uses like a smaller project or to test joints or stains.

In reply to by jacksmom (not verified)


Thu, 05/26/2011 - 13:53

Don't expect the stores to cut your material to size for you. That's something you need to do for yourself. The only thing you should have the store do for you is to cut the material to a size that you can get into your vehicle. Always have them cut it an inch or two oversize. And really, try to avoid having that done, because these guys aren't finish carpenters, they're retail workers.

If you're not comfortable with a circular saw, that's fine. You can buy a decent hand-powered crosscut saw at Lowes, Home Depot, or nearly any hardware store. I take one to the store with me and cut my own material down on site to get it into my vehicle, so that I know it doesn't get messed up. Get a saw roughly the same length as the height of your knee.

Menards actually has benches in their loading zone that make great supports for cutting. You could also throw a pair of collapsible saw horses into your trunk, since most stores don't have this.

leobrat (not verified)

Thu, 02/18/2010 - 09:46

Just bought the wood for this project. The project is actually 2 of these, 2 open cubbies and 2 hutch with doors (complete with chalkboard paint). It will end up being a gift for my nephew & wife who are expecting their first child - the first grandbaby of the family.
Anyway, I bought plywood but I plan on painting it to match their color scheme of the room. Would you suggest that I still use the Edge Banding or is that more if the item is stained?
Thanks for all of your effort. I love everything.

In reply to by leobrat (not verified)


Wed, 03/23/2011 - 11:28

I just bought white edge banding on Sunday and it says that you can either stain or finish it to desired color. The edge banding gives it a more polished look for sure so I would recommend it.  Best wishes!

sarahj77 (not verified)

Tue, 10/05/2010 - 07:39

I've got a question for those of you who have built the base. I cannot find 2 1/4" base molding. I found some 2 1/4" casing (which I hate). Lowe's told me they don't carry 2 1/4". I thought of buying 3 1/4" and ripping it myself, but have no table saw. What has anyone else done for the base molding?

In reply to by sarahj77 (not verified)


Wed, 03/23/2011 - 11:24

I went on ahead and bought 2 1/2". It barely sticks up over the bottom shelf so I wonder if you went with 2 1/4" if it would even cover the bottom shelf. This was one discrepency I found with the plans. I just built two of these on Monday.  HTH and best wishes!

aliciahageman (not verified)

Mon, 01/24/2011 - 17:10

ana-i am making this cubby system, but want to be able to stain it to match the rest of the furniture i've built. since MDF isn't stainable...what is my other option?

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