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.


In reply to by aliciahageman (not verified)


Wed, 03/23/2011 - 11:27

When I was buying my wood on Sunday, they said I could use the Hardwood Plywood and that would work great. It is a little more expensive than basic hardwood/MDF but looked really nice. I didn't go with it because I'm going to paint mine but hindsight, I wish I had because it was better quality wood than what I got.  Best wishes!


Wed, 03/23/2011 - 12:15

A better-quality plywood can be stained.  For a nicer look you'd want to trim out the face with 1x3 (or 1x2 if you can lay hands on it).  To keep the dimensions the same you'd need to reduce the panel sizes appropriately.

Another option is to build these from solid wood.  You'd have to do a panel glue-up to get pieces wide enough, and you'd need to do a little research on that first. Not too difficult, but requires a few larger bar clamps and a jack plane to match-plane the edges.  Great video for how to do that here:…

And never mind the antique plane that Rob is using in that video.  The modern jack plane that blue or orange sells works just as well once you sharpen them. Rob just likes those older planes.


Fri, 06/10/2011 - 15:35

I've just read the posts about having wood cut to size at the big box stores. My brother is a cabinet maker (but doesn't live close to me) and when I complained about the poor cutting at our local HD an Lowes he suggested that I contact a local,small cabinet shop. He said I could take a cut list to them, tell them the material I wanted, and they would cut it much more precisely than the big box place. He did say it might be a few dollars more to do this, but I'd get a much better end product. Might be something to check on the next project...

Guest (not verified)

Mon, 01/23/2012 - 12:51

I am wanting to make this into a window seat by putting three cubbies together. Is this strong enough, or would I have people falling through? Thanks! Love the site!

sgilly02 (not verified)

Mon, 01/23/2012 - 14:24

I'm sure this would be sturdy enough, but if you're concerned, take a look at this similar project plan for the storage day bed. I just modified this somewhat to fit in a nook that wasn't quite big enough for a twin size, so the boxes are custom sized. Still, overall length is about 72". A whole troupe of dancers could dance a jig on this and I don't think you'd have any problems.


Tue, 01/24/2012 - 17:46

Thanks for the info! Based on your advice, I decided to build the cubby system, and I'm really glad that I did. This thing is not going anywhere! It is my first project, and I'm almost finished with it. I'll have to post some pics when I'm done.


Mon, 02/27/2012 - 04:14

Hello. I'm a major rookie here, trying to make some banquette seating using this plan and my own dimensions. Clearly this is my brain getting hung up on numbers since many people have successfully completed projects following these plans.

My question is how do you get a final finished depth of 23"? The top is 21.5" and it looks like the back is contributing to the depth, making it 21.75". I can't tell for sure, but I would imagine the base molding is no thicker than the 0.5" overhang so not contributing to the overall depth. What am I missing? Where is the extra 1.25"?

For some reason, the photos are quite blurry on my browser. So much so that I can't read the text well. I tried control + to zoom in, and that makes it worse. Maybe I need to change the resolution on my screen. Anyway, for now, there for some things that I can't be 100% that I'm reading correctly.

Thanks in advance to anyone who can help me understand this?


Sun, 06/15/2014 - 08:14

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Mon, 07/14/2014 - 08:28

I want to build 3 with cabbies added for a window,seat/storage in the kids room. First question, will this,be strong enough to hold people with cubbies added for vertical support and second question is, can,it just be build as a box straight to the floor instead of lifting the bottom 2" and adding base molding? It would just be wasted space, but I,wasn't sure if it was adding horizontal,support that way?

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