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Build a China Cabinet

  • Difficulty: hammer hammer
    Close Difficulty
    Beginner Do-It-Yourselfer - Easy
    Intermediate Do-It-Yourselfer - Moderate
    Experienced Do-It-Yourselfer - Difficult
    Professional - Expert
  • Completion Time : 1 Day

Put your best china or decorative plates on display in this classic open-concept cabinet.

Measuring 40"W by 84"H but only 6 ¼"D, this cabinet will enhance your dining room without taking up too much space. The back is made using MDF beadboard, and a cove-type moulding is used to hold plates in position. Once the pieces are cut, the cabinet is relatively easy to assemble; use screws for the main components and nails for the finishing trim.


Tools and materials required

Your kitchen transformation starts with a good plan. Download our planning guide and leave nothing to chance.


  • Circular saw
  • Sliding mitre saw
  • Table saw
  • Hammer or pneumatic nailer
  • Screwdriver-drill (electric or cordless)
  • Countersink drill bit for No. 6 screws
  • Drill bit 3/64" if nailing with hammer
  • Tape Measure
  • Pencil


  • 1 sheet MDF, 5/8" x 48" x 96"
  • 1 “Universal” decorative HDF panel ¼" x 48" x 96"
  • Brackets, 1" x 1" x 1 ¾"
  • 5/8" No. 8 screws
  • Carpenter glue
  • 1 ¼" 18-gauge nails
  • 3 casing mouldings, 2 ¾" x 96" x 1/2"
  • 2 rosettes, 3" x 3" x 7/8"
  • 1 screen moulding, ¾" x 5/16" x 96"
  • 2 cove mouldings, 7/16" x 7/16" x 96"
  • Filler
  • Paint

Before Assembly


China cabinet Elevation plan


MDF is a versatile material that makes it easy to build strong, sturdy and affordable furniture. It is advisable to always glue the parts together with wood glue before fastening them with nails or screws. If the nails or screws do not provide enough strength, use clamps to hold the assembly together while the glue dries.

Screw fastening:

Always drill pilot holes using a countersink bit, with the pieces in their final assembled position. This will prevent the MDF from buckling or splitting under the torque of the screws. In one motion, the countersink bit bores a hole for the body of the screw as well as a cavity to conceal the screw head. You can use a driver-drill to do this, but it is advisable to finish tightening the screws with a manual screwdriver to prevent the driver-drill’s speed and force from damaging the MDF and weakening the screw’s grip.

Nail fastening:

For some projects it is best to use finishing nails. In such cases, using a pneumatic nailer will get the job done more quickly and easily, and the nails will hardly show.

Important note:

Always wear a protective mask when cutting or sanding MDF as the dust can be irritating and is a potential health hazard. Work outside if you can; if this is not possible, close any air vents and doors leading to other rooms so as to prevent the dust from spreading. Open a window while you work and cover all items in the room with dust sheets. Vacuum once you have finished cutting.


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Build a China cabinet
Build a China Cabinet