Building a Custom Cabinet Part 2

How to Plan and Build a Custom Cabinet Part 2

Well, hello there! If you were here for How to Plan and Build a Custom Cabinet Part 1, we covered the measurements for the cabinet to be built, the cutting of the boards, and the assembly of both the cabinet and door. Today, I will be sharing How to Plan and Build a Custom Cabinet Part 2 which focuses on installing the door, the panel, and the hardware.

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So we have the cabinet and door assembled, and now we’re ready to finish the cabinet!

I was going to use  satin polyurethane over the bare wood to match my kitchen cabinets. Rust-Oleum sent me a care package which included a couple of quarts of their Ultimate Wood Stain in Black Cherry… Swoon!!! I am in L.O.V.E! That stain is the most bee-yoo-tee-full shade! I am completely obsessed with a huge fan of Rustoleum’s Wood Care Products because they really deliver on quality! It is easy to apply (with no brush streaks), dries quickly, plus the polyurethanes create a nice, hard coat making my projects look really professional!

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Once the stain was dry, I sealed the cabinet with three coats of Rustoleum’s Ultimate Polyurethane in Soft Touch Matte.

When everything was dry, I measured the opening of the cabinet to allow for the chalkboard piece. I cut it at 15″ x 27″, then fastened it to the inside of the door with 1/2″ pan head screws. A mirror can also be added using mirror clips, or by routing a rabbet inside the frame so the mirror or whatever panel you choose will sit into it.

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I attached the rack to the cabinet using screws through the rack braces. (The rack holds my many spools of embroidery thread that I’d like to hide!)

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I drilled a hole in the door for the knob, then installed the hinges. (I am horrible at installing these types of hinges!) I also added a magnetic catch to keep the door closed. The catch is at the bottom so it won’t interfere with the thread on the rack.

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When I am ready, I will mount the cabinet to the wall by locating the studs, then inserting screws through the cabinet into the stud. It helps to make sure the cabinet is level before inserting the second screw!

The cabinet can be built to conceal basically anything – it can even conceal a fuse box providing the back is left off (and care is taken when attaching it to the wall).

Anyway, I hope this takes some of the intimidation out of cabinet-creating for those who are new to woodworking! Any questions about how to plan and build a custom cabinet part 2? Send me an email at cher {at} designsbystudioc {dot} com and I would be glad to help!

An Exterior Upgrade to the Home

New Shutters from Mid-America

Thank you so much to Mid-America Components for furnishing the new shutters for the exterior of my home! (This is a sponsored post, and the content is my own.)

This is the time of year when everyone is working on the exterior of the home. The weather is warming up, and it is time to give the home a fresh, new look. A new look, however, doesn’t have to break the bank and can easily be completed in a few hours. When I was contacted to receive a set of Mid-America Shutters for the exterior of my home, I was thrilled! Not only do shutters look great framing windows (which I just recently replaced myself), they also give the home a finished look and to me, make it look larger.

BEFORE – No shutters

The cool thing about Mid-America products, is that the components are made to work together. The shutters coordinate with their door surrounds, trims and vents for the home for a more cohesive and “pulled together” look. Mid-America products are made in the USA, and are impervious to moisture and insects.

Offering the largest selection of exterior home products in the industry, Mid-America is recognized as one of the leading manufacturers in siding accessories. Mid-America is built on a strong commitment to its customers as well as product innovation, performance and sustainability.

AFTER – Beautiful shutters!

Mid-America provides a wide variety of styles, lengths and colors of shutters to choose from. For custom color matching, there are paintable shutters, as well. I chose the standard single panel shutters in Clay which would match the tan trim around my home. They were so easy to install – I installed four sets and did it myself within a couple of hours!

I started by marking the holes for the anchors on the frame of the shutters. I wanted the anchors to be in the middle of each of the horizontal rails, as well as one anchor in between. I drilled a 1/4″ hole at each marking.

I held the shutter up against the window trim, then drilled a hole through my siding into the sheathing. I inserted an anchor and tapped the anchor into place with a rubber mallet. I didn’t want to set the anchors too firmly into place so that it dented the shutter. This would cause cracking due to expansion and contraction. I continued with the remaining holes, adding one anchor at a time.

The shutters look so great on my home! I am very happy with the quality, ease of installation and the style! They took a couple of hours to install from start to finish which was perfect for instant home upgrade gratification!

BEFORE – Old shutters


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An Alternative to Metal Drawer Slides

How to Make Drawer Slides Using Wood

I have to be honest, this is the first time I’ve tried this. I tend to get nervous when trying something new… I don’t want to make mistakes and waste material! I am thrilled to report that this project went very smoothly and turned out great! So now I will share with you how to make drawer slides using wood!

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As much as I love using metal drawer slides, they were just not in the budget for this project. Since this technique worked so well for me, I will probably use it in most of my future projects and incorporate this technique in my plans.

Normally when I draw drawer boxes, the last pieces to be attached are the box front and back. I decided to change it up a bit by attaching the front and back first and the sides last. Before I attached the sides, I cut a 1/2″ deep by 7/8″ wide dado in the box sides, then attached a 3/4″ square strip of material inside the cabinet. The drawers rest on these runners and with a coat of paste wax, slide very smoothly.

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Here’s how it is done:

I used the table saw to cut the dado (a router can also be used). I set the rip fence 3″ from the blade, and the blade height at 1/2″ so it wouldn’t cut all the way through the material. I removed the splitter so I could run the piece through.

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I made the first “cut” then moved the rip fence in 1/8″ increments seven times (7/8″).

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Any slivers left over were chiseled out.

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I then cut strips of 3/4″ material at 3/4″  wide. I cut them a tiny bit shorter than the length of the drawer box sides, then drilled three countersunk holes in each piece.

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I had previously marked the position of the wood slides but due to an, um “error”, I had to change the position of the slides. The goal is to place the slides so that the top of the dado rests on them and the drawer bottom clears the lower stretcher by at least 1/8″.

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I used a tape measure to make sure the slides were level and an equal distance from the bottom of the sides.

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The drawer fits perfectly! I am so excited!

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Now that I’ve shared how to make drawer slides will you make your own? I really think I will!


Keeping the Attic Cool with an Electric Vent

Replacing the Motor in an Electric Roof Vent

Several years ago, we installed an electric roof vent where an old plastic roof vent used to be. Let me tell you, that vent really helps keep the power bill down by removing a majority of the heat in the attic therefore keeping the air conditioner from working so hard in really hot weather. The only drawback is that the motors are oil-less and eventually the bearings dry out causing the motor to stop working. I was able to find a replacement motor and replacing the motor in an electric roof vent is very, very easy! Let me show you…

Replacing the Motor in an Electric Roof Vent

The new motor has a capacitor on it where the old one did not. This means it helps the motor run a bit more efficiently and also helps protect the motor from power inconsistencies.

We started by shutting off the power to the fan. I have mine wired to a switch and shut the power off at the breaker. Matt and I tag-teamed this project – he was inside disconnecting the wiring in the attic, and I was on the roof taking the housing apart to get to the motor.

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I tried to remove the set screw in the collar that hold the fan blades on the post of the motor. The set screw was quite snug but a little WD-40 took care of that!

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I removed the bracket holding the old motor, and secured it to the new motor.

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I slid the fan blade assembly on the post then secured the set screw.

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I secured the brackets back into the housing. At this time, Matt was back in the attic connecting the wiring. I stood back – far back – and let him adjust the thermostat so the fan came on…

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It worked like a charm! The new motor is much more quiet than the old one, and I was so thrilled at the load it took off of the A/C! Because it had been so hot, the A/C had been running continuously for several hours a day. Now, it doesn’t! Seriously, replacing the motor is that easy!

If your home has an electric roof vent and the motor quits, don’t be afraid to try your hand at replacing the motor in the electric roof vent. It truly is easy and we were finished within an hour! Have any questions? Leave a comment below!

Auger Anchors

How to Use Auger Anchors in Drywall

I am a huge fan of auger anchors. I live in a house where the interior wall studs are not at 16″ on center – they are 24″ on center. If I want to fasten anything to the walls, I need to use something strong that won’t pull out of the drywall. In the same situation? I’ll show you how to use auger anchors to keep your photo frames, shelves, etc. securely fastened to the wall!

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Auger anchors are little plastic corkscrew-looking pieces – they almost have a dangerous look to them, don’t they? They twist into the drywall then pop apart when the screw is inserted. There is less of a chance of them coming out of the drywall compared to regular plastic wall anchors.

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Installation is so easy – here is how I do it:

If I am installing a shelf, I drive the screws through the marked location on the shelf directly into the drywall (without anchors). This creates the hole where I need it to be plus it is spaced correctly with no measuring. Then I remove the screws.

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The auger anchor will fit directly on the end of a drill or screwdriver with a Phillips head, and is driven in the hole in the drywall.

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Replace the screws through the item being hung (or by itself for a frame) and drive the screw until the auger anchor “pops”. This is the end of the anchor splitting which further secures it into the wall.

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As always, use caution when installing anchors near electrical outlets so that it does not come into contact with the wiring!

I hope my little tutorial on how to use auger anchors has helped! If you have any questions, please contact me at cher {at} designsbystudioc {dot} com!


This post contains links to a site of which I am an affiliate. What that means is if the link is clicked and a purchase is made, I will get a commission of that sale. Rest assured I would only direct my readers to sites I shop at myself!

A Quick Guide to Cutting Crown Molding Using a Jig

A Crown Molding Cutting How-to

The time has finally come for Matt and I to install crown molding in the Rebel House – yay! After nearly a year, we are almost finished! I’ve always found crown molding a little intimidating… There are a lot of fabulous crown molding cutting how-to articles on the web – a couple of my faves are from The Design Confidential and Sawdust Girl. I had purchased the Crown Pro from Kreg Tools quite awhile back and decided to give that a try.

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First and foremost, let me state that the instruction booklet will become your best friend! It is very clearly written and easy to understand. It includes diagrams on inside corners and outside corners, as well as instructions on how to measure the wall corners.

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Start by using the Angle Finder tool (the grey tool) to find the spring angle of the molding. The three common spring angles are 38°, 45°, and 52°. (The crown we purchased was 38°). There is also an adjustment nut on the bottom of the Crown Pro jig to set it at the same spring angle as the molding.

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Use the Angle Finder to measure the wall corner so that the saw can be set to match the correct angle.

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Make the cut…

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Then install the crown molding. Honestly, we are awful at it but then again, there is a fabulous product on the market to fill those gaps called “caulk”…

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As with any crown molding cutting how-to, there is a bit of practice involved. I used the jig to cut crown molding for a couple of shelves and the corners came out perfectly!


This is not a post sponsored by Kreg Tools or anyone else. I purchased the Crown Pro with my own money and thought I share my experience with my readers. I do still need to practice with it!!

How to Cut Decorative Posts for a Deck

An Easy Way to Cut Posts for a Deck

Matt and I are in the process of building the railing for the deck at the Rebel house. I’ll tell you what – the materials for a deck are expensive! We didn’t want just plain old posts either but some of those decorative posts and post caps are way out of the budget. I can across this article from The Family Handyman on how to cut posts for a deck. It seemed pretty straightforward except that they use a circular saw… Using a circular saw is not entirely a bad thing but I am still deathly afraid of mine – go figure! I decided to cut the deck posts using my miter saw and my table saw.

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Let me state up front that all safety precautions need to be in place. It is a lot easier to create these posts with a helper nearby. Keep your hair back (if necessary), no loose clothing, any hoodie strings tucked out of the way (I tie mine under my chin), and wear gloves and safety glasses.

I started by cutting the posts to length using the miter saw. They each measure 48″ which will allow 6″ to be notched and attached to the side of the deck using lag screws. Then I started cutting the kerfs for the notches. I removed the splitter, anti-kick back pawls, and blade guard from my table saw then set the blade depth to 1-1/2″ with the rip fence set 6″ from the blade.

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I made a pass with each post through the saw and even had help from a sweet stray dog we’ve named “Mama”!

NOTE: It has been brought to my attention that feeding the posts through the saw as I’ve shown is “wrong”. The post is should be clamped to the saw’s miter fence then pushed through so that there is even pressure on the post. Please note that however you choose to run the posts through the saw is at your own risk.

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I moved the rip fence in by 1/2″ and made a pass with each post. I continued to do this (what seemed like a bazillion times) until there were kerfs cut along the 6″ where the notches would be.

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I decided that I wanted a decorative line cut in the upper area of the post. I reset the blade depth at 1/2″ and the rip fence at 4-3/4″ which would make a “square” below the bevels that will be cut in the top. I made a pass with each post through the saw on all four sides.

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To cut the beveled top, I marked a line 1-1/4″ in from each side. This will give a 1″ square at the top of the post.

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I cut the bevels at 45° on the miter saw.

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To finish cutting out the notches, I used a chisel to remove the material where the kerfs were cut.

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The posts were then bolted to the deck using 3/8″ x 3-1/2″ lag screws. Rails and balusters were then added to create the railing.

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I was really glad to come across The Family Handyman article on how to cut posts for a deck! It gave me an inexpensive option to create stellar posts for the Rebel house without breaking the bank. The posts identical to these that I saw at one of the big-box home improvement stores were $10 each. I created these for $3.50 each. Not too bad, huh? Have any questions? Contact me at cher {at} designsbystudioc {dot} com!

Pocket Hole Jig Basics

A Few Tips on Using a Pocket Hole Jig

Most of my plans call for using pocket holes to join the pieces to each other. I find this type of joinery to be the easiest, quickest, and strongest method of joining two pieces of lumber used in furniture and cabinet construction, at least for me! When getting started, the most expensive jig does not have to be used – a beginner can get away with the most basic pocket hole jig. I’ve created a video to show a few basics on using a pocket hole jig. (Its not the best quality – I’m still new to making videos!)

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Use this handy chart to reset the depth collar on the drill bit for different material thicknesses:

  • 1/2″ material – set the collar at 3-1/4″ from the step
  • 3/4″ material – set the collar at 3-1/2″ from the step
  • 1-1/2″ material – set the collar at 4-1/4″ from the step

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Use the handy-dandy notch on the underside of the jig to insert plug when filling the holes! Awesome!!

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I hope my tips on using a pocket hole jig takes some of the intimidation out of pocket hole joinery. Have questions? Contact me at cher {at} designsbystudioc {dot} com!

Disclaimer: I was not asked nor compensated by any pocket hole manufacturers to make this video. I purchased the pocket hole jigs with my own money and they are tools I use in every project.

Cutting Trim with a Miter Saw

A Safe Way to Cut Narrow Trim on a Miter Saw

Please make sure to use safe cutting practices when using a miter saw, and make sure you are wearing adequate eye protection!

I wanted to cut narrow (1/2″ wide) trim for a project I am building, and needed to make miter cuts on the pieces for the drawer fronts. To begin with the handsaw, miter box, and I are not friends (plus I seem to have misplaced the miter box) so I had cut the narrow trim with the miter saw. In the beginning, I had a few issues until Matt made a stellar suggestion…

Cut Narrow Trim with a Miter Saw

When I had the trim placed against the fence of the miter saw, I had all sorts of problems with “chipping” (for lack of a better term) and the pieces seemed to blow apart. Not to mention that I wasted several feet of trim due to the issues I was having!

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Matt made a suggestion and it was a really, really good one… Use a spacer between the fence and the narrow stock so that the bottom part of the blade is doing the cutting not the back part of the blade on the upswing. The upswing is what was causing the chipping and the pieces to blow apart. I had not thought of using a spacer and was so glad he did – he saved me tons of frustration!

Let me show you what I mean… See where the blade is positioned in relation to the narrow stock without using a spacer?

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Now take a look at where the blade is positioned when using a spacer…

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It is a much safer cut as there are no pieces of trim flying every which way. For the record, the spacer should also be clamped to the bed of the saw so that it doesn’t slip under the blade due to vibration.

Any other ideas on how to safely cut narrow trim on a miter saw? Leave a comment below!

Cutting Tiles

Cutting Tiles

Cutting tiles can be a scary and almost incomprehensible task if you’ve never attempted it before. However, it is an inevitable part of tiling. There will come a moment when your tiles are too big to fit into that space between the last tile and wall, or you need a hole in the middle of the tile for a pipe, or a mirror fixture, and you might panic. How do you get a hole in the middle of a tile?!

There are several ways to cut a tile, and once you’ve got the hang of it, it gets pretty easy.

Photo Courtesy of criminalatt/
Photo Courtesy of criminalatt/

A Straight Edge

To cut a straight line, you can use a relatively simple cutting tool like a snap or rail cutter. They leave quite a sharp edge, so they are suitable for use when the tile edge will be hidden from view, such as against a wall. Draw a straight line on the back of the tile with a pencil. Position a steel ruler on the line and score the tile with the tile cutter. Do this once with a strong pull, do it any more than this and you’ll end up with an uneven edge. Break the tile by holding the tile on both ends, placing the scored line facing up on an edge and applying pressure to both ends of the tile.

A Curved Corner

Curved corners may require more practice, as you’ll be doing it freehand. Draw the curve on the back of the tile you wish to cut, adding an extra 3mm for mistakes. Draw a straight edge on the circumference of the curve, and use a handheld tile cutter to cut it away. Then place the tile glaze side up and score the straight edge with the handheld cutter, and snap it as above. Score the curved edge and use tile nippers to cut away the remaining small pieces of tile.

Photo Courtesy of criminalatt/
Photo Courtesy of criminalatt/


Cutting holes in tiles requires a drill. Though any drill will do, the drill bit must be the right one, as tiles are prone to shattering under pressure. Core drills with diamond drill bits are the ideal tile drilling equipment as they can help reduce expensive shattering. To drill a tile you should first measure the diameter of the pipe or fixture. Mark the measurement and position of the hole on the tile, then find the centre of the circle. Then, from the centre, mark the radius, and remember to add about 6mm for the grouting. Mark the new circle using a compass. Drill into the centre using a diamond drill bit on a low speed. Drilling through tile is not a matter of speed, but consistency. 


This is a partner post. The content was not written by me.