DIY Kitchen Island

Happy Saturday! It’s been a while since I shared a house project and I’m excited to share how we made our newest kitchen addition, the island. While I’m calling this an island, it’s more of a bar table for us since we don’t have room to put it in the center of the kitchen. Whatever it is, I love and it’s not only useful for food prep and eating, it stores a ton of stuff. I actually tried to buy one off of Wayfair but not only was it $1500 and kind of ugly when it got here, it was majorly damaged. So we sent it back, spent about $500 to make our own and I’m so happy with the way it turned out.

Wayfair Island

Materials Needed

  • Cabinets (we used unfinished, 24 x 60 cabinets)
  • Toe Kick (not 100% sure which size we bought for this one)
  • Panels for the back (we bought 3 large flat boards for the back for around $30 total. I can’t find the ones we bought online to link it. Had I done it again, I might’ve chosen a patterned board so you couldn’t see the lines down the back)
  • 2 flat panels for the sides
  • Wood for the trim (we used pine, anything will work though)
  • Butcher block top (you might be able to make your own but we don’t have a planer or space for one, so we thought it was best to buy one)
  • Tung Oil (we bought this one, they sell one at Home Depot too. Just make sure you get enough for a few coats)
  • Hardware
  • Paint (We used Valspar Cabinet paint in glossy, light gray. I bought a gallon which was way overkill. A pint would’ve been fine)
  • Primer
  • Nails, drill, saws, etc. Normal stuff that you need to build things
  • Painting supplies
  • Bar Stools
  • 2 Small sliding organizer
  • 2 Large sliding organizer

Making the Island

The first thing we did was finish the edges of the island since the cabinets we bought were meant to go next to a wall.

We glued the toe kick under the front of the cabinets, panels to the sides and used two full size wood panels on the back and cut a small one to put in the middle. We tried to caulk in the cracks in the back so it looked better when painted, but that didn’t quite work out the way we wanted it to. You can’t really see it anyway since that’s where the stools are so it’s not that big of a deal. We then cut trim from the pine boards and put it around the top and bottom to re-enforce the cabinets and also to make it look nicer.

The boards didn’t completely cover the corners and they looked unfinished, so we cut a rabbet (picture on the right) and glued the wood onto the side.

Next, we primed and painted. Since this was a lighter color, I only had to do two coats of paint. When we used the same paint in our kitchen, it was way darker so we had to use three coats. If you read my kitchen post, you know I’m lazy and don’t take the doors off. It actually might’ve been easier since there were only four doors just to take the off, but I did not.

Next we moved it inside and put wood across the top in two spots for securing the island top. We cut the wood to size, clamped it in to hold it, drilled pocket holes and screwed it into the frame.

Next, we installed the sliding drawers. We used sliding drawers for two reasons: 1.) I didn’t want to try to put sides in the cabinets and worry about shelving, 2.) It makes it way easier to get to the stuff in the back. These are my favorite! (Installing these before putting the top on is way easier)

Next, we put on the butcher block top to measure it and see how much we needed to cut off. We ended up cutting the top to 62″ because our space is smaller. After it was cut, we positioned it and screwed it to the top. (We didn’t re-enforce the cabinets because we thought they seemed pretty stable, if you are using anything heavier or planning on putting a lot of weight on the top, I would recommend re-enforcing it). Say hi to our cat and one of our dogs who decided to make an appearance!

Next, we installed the hardware and covered the top in Tung oil following the directions the bottle. We put one coat on, let it sit for an hour and then wiped off the excess. After 12 hours, we did it again. We will have to do a few more coats in the future just to make sure it’s covered well.

I love the way it turned out!

There you have it! The kitchen island is complete. It did take a while, but it was definitely worth it. The storage is great and it gives me so much more prep space in the kitchen.

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