How to Build an Island

A mix of new and thrift materials gives this island character. Follow these instructions to build your own island from salvage materials.


What You Need:

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-- 2 doors

-- 4 upper cabinets

-- Assorted bins and cubbies

-- 4 secondhand drawers

-- 4 drawer pulls

-- Medium-density fiberboard (MDF)

-- Paint

-- Paintbrush, sprayer, and/or roller

What To Do:

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Step 1: Map your project. Sketch exactly where each piece will fit. For this island, a pair of narrow upper cabinets were arranged back-to-back on each end of the island, then filled in the center with drawers and bins. Lay the entire project on the floor and measure. Note: This island is a standard counter height of 36 inches. Make sure the door you use is tall enough to accommodate your desired island height.

Step 2: Use MDF to create the island's shelving and drawer unit. Cut pieces to fit the drawers and bins, then prime and paint your desired color. Let dry, then apply a second coat. When the paint is dry, assemble the island. This island was created with a MDF with a solid back so the reverse side of the island can be used for towel and utensil storage.

Step 3: Create the top and sides of the island from two doors. One door will become the island's work surface. Cut the other door in half to make the side supports. Inset the cabinets at least 8 inches if you want stools to slide underneath and out of the way. This also makes legroom for more comfortable seating when the island is used for homework or at snacktime. Insert the boxes and bins, and affix pulls to the drawer fronts.

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