Tall Printer's Cabinet

Friday, January 15, 2016 -
Learn how to build a large, printmaker's style cabinet with free building plans.

I have some super exciting things going on right now. First, if you follow me on Instagram or Facebook, you know that we moved into a new house a few months ago. In addition to remodeling the kitchen, the floors, and workshop area, I have been busy building furniture to fill the rooms. 

This year also brings some new collaborations. I have the privilege of being one of the 2016 Brand Ambassadors, representing *Simpson Strong-Tie®. Strong-Tie products are the industry standard in construction. The odds are very good that the home you live in was built using *Simpson Strong-Tie® connectors and fasteners. Anyone who has read this blog knows that I can be a bit of a perfectionist with my builds. I absolutely love the idea of working with a company who also doesn't settle for "good enough". I can't wait to show you the projects I have come up with, utilizing *Simpson Strong-Tie® quality products! Today, I'll share the first. 

I've been admiring faux printermakers style cabinets for a few years, so I figured this would be the time to give it a shot. This cabinet is HUGE! 7 feet tall and almost 3 feet wide. It works perfectly for us as a linen closet, but it would make a pretty sweet armoire in a bedroom too. 

Materials List:
  • (4) 2 x 2 x 96"
  • (2) 1 x 2 x 96"
  • (2) 1 x 6 x 96"
  • (3) 1 x 4 x 96"
  • (8) 1 x 3 x 96"
  • (7) 1 x 1 x 96" pine trim (actual 3/4" x 3/4")
  • (1) 1 x 18 x 48" - edge glued panel
  • (1) 4' x 8'- sheet of 1/8" hardboard
  • (1) 4' x 8'- sheet of 3/4" plywood
  • (1) 2' x 4' x 1/4"- plywood panel

Cut List:

3/4" plywood -
  • (2) 12-3/4" x 79-1/4"
  • (3) 14-1/4 x 30-3/4"

1 x 18 panel - 
  • (1) 12 3/4" x 30-3/4" 

1/8" hardboard - 
  • (1) 33-3/4" x 79- 1/4"

2 x 2 -
  • (4) 83-1/4"

1 x 2 -
  • (6) 30-3/4"
1 x 6 -
  • (3) 33-3/4"
  • (5) 5-1/2"
1 x 4 -
  • (4) 35
1 x 3 -
  • (22) 30-1/2
1 x 1 -
  • (20) 30-1/2

1. From the 2 x 2's, cut four, 83-1/4" lengths.

2. Drill 3/4" pocket holes around the top and sides of each 12-3/4 x 79-1/4" x 3/4" plywood panel. Align each panel flush between two legs and attach with *1-1/4" wafer head screws .

To avoid splitting, use wood screws with self-tapping tips.

3. Drill two pocket holes on either end of each 1 x 2 rail. The rails connect the plywood panels together. The bottom of the lowest rails should be 4" from the bottom of each leg, and the top rails should be flush with the top of the legs. Attach the remaining two rails in the middle section of the front of the frame. Your openings should measure 35-1/4", 5-3/4", and 35-1/4". 

4. Flip the frame face down and measure opposite points to check for square. Attach 1/8" hardboard to frame with 1-1/4" wood screws or finish nails.

5. Pre-drill four holes on the bottom side of each top rail. Place 1 x 6 top boards tightly together on the top end of the frame. Attach with screws through pocket holes and pre-drilled holes in the rails.

6. Drill pocket holes around the perimeter of the 12 3/4" x 30-3/4" board. Align board between bottom rails and along the bottom edge of plywood panels. Secure in place with 1-1/4" screws through the pocket holes.

Drill pocket holes along the front and both sides of one, 14-1/4 x 30-3/4" plywood panel. Align panel behind the top, middle rail and secure in place.

7. To accommodate large items, I wanted the remaining two shelves to be floating and not fixed in place with screws. I chose four, *Simpson Strong-Tie® A21 steel angle to support each shelf. They are super, heavy-duty and cost only $0.54 at my local Home Depot. 

You can place the floating shelves wherever you'd like. If you want the shelf centered in the opening, attach the top of the bracket so it is 17-1/4" from the top of the opening. Attach each ZMAX bracket at least 1-1/2" from the front edge of the frame to allow for the doors. The remaining two, 14-1/4 x 30-3/4" x 3/4" panels become your floating shelves. 

8. To keep the doors from closing too far into the cabinet, you will need to add a simple stop block. In the top corner of the opening, opposite from they side you are planning to attach the hinges, pre-drill and attach a 1 x 1 x 2-1/2" block with 1-1/4" screws, 3/4" from the front edge of the frame. 

9. Measure the opening between the center rails for your drawer box. Read the instructions on your drawer slides, but typically you will want to build your drawer box 1" narrower than the opening. You can follow this tutorial with the remaining 1 x 4 boards and 1/4" plywood panel to construct the drawer box. 

10. With the drawer box and stop blocks in place, you can build the doors and faux drawer front. I provided measurements for the doors below, but make sure to measure your openings and test fit the doors before finishing. 

For each door, alternate eleven, 1 x 3 x 30-1/2" boards, and ten, 1 x 1 boards. Apply glue to edges, align the boards, and clamp them together. Allow to dry for several hours. 

For the drawer face, alternate 5-1/2" squares and 1 x 1 x 5-1/2" pieces. Apply glue to edges, align the boards, and clamp them together. Allow to dry for several hours. 

11. When the doors are dry, flip them face down. Measure 4" from each side and align a 1 x 4 x 35" board. Make sure the board is not taller than the door. If it is, just trim down the length to match the door's height. Attach two boards to the back of each door with 1-1/4" brads. Try to get at least two brads into each slat of the door.

12. Now everything is built, but before you assemble your gorgeous new cabinet, you will want to finish it. I tried a new stain formula on mine. I mixed 1 quart  *Weathered Oak stain by Mixwax and about 4 tablespoons of  *Dark Walnut get stain by Varathane . Once it was dry, I rubbed on two coats of  *paste wax.  

13. Once your finish is fully dry, you can mount the doors on the hinges. I used three, non-mortise spring hinges per door. The door is pretty heavy, so they need the extra support. These hinges can handle the extra load. 

While hanging the doors, use shims to hold the doors in place and help keep a 1/8" gap around all four sides. Attach the faux drawer face to the drawer box with 1-1/4" screws driven through the backside.

14. There is a lot of hardware on this bad boy and it can add up fast. You will need 49 knobs and 22 label holders. A good way to save money on knobs is to buy unfinished wood knobs and spray paint them whatever color you want. I've seen wood knobs online for as cheap as $0.20 each.

Measure from the outside edge of the cabinet, not the door to ensure your knobs and label holders all end up perfectly aligned.

Fill up the cabinet with whatever you need and that's it! Here's how mine turned out.

Learn how to build a large, printmaker's style cabinet with free building plans.

The drawer in the middle is perfect for small things like pillowcases or socks.

Not quite sure why the color on the faux drawer face turned out so differently. It received the exact same finish, but that sometimes happens with different boards. I actually kind of like it. I think it breaks up the large front facade.

Does it look like 27 little drawers? Although I think antique printer's cabinets are cool, I love all the storage of my version. What would you use it for? Feel free to pin the image below.

Learn how to build a large, printmaker's style cabinet with free building plans.

*This post contains affiliate links and sponsored content paid for by Simpson Strong-Tie®. All opinions are my own and have not been influenced. 

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  1. Wow, that is really beautiful. Awesome job.

  2. OMG! This is going to be my first project after we finish our master bath! I love, love, love it!

  3. WOW, Elisha, you have outdone yourself this time... this cabinet is just beautiful! Thanks for sharing plans, AND CONGRATULATIONS on the new partnership! Thats awesome ;-)

  4. This is beautiful Elisha! I love it.

  5. This is gorgeous, nice wook! Congrats on the brand ambassadorship.

  6. I don't understand how the brackets make the shelf adaptable to large things.

  7. So stunning! I love the finish, and the the drawer turned out slightly different in color! Amazing friend!!


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