How to Build a Simple Wall Cabinet Box


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December 17, 2023
Zoe Hunt

Whether you want to add storage to a garage, a laundry room, or maybe even a kitchen, a simple wall cabinet is a great way to do that! In this post, we’ll walk you through how to build a simple wall cabinet box. This is a great build to tackle on its own or in conjunction with some DIY base cabinet boxes

How to Build a Simple Wall Cabinet text overlay on image of light blue laundry room cabinets

Alright, let’s dive in and start DIYing some cabinet boxes! 

How to Build a Simple Wall Cabinet Box – Step By Step! 

Recommended Tools:

You can also check out this post with all the tools we recommend for cabinet building. Most of them come into play when you start adding shelves, drawers, doors, etc. The tools listed above are all you need for the cabinet box itself. 

Shopping List: 


Customize them to fit your space! The most common heights for upper cabinets are 30” and 42”. 12” is the most common depth. The most common widths are 12”, 18”, 24”, 30” and 36”.

We have printable plans available that include visual and chart cut lists for each of these common cabinet sizes if you don’t want to think through the math yourself, or if you just prefer printable plans


The most common question we get asked when building cabinets is: what plywood are you using? We always use ¾” plywood for our cabinet builds. We recommend a quality, sanded plywood for cabinets, but other than that, the exact wood type doesn’t matter. You can choose based on what wood grain you like best. 

That said, maple is the most popular and that’s what you will see in this post.

If you are planning to keep the inside of your cabinet natural, I highly recommend sealing one side of your plywood before cutting it down. It’s so much easier to knock this out before assembly. 

We recommend 3 coats of Polycrylic or Spar Urethane in Semi-Gloss. This will make your cabinets super easy to wipe down and will feel so smooth and professional! 


If you would like to customize the dimensions of your cabinets, you can use the following formulas to determine your cut list: 

Desired Final Measurements Key

  • W = final width
  • H = final height
  • D = final depth

Back: (W – 1.5) by H

Top/Bottom: (W – 1.5) by (D – 1.5)

Sides: (D – 3/4) by H

The dimensions above account for adding a ¾” face frame with no side-to-side overhang at the end. We highly recommend adding face frames to upper cabinets because they can help hide the underside of the cabinet. 

Each cabinet will need (1) back, (2) sides, and (2) top/bottom pieces for a total of 5 pieces. 

We prefer cutting down cabinet boxes with a circular saw and guide rather than on the table saw. To me, it’s much easier to move the saw through the plywood than to maneuver a huge sheet of plywood through a table saw. 

Want to DIY buy don\'t know where to start? Click here to grab your free guide!


Once your pieces are cut, drill pocket holes in the following boards using the ¾” settings

  • Back: pocket holes along both of the sides associated with the height of the cabinet 
  • Top: along both sides associated with the depth and along one side associated with the width 

In terms of placement, position your pocket holes approximately 1-2” from the ends of the boards and then every 6-8”. 

drilling pocket holes in maple plywood using Kreg 520


Using glue and 1.25” Kreg screws, secure the top to the back. The pocket holes should all be facing outward so that none are visible from the inside of the cabinet box. 

The top will be flush with the sides and top of the back. We used this corner clamp to keep things in place.

assembling simple DIY wall cabinet using pocket hole


Using glue and 1.25” Kreg screws, secure the back and top to the sides. The top should be flush with the top of the sides and the back should be flush with the back of the sides.

attaching back of DIY cabinet to sides


We will install the bottom through the sides rather than using pocket holes. This is so that you don’t see pocket holes when looking at the bottom of the cabinet. 

If one or both of the sides of you cabinets will be visible once installed, you can install a side panel to hide the screws or you can cover the screws with spackle, sand it smooth, and then paint over them. 

To install the bottom, you can choose to install it ½” – ¾” inset. We generally do ½” inset so that there is still a small lip on the inside of the cabinet once the face frame is installed. If you don’t want a lip between your face frame and your cabinet bottom, install it ¾” inset. 

First mark either side with your inset amount so that you know where to drill your countersink holes. 

Place your bottom piece on some scrap wood to raise it up the desired amount. Then drill 3 countersink holes on each side. I like to use my Kreg Quick-Flip Drill Bit for this. Then drive in (3) 1.25” screws on each side. 

installing bottom of simple maple cabinet box


Now that your simple wall cabinet box is assembled, measure from corner to corner to ensure everything is square. If it’s not, remove some screws and adjust as needed. 


If you’re adding a face frame to finish off your cabinet, check out this post about building and installing face frames. Don’t worry – it’s pretty simple! 

If you prefer to go the frameless cabinet route, you can install edge banding to finish the plywood edge instead of covering it with a face frame. If you go this route, we recommend installing the bottom flush with the bottom of the cabinet sides. 

There you have it! Now you know how to build a simple wall cabinet box using just a few tools. To class your wall cabinet up and help hide the bottom of your cabinet even further, we highly recommend adding some of this trim. You just nail it to the bottom of the face frame to quickly elevate your design! 

light blue DIY Upper Cabinet

Now that your cabinet is built, check out this post on details on how to install upper cabinets. That post also includes more information about adding additional trim.

For More Information About Cabinets: 

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