Introduction: How to Finish the Inside of a 12 X 20 Cabin on a Budget

Picture of How to Finish the Inside of a 12 X 20 Cabin on a Budget

Finishing the inside of the cabin with my budget was a little trying at times.

Step 1: Running the Electric Line

Picture of Running the Electric Line

First thing i had to do was to dig a trench 50 feet.  Then i Ran 12/2 uf   underground wire through 3/4 inch conduit from the panel box in the garage to the junction box in the cabin.

Step 2: Junction Box Illustration

Picture of Junction Box Illustration

Step 3: Wiring

Picture of Wiring

 The 1st picture shows the power wires coming from the junction box to the 1st outlet which is a  gfi outlet . 
The 2nd picture shows the power from the gfi going to the  double switches.
The 3rd picture shows going from outlet box  to outlet box from the 1st gfi outlet.

Step 4: Duel Switch Box Wiring Illustration

Picture of Duel Switch Box Wiring Illustration

Step 5: Double Switch Outlet

Picture of Double Switch Outlet

Here shows the double switch outlet finished
   As the illustration shows on step 4  two small pigtails get tied together from the main power coming in . They are screwed to the two bottom gold screws on each switch. Then the 2 black wires coming of each of the power out wires  get screwed the the top black screws. Then all the whites get tied together and all the copper  grounds get  tied together .

Step 6: Outlet Wiring Illustration

Picture of Outlet Wiring Illustration

Step 7: Outlet Wiring

Picture of Outlet Wiring

(Line)  Power in wires -  The black wire goes to the bottom gold screw .The white wire goes to the opposite  side  across the outlet on the silver screw . Then the same goes for the (load) side power out wires.

Step 8: Wiring the Outside Light

Picture of Wiring the Outside Light

Tie the two white wires together then the two blacks and then the two copper wires.

Step 9: Ceiling and Wall Boards

Picture of Ceiling and Wall  Boards

 With everything so expensive these days Its hard to cover walls with anything that wont break the bank...  T -111  plywood will put you in to poor house. Drywall is cheap but It might mold dew to the temperature differences this cabin is going to have . Tongue and groove boards will also put you in the poor house. So the next beast step  yet not cheap either are these boards called  ship lap  boards. The look just like tongue and groove boards but there not . The ends just lap over the other and there is a 45 chamfer on both sides so it looks like tongue and groove when you put them up.
  The cost is easy figuring for these boards. I needed  64 boards for  the two long walls and 50 for the two 12 foot walls.So 114 boards x 5.00 =$570.00
  The ceiling is 12x16 so i needed 50 8 ft boards so that was 250.00 .
 2nd picture  Shows the starting of the ceiling and the 3rd shows it finished

Step 10: Insulating and Girts

Picture of Insulating and Girts

I used  6" R-19   insulation for the walls and ceiling. Then i installed the girts 2  foot on centers.
 (GIRTS) are  the 2 x 4 's that go lengthwise  down the length of the wall that you nail your wall boards to.

Step 11: Wall Boards

Picture of Wall Boards

Here shows the wall boards being installed . They were cut to 89 1/2 inches.
 2nd picture shows cutting around the light outlets and  sockets.

Step 12: Extension Jams and Window Trim

Picture of Extension Jams and Window Trim

1st picture shows cutting the wall boards even with the window studding .
2nd picture  shows measuring for the width of the extension  jams and the sill plate .
3rd ,4th and 5th picture show the sill plate installed ,then the extension jams and the trim boards installed.

Step 13: Entry Door Extension Jams and Trim

Picture of Entry Door Extension Jams and Trim

The entry door  jams were cut  5 1/4  wide  and fit into place . The 2nd picture shows the trim all finished . All trim was cut 2'' wide .

Step 14: Finished Walls and Ceiling

Picture of Finished Walls and Ceiling

Step 15: Installing Indoor Outdoor Carpeting

Picture of Installing Indoor Outdoor Carpeting

This picture shows installing the 12x16  indoor outdoor carpeting.

Step 16: Installing Vinyl Walkway Flooring

Picture of Installing Vinyl Walkway Flooring

 1st picture shows i cut out a  2 foot x 6 foot  piece of Luan plywood then cut out the carpet underneath it . I then stapled it to the floor.
2nd and 3rd picture  Shows the 12 inch square vinyl  stick on tiles i used for the walkway .

Step 17: Eden Pure Heater

Picture of Eden Pure Heater

1st picture shows the Eden Pure heater i bought to keep things all nice and toasty for the weekends.

Step 18: Digital Antenna

Picture of Digital Antenna

Since i bought a 32 inch tv i needed a digital antenna so i could get some local channels. So i bought this  Clear stream 2  hdtv antenna.
 The 2nd picture shows the antenna mounted on the peak of the roof.
 Once i Did a channel search i found i could get about 35 channels and they are so crystal clear !. I am very pleased with this antenna.

Step 19: Finished Inside

Picture of Finished  Inside
here the the finished inside pictures. The futon we had . The the two night stands and tv stand  i made a long time ago. So a little by little i will fill it up...


kristin.howard.169 (author)2017-07-09

This place is really cool beans! What a phenomenal job. All in, what would your guesstimate be?

about 1800.00

JimC101 (author)2017-04-19

The wood ceiling and walls are beautiful ! Much respect and admiration here, you DID what most people TALK about doing (self included). Even so, definitely take the electrical comments seriously enough to discuss the project face to face with a licensed electrician. No reason to even consider taking a chance with something that extremely important. GREAT JOB !

coolbeansbaby68 (author)JimC1012017-06-20

all the electric was changed over .all up to code now .And thank you

coolbeansbaby68 (author)JimC1012017-04-26

thank you very much

Oliver Murphy (author)2017-03-02

Looks nice ! Thanks

roguebear (author)2017-01-23

You need to break the connecting tab on the hot side of your outlet -since they are individually switched... o

PaleoDan (author)2012-10-12

Awesome job! and thanks for posting the interior pictures. I think I will use this when I get some land to build on. I might make one slight change and add a small wood stove.

Again, great job.

WhiteTigerTails (author)PaleoDan2016-10-29

Why not just a simple, propane-powered camp stove w/ oven attachment? I think Ozark Trail sells a special hood to turn their stoves into ovens, and they're super cheap at your local megamart or camping store...

zanne101 (author)PaleoDan2012-10-14

Have you seen the little marine stoves?

I've been eyeing these for a future project.

PaleoDan (author)zanne1012012-10-15

I had not seen those before - they are very cool but a bit pricey. I wonder if you can still find used ones for sale cheaper.

Thanks for the link.

67spyder (author)PaleoDan2012-10-15

They sell this one for ice fishing shacks etc.
They go on sale about twice a year

coolbeansbaby68 (author)67spyder2012-10-18

I seen these before but i didnt want the work with wood .

coolbeansbaby68 (author)zanne1012012-10-18

I havent seen these before

coolbeansbaby68 (author)PaleoDan2012-10-18

Thank you dan

coolbeansbaby68 (author)PaleoDan2012-10-12

That would be a good idea too! I just went with a simple heater and it works good

stringbby (author)2016-08-09

I'm new to the diy community, but one thing I've learned is that if you have a really tight budget to build a cabin you can use pallets. 99% of the time they are free and usually like new. has a lot of ideas and pictures. just throwin that out there for others like me with little to no money

PeterA136 (author)2016-07-14

How much did the instulation cost for the whole cabin?

handyhusband01 (author)2015-12-26

Good Job! Electrical: I bought a home wiring book from Sears back in 1980 for $2.25 and used it to wire 3 houses and 3 garages/outbuildings. You only need to follow the colored pictures. For those that want to insure their structure and get a C of O in our town you need to the electric inspected and approved which is no big deal - they'll catch it if you screw up or run the wrong size. It is OK to do it on your own - they don't care - it is about $75. for the inspection here. I always speak with the inspector to go over what I am trying to do and ask for his opinions before doing anything. Works best to never surprise your inspector. As for the conduit run. Get the next size larger than you'll think you'll need, glue it up before putting it in the trench. To run the wiring, get your trusty shop vac, some mason line and a small piece of paper. Tie the wadded up paper to the mason line and stick it in one end. Attach the shop vac to the other side -maybe with some duct tape. Turn on the vac and it will suck the paper wad and mason line through the conduit. The first time I did it I sucked the whole spool of line into the vac. It goes quick so secure one end of the spool. Next get some 3/16" or bigger nylon line, tie to the mason line and pull that through. Now the larger line is attached to your electrical line and you pull that through. Easy. There are many charts out there to tell you the size of wire to use for what you want to accomplish and the length you need to run. Always go bigger - less voltage loss and less heat in the wire. You don't run Romex in conduit, though it is done. The Romex jacket keeps the heat in and increases resistance. You can buy individual spools of colored wire of any gauge. For the shed here I would probably run at least 8 gauge to a subpanel with breakers. I'd also run a 3/4" conduit for low voltage wire - like security or cable in a second trench - about 2 feet apart. While you are renting the trencher I would do a waterline too - even if shallow you can drain/blow out for the winter freeze. From what I have seen the armchair comment "experts" criticize much but never built anything - they can't even come up with a materials list. Thanks for sharing, enjoy.

JeffA2 (author)handyhusband012016-01-01

Touche', regarding the Romex. I guess my head was stuck in wood-framed walls when I wrote that and I didn't completely think it through. You're absolutely right that this should be done with individual strands of THHN. (Anyone in a condo or building with metal stud framing has this within their walls.)

Ditto on the suggestion for a low-voltage conduit as well, (great idea. I hadn't thought of that.), although I don't think there's any reason why that and the waterline can't be run side-by-side within the same trench. But I could be wrong... (I'm pretty sure it's safe though...)

For those who don't already know: line level (high current) electrical produces a magnetic field which then screws up the low voltage signal via induction. (Generally called EMI - Electromagnetic Interference, or RFI - Radio Frequency Interference.) This is a big topic all by itself and not appropriate for this Instructable, so I'll keep it simple by saying that, as a general rule-of-thumb, low voltage and line voltage should never by run parallel and in close proximity to one another. Keep them separated and, when they do need to cross paths, have them do so at a 90 degree angle so-as to minimize their potential for inductance. (That said, have you ever wondered what that cylindrical-shaped thing is that's on small appliance power cords, close to the plug in? It's called a Ferrite Collar and it attenuates EMI/RFI. It's one way to deal with electrical "noise". Cable shielding is another. To learn more, Google is your friend... Now, go climb behind your entertainment center and separate your wires! haha)

And yep:

-8ga buried deep



Roger that. These are good things!

It's extremely easy to get this stuff wrong, and extremely dangerous when you do. If you're going to DIY, which I'm totally in favor of, do your homework first. (I'm a HUGE advocate of THAT!!) And then, when you're pretty sure you've "got it", do some more homework....!!


shinkansen (author)2015-11-30

It is a great idea with a beautiful detail on the interior. On the electrical part I fully agree with JeefA2's recommendations. You need to run thicker wires (8 ga. THHN) on that trench (inside PVC conduit) because you need to consider the distance from the main power source to that cabin. As the distance increases, the bigger gauge wire is needed. Also, a breaker box which would control the circuits inside that cabin is a must as jeefA2 advises. You may also want to vacuum or sweep away the wood dust or clippings present between the studs before installing the inner walls. On construction sites on which I have worked in the past I have noticed that the people installing the inner walls (sheetrock, wood planks, paneling, etc) DO NOT remove the wood dust or clippings. To me, this is a major issue for potential fires. How do you start a fire in a BBQ pit? Put wood chips or clippings, paper, and a spark or fire and the burning starts. Try to start that flame by applying fire directly to the charcoal or mesquite wood and you are not able to light it. In an enclosed wall which contains paper (from the insulation) wood dust or chips from the carpentry, and a spark from a faulty wiring, a fire is the end result. Please take me no wrong, this is only and observation.

Overall, yours is a good project that denotes great creativity and talent for wood working. Do you have a list of materials and plans for this idea?

kgraves7 (author)2015-09-22

this to my understanding was for a homeless family member safer there than on the streets franko.

SamanthaT5 (author)2015-07-26

I was wondering if their is a material list icould get so i can build one of this. I love how it looks and the amount of space there is. It would be perfect for me to do all my crafting in!!! Please tell me you have a material list!

JeffA2 (author)2015-07-25

Aaaannd, now that I've read the rest of the comments, I'm guessing you already addressed the issues I brought up... hehehe My bad...

JeffA2 (author)2015-07-25

I'm sorry, but I need to nitpick a few things, mostly for those who don't know better and are just going to follow your instructions. (I have a couple issues with your electrical wiring...) I'm not trying to be a jerk, but want to help those who wouldn't otherwise know...

First thing is regarding how you ran wire to the cabin:

It's in conduit. That's good. But it's only 3" deep. Not so good. (Lazy.) This can be an issue in many obvious scenarios and should be buried deeper.

Second: 12/2 wire providing power to the cabin. (For those that don't know: the first digit is the gauge of the wire and the second digit is the number of wires, not counting ground. Therefore, 12/2 = 2 - 12g(auge) wires (+ground). Those 2 wires are: 1 black and 1 white. All modern "Romex"-style wire will have a bare ground wire also, so there are 3 wires total in a 12/2 or a 14/2. In wires other than Romex *or the like*, the bare copper ground wire may have a green sheath. Green or bare copper is ALWAYS "ground".)

So, back to the 12/2: that's one hot wire, one common, and one ground. And that means that you have one single 20amp breaker feeding power to the cabin, and that's it. (Again, FYI: 12/2 = 12gauge wire which is rated for 20amps continuous. 14/2, which is the other, smaller, household wire, is 14gauge wire and is only rated for 15amps continuous. And that's the difference between the 15 and 20amp breakers in your panel.)

So, one 20amp breaker. And the cabin contains a refrigerator, a microwave, a space heater, multiple lights, an entertainment center w/ tv and audio, .... and that's just what I see in the pictures, nevermind what anyone wants to plug in. (A toaster oven or vacuum cleaner would definitely NOT be an option!!)

With the "everyday items" plugged in, you would not be able to use either the microwave or the space heater without blowing the breaker. No heat and no hot food unless you turn off the lights and unplug the fridge...

With only another $20 (tops!) spent up-front when purchasing the wire, you could have instead run a piece of 12/3 from the main panel out to the cabin. (Another FYI: that means 3 - 12g wires, black/white/red, +ground. The red is the positive leg for a second circuit.) That means 2 - 20amp circuits to the cabin, which would mean no unplugging things... Or, better yet, fun 8ga and give the cabin it's own 50 panel (which would actually translate to at least 6 15amp breakers and plenty of power at every outlet...). But I'm just sayin'....

Also: the junction box illustration will confuse those who don't know, but are otherwise trying to follow directions...

In your illustration, the wire that leads upward, out of the box, says "power out to lights and outside light". This is incorrect.

That wire leads from the junction box to the SWITCH BOX. It provides power to the switches, which then in-turn provide power to the lights, as demonstrated in your switch box wiring diagram.

(Hey homeowners: The power COULD go to the lights first, but the wiring to the switches would then be completely different. Both methods are equally as common, so please feel perfectly comfortable doing it this way.)

Lastly: you really didn't need to do the digital touch-up on that one particular framing pic. Overall, you've done a good job and there was no need for that. But again, I'm just sayin'...

Overall, a good instructable, despite my nitpicks. Cheers!

WhatsnextPpl (author)2015-06-01

I have a homeless family member. I have very little obey but have five acres of land. If all family pitch in to build this, is it something he could live in? I didn't see a bathroom but may have missed it.

yes you can live in it very easily. if you see for the link for how to build a modern outhouse on my instructable you will see the bathroom

cmies (author)2012-10-12

For others looking at this project, I would ask that you please consult with your local electrical codes before attempting your own wiring. In my municipality, there are things in this project that would have to be corrected, things that you would not consider. For instance, I have a similar detached space and the electrical feed had to be burried deeper than 36 inches and encased in conduit. Just be careful.

coolbeansbaby68 (author)cmies2012-10-12

It is encased in conduit.

cmies (author)coolbeansbaby682012-10-12

Yes, I saw that in the comments later, sorry for that.

My comment wasn't specific for your project, I was just trying to make sure people understand the gravity of doing your own wiring, and the things that they might not think of. My city actually has a program for you to become certified to do you own wiring at your primary residence (you still have to pull all the same permits and have all the same inspections). I did the program and it was a great experience. Only took a few weeks of study, and then a Saturday for the test.

Great project by the way!

coolbeansbaby68 (author)cmies2012-10-12

Thank you very much. I still might change the wire to 10/2 i used 12/2 with a ground .Its not a hard job to change it .Juts more money when i already had the 12/2 wire ..maybe ill do it in the spring

I would at least use 10/3wg and put a small breaker box in the cabin for 2 circuits

ToolboxGuy (author)cmies2012-10-14

Agreed. I would highly recommend conduit, just to protect the cabling from the wandering shovel. UG is "underground" but it doesn't necessarily mean that it's safe without a conduit.

A walkway over the conduit is a helpful reminder of where it's buried as well. Given the distance you're pulling the wiring, you may have needed 10/2. It depends on distance and expected load. The "Electrician's Handbook" at your local home store can provide specifics. A heater and a fridge on the the same circuit could be too much draw for your wiring. I would also suggest you use a GFCI breaker, if you haven't already.

As cmies has pointed out, a quick discussion with the city building commission or a local electrician would be highly recommended. Even a chat with the local utility company's offices would be a good start. If you are so lucky as to have a city which lets you self-certify, do take the course.

I've done lots of electrical work on my homes, and I would have enjoyed having a course like this to learn about pigtailing and very useful tips like, "Dry fit all of your underground conduit from end to end, THEN string the bits onto the wire you plan to use, like beads on a necklace, THEN glue the PVC together...."

bat159 (author)ToolboxGuy2014-06-29

Not too be rude, but pulling your wire in before gluing PVC conduit is a bad idea. Most common wiring insulation are either vinyl or PVC, both of which can be affected by the solvents in pvc glue.

If you want to put a pull string in while dry fitting the sections of conduit that would be okay.

just my 2 cents worth.

ToolboxGuy (author)bat1592014-06-29

Ah! I see your concern. At the time, I was pulling 8 gauge wire to my hot tub, and let's just say I'd have needed heavy equipment to draw that wire through the tubing. I made sure to only coat the "outside" of the pipe, press into the fitting, and dope the edge. [====] In this example, on the == yes, on the [ or ] connectors, no. I definitely should have explained that more clearly. Thanks for the heads up.

coolbeansbaby68 (author)cmies2012-10-18

Actually i should have used 3 wire instead .I can change that easy.

coolbeansbaby68 (author)cmies2012-10-12

have you seen my modern outhouse yet?

biffula (author)coolbeansbaby682013-02-09

Regardless, somewhere down the road, someone could take ditch witch and would rip right through that. You want to bury electrical DEEEEEEP.

bernie.alvey (author)2015-04-08

How many receptacles and how many lights are in the cabin. What is size amperage breaker in the garage panel you are running from.

mdeblasi1 (author)2012-10-15

As the owner of a licensed, insured, bonded, and code compliant electrical contracting company,
this sorta horrifies me.

THEgreywolf (author)mdeblasi12014-06-17

why ? because he didn't hire you for 50 + bucks an hour to wire it ? might as well ban all the do it yourself books to while your at it , they should horrify you too! his wiring was fine , Most folk that can do something like this can do basic wiring, and know already what he was talking about. don't need an electrical engineer to speak techno babble to figure out basic wiring like this

A Potts (author)THEgreywolf2015-04-05

How about this. As a homeowner (who is NOT a licensed, insured or bonded electrician) who has finished his basement from the cinderblocks out, helped wire the sanctuary in a new church building, and who has remodeled many bathrooms and kitchens and bedrooms, this wiring kinda horrifies me. Granted, building inspectors around here can be a bit overzealous, but the last inspector I had would have made me rip all that out and do it over. I obviously have nothing against do-it-yourselfers when it comes to home wiring, but after coming across many, many very dangerous wiring jobs, I make sure to do it right. Now, nothing I see on here is as bad as the circuit in the house my parents moved into where a light was wired as a "3-way" but was actually wired on two different circuits, so if both switches were on it was pumping 240v to the light, but it does remind me a lot of the wiring jobs I have come across in remodeling this house where I've found things like live lines just dead ending sans wire nuts in a box that contains another circuit. At the very least, all those wires need to be strapped down, and his line from the house needs to be at least a foot deeper.

Bottlejockey (author)THEgreywolf2014-07-25

Let's start with this... I haven't taken ANY electrical classes since high school... ( class os 82' ) but I learned even back then that you wrap all outlets and switch connections with electrical tape... I also noticed NO ties to stud walls ( I don't know codes but should be at least every foot ) The ties are meant to keep the random wall mount photo (etc.) from possibly contacting a live wire. And though I agree that there are many people who can wire they're own home correctly (and safely), The photo's of this job leaves me with many doubts.

mdeblasi1 (author)THEgreywolf2014-06-17

Actually, we're $90 an hour,
and licensed
and our work is inspected.

Just sayin'.

Franklinesque (author)mdeblasi12014-07-17

"Actually, we're $90 an hour"

Which is exactly why such helpful instruction is horrifying to you. If I had a nickel for every time a licensed electrician sounded the alarm bells about the grave dangers of doing it yourself, I could probably afford the sort of price gouging that is standard in your profession.

Sorry, but there's plenty of useful, accurate, and safe instruction out there for those willing to take the time to learn. So while your concern for our safety is touching, it's really not the source of your concern. Just sayin'...

mdeblasi1 (author)Franklinesque2014-07-20

I defer to @Wonderground 's defense of my input,
You may feel free to do as you please and good luck to you.

why is that?

Because I was once a teacher and had a student and her sister die and their father loose both eyes and a hand trying to save them ---
In an electrical fire.

There is a good reason for code inspections.

Is there any reason that you won't actually augment your criticism with actual substance? So far we have:

"As the owner of a licensed, insured, bonded, and code compliant electrical contracting company, this sorta horrifies me"

That may be true, but what does that offer? You then follow with and anecdote about injuries from an electrical fire, yet offer no relevant explanation. While that is certainly a sad story, how does it specifically relate to this build? Rather than just being condescending, why not take this opportunity to help the community with actual substance rather than vague derision? What is it specifically that you find horrifying? I would really be interested to know and perhaps learn.

nice reply with offering substance to the conversation without basing and name calling!! Nice to see civil communication. I just wanted to take the time to thank you. :)

About This Instructable




Bio: Just a normal guy trying to make it in life .Good paying job but mindless sometimes .I enjoy making things in my garage to keep ... More »
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