Hello, welcome to my first instructable!
This is going to show you how to make some super simple storage cupboards, for lofts that have roofs that angle in. I made these to make use of the space that is normally wasted at the edges of our loft, where stuff would normally just get stuffed into.
You can make these very easily with only a few simple tools, and some relatively cheap materials
Step 1: You Will Need
I made these cupboards with just some basic materials and a drill and jigsaw, though if you wanted you could do it just with hand tools.
- a 24" X 24" sheet of 1/2 inch (12mm) MDF for the sides (you can use any size depending on what height you want the cabinets to be.
- A 24" X 30" (or whatever length you want your cabinets to be) of 1/2 inch (12mm) MDF for the doors
Note: Since I was making 5 cabinets, it worked out best to buy two 4x8 sheets which i got them to cut down to 8 4x2 sheets which could then fit the the car.
- Three 1.5" x 1.5" x 30" (or your cabinet length) pine stripwood
- Paint for making them colourful
- 4 hinges
- 2 cabinet door catches (I used the roller type, though the magnetic ones would work)
- Drill and drill bits (though you could use nails and a hammer)
Saw (I used a jigsaw, a circular saw would give a better cut, but it could also be done totally with a hand saw)
- Various measuring/marking tools.
- 1.5" hole saw bit (alternatively you could use handles on the doors)
Step 2: Measuring and Marking Out
The first step is to get all your pieces of MDF and mark out your cutting lines.
As I had already had my sheets cut down to 2' by 4' at the store, I just needed to mark a center line and then the diagonals.
I marked the center by measuring at both edges and making a mark, then using a combination square I followed this as far as I could from both sides. The combination square did not stretch all the way to the center and so I used my rule to join the two lines together.
I followed the same procedure for the diagonals, using the 45° side of the combi square and joining the lines with straight edge.
If you have then as 2'x4' sheets then on one of the sheets you would want to draw a line 30" (or whatever your length is) along, and 15" (or half your length) along one of the sheets, for the cupboard doors.
You also want to take your pieces of pine stripwood and make a mark whatever your length is, plus about 1/4, along (the extra 1/4" means there is space the the hinges to fit in).
Step 3: Cutting Out Pieces
The next step is to cut out all the pieces along the lines you just made
First, clamp your sheet to the workbench and make sure its secure. To make a straight cut with my cheap jigsaw, I also need to clamp a straight edge to the board to use as a fence, though a better jigsaw or a circular saw shouldn't need this.
Then make the cut, going nice and slow making sure to stay as close to the line as possible.
Repeat the process for the diagonal lines and the piece for the doors, though don't cut down the center line of the doors yet.
You also want to cut out your 30 1/4" pieces from the pine stripwood, I did this with a hand saw as you want these cuts to be as square as possible.
Step 4: Cutting Angle on Top of Doors, Splitting Them and Drilling Handles.
Because of the angle of the walls in the loft that these cabinets are going to be used, I needed to have a 45° slope on the top of the boards for the doors
If you had a plane then that would work well for this but I did not and so used my Jigsaw.
First set the angle of your saw to 45°, on my jigsaw this could be done by loosening the screw on the bottom with an allen key, adjusting the base to the 45° mark and then re-tighten the screws.
Next I used a straight edge to draw a line a couple of mm down from the top of the doors, and then made the cut going nice and slow to ensure the cut was as straight as possible.
After doing this I then set the blade back to 90° and then used the saw to cut along the center line, splitting the piece into two doors.
Finally I had to add the handles. You could use shop bought handles and install these with screws or perhaps thread some rope through a hole with a knot on the end, though I decided to go with just adding a large hole you could put your finger through to open the doors.
I lined the two doors up so that the two edges that i had just cut were both on the same side and the pieces were aligned on top of each other. I then made a mark around 3/4 of the way up the door, and around 2" in from the side. I used a 2" hole say bit in my drill to cut the holes, though a spade bit would work just as well.
Once all the holes were cut I went back over them with a piece of sand paper to remove any burrs and slightly round the sharp edge.
Step 5: Painting
For painting the cabinets, I decided that I wanted to go with different colours. Because of the way which the cabinets are going to sit, you will never see the sides unless you open the cabinet, which I am not worried about. Depending where you are going to put your cabinets, and your personal preference you may want to paint the sides or not.
Because I was painting just a small are on each of the cabinets, and wanted to make them each a different colour it worked out best for me to buy two sample pots of each colour though if you are doing them all the same colour or painting all the sides then obviously you will be better going for a larger pot.
In terms of the actual painting just try to cover all the surface as best as you can i'm sure using a roller would make the process go faster too. The sides of MDF tend to to soak in paint a lot so these might require going over a few times. For the main flat parts of the shelfs I got away with one coat for the darker colours such as red, but the lighter ones like yellow needed to to properly cover it.
Step 6: Assembly
The final step is to put everything together!
First get together all the separate parts needed for one cabinet, as well as some screws and a drill (a screwdriver would work but the drill will save a lot of time and a sore hand!)
I found getting two large blocks of wood and clamping them to the workbench, giving you a vertical surface to clamp the sides to, helped a lot.
- First I securely clamped the two extra large pieces to the bench, though you don't need to do this.
- Next I got the triangular side pieces and attached these to the upright pieces, using a couple spring clamps.
- Next take your pine stripwood pieces an place them where they are supposed to go in the three corners, and if you have the triangular ones the correct distance apart then the tension should hold these in place until you screw them in.
- The next step is to take your drill, or a screwdriver, and drive a screw through the mdf into the pine stripwood. You may want to pre drill this with a small drill bit but I didn't and didn't have any issues with anything splitting. Note: When I made my cabinets I did not add the extra 1/4" to the pine stripwood pieces and this meant that the doors did not fit when the hinges were added, and so I had to go back and add washers between the MDF and these pieces so everything fitted.
- Next you want to add the hinges first attaching then to the triangular pieces, around two inches in from both the top and bottom. As you are screwing into very thin material, you may need to do what I did and use screws that go all the way through and then use a file to file away the extra that is poking out.
- Next you want to screw the other side of the hinges to the door. The easiest way to do this is to use a thin spacer (i used a piece of 3mm mdf) and then set it in the position it is supposed to be and screw it this way. If the type of hinges mean you are screwing into the side like I was, I recommend that you do pre-drill these holes with a small drill bit as I did not for the first few and had some issues with splitting.
- After the doors are in place, the last part is to take the cabinet catches and screw these in place. First connect the two pieces together and place it on the bottom piece of pine stripwood, so it is just touching the door. If the door isn't staying shut now then putting a spring clamp on the top to hold it shut will work. Then screw this down with a couple of small screws.
- For attaching the other piece on the cabinet catches, keep the door where it is with the second part still in the first piece of cabinet hinge, and use a pencil to mark where these holes are. Then just open the door and screw the second part in with a couple screws. Note: I went out and bought 3/8" screws, the smallest ones in the shop, so these ones don't go through to the outside but you may need to do the filing technique mentioned above
Step 7: Thats It!
That's it you have now finished hopefully you have enjoyed this instructable. It if my first one so any feedback would be greatly appreciated!
A couple notes about the cupboards:
- These can easily be adjusted to fit any angle of roof or size, just need to adjust the dimensions accordingly.
- Initially i planned to use two cabinet catches per door per cabinet but once installing one found this would be overkill so you do not need to bother with this, only use one per door.
- When installing these i needed to actually remove one of the sides again to fit them up the hatch into our loft, so if this may also be an issue for you then you might want to consider doing the final assembly once you have them up there.
Also I have put this in the first time authors contest, so if you have enjoyed reading it then maybe consider voting for me in it :)
Thanks again for reading! :)