Introduction: Curved Cabinet

About: My name is Thomas and I'm an architect, graphic designer and illustrator. I love designing and making new things, preferrably with a funny twist. Check out my website or socials to keep up with what Im working…

I promised my girlfriend that I'd make her a new nightstand some time ago, and yesterday I finally had the time to do it. And it being Valentine's and all it also proved to be a perfect gift :)

Let me show you how I made this curved cabinet...

Step 1: Plans & Materials

The plan is to make a curved cabinet, divided equally into 4 spaces. Two are accessible from the front, and the other two from the side. This way you can have some stuff within reach when you're lying in bed as well.

I made this cabinet 900mm high, because of the standard sizes for MDF that I can easily buy here. You can change all the dimensions to your liking, these are just used as an example.

The curve is consistent, so all the arcs have the same curve and size. If you print out (or draw) 1 part of the arc to scale (4th image below) you can trace all the curved lines onto the wood, by rotating and mirroring the piece.

I made the cabinet from 9mm thick MDF and a thin 0,4mm 'MDF cardboard' (this is how we call it). You can also use a thicker MDF or wood for the main structure, and perhaps a thin, bendable triplex for the curved shape.

Draw the curved shape onto the MDF/wood and mark which pieces you want to cut out.

Step 2: Sawing the Parts

Start by sawing the 2 holes out of the front piece of MDF/wood. This is easier now when the piece is whole if you're using an figure-saw machine like I did, because of the 'shaking'. If you use a band-saw for the outer shape it shouldn't be a problem when the sides become thin because the saw is always pushing the material down.

After this you tape the back & front pieces together and saw the outer shape of the cabinet. This way you only have to saw this curved shape once, and it will be exactly the same on both pieces.
[you can of course also use a laser-cutter if you have access to one]

Saw the 5 shelves. Make sure you have a little extra width, so you can sand 3 of the shelves at an angle to match the curve. The 2 other shelves are nearly straight so they don't need sanding.
I made the shelves to be 220mm wide (width of my cabinet) and 200 deep (with back & front together is almost 220mm=square!), but you can make them as deep as you wish, according to what you want to put in...

Cut 2 strips of about 220mm width of the MDF 'cardboard' or triplex for the curved sides. Lay them around the curved side of the back (or front) piece, mark the length and cut it to size. Mark where the holes will be in your cabinet and carefully cut out the holes in the MDF 'cardboard' or triplex. Make sure you leave the width of your back 7 front pieces on either side.

[extra] If you want to make a drawer like I did, you can trace the outline of 1/4th of the back or front piece on another piece of MDF/wood, and make it a little smaller than the hole is going to be. This way you make sure it can still slide in and out. From this trace you can make the 2 sides of the drawer. You'll need a part of around 200x200mm (a little smaller as well) for the bottom, and you can use the pieces of the thin MDF 'cardboard' or triplex you'll cut out the sides to make the back and front of this drawer.

Step 3: Glue the Frame

Use wood-glue or some other sticky stuff to attach the shelves to the back of the frame. Make sure you put the sanded shelves at the right positions, and the straight shelves as well. Also make sure they stay vertical, then it will be a lot easier to glue on the front piece without any trouble of bending the shelves to fit the holes in the front part.

When the shelves are secured, glue on the front piece, and line up the holes with the shelves. Tape them in place while the glue dries to make sure they stay in position.

Step 4: Glue the Sides & Drawer

When the frame is glued and dry, you can add the sides and the drawer. It's easiest to start with the side without the holes, and then glue the other side. Use tape or clamps to make sure the sides stay in place while the glue dries. Be careful with the thin MDF 'cardboard' or triplex. Some tapes can become hard to pull of without damaging the material, so use 'painter's tape' or other temporary tape.

Test if the drawer fits into the cabinet and glue the drawer together.

Now you wait until the glue has dried...

Step 5: The Finished Curved Cabinet!

...and your curved cabinet is finished!

You can now choose to paint your cabinet, or do some other finishing touches. Mine will be painted soon, so I will update this 'ible when it is.

I hope you liked this project, and as usual I'm very interested in any comments or cabinets of your own!