Introduction: Handmade Jewelry Armoire

This has been on my list of projects for a while, and although I may lack the right tools and/or knowledge to make it, I've got time. It turned out pretty well, I did it with hand tools only and got by alright except for having to drill a bunch of 3/8in holes into the oak legs, I just have a screwdriver that accepts drill bits.. that was awful.

The current jewelry/makeup setup in our bedroom is a little bit sprawling, and the the clattering of plastic drawers in the morning makes me grumpy. I was hoping to reduce the footprint in the corner of the room and make my morning a little bit quieter :)

I learned many things while doing this project, too many to list and still have this be entertaining to anyone but me. I think the big takeaway was plan first, cut second. This is not how I usually like to make things, but it seems to reduce headaches so much with woodworking.

Step 1: Materials

The materials photos always give me pause. When I want to make a thing, I generally just start doing it with whatever's handy, and then grab whatever tools or materials I need as things come up. As a result, I need many disparate photos taken throughout the life of the project to catch everything I used.


  • 4x8 sheet of plywood
  • 2 sheets of hardboard
  • 10 pieces of 4ft oak trim
  • 2 3/8in dowels
  • 1 36in 2x2 section of oak (for the feet)
  • 4 brass hinges
  • 2 meters of nice looking chain
  • finishing nails
  • wood screws
  • wood stain
  • cabinet hardware
  • epoxy putty
  • magnets!


  • wood saw
  • hacksaw
  • clamps
  • hammer
  • chisel
  • file
  • sandpaper
  • tape measure
  • screw driver
  • drill bits

Step 2: Plan

I didn't draw these until I was done cutting :) shh, don't tell anyone.

Plans are handy to have, then you have some idea of what your doing! I am new to woodworking so I wanted to build this so that the raw edges would get covered up by the oak trim. I was mostly successful, and what didn't get covered got sanded pretty well.

Step 3: Cut

I have no workbench (or workspace) so I did my cutting on a cement parapet. I put a towel down so the wood wouldn't get marked up and then tried sawing. The board jumped around too much so I ended up sitting on it as an improvised vise, it works pretty well but you need to keep readjusting your position.

I had no support under the cut, and about 2/3rds the way through I realized I needed a sawhorse. Because I have no sawhorses I used some of the oak trim slats to hold up the board as I cut.

I lied when I said I have no workbench. There is a picture of my workbench up there, a little on the small side, good for hobby projects :)

After cutting everything, I trimmed the raw edges and spent maybe 3 hours filing the edges.

Step 4: Assemble Back of Drawers

The drawers were made of hardboard, with a plywood front. When I started knocking them together the finishing nails split the hardboard so I ended up drilling holes for all the nails first.

I had to re-cut these pieces twice because I didn't plan anything out first. In the future I'd remake these things with 1/4in plywood instead of hardboard, because hardboard is is the wooorst.

Step 5: Assemble Front of Drawers

I couldn't figure out how to put the front on the drawers without having a screw or nail on the face of the drawers. After some thought I cut out a handful of little plywood rectangles to act as intermediaries for the front and back the the drawers. I used some finishing nails and wood glue to get the fronts on.

Step 6: Chisel Grooves for Drawers

To cut out the grooves I had to make a cut the whole length of the wood at once, The saw was far too jumpy so I clamped a scrap piece of wood as a guide, it worked great.

The chiseling was pretty easy except for a couple of the grooves which were too narrow for the chisel... I only have one file, and it doesn't have and grooves on its edge, so I wrapped sandpaper around the handle and used that to cleanup the grooves.

Step 7: Glue in Slats for Drawers

Spread glue evenly, insert slat, wipe away excess with damp cloth. Repeat.

Step 8: Drill Holes for Dowels, Begin Box Assembly

This was really my introduction to drilling with a screwdriver, I did a bit with the hardboard but that was using the smallest bit I had. This was using my largest bit, to drill 22 holes. It was a little bit more work than I had anticipated. To begin assembling the box I clamped things into place and then just put wood screes in place without glue.

Step 9: Assemble Main Box


The top piece and the horizontal shelf halfway down don't have any screw, they are glue only so I was liberal with the glue for those two. You can see a clamp over the midway shelf, that's because it was bowing outwards. The glue seems to have solved that problem.

I wasn't really sure about the best way to put the door hinges on to keep them as hidden as possible without creating any big gaps. What I ended up with was the hinges resting at a 90 degree angle and open at a 180.

Step 10: Add Trim

As you've seen, I have 4 Irwin clamps, they are great, unfortunately they are not very long. Because I had no clamp to hold the trim on, I had to glue all the trim for one side, tape the pieces into place and then flip the thing so the weight of the armoire would press the trim into place. Not ideal but okay.

To accommodate the hinge I had to cut a piece of trim down by about half an inch so the door would open properly. I went to put it on but the hinges were pushing the trim out too much, so I filed out some sections of the trim to make everything fit nicely.

Step 11: Drill and Glue Legs

My plan here was to drill 2 holes in each leg and 2 corresponding holes for each leg in the base of the armoire, then put a dowel and some glue in the holes. I marked out each leg individually so the holes would line up.

This was the wooorst.

Drilling each of those holes in the legs took me about 10 minutes and much anguish. Screwdriver is not the optimal tool for this :(

Once glued the legs were on quite solidly.

Step 12: Stain

By far the most satisfying part was applying the stain. I really brings the thing together. Read the directions for the stain. I applied the stain, wait 15 minutes and then wiped off excess. I had to wipe off excess stain again after about an hour, it looked like the wood was sweating stain in places.

Step 13: Magnets!

I added four magnets to act as a latch for the armoire. I drilled some shallow holes, put a pea of epoxy putty in them and then embedded the magnets in the epoxy putty.

The door must be kept open for the 2-3 hours it will take the epoxy putty to set. If it closes, the magnets will grab each other, and may come out of their sockets.

Step 14: Add Hardware

I don't think the knobs really require an explanation.

The chain was strung up with finishing nails, it will house some earrings. Measure out all you lengths of chain first, nail them up second, otherwise measuring is a pain.

Step 15: Fill!

Take your jewelry and put it inside the armoire. I didn't really realize just how many necklaces this needed to accommodate. I think I will have to add another set of posts on the inside of the door to put necklaces on.

Hand Tools Only Contest

Participated in the
Hand Tools Only Contest

DIY University Contest

Participated in the
DIY University Contest