How to Make Furniture (wardrobe) Out of Melamine

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About: Part software developer, part maker.

I’ve built a new wardrobe for my bedroom out of melamine and it turned out great. I’m very pleased with the final result so if you want to build something similar for very cheap, than stick around.

Step 1: Prepare Your Model/plan

The space I’m building the wardrobe for had a lot of limitations that I had to work around so for better planning I made a model of it in SketchUp. You can find the file below but don’t expect much as this was made to help me identify all the right dimensions for the pieces I need. If you want to build something for yourself feel free to customize it.

http://www.tastethecode.com/downloads/Wardrobe.skp

Step 2: Gather Your Tools

Bellow are some links to some tools that you gonna need to attempt such a build:

Cordless Drill:
http://s.click.aliexpress.com/e/2s71UlS

Drill Bits Assortment:
https://www.banggood.com/Drillpro-25pcs-1-13mm-HS...

Drill Screwdriver Bits:
http://s.click.aliexpress.com/e/cXTOTSIy

Wood Screws
http://s.click.aliexpress.com/e/b4yV94p6

Utility Knife
http://s.click.aliexpress.com/e/cNjxxSdE

Step 3: Organize Your Material

Melamine is difficult to cut at home even if you have a table saw. I don’t own one so I had all of the boards pre cut at the store.

I’ve started by organizing all of the boards per size in my hallway and then proceeded to apply the edge trim. At my store there was the option for them to apply the edge trim on the melamine but it is always cheaper to do it at home. For any piece that will not have a lot of day to day usage applying it at home is good enough.

Step 4: Apply Edge Banding (optional)

First cut a piece that is slightly longer than the edge that you want to cover and place it on top of it. I was placing a paper towel on top of that to protect the plastic a bit from the old iron I had but if the bottom of your iron is clean than you can skip this.

The trick is to apply the heat evenly along the entire length of the edge with some pressure so the glue that is pre applied on the edge banding can melt and penetrate the open edge of the melamine.

Once the banding is applied, leave it for a few minutes so it can cool down and use a cutting knife to remove the excess. To trim the excess banding, there is a special tool you can buy but I don’t have one so the cutting knife worked perfectly. Just make sure to keep it close and parallel with the edge you are working on.

Step 5: Assemble the Boxes

The entire wardrobe is held in place with 3,5 x 50 mm screws. I’ve pre-drilled all of the pieces that receive a screw with a 3 mm drill bit to prevent any cracking along the edge. There is no need to make countersinks as the melamine is quite soft and the screw can pull in the perfect form to sit flush with the face of the board.

While assembly, make sure to use a flat surface to work on and there is no need of some fancy clamps to hold the pieces. If you have someone to help you then it will be a lot easier but I managed to build it mostly on my own.

Align the edges of the boards and pre fit the screws in the drilled holes by hand to make it easier to start them. Drive them with full force until they are either flat with the surface or slightly below.

Melamine is always cut at perfect 90 degrees from the store so as long as your edges align, you don’t need to worry for squareness as the screws will pull the pieces together.

For the larger pieces I laid them on my tile floor and repeated the same process for the screwing as before to complete all of the boxes.

When attaching a divider board, you will need to use a square to make sure that it is placed correctly.

Step 6: Add the Box Backing

The backing of all of the boxes and the bottoms of the drawers are made out of 3mm fiber board that is easy to attach with 3,5 x 16mm screws. Start by placing the box on it face on the floor and place the fiber board on top. Align the corners of the box with the fiber board and add a screw first to the corners and than on about every 20 to 25 cm. I used more screws on the drawers as they will have more strain than the backs.

Use can also use some brad nails to attach the fiber board but using screws allows you to more easily take it apart if needed in future.

Step 7: Attach the Legs/coasters

I wanted to be able to easily move the wardrobe for cleaning so I attached silicon coasters on the bottom instead of standing legs. For me this works since my bedroom floor is very flat and covered with laminate flooring. If you have carpets than you can attached some legs on the bottom. The procedure will be more or less the same.

Step 8: Install Drawers Hardware

To mount the drawers, I’ve used telescopic slides that I first attached to the holding box on the set drawer height. They are held in place with two screws and I made sure that they are all parallel to the bottom. This way all of the shelves will be parallel to each other.

The other part of the slide is attached at 5 mm from the bottom of the drawer with two screws also making sure that it is parallel with the bottom fiber board piece.

To put it in place, align the two slides and use some force. Once all of the slides are closed and in place and aligned properly they should open and close easily.

Step 9: Install Additional Shelves

Wherever I could, I used screws to hold all of the divider boards and for the rest of the shelves I’ve used some pegs to support them.

When I finished the boxes for all of the wardrobe elements, I’ve placed them on their final place so I can install the additional shelves, clothes hanging hardware and the doors.

To mount the shelves, I’ve marked the location for the mounting pegs and with a drill bit with a depth stop I made the holes. After adding the pegs, the shelf just slides on top of the pegs and is fully supported on both sides with a total of 4 mounting pegs.

Step 10: Attach the Doors

The hinges for the doors have a built in pneumatic cylinder that allows for a so called “soft close” feature. They require a hole in the melamine to be drilled with a drill press but since I don’t have one I had them made at the store.

To align them straight, I’ve used another door piece to push on all of the hinges at the same time so they can be in one straight line. To hold the hinges, I’ve used 2 of the 16mm screws.

When mounting the doors it’s best to have someone to help you to align the bottom edge. It needs to be flush with the bottom edge of the box and parallel to the outside piece of the box you are attaching it to. I’ve added two screws to each of the hinges and then aligned both of the doors straight with the alignment screws on the hinges.

Step 11: Install Drawers Faces and Handles

To make to holes for the drawer handles, I measured one of the handles and transferred the same dimensions to one of the drawers faces. I’ve pre drilled that piece and after confirming that it matched the handle I’ve used it as a template to drill all of the others.

To attached them, I first aligned it with some spacers to the drawers box and used temporary screws from the front through the handle holes. Once the piece was in place I’ve put two 30mm long screws from the inside side of the drawer to secure it.

After I mounted all of the faces I removed all of the temporary screws and drilled through the back piece. After that I mounted the handles with the appropriate screws.

For the doors, I’ve made a drilling template out of cardboard and with some clamps I hold it in place on the edge of the door. Again the handles were attached with the appropriate screws from inside.

Step 12: Apply Decorations

As a final step, since the wardrobe was looking plane, we’ve added some silicone wall decor stickers as a decoration. We went with a flowery scene for now but since they are easily removed we can change them to give the wardrobe a whole new look after a while.

Step 13: Enjoy Your New Furniture Piece

All in all, I’ve build the entire wardrobe in the course of five days working only in the afternoons after I came back from work. The most difficult part of the entire thing is the planning so I’m sure that anyone with some basic making skill can make this or similar piece of furniture.

Let me know down in the comments your thought of the build. I’ll be glad to help you out if you want to know something more about it. Also make sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel if you liked the video and give it a thumbs up.

https://www.youtube.com/tastethecode

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    4 Discussions

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    bhvm

    4 months ago

    Cool project. I thought Melamine was a sort of resin/Epoxy. What you have used looks like lanimated plywood.

    1 reply
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    None
    taste_the_codebhvm

    Reply 3 months ago

    It's basicly what's called a particle board and it is called Melamine because of the finish that is applied on top of it. It a sort of plastic laminate.