This instructable describes a jewelry armoire/cabinet I made for my wife. It has 12 drawers (7 small, 5 large) with felt lined compartments, ring rolls, and 2 side doors with hooks for 36 necklaces. The final dimensions are 43" tall, 18" wide, and 12" deep.
I had a lot of fun making this armoire and learned several things along the way. I loved being able to customize the pieces instead of picking between the narrow selection of armoires offered in the stores. And my wife loved it!
One important thing before we begin - this is not an easy or quick project. I estimate that the project cost approximately $250-300 (you will have some leftover materials though) and about 80-100 hours of work. That being said, if you're still interested, let's begin!
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Step 1: Materials
This project requires a lot of lumber. You can use whatever wood you like, but keep in mind that you'll be using a lot of it so it may get expensive. All of the board cuts are shown in the images below for your reference. I used pine and stained it (Fruitwood) and I think it looks great. Velvet lining is the other major expense, but depending on the quality you desire you can get some pretty cheap from Joann's.
Lumber (board feet):
- 1.5" x 1/4" = 20'
- 1.5" x 3/4" = 28'
- 2.5" x 3/4" = 65'
- 3.5" x 3/4" = 11'
- 4.5" x 3/4" = 23'
- 5.75" x 3/4" = 2'
- 4' x 6' of 1/2" plywood
- (3) 2' x 2' 1/4" plywood sheets
- Stain (I recommend gunstock or fruitwood for a lighter color)
- Stain conditioner (to prevent blotching of stain in pine wood)
- 12 drawer knobs
- 2 door handles
- 48 necklace hooks
- ~2 square yards of velvet fabric
- Fabric glue
- Wood glue
- 1.5" screws
- #20 biscuits or dowels
- Foam pad (for ring rolls)
- Mirror (for top lid, optional)
- 6 hinges
- Sand paper - 80, 120, and 300 grit
- Table Saw
- Miter Saw (with protractor to check angles)
- Biscuit joiner (optional, but preferred)
Step 2: Section 1 - Interior Wall Assembly, Side Walls
The images below show the boards required for Section 1 and how they come together. Take your time when cutting the 45 degree miters to avoid any gaps. Keep in mind that in this step you are making 2 identical panels.
- Make all of the cuts shown in the first image below
- Cut the boards to length at a 45 degree angle
- Using a table saw, cut a 1/2" square notch on the short side of each board for the plywood to sit
- Using biscuits or dowels, glue the A & B boards together
- Insert the 1/2" plywood sheet (D) into each panel
- The drawer guides may be made by either ripping 1.5" stock in half or using the waste boards from the drawers in Section 4 (see step 6)
- Attach the drawer guides (C) to each panel with 1.5" screws to secure the plywood, using the guidelines in the final image below. Make sure to make the panels mirror images of one another (make the drawer guides flush with the left side of one panel and the right side of the other panel)
Step 3: Section 1 - Interior Assembly, Back Wall
- Make the cuts shown below in the first image
- Make a 1/2" square notch in piece E using a table saw for the plywood panel to fit in
- Secure both E pieces and F together with 0.5" screws
- Secure the side panels to the back panel with 1.5" screws (or biscuits if you prefer to hide the joinery)
- Make sure the back panel is attached such that it is sunk 1/4" from the exterior
- Secure the plywood panel (H) to the top drawer guides using 1/2" screws
- Secure the fake drawer face (piece G) to the top of the interior assembly using biscuits or dowels
Step 4: Section 2 - Side Doors
- Cut the boards shown below, with 45 degree cuts on the ends of the I and J boards
- Also use a table saw to cut a 1/2" square slot 1/4" from the side of the I and J boards
- Assemble and glue the pieces for the doors (J, L, and K). You may also use dowels or 00 biscuits to add strength to your joinery.
- Assemble the necklace holders by fastening 2xM pieces to a single L piece using 1.5" screws
- Fasten the assembled necklace holders to the door using 1.5" screws to make the door stronger
- The bottom L/M assembly on each door is inverted to make a pocket to catch necklaces
- You should also predrill holes for your necklace hooks at this point. I installed 6 hooks on each holder, 1" apart.
- Once the glue dries, secure the doors to the interior section using hinges. I've found that the best way to do this is to turn everything on its side.
Step 5: Section 3 - Top and Bottom Lids
- Cut all of the boards shown in the first image below, with 45 degree cuts on pieces N and O
- For piece P (5 3/4" wide), you will have to rip a piece of wider stock (7.5" or wider)
- Secure all of the pieces together with biscuits or dowels and plenty of glue
- Turn the entire armoire upside down and secure the bottom panel - make sure that the interior is square and the bottom panel is flush with the back of the armoire, then secure the bottom panel to the interior section with 1.5" screws. You may want to remove the doors to make this step easier.
- Use your 2 remaining hinges to attach the top panel/lid to the armoire. If you will be installing a mirror in the top lid, be sure to adjust the hinges for the extra width of the mirror. For example, if your mirror is 1/8" thick, shift your hinges up 1/8".
Step 6: Section 4 - Drawers
- Begin by ripping the 2.5" boards with a table saw. The waste boards can be used for the drawer guides in Step 2.
- Make a 1/4" square slot in the Q, R, V, and W pieces with a table saw for the plywood bottom to slide in
- Secure the drawer slides together with 1.5" screws + glue (1 screw for small drawers, 2 screws for large drawers)
- Slide the 1/4" plywood bottom into the drawer sides, then secure the 1/2" plywood pre-faces using 1.5" screws + glue
- Attach the drawer faces using 1" screws - make sure the bottom of the drawer face is flush with the bottom of the rest of the drawer.
- Drill holes in the center of each drawer for the knobs. Drill holes which are slightly larger than the bolts for your knobs, such that the bolts slip through easily.
- Test fit the drawers in the armoire and make any last-minute adjustments as necessary
- Cut the divider boards to length and rip them to the proper width
- Cut 1/4" slots that go halfway up each board
- Test fit the dividers together and in their drawers to make sure they fit. No glue is necessary
Step 7: Sanding and Staining
Now we will start finishing the armoire, which took a lot more time than I thought it would. Some basic instructions with tips are listed below:
- Disassemble as much of the armoire as possible to make the finishing steps easier.
- Use 80 grit sand paper to smooth out any major defects. I also like to round off the edges of my boards at this point to give them a "softer" feel
- Next, use 120-150 grit sandpaper to smooth each surface. You don't have to sand the interior sections which won't be visible or the surfaces which will be covered with velvet
- If you are planning on staining pine wood, it is absolutely essential to prepare the wood with a stain conditioner. Apply a generous coat of conditioner to a board and immediately wipe it off with a rag. The conditioner fills the large pores in pine wood, providing a more even stain later on. Be sure to remove the conditioner quickly, however, or the stain will not soak in at all. As in step 2, this conditioning is not necessary for hidden or velvet-covered surfaces.
- Apply the stain of your choice with a foam brush. I prefer the mildly brown gunstock (reddish) or fruitwood (no red) stains.
- Lightly sand all of the pieces with 300 grit sand paper to smooth out the grain that raised during staining.
- Apply a coat of varnish
- Sand one more time with 300 grit sand paper
Step 8: Lining the Interior With Velvet
No matter how you choose to line the velvet, the following tips apply:
- Use fabric scissors! They cut velvet so much better than normal scissors!
- Secure the velvet with a thin yet generous layer of Fabri-tac fabric glue. This glue dries quickly, so work fast.
- Try not to use too much glue, since excess glue will bleed through and stain the velvet.
- Measure the compartment which you plan to make ring rolls for and cut a 6" long strip of 1/4" foam padding
- Roll the foam padding up into a roll and secure it with hot glue
- Wrap the roll in velvet and secure with fabric glue
- Slide individual ring rolls into place to test their fit - no glue is necessary if they fit snugly
Step 9: Finishing Touches - Mirror, Knobs, Handles, and Hooks
- Install the knobs into the holes in each drawer. If the knobs look askew, you can always drill a slightly larger hole to even them out.
- Install the handles on each door. Make sure that you don't run into the necklace holders on the interior! I installed my handles about 5" down from the top of each door.
- Poke through the velvet with a medium gauge needle to find the predrilled necklace hook holes. Screw in the necklace hooks by hand, keeping a finger on the surrounding fabric to keep it from moving.
- You will also want to install some kind of catch to keep the side dorrs in place. I used a double roller catch to hold my doors in place (see image below). I only installed one catch near the top of each door.
- Optional - install a mirror in the top lid. I used epoxy to secure the mirror. Keep in mind that if you use a large mirror it will touch the tops of the doors. A small mirror will simply fit into the empty space of the top fake drawer.
- I also installed small clear rubber "bumpers" on the underside of the top lid to keep the large mirror I installed from rubbing on the armoire.
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