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How to make a MDF cube (6 sided, fully enclosed)? Answered

I have scrap pieces of 5/8 MDF that I want to make 10inx10in decorative cubes (6-sided) with. I don't have any tools, so I will have to take them to a hardware store to have them cut, which they charge $1-2/cut usually. I need 7 or 8 cubes. I am thinking that a butt-joint is the easiest option for me, as I can easily glue & brad-nail...
Since woodworking is not my forte I am feeling really stupid trying to figure out the measurements of the cuts I need. I do understand that 4 sides should be cut to 10in, but what about the other 2 (top/bottom)?  PLEASE help!!! :)

I'd like to use the MDF I have as I've already purchased it, but if there is a different material that would be better suited to this project please feel free to comment. I am planning on painting them & displaying them in my home, so it will have to have a smooth finish.




7 years ago

Hi everyone,
Thanks soooo much for all your responses, I really appreciate it!
These are decorative cubes, in which all sides serve a purpose. Hence why I need the top and bottom.

Unfortunately, I have now decided to not go with the 5/8 MDF I have (sorry!). I picked up a few pieces together and thought that it may be too heavy, as I plan on putting all 7 or 8 of them on top of my kitchen cabinets...

I was thinking 1/4 MDF might be best. Home Depot & Rona don`t always charge for cuts when I buy a full sheet,.. So maybe, just maybe they won`t charge me this time! :)

...rickharris: do you want to be my friend? (lol!)

OK use the same building arrangement and make the smaller dimension 10 inches less 2 x 1.4 inch so the measurements should be 10 inches x 9.5 inches to give a cube with an external size of 10 inches.

OR alternatively you can make 4 sides 9.75 x 10 and the top and bottom 9.5 x 9.5 and use this building arrangement. personally I like this way because you can finish the edges to meet so you don't need to be so precise.


To make these:

1. A hand saw will cost you less than all the cuts required.

2. Find or make a friend who has the tools.

3. You need to following measurements as shown on the drawing: Note 2 sides are shorter because they fit in between the 10 x 10 sides, 2 sides are shorter on all sides because they fit in the top and bottom.

4. Glue with wood glue and pin with some very thin nails or hold with tape until the glue dries.

5. Make SURE all the angles are 90 deg and the sides straight or you will have gaps.


7 years ago

Why bother with a bottom ?
On all but a few.


+1. If you leave one side open, it can serve as storage bin or cubby or shelf, depending on which direction you rotate it and how high you stack it... and removing one side shouldn't make a huge difference in strength.

Depends how you want to make it, and the size of your stock.

You can have 2 10" squares for top and bottom,
2 10x(10-2*5/8) for front and back and
2 10-2*5/8 squared for the left and right side

To have all pieces uniform, you could cut all pieces as 10" squares with 45 degree angles beveled on their inner edges.

The simplest I can think would be 2 10" squares for top and bottom,
then 4 sides with 1 width subtracted on their length and 2 widths subtracted on their height (10-5/8 x 10-2*5/8) These sides would each butt up against another piece on one side, and have another piece butt up to it on the other.

MDF: PRE DRILL and COUNTERSINK all holes - use screws and glue.

+1 You, and Iceng, said essentially what I would have.