Learn how to build a DIY tall bar cabinet with storage – drawer, wine rack, and wine glass holder with this step-by-step tutorial and detailed plans. It is perfect for small spaces.
There’s a corner in our little dining room that has been asking for a cabinet. We decided it needed to be a bar cabinet.
This DIY bar cabinet has:
- A small liquor cabinet at the bottom (you could also build this to accommodate a mini fridge if you wanted)
- A “marble” countertop – wipeable and a great spot to mix drinks.
- Wine storage rack – it can store 15 bottles of wine.
- Wine glass storage – I added storage for 6 wine glasses but it can be expanded across the width to add lots more wine glasses.
What type of lumber to use for the bar cabinet?
This bar cabinet uses mostly plywood with some dimensional boards for the door and drawer.
I decided to use walnut veneer plywood and walnut boards for the project because I am completely smitten by the richness of walnut and it would look perfect in my dining room.
Other options for the plywood are – birch and pine or oak plywood and oak boards. You can find all of these at your local home improvement store or at a lumber yard.
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- Lumber per the plans
- Kreg Jig. I used the Kreg 720. See which Kreg Jig is right for you.
- Kreg QuickFlip
- Kreg Shelf Pin Jig
- Kreg Hinge Jig
- Kreg Rip-Cut
- Edge banding to match the plywood. I used this walnut edge banding.
- 1 ¼″ pocket hole screws
- 2 ½″ pocket hole screws
- Wood Glue
- Glass/plexiglass for door
- 14″ drawer slide. I used this push-to-open drawer slide
- Shelf pins
- Push-to-open door latch
- Door hinges
- Rabbeting bit
- Glass clips
- Stain or paint in the color of your choice.
- Kreg ACS (optional)
- Circular saw
- Table saw (optional)
- Miter Saw
Here is a full video tutorial of the project build. As always, I have the full written step-by-step tutorial for you below.
How to build
Step 1: Make the cuts and edge band
Make the cuts per the plans.
- I used the Kreg ACS to cut down the large sheets of plywood to manageable sizes.
- I used the Kreg RipCut to make the smaller repeated cuts.
- I used my miter saw to cut up the 2×2 boards.
I like the RipCut because it makes it super quick and easy for me to get reproducible cuts with my circular saw.
- Apply edge-banding to the edges that will be visible. This was the front edges of the top, bottom, and shelves and the three sides of the side pieces.
See more about how to cover plywood edges with edge banding here
Step 2: Make the “marble” (optional)
This step is definitely optional. You could simply use a finished piece of plywood as your counter.
I wanted to take things up a notch and make it easy to wipe and clean any spills.
You want to do this as soon as you can because the epoxy needs at least 72 hours to cure well.
I used epoxy to make the marble. I have the full tutorial for the marbling coming soon.
Another option for the marble is to use peel-and-stick contact paper.
Step 3: Make the pocket holes
- Make the pocket holes on all the boards as shown in the plans.
I used the Kreg 720 but you can use any pocket hole jig you like. The drill bit collar setting and the jig height setting are for ¾″ material for pocket holes in plywood.
See how to use the Kreg 720 here.
The settings are for 1 ½″ material for pocket holes in 2×2 boards.
For the pocket holes in the back of the “marble” board, I didn’t want to clamp it into the Kreg720 in case the epoxy gets scratched or dented since it was still pretty new.
I decided to use the Kreg 320 so I could use a soft cloth under the marble and clamp it.
See how to use the Kreg 320 here.
Step 4: Build the Structure
- Build the main structure of the cabinet by attaching the sides to the shelves with 1 ¼″ pocket hole screws and wood glue.
There are two key things to pay attention to:
- The spacing between the shelves should be accurate
- All the joints should be square ie., at perfect right angles. Be sure to use lots of clamps to make sure of this.
See more about how to check and correct for square.
- This is a great time to also make the shelf pin holes on the bottom part of the cabinet using the Kreg Shelf Pin Jig.
Step 5: Build the Drawer
There are many ways to build a drawer. I built the drawer using an inset base design. The main steps to build it are:
- Make a groove on the inside of the drawer pieces using a table saw.
- Build the three sides of the drawer using pocket hole screws and wood glue.
- Slide in the base
- Attach the fourth side with pocket hole screws.
See more details about how to build drawers here.
Be sure to measure and ensure that the drawer is square.
- Install the drawer inside the cabinet using drawer slides. I used push-to-open drawer slides as I will not be adding any hardware to the cabinet.
- Install the drawer front. I used a combination of wood glue and hot glue to hold the drawer front in place as I added countersunk screws from the inside using the Kreg Quick Flip.
Step 6: Build the Wine Rack
The wine rack is an interlocking structure of plywood. The key to making this is to measure and mark the cuts accurately.
- Each cut is the thickness of the plywood
- The cut goes to exactly halfway on the sheet of plywood.
- Use a jigsaw to cut out the slots. It is key to make straight cuts and take the kerf of the blade into account. I would recommend using a straight-edge guide to help if your hand isn’t steady with the jigsaw.
- Apply edge banding to all the exposed edges of the plywood.
Step 7: Build the door
The door is built from 1×3 boards.
I wanted to use walnut so I bought a large board of walnut and ripped it down myself.
I decided to use dowel joinery for the door since I didn’t want the pocket holes to be visible.
- To make the dowel holes, I used the Kreg drill guide which clips onto the board for easy precise drilling.
- Add wood glue and ⅜″ dowels and assemble the frame.
- Clamp and let dry overnight.
- Make the holes for the door hinge using a concealed hinge jig and install the door.
- I used a push-to-open latch on the door cabinet too.
- Sand and finish the door with the stain or paint of your choice. I used boiled linseed oil for the walnut.
For the door front, I decided to use glass but you can also use plexiglass. I found the gorgeous cross-reed glass at the local glass shop and had them cut it down to size.
- Make a rabbet all around the frame for the glass to sit it. I made the glass ½″ wider on all sides and made a rabbet accordingly. You will have to cut out the corners square using a chisel.
- Add clips to hold the glass in place.
That is the door.
You can install it now but I decided to keep it aside until everything else was built and the cabinet was in place.
Step 8: Build the wine glass holder
The wine glass holder is built with 1″ dowels and ¼″ hobby board. I was able to rip out the dowels from the walnut board for the door frame.
- Cut the 1″ dowel and the hobby boards to the required lengths.
- Define the spacing between each of the dowels and hobby boards. It is best to use your wine glasses for this. I found that the 3 ½″ spacing worked well. Our wine glasses are pretty standard size.
- Glue and attach the hobby board to the dowel with wood glue. I clamped them and left them overnight.
- This is a good time to apply finish to the pieces.
- Attach the wine glass holders under the cabinet shelf using wood glue and countersunk screws through the dowels.
Step 9: Build the base
The base is straightforward and is built with 2×2 boards.
- Attach the boards using 2 ½″ pocket hole screws and wood glue.
The Kreg right-angle pocket screw drive comes in really handy to reach into the tight space and add pocket hole screws.
Step 10: Finishing touches
- Add the ¼″ back to the bottom cabinet.
- Give the entire structure and the parts a quick pass for finishing sanding with 220 grit sandpaper.
- Stain or paint in the color of your choice.
For the walnut, I used boiled linseed oil and for the stand, I used ebony stain followed by a satin top coat.
That is it!
I am so excited with how this turned out – especially the glass door – it was the part of the project I was the most nervous about.
I am also in love with the glass I found for the cabinet. It is called a cross-reed pattern. As soon as I saw it at the glass shop, I knew I needed to use that.
It has SO must storage space – we definitely need to buy more wine to fill it up 🙂
The epoxy marble counter also worked out perfectly and is exactly what I had in mind.
Related: How to Make Faux Marble Countertop with Epoxy
The top is a little heavy so I highly recommend adding anti-tip hardware.
Here it is all put together.
Plans for the bar cabinet
You can get the step-by-step plans and dimensions for the bar cabinet here.
If you build it, I would love to see it! Feel free to email photos to me at [email protected] or tag me on Instagram @anikasdiylife for a chance to be featured on social media! I can’t wait to see what you build!
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