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Make Opening Glass Front Upper Cabinets for a Dollhouse Kitchen
Add to your miniature scale kitchen with custom upper cabinets. You can make them with or without the opening 'glass' door shown here, using simple craft wood and clear sheet acrylic. You can also substitute the wooden door from the base cabinet for the "glass" door. Like the other cabinets in the kitchen series, they can be finished with a range of different style doors and paint schemes to suit your kitchen period and style.
The cabinets can easily be built by a beginner with... basic hand tools. In smaller scales, you can use book board or veneer tape as the base for the cabinets if you can't find wood in the correct thickness for your scale.Continue to 2 of 10 below.
02 of 10
List of Materials Used to Build the Upper Glass Front Cabinet
This cabinet is designed to match the upper plate rack cabinet for the dollhouse kitchen and uses the same materials and tools as the other cabinets in the series. It is designed to be a scale model of a standard 24-inch wide by 30-inch tall cabinet. You can easily adjust it to make it taller or a different width to suit your kitchen plan. If you are going to build a full kitchen, make sure you have enough wood to build and trim your full series of cabinets from the same materials.
The miniature... beadboard instructions are given separately, as you may choose to make a cabinet with a plain back, no back or a glass back to make a two-sided cabinet for a ceiling hung divider.
Basic Hand Tools Used to Make the Kitchen Cabinet Series
- Craft Knife for cutting wood to length.
- Pin Vise or Miniature Drill
- Sanding Block and Fine Sandpaper
- Metal Ruler and Marking Pencil
- Engineer's Square
- PVA or Wood Glue
- Razor Saw and Miter Box for cutting crown molding trim
- Acrylic Paint or other finish
Parts for the Basic Upper Cabinet
This cabinet is designed to set above a standard 2-inch wide base cabinet. It can also be built with double doors if you wish. The direction of the door should match any base cabinet placed below it.
Continue to 3 of 10 below.
- Sides - Cut two, one inch (2.5 cm)wide by 2 5/16 inches (6 cm) long, cut from 3/32 (2mm) thick stock.
- Top and Bottom - Cut from the same one inch (2.5 cm) stock to a length of 2 inches(5 cm)
- Back - cut one from 1/16 inch (2mm)stock. 1 13/16 inches (4.6 cm) wide by 2 5/16 inches (5.9 cm) tall.
- Shelf - Cut one, 1 13/16 inches (4.6cm) long. Width will depend on the thickness of your door once assembled.
- Door Trim - We used 1/16 inch thick stock 1/4 inch wide
- Clear Acrylic Sheet - We used 1/16 inch acrylic sheet (plexiglass) for the door, you can also use ridgid clear plastic from food packaging, although it may yellow or frost with age. The size of this piece will depend on your door trim. Our plastic was cut to 2 inches (5 cm) by 1 1/2 inches (4 cm).
03 of 10
Glue the Top and Sides On the Upper Kitchen Cabinet
The most important part of making this set of kitchen cabinets is to cut and glue them so they are square and true. Measure all your pieces carefully and use an engineer's square to square the cutting line with the machine edge of your finished wood.
Sand your cut ends only lightly and take care to sand the ends in a figure 8 motion so they are not rounded as you sand them.
Start to assemble your cabinet by gluing the top to the sides, taking care to brace the sides against a square object or... gluing jig until the glue has dried. Glue one side to the top, allow it to dry, then glue the other side to make sure the glue joints are square.
Tips for Finishing Your Cabinets - You can get a better final finish on your cabinets if you finish the interior sections before you glue in the back and the cabinet base. Finish your shelf and your door before you glue or hinge them into your cabinet. The cabinet exterior can easily be painted or stained when the cabinet is fully assembled.Continue to 4 of 10 below.
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Glue the Back Into the Upper Cabinet for the Dollhouse Kitchen
If you are fitting a back into your miniature kitchen cabinet, test fit the back into the interior of the cabinet without the bottom edge in place and make sure the back fits square and true.
Glue it into the cabinet, clamping or using a gluing jig to hold the top and sides securely against the back of the cabinet. Adding a back will make the cabinet a bit stronger than if you leave it open, but an open back will show a wallpaper design from a wall if you wish.Continue to 5 of 10 below.
05 of 10
Make a Frame for the Opening "Glass" Door
To make a frame for the glass door, you can use commercially available "U Channel" as was shown for the opening dollhouse window instructions. If you don't have "U Channel" available from your craft wood supplier, you can use the method shown here which will have the same effect.
Make the Door Frames
From your trim wood, cut two upper side bars and two cross bars for a door frame. These pieces should fit as closely as possible into your assembled cabinet carcass. For each door,... you will need to build an inner and an outer frame.
When the frames are glued together, check them to make sure they match when laid over each other, and that they fit correctly into the cabinet. If one is slightly out of square, adjust it before proceeding to the next step.Continue to 6 of 10 below.
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Build a Wooden Edge for the "Glass"
The clear acrylic sheet of a dollhouse kitchen door is held in place between the two frames by a surrounding strip of wood. The wood strip needs to be the same thickness as the clear acrylic you use.
As the edge does not need to be the same thickness as the frame on the front and back of the acrylic sheet, we cut the craft wood strips in half lengthwise. This still gives me enough wood to act as an anchor for my hinge pin. If you are using thin strips of packing plastic or very thin sheet... (document protector sleeves,etc.) you may not need to add an extra strip around your clear center.Continue to 7 of 10 below.
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Fit the Clear Acrylic Sheet into the Dollhouse Kitchen Cabinet Door
With the internal frame edge in place, fit your sheet acrylic into the center of the dollhouse door. When the acrylic fits correctly, remove the protective coating (if any) and glue the other half of the door frame over the wood on the edges of the acrylic, sandwiching the clear acrylic in the center of two wooden frames.
For Stained Glass - If you want to make cabinet doors with a stained glass look, or diamond glass panes, use the techniques for stained glass in miniature to lay out the lead... lines and color your acrylic sheet before you glue your wooden door frames together.
For leaded diamond panes, you can use a gel pen or a fine permanent marker to draw on lead lines in a diamond pattern. If you want a regular look to your leaded panes, use a simple paint or illustration program to draw a series of diamonds or diamond mesh and print them on inkjet decal sheets to make the diamond pattern.Continue to 8 of 10 below.
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Cut and Fit the Shelf Into The Dollhouse Upper Kitchen Cabinet
Once you know the thickness of your door, whether it is a clear or wooden door with trim, you can measure the depth of the inside of your cabinet, subtract the thickness of your door, and cut your shelf to the correct depth to fit behind your door with the door closed.
Glue the shelf into the cabinet so that it is level with any other shelves in adjoining cabinets unless you have particular items which must be stored on the shelves, then you will have to set the shelf to accommodate items you... want to showcase.Continue to 9 of 10 below.
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Drill Holes for Hinge Pins for a Dollhouse Kitchen Cabinet
To set the door into the dollhouse kitchen cabinet set the door flush with the front of the cabinet and use a thin plastic sheet to shim the door squarely in place. This semi-transparent patterned plastic would be a good candidate for a modern dollhouse kitchen door. Keep your eye out for gift wrap or commercial packaging with interesting sheer or transparent designs.
When the door is squarely placed in the cabinet, fit your mini drill or pin vice with a drill bit the diameter of the pin you will... use for a hinge, and drill a hole through the top corner of the cabinet into the wood trim on the side of your cabinet door. Do not drill into the area where the plastic sits unless you are using very thin sheet plastic. You want your hinge pin set into wood if possible.
Take care your drill is going straight into the door; otherwise, your hinge pin may stick out through the door frame. When your hole is drilled, fit a dressmakers pin, short jewelry headpin, or fine brad into the hole, gluing the top of the pin over the hole.Continue to 10 of 10 below.
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Test Fit and Trim a Run of Dollhouse Kitchen Cabinets
If you have finished all the kitchen cabinets in a series for your dollhouse or roombox wall, test fit the upper and lower cabinets to make sure they will line up properly, that the doors open the same direction, and that the run of cabinets fits into your space. If everything works, glue the base cabinet sides together, and glue them to a backing card if you wish to secure them further or have a pattern that shows in the cabinet interiors.
Once the base cabinets are joined together, cut and fit... a plinth to act as a support for your base cabinets. Plinths are usually set so they form a toe kick just in from the edge of the cabinets.
With the cabinet base run set, you can build a countertop to fit over your base cabinets. Use the instructions for the miniature pastry counter to build a basic countertop. You can finish your kitchen countertop with decoupaged designs, or with a faux granite finish or a faux marble finish if you wish.
Upper cabinets are glued together at the sides once they have been test-fitted to the kitchen setting. After they are glued into a single run, add cornice trim if you wish. The entire upper unit can then be glued to the wall or a sturdy card backing.