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I Built My Kitchen Island for Free (And You Can Do It Too!)

Advertiser Disclosure and PoliciesHave you ever thought about building your own kitchen island? Stop thinking about it and just do it! It’s not as hard as you think…

I have wanted a kitchen island for as long as I can remember. Our house in NY had this weird sort of peninsula thing that was more of a catch-all for everyone’s junk than a useful kitchen counter. When we moved to VT, I was determined to find a house with a island. Unfortunately, the house that we fell in love with and eventually bought, didn’t have one, either…but it does now!

This is what our very retro kitchen looked like when we first looked at our new house…No Island!

Over the last several months, I’ve spent countless hours perusing those “kitchen carts” in catalogs and days worth of time looking at kitchen islands on Pinterest. I’ve been begging my husband to make me an island, but he hasn’t had time or he doesn’t have the “right” materials. Blah Blah Blah. You know how it goes, it’s not significant, so therefore gets pushed to the back burner and forgotten about. So, instead…I built my own. With the help of Daughter #2.

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Like I told you the other day, I took the weekend off from the shop (and basically all other responsibility) and got caught up on some stuff around the house. Building our new kitchen island, was one of the things I did.

I woke up Saturday morning with a plan to do some canning, I just sort of decided that I wanted an island NOW and I was going to build it. I had no real plan…no materials…but, I had a hammer and a jigsaw!

Instead of heading to the lumberyard and buying fresh lumber to build my island, I went perusing through my husband’s wood stash and found just what I needed! He had a bunch of pine boards and some kind of hard wood that would make the perfect legs for my new kitchen island.

So, I doodled a sort of plan, of what I wanted the island to look like, on a scrap piece of paper. I measured the available space in the center of the kitchen, then the height of the regular counter.

Daughter #2 and I got to work putting the island together somewhere around 9:30 in the morning and we worked straight on through the day. We finally finished putting our new kitchen island together around 6:00 pm. All in all, it took us about 8.5 hours to make…not bad for a free island!

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DIY Kitchen Island 3

DIY Kitchen Island 2

Here’s how we did it…

Please keep in mind that I am NOT a carpenter by any means. I’m just a crazy women who thinks she can do anything. All measurements are non-technical…meaning I made them up…there was no pattern and is no pattern for this island. It’s just a simplified version of a DIY kitchen island for those of us that don’t, can’t or won’t follow a pattern. If you screw it up, you’re on your own, my friend…but, be sure to have fun while you’re doing it!

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DIY Kitchen Island

Supplies Needed:

  • Ruler/tape measure
  • Wood
  • Saw (I used a jigsaw)
  • Finishing nails
  • Hammer

Step One: Determine the size available for your kitchen island.

Based on the amount of available space we have, I decided to make our island 26″ wide x 50″ long x 38″ high. That still leaves us plenty of space to walk around the island, as well as, open the dishwasher and refrigerator doors.

Step Two: Measure and cut your wood to the sizes you need.

These are the measurements I used to build my kitchen island:

  • 4 – Short Side Pieces: 24 inches
  • 4 – Long Side Pieces: 48 inches
  • 4 – Leg Pieces: 38 inches
  • 2 – Center Supports: 23 3/8 inches
  • 1 – Bottom Shelf Top: 24 inches x 48 inches
  • 1 – Island Top: 26 inches x 50 inches

Step Three: Build the shelves.

Create 2 rectangles for the shelves, using 2 short side pieces and 2 long side pieces for each. Use finishing nails to secure the shelves together.

Step Four: Support the shelves

Place 2 center support in the center, along the top edge, of each shelf. Use finishing nails to secure the support beam to the shelf sides.

Step Five: Top the Shelves

Place the bottom shelf top on top of one of the shelves you built in step 3. Arrange the top so that it is even with the shelf rectangle. Use finishing nails to secure the top to the sides of the shelf.

Repeat with the island top and the second shelf rectangle.

Step Six: Attach the legs to each corner of the bottom shelf and secure.

Lay the bottom shelf on it’s side. Use finishing nails to attach the bottom of the legs to the far left and right of the shelf. I placed my legs 3 inches off the ground from the bottom of the shelf. Repeat until each leg is secured to the bottom shelf.

Step Seven: Attach the top of your new kitchen island!

Slide the top shelf of your island inside the edge of the legs, so that the legs show on the outside of your island. The top should sit directly over the legs. Secure the legs to the shelf sides of the island top.

That’s it! You did it! You built your very own kitchen island…be proud, my friend!

DIY Kitchen Island 5

I hope you enjoyed learning how to make your own kitchen island.

Have a Spectacular Day!