Custom Built-In Jewelry Cabinet

For a while now, my wife has had trouble finding a pair of earrings, or untangling a necklace from the boxes where she kept all her jewelry inside our master bathroom cabinet drawer.   So this year for Christmas, she asked me to build a jewelry cabinet for her bling.

This is what her jewelry/make-up drawer used to look like:

I had her think through what features she wanted the jewelry cabinet to have, and she came up with a great design… a few shelves for storing jewelry boxes, some racks for hanging earrings, some trays with dividers for keeping rings and stud earrings, some pegs for hanging necklaces, bracelets, and anklets, and a small mirror mounted to the inside of the cabinet door that could be used while putting her jewelry on, and also for seeing the back of her head with the mirror above our sinks (for checking her hair).

We had space on a wall to the side of our master bathroom and decided we could build it right into this wall to keep it out of the way.  I thought we could use the mirror we already had there on the outside of the cabinet door.

Here’s a before shot of our bathroom wall where the jewelry cabinet would go:

Framing the Rough Opening

I started by cutting a few holes in the middle of the wall where we wanted to put the jewelry cabinet using a drywall hand saw.  I wanted to inspect the inside of the wall to see if there was anything in the way of installing the cabinet there (i.e. pipes, wires, etc.).  Once I was able to see there was just a couple of studs in the way, I used a tape measure, level and pencil to mark the opening I wanted.

Then we cut out the sheetrock for the opening where the cabinet would go.  (It never ceases to amaze me how drywall dust gets everywhere).  My dog Gooch got a face full of it from watching the action.

Then I used a sawzall to cut the two studs in the way of the opening.  (This was a non-structural wall, so I could cut these out without worrying about installing a header over the opening).

Then I framed the rough opening with 2×4’s, using 3″ coarse screws for fasteners (framing nails would work too).

Building the Jewelry Cabinet

I happened to have a good-sized leftover piece of high-grade birch plywood out in my garage that I decided to use for the cabinet box, and cabinet door.  I cut out the pieces using a table saw and used a clean rag to apply the stain.

I bought some 1/4″ wood material I would use for the jewelry cabinet shelves and the bottom of the trays.

I laid the pieces for the back and sides of the cabinet box out on some saw horses and clamped them together so they wouldn’t move.  Then I marked and routered a 1/4″ mortise (groove) that I would use to glue the shelves and bottom pieces of the trays to the cabinet box.

I used a piece of wood and some clamps as a fence or guide for my router (to make the groove nice and straight).

Once I finished routering all the grooves, I cut the pieces for the shelves and dry-fitted everything to make sure the joints were all nice and tight.

Then I cut the pieces for the tray dividers.  I put a notch in the front and rear pieces with my router to receive the ends of these dividers.

Once I was comfortable everything was going to fit, I glued and clamped everything together.  I also used some finish nails to reinforce the joints between the back of the cabinet and the sides, top and bottom.

While the glue was drying, I made the earring racks.  I used a jigsaw to cut notches in the side 1/4″ x 1-1/2″ pieces where I would insert and glue the four 1/4″ x 1/2″ earring racks.

Then I drilled holes and glued in some wooden pegs for hanging necklaces, bracelets, and anklets.

I used 1×4 material to make the face frame of the cabinet.  I used a round-over bit with my router to round off the outside edge.  I glued and nailed it to the cabinet box with some 18-gauge brad nails. Then I used some colored wood putty to fill all the nail holes, and finished it off by spraying the whole thing with a clear urethane finish.

Home Depot had some decorative trim I used for the outside edge of the birch plywood jewelry cabinet door.  (I didn’t stain the door where the mirrors would go).

Then I attached the tall mirror we already had to the front of the jewelry cabinet door with construction adhesive and some brad nails through the mirror frame.  I attached the cabinet door to the cabinet face frame with some self-closing cabinet hinges.

Installing the Jewelry Cabinet

I installed the jewelry cabinet into the rough opening in the wall with some screws.

I drilled a hole and installed the cabinet door knob, and put a couple clear vinyl bumpers on the inside of the door.

Then I installed a 12″ x 12″ mirror on the inside of the door.  I made a frame for this mirror by ripping down some 1×4 material and rounding the outside edge.  I used a table saw to make a groove on the inside edges to hold the mirror.  I finished off the inside mirror frame with some decorative trim, and then lined the ring trays with some felt.

Here’s some after shots of the new jewelry cabinet in use:


Desiree was THRILLED to organize her jewelry in her new cabinet for Christmas. Here’s what she had to say about her gift: “I LOVE my new jewelry cabinet.  It meant a lot to me that Kurt made it himself, and spent so much time on it. It’s so beautiful and seems like something you would find in a very fancy home or palace! I feel like a princess with my jewelry laid out for me each day. No more searching for matches or wrestling with tangled necklaces. I love having all my jewelry organized and visible. Kurt’s going to have a hard time topping this present next year.”

DIY Material Cost Breakdown:

  • 4′ x 8′ x 3/4″ high-grade birch plywood for jewelry cabinet box and cabinet door $50
  • 1 x 4 select pine for face frame and interior mirror frame $20
  • poplar 1/4″ wood for shelves, trays, and earring rack $20
  • wooden pegs for hanging necklaces, bracelets, and anklets $3
  • decorative moldings for trays, perimeter edge of door, and interior mirror frame $20
  • tall mirror with frame $30
  • 12″ x 12″ interior cabinet door mirror $6
  • Gorilla Glue wood glue $5
  • Liquid Nails construction adhesive $4
  • 18-gauge brad nails $5
  • Minwax “Early American” stain $5
  • spray can of clear urethane $5
  • Minwax colored wood putty $3
  • self-closing satin nickel cabinet hinges $3
  • satin nickel knob for cabinet door $6
  • vinyl cabinet door bumpers $3
  • felt $1
TOTAL $189

8 Replies to Custom Built-In Jewelry Cabinet

  1. Daciana W says:

    Woah! I love it! We should have had you build that while you were visiting us!! I am definitely adding this to Mark’s to do list =) Love it!

  2. Alona says:

    Wow! I’m a fan – now don’t ever move! :)

  3. Susannah Warr says:

    That is amazing!! When we get a house someday, I want one!! Desiree is a lucky lady!

  4. Claudia Bushman says:

    Kurt you did a great job building this jewelry cabinet. Desirée did a great job designing it. I love it. What an awesome Christmas gift.

  5. Ben & Alicia says:

    Wow! Totally awesome Kurt. I’m going to start wearing jewelry simply so I can have a cabinet like this :) Great tutorial. Easy to follow and great pictures. You’re a pro!

  6. Suzie says:

    Ok Kurt now I want a dog house AND a cabinet for my jewlelry!! Wow the list is getting bigger!!!!

  7. Heidi says:

    Wow! That’s huge! She’s one lucky girl!

  8. kate benson says:

    So nice meeting you today… I pinned this, it’s incredible!!! I love the idea of using existing negative space for anything organizational. So cool.

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