Build a cottage-style TV cabinet

Townhouses require smaller furniture – something we took into account when building this new TV cabinet to complement our existing décor.


By Roelof Strydom


• One 2 750 x 1 830 x 16mm sheet of medium-density fibreboard (MDF)

•  Two 3 000 x 140 x 36mm pine rafters

•  Half a sheet of 3.2mm Masonite

• Wood glue

• Nails for nail gun

• Woodoc Gel Stain

• Woodoc 5

• Six antique hinges

• Three door knobs

• Paint of your choice

• 6m of 19 x 19mm decorative pine moulding (L piece)


•  Drill and 2.5mm drill bit

•  Countersinking bit

• Square

• Tape measure

• Chalk line

• Pneumatic nail gun

•  Sander

• Jigsaw

• Mitre saw

• Hole saw

• Circular saw

• Router

Cutting list

Cut from 16mm MDF:

• Two 400 x 364mm (A pieces) – vertical shelf dividers

• Three 1 168 x 400mm (B pieces) – horizontal shelves

• Two 400 x 380mm (C pieces) – sides

•  Two 1 232 x 50mm (D pieces) – skirting

• Two 400 x 50mm (E pieces) – skirting

• One 1 293 x 493mm (F piece) – bottom

• Two 1 293 x 84mm (G pieces) – decorative feet

• Two 461 x 84mm (H pieces) – decorative feet

• Two 298 x 296mm (I pieces) – doors


Cut from 22mm laminated pine:

• One 530 x 130mm (J piece) – centre door


Cut from 3mm Masonite:

• One 1 200 x 330mm (K piece) – back

Project guide

Difficulty: Intermediate

Cost: ±R1 200

Time: Two weekends

Step-by-step guide

Step 1: On two of the 1 168 x 400mm (A pieces), measure 300mm, 16mm, 536mm, 16mm and
300mm on the 1 168mm sides. At the 16mm segments, measure 234mm upwards on the
400mm sides. Refer to figure A for clarity.


Step 2: The two 400 x 364mm (B pieces) are used as the shelves’ vertical dividers. On both of the
364mm sides, measure 141mm, 16mm, 141mm, 16mm and 50mm. Refer to figure B for an
illustration of this. Next, on the 400mm sides, measure 166mm upwards at the two 16mm segments.


Step 3: Cut out the two 16 x 166mm slots as indicated on each of the 400 x 364mm (B pieces),
as well as the 16 x 234mm slots on each of the 1 168 x 400mm pieces (A pieces). To make the cuts,
you can use a jigsaw or a router (with a 16mm straight bit) – the latter will result in a cleaner,
more accurate cut.


Step 4: On one of the 1 168 x 400mm (A pieces), cut back the two outer 300mm sections by
16mm to accommodate the doors (see figure C).


Step 5: The two 400 x 364mm (B pieces) can now slot into the two 1 168 x 400mm pieces. The pieces may require a light tap with a rubber mallet to ensure a snug fit (see figure D).


Step 6: The third 1 168 x 400mm (A pieces) goes at the top. Make sure this piece lines up with the sides of the two already in place before you screw it onto the top of the two vertical dividers.


Step 7: Secure the two 400 x 380mm (C pieces) to the sides of the shelf structure. Make sure these two pieces are flush with the top piece you secured in place in step 6. Once in place, the two sides will protrude 50mm beyond the bottom shelf.


Step 8: Secure the two 1 232 x 50mm (D pieces) onto the shelf structure. One goes at the back and one at the front of the shelf structure and sits on the vertical shelf edges that protrude at one end of the shelf (see photo 4). These two pieces need to protrude 16mm beyond the sides lengthwise to allow the 400 x 50mm (E pieces) to fit in-between 1 232 x 50mm (D pieces) already fitted.


Step 9: With the skirtings in place flip the shelf structure upside down, skirtings facing upwards, and place the 1 293 x 493mm (F piece) onto it. This will be the cabinet’s bottom. Make sure the shelf structure is centred on the bottom by measuring the overhang on each side – it should be about 30mm all round. To secure the bottom onto the structure, screw it into the 50mm skirtings from step 8.


Step 10: The 1 200 x 300mm (K piece) of Masonite fits perfectly onto the back. Secure it to the structure with screws as well. To allow cables to be fed into the cabinet, drill a 50mm hole with a hole saw in the top centre of the cabinet (See photo 7).


Step 11: I drew a pattern onto the 1 293 x 84mm (G pieces) and 461 x 84mm (H pieces), and cut it out with a jigsaw. This was quite a tricky because I had to match one side with the other. To make the task of drawing the curves a bit easier, I bought a French curve from my local stationery shop.


Step 12: Once the feet were cut out, I screwed them onto the bottom piece of the structure (see photo 9).


Step 13: I added some decorative detail to the cabinet in the form of 19 x 19mm (L piece) pine moulding. I first cut the moulding to length, then mitred each end to 45˚ and finally glued and nailed them in place. I used a Makita pneumatic nail gun for this – it’s extremely easy to use and definitely makes a potentially difficult job simple.


Step 14: With most of the cabinet constructed, I moved on to filling all the screw holes with wood filler. Once dry, I sanded away the excess wood filler with an orbital sander, leaving a smooth finish.


Step 15: To add to the cottage feel, I routed three evenly spaced V-grooves vertically into the two doors.


Step 16: I spray-painted the entire cabinet white. Spray-painting is a lot faster and easier than painting with a brush or roller, but if you don’t have a compressor and spray gun handy, painting the cabinet by brush or roller will still yield the same result. To give the cabinet an old cottage feel, I also rubbed antique stain onto the entire cabinet. The finished result was an off-white cabinet that looked like it has been in use for years.


Step 17: For the cabinet top, I cut the pine rafters into four 1 280mm lengths. This means the cabinet top will have an overhang of 40mm on each side, as the cabinet is 1 200mm long. To stay consistent, the cabinet top then had to be 80mm (40mm on each side) wider than the cabinet as well. The cabinet is 400mm wide, therefore the total width of the top has to be 480mm – it did mean I had to cut one of the pine rafter lengths much smaller. To mount the top pieces onto the cabinet, I simply screwed them from the top into the cabinet.


Step 18: I stained the centre cabinet door 530 x 130 x 22mm (J piece) of laminated pine and the top with Woodoc Gel Stain Imbuia after which I sealed it with three coats of Woodoc 5 Matt Sealer. Once the first coat has dried, I lightly sanded it with steel wool. To the first-time user, sanding the sealer with steel wool after the first coat had dried might seem a bit strange, but it actually leaves behind an extremely smooth surface. After three coats, the cabinet top is smooth and properly sealed.


Step 19: The last step in this TV cabinet’s construction was hanging the doors, and I once again continued with the theme by using antique hinges, and putting on the door knobs.

Figure A: The measurements for the slot cut-outs on the horizontal shelves

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Figure B: The measurements for the slot cut-outs on the vertical dividers

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Figure C: The left and right sections of the middle shelf were cut 16mm shorter to accommodate the doors

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Figure D: Here you can see the 50mm sections protruding beyond the bottom shelf

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1: Place the remaining 1 168 x 400mm piece on top of the cabinet structure and clamp it in place

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2: Secure the top shelf to the structure with screws

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3: Screw the two 400 x 380mm pieces to the sides of the cabinet. Make sure they are flush at the top and protrude 50mm beyond the bottom shelf

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4: The 1 232 x 50mm and 400 x 50mm pieces go around the bottom of the cabinet and are screwed onto the 50mm section that protrudes beyond the bottom shelf

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5: Flip the cabinet structure upside down, centre the 1 293 x 493mm piece onto it and screw it in place

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6: Fit the piece of Masonite to the back of the cabinet

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7: With a hole saw, drill a hole in the top middle section of the Masonite back to allow cables to be fed into the cabinet

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8: I cut out a decorative pattern in the 1 293 x 84mm and 461 x 84mm pieces…

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9: …and then secured these decorative feet to the bottom of the cabinet

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10: The 19 x 19mm pine moulding

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11: Fill the screw holes with wood filler

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12: Using a router, I routed a profile around the top

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13: Woodoc Gel Stain Imbula was used to stain the centre door and the top

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14: The top and centre door was then sealed with Woodoc 5

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15: Hanging the doors. Here you can see the V-grooves routed into the doors as well as the profile on the top

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