DIY Faux Card Catalog Cabinet

published Jun 28, 2014
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(Image credit: Decor and the Dog)

Do you love the look of card catalog cabinets but hate how impractical the storage is? So did Michelle and her husband Nate of the blog Decor and the Dog (dog Ike pictured above!). So they designed a cabinet that would offer more storage flexibility but give the look of a faux card catalog cabinet. And they’ve shared the instructions on how to make your own!

(Image credit: Decor and the Dog)

What you need


  • Wood (We used Pine for the bigger boards, Aspen for 6″) 2 – 8″ x 24″ x 1″ (One will not be cut)
  • 96″ x 16″ x 1″
  • 48″ x 16″ x 1″
  • 48″ x 12″ x 1″
  • 48″ x 6″ x 1/2″ – 4
  • Legs (We used the Two Sided Taper legs from Osborne Wood Products, Inc.)
  • Card Catalog Hardware (We used the Antique Copper Cabinet Label Holders from D. Lawless Hardware)
  • Cut tacks – to attach hardware
  • Flush mount cabinet hinges – 3
  • 1 1/4″ Pocket Hole screws (We use Kreg products.)
  • 2″ Screws
  • Wood Glue
  • 1″ staples for air gun
  • Stain or paint (We used Minwax Early American stain)
  • Polyurethane

Project cost: About $250 Total time: 5 hours

(Image credit: Decor and the Dog)

1. Start by using pocket hole screws and wood glue to attach the top and bottom to the sides. In order to best hide the pocket hole screws, place the pocket holes on the underside of the top of the cabinet and on the bottom of the cabinet. (You could also use pocket hole plugs but we find that the holes are well hidden on the underside.)

(Image credit: Decor and the Dog)

2. Route all edges of the 48 “drawer” fronts with a small round over bit. You could also try to sand the edges round but the router will be much faster. (Thanks to Nate’s dad for assisting us in this step. He volunteered. We let him.) Sand all edges of the “drawer” fronts.

3. At this point, we stained and poly’d the box, fronts, door and legs separately. We thought it would be easier to do them before assembling beings there are a lot of crevices.
(Image credit: Decor and the Dog)

4. Once everything is dry, it is time to attach the fronts to the door. It is going to be best to dry fit the pieces. After dry fitting it was determined that 1/2″ from all edges would work for a starting point, with approximately 1/8″ gaps between each front. Yours may vary as our board was not quite exact 48″ tall. We made a mark for each distance at the upper left, bottom left, and bottom right, using these marks, some scrap wood that is straight and clamps we created the desired border.

5. Place the drawer front snug against the frame you just created. You will now need to create a template to separate the drawer fronts. We were lucky enough to have a strip of wood that was 1/8″ wide. We cut two pieces from this that were slightly smaller than the length and width of the fronts. If you are not lucky enough to have a random piece of wood with the perfect measurements, something like a paint stick would be close.

(Image credit: Decor and the Dog)

6. Use wood glue and 1″ staples in a brad nailer attach the drawer fronts to the front of the cabinet. Place the staple in a location that will be covered by your hardware.

7. Now it is time to attach the cabinet hardware. We created a template using a scrap piece of wood. Each hole is 1 5/8″ up from the bottom and the holes are 1 5/8″ and 3 13/16″ from the left. Place the two strips of wood to create “rails”. Place the template against the “rails”. Lightly drive a nail (or mark with a pencil) the location of each hole. Attach the hardware to each front using the marks from the template. We attached our hardware with cut tacks purchased at Lowe’s.

Attach shelves using pocket hole screws. Our shelves are located 10″ and 20″ from the top.

(Image credit: Decor and the Dog)

8. Attach the legs to the bottom of the cabinet. We used wood glue and 2″ screws from the bottom of the cabinet and attached from the inside of the cabinet. You could probably attach the legs with a different method but this was easy and we don’t notice the screws in the bottom.

Thanks so much Michelle! For a lot more detailed instructions, more photos and to ask questions, visit Decor and the Dog’s full tutorial.

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