Make Your Own Roll-Away Kitchen Island
Step-by-step directions from Pat Simpson and Jodi Marks for building
a moveable kitchen island.
Got island living on your mind? There are all sorts of island options
available these days. If you're in the market for a DIY version that can
roll, this project is for you.
- Put on a dust mask and safety glasses and cut (see
image 2) the plywood pieces using a table saw. Cut the pieces
for the top, bottom and sides. These pieces will form the frame of
the unit. Cut the wood with the finished side up to help prevent
- Make the initial rip cuts with the table saw, then use a circular
saw to cut pieces to length. In this project, the sides measure
32-1/4-inches in height and the top and bottom measure 44.1/2-inches
long. Make sure that the long edges of these pieces are straight.
- Rip the solid maple 1x6s to a 2-inch width using the table saw.
These pieces will be used to create the face frame for the kitchen
island. After cutting the wood pieces sand the edges with 150-grit
sandpaper to smooth out any rough areas.
- Attach a cleat to both the top and bottom of each of the side
pieces, securing them with glue and nails. These cleats will support
the top and bottom shelves of the kitchen island.
- Attach the plywood bottom and top pieces to the cleats, once again
using glue and nails. Using a pneumatic nailer speeds up the
- Attach the center support piece (see
image 3) and then begin working on the face frame. Apply glue to
one edge of the cabinet and then secure the maple trim to the side
using the pneumatic nailer.
- Repeat the same process for the top and bottom trim pieces, also
securing them to the edges (see
image 4) with glue and nails.
- Attach the last side piece and the center trim piece. Add the
horizontal support pieces and trim pieces for the drawers and then
begin working on the other side of the kitchen island. Repeat the
process on this side of the cabinet until all of the support pieces
are attached and all of the edges trimmed out.
- Drill 3/8-inch holes to a depth of 1-3/4-inches into each of the
four corners of the cabinet. Then insert the sockets provided by the
manufacturer into each of the holes by tapping them in with a
hammer. Insert the casters by pushing the caster stem into the
socket until the stem locks (see
- Rip a piece of 1x6-inch maple trim to 4-1/2-inches wide using the
table saw and then route both sides of one edge of all of the trim
pieces. Be sure to wear eye protection and a dust mask whenever
using a router.
- Once all of the pieces are routed lightly sand the edges to smooth
out any rough spots. Attach the trim pieces to the top of the island
using wood glue and 1-1/4-inch nails. Secure the maple trim from
below so you don't have nail holes showing on the top.
- Apply glue to the backs of each of the trim pieces and place them
on top of the kitchen island in the desired pattern (see
- Secure all of the pieces in place with nails driven in from the
bottom of the cabinet.
- Create drawers by ripping a 1x6-inch maple board to size and then
make dado cuts into each of the side pieces using the table saw.
Assemble the drawer sides and secure them with glue and nails.
- After three sides are assembled, slide the bottom of the drawer
into the dado groves and then attach the final side. Attach (see
image 7) the drawer fronts with glue and nails. Route the edges
of the drawer fronts for a nice finished look.
- Attach (see
image 8) a couple of 2x2 support pieces then attach the drawer
glides to these support pieces. Attach the other end of the glides
to the drawers and test the operation of the drawers.
- Next, remove the drawers and attach the towel bar to one side of
the island. Attach the false fronts to the opposite side of the
kitchen island securing them with nails driven in from inside the
- Go over the entire cabinet one more time filling any nail holes
and gaps with quick-drying wood filler. Once the wood filler is dry,
sand the cabinet one more time with a random orbit sander and
- Wipe the cabinet with a clean, lint-free cloth to remove all of
the dust created by the sanding. Begin applying the polyurethane
clear coat. Apply with a paintbrush following the grain of the wood.
Polyurethane will protect the wood surface from possible stains
created by water or other liquids.
- Mark the locations for drawer pulls and drill pilot holes on the
front of each of the drawers. Hold a drawer pull in place and insert
the screw through the hole in the drawer front and into the pull.
- With all of the pulls installed, begin working on the door hinges.
Insert the hinges into the pre-drilled holes on the back of the
doors and secure (see
image 9) the hinges with the screws provided by the
- Determine the locations for the doors and attached the doors to
3/4-inch maple plywood
1x6 solid maple boards
pneumatic nailer (optional)
drill with 3/8-inch bit
casters and mounting hardware
drawer pulls and hardware
water based polyurethane sealer
orbital sander with 220-grit sandpaper
quick-drying wood filler
This roll-away kitchen island is convenient and attractive.
A table saw is required for creating the basic pieces.
A center support piece stabilizes the island.
A gluing and nailing combo creates a permanent bond.
Casters and mounting hardware are available at most hardware stores.
You can create a pattern for the top of your island with trim pieces.
A drawer makes the island extra handy.
Always test drawer glides before proceeding with the next step.
Doors that don't hang or close properly make an item look shoddy.