Hoosier Cabinet Plans

Steal an idea from Grandma’s kitchen: Use these Hoosier cabinet plans to build a free-standing kitchen cabinet that organizes all your baking needs within arm’s reach.

| December 2015/January 2016

Remember those multipurpose, free-standing kitchen cabinets with pull-out bins, built-in flour sifters, and lots of storage? The “Hoosier” cupboard first appeared in the United States more than 100 years ago, bringing convenience and efficiency to the hodgepodge of shelves, tabletops, hanging pans, flour barrels and storage bins in cluttered turn-of-the-20th-century kitchens. (See “Hoosier Cupboard History” further in this article.)

We believe Hoosier-style cupboards deserve a prominent place in today’s kitchens. Mother’s updated design — part workstation, part storage cabinet — retains the original’s spirit and functionality. Our version features handy dispensers for grains or flour, and a pull-out work surface, making it a perfect baking cupboard. Instead of the mixer shown on the finished cabinet, you could place your grain mill on the swing-up shelf. You could also modify these plans to create a specialized space for fermenting, vegetable storage, built-in composting — or something else entirely. The plans offer all the space and flexibility you’ll need for stashing the tools and materials to carry out your particular culinary passion.

Any homesteader or cook with average do-it-yourself skills can build this Hoosier. The materials (not including accessories) cost $575: $270 for stock cabinets, $120 for plywood, $80 for boards and moldings, and $105 for hardware, laminate and fasteners. That’s a bargain, considering similar ready-made cupboards cost at least $2,000 — and wouldn’t be built to your custom specifications. You could further reduce costs by recycling older cabinets.

Our cupboard has many unique features:

• Most of the components are sold at home improvement centers. The skeleton is made of stock kitchen cabinets. The sides, back and shelves are cut from standard 1/2-inch oak plywood. The decorative crown molding and 1-by-2 oak face frames are also off-the-shelf purchases.
• You can easily alter these Hoosier cabinet plans. Simply select different sizes or configurations of stock cabinets, and then, following the same basic steps outlined in this article, bring them together using cut-to-fit parts.
• You can accessorize the cupboard dozens of ways by adding sliding trays, flour sifters, roll-out spice racks, bulletin boards and more. Our finished kitchen cupboard features a swing-up shelf for a stand mixer, a space-saving pull-out work surface for kitchen prep, and dispenser bins for whole grains and flour.

How to Build a Cabinet: Taking Stock

These kitchen cabinet plans use the stock cabinets available at any home improvement center. You’ll still have to cut, measure and install parts correctly, but you won't have to build a cabinet from scratch — normally the hardest part of this type of project. When you shop for stock cabinets, look for “base cabinets” for the bottom section of the Hoosier, and “wall cabinets” for the top section. The stock cabinets must have concealed Euro-style hinges for the plans to work. Luckily, most home improvement centers sell cabinets built this way. Stock cabinets vary in size from one manufacturer to another, and you may want to select different sizes to make your DIY kitchen cabinet narrower or wider than ours, so use the dimensions in the cutting list as your guide. Cut and fit as you go, to produce tight joints. 

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