Build an Open Shelf Hutch

Add custom shelving to your kitchen for extra storage and display space.

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The new hutch displays the homeowner’s festive yellow dishes and it houses the microwave, thus saving valuable counter space.

Tools and Materials:
four sheets of 3/4" paint-grade plywood
one sheet of 1/4” plywood
60 feet of 1-1/2” x 3/4” pine for the facing
wood glue
paint, paintbrush and roller
impact driver or drill
2” hole-saw bit
2” screws, 3” cabinet screws and 2“ pocket-hole screws
pocket-hole jig kit
nail gun and 1-1/2” finish nails
table saw
precision-guided circular saw
miter saw
router with flush-cut bit

1. Design your storage preferences and make a cut list. The overall size of our hutch is 60-1/4” x 42” x 12-1/4”. We incorporated three levels of storage with three cubbies on the bottom, (the center of which holds the microwave), two cubbies in the middle row and three cubbies on the upper row.

2. Our cut list:
  a. one top piece at 59-1/2” x 12-1/4” x 3/4”
  b. two middle shelves at 59-1/2” x 12” x 3/4”
  c. one bottom piece at 59-1/2” x 18-1/4” x 3/4”
  d. two sides pieces at 42” x 12-1/4” x 3/4”
  e. three dividers (for top two shelves) at 12” x 12” x 3/4”
  f. two dividers (for lower shelf) at 15” x 12” x 3/4”
  g. five ledgers at 17” x 4” x 3/4”
The 1/4” difference of between the depth of the side pieces (d) and the depth of the dividers (e and f) is to allow for 1/4” overhang on back to accommodate a 1/4” plywood backing. The bottom piece (c) is 6 inches deeper and the bottom dividers (f) are 3 inches taller to allow for a microwave.

3. Following your cut list, use a table saw to rip down the pieces. When we cut down our bottom piece, we needed to mark and cut out 21” x 6” from the front of each side, leaving us a 24” x 18-1/4” protrusion in the center to hold the microwave.

4. Layout your pieces for assembly. On the side pieces, mark out where your shelves will intersect and be attached. Ours had 3/4” wide marks for the shelves at heights beginning at 15-3/4” and 28-1/2” from the bottom. Mark the shelves, top piece and bottom piece where your cubby dividers will attach. Our dividers for the lower and top shelves were 17” from each end and our divider for the middle shelf was 29-3/8” from each end.

5. Attach the perimeter pieces of your hutch. Lay your sides, top and bottom face down on a work table. Glue each end where the pieces will meet and secure with 1-1/2” finish nails.

6. Attach the two shelves to the sides. Glue the ends and slide them into the marks on each side. Fasten them from the outside with 1-1/2” finish nails.

7. Attach your dividers. Glue the ends and slide them into the marks on your shelves, top and bottom. Fasten them with 1-1/2” finish nails.

8. Use the router along the entire inside perimeter of the back of the hutch to cut a 1/4” inset for the plywood backing to fit into.

9. Attach your 1/4” plywood backing with wood glue and finish nails.

10. If necessary, cut any holes needed for electrical outlets. We used a 2” hole-saw drill bit in the bottom center for our microwave.

11. Using a miter saw, cut the pine facing to the required length one piece at a time. Begin with the two sides, then top, followed by the middle shelves, then the bottom from the outside in, and finish with the divider pieces. You want the facing to perfectly frame out the front of the shelves on the hutch. When attaching the facing together, use the pocket-hole jig kit and screws to achieve a secure fit. Attach the facing to the shelves with 2” screws.

12. Attach the ledgers inside the unit for the shelves. Place the ledgers in the top of the three upper cubbies and the bottom of the two outer, lower cubbies. To attach the ledgers apply wood glue to the backs and place them accordingly. Secure them with 1-1/2” finish nails.

13. Paint the entire hutch beginning inside and working your way out to the facing.

14. Install your new hutch by screwing through the ledgers into the wall with 3” cabinet screws.

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