How to Build a Kitchen Island?

Is your kitchen lacking in cooking space? One solution is to learn how to build a kitchen island as it increases your food preparation area. In this guide we explain step by step how it’s done, and what tools and materials you will need.


Materials and Tools

  • Combination square
  • Electric drill
  • Moldings
  • Shims
  • Stock cabinets
  • Trim saw
  • Finish nailer
  • Safety goggles
  • Reciprocating saw
  • Glaze
  • Glue
  • Screws
  • Countertop
Materials and Tools

Note: decide beforehand how large you want the kitchen island to be. This will tell you what types of wood pieces necessary. For instance, if you want a 38 x 73” block counter and a 24 x 60” base, you need to get wood cabinets 30” at least.

Steps to Build a Kitchen Island


To learn how to build an outdoor kitchen, draw a sketch of how large you want the kitchen island to be. Choose the corbels, feet, glazes, toe kick, molding and stock cabinets. Trim the stock cabinets if necessary to achieve the desired height.

cut wood

To do this, use a square to determine the toe kick’s height, lining from the toe kick and creating a straight line. Cut on this line. Measure 3 1/2” on the toe kick and make cuts to produce a recessed line.


Cut the beadboard to the desired size using the reciprocating saw. Attach the beadboard onto the cabinet base so it is precisely lined up along with the two cabinets’ front walls. Flush to the beadboard’s front.


Drill some holes and add 1 1/4” screws to secure the cabinets. Add the rest of the sides. Spread a generous amount of glue before nailing the toe kick. Glue the nailing blocks and position them.


Cut an oak wrap with your chop saw and use that as veneer for the toe kick. Apply wood glue on the veneer and firmly set it in place. Use 5/8” nails.


Place the feet along the filler block and mark equivalent distance off the corners. Glue the feet on the block, clamping it securely. Nail the feet and take off the clamp. Put in another nail a bit off center. Apply some glue on the piece prior to nailing on island.


Apply corner molding to conceal corners along the point where the oak and beadboard meet. Cut these to size, apply some glue and set firmly in position. Nail them securely. Make sure the nail is an inch off the edge to keep the wood from splitting.


Cut rope molding to the desired size. Put a piece of wood on the chop saw at the back of the rope molding so it doesn’t get damaged. Create 45 degree miter cuts before nailing along the island’s bottom.


If you want to prime the toe kick, molding and cabinets, use laminate particle boards, making sure to cut slowly so as not to damage the material. Measure the horizontal center and use a square to find the vertical center.

Mark both and drill holes there. Make sure to clamp a wood prior to drilling so it doesn’t get damaged.


To provide countertop support, use corbels. Place the brackets 1 1/2” off the edge, providing uniform space for the corbel. Use screws to keep the corbels in place, but make certain the screws are an inch over the corbel. Connect the corbel on the bracket.


Apply glazing and painting before putting on the countertop. Glaze the island to give it color and highlight the texture.

Apply the glazing gel as indicated in the instructions. Use a cloth to apply the glaze, wiping along with the wood grain. Put on more glaze if necessary and keep wiping until you get the color depth you want.


When studying how to design a kitchen, pay close attention to the time it takes for the glaze to dry. It will vary per product so just follow what is indicated there. Once the glaze dries, put the countertop on.

Ensure the overhang along the sides are equal. Use 5/8” screws in the brackets and set them in the wood.

Tips and Warnings

  • Always wear safety goggles.
  • Work in a well ventilated area so the paint doesn’t affect you.
  • Arrange all the tools and materials beforehand so they are within easy reach.
  • Double check your measurements before nailing each piece into place.
  • Ensure your power tools are fully charged before starting the project.
  • Prepare a sketch of the kitchen island as a guide to work before starting.
  • Keep notes of the measurements to serve as reminder.
  • Always have extra materials just in case you’ll need more.

How Much Does It Cost to Remodel a Kitchen?

If you want to go beyond making a kitchen island and do a complete remodeling, the average cost is $21,700. A smaller renovation may cost from $10,000 to $15,000. With this price tag you get a tile backsplash installation, sink upgrade, cabinet refacinig and painting of walls.

Bear in mind that this is just the average cost. When you ask the question how much does a kitchen remodel cost, a lot of factors come into play such as the size of your kitchen, cost of labor and how extensive the work will be.


The cost of making your own kitchen island is less compared to buying one. At the same time, you learn how to use tools to create other furniture for your home. Another advantage is you can customize the kitchen island’s size so it’s just how you want it.


Making a kitchen island is a major project especially if you haven’t done anything like this before. But as long as you have the right tools and mindset, there is no reason why you cannot do it.

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