Do you have cabinet hardware to install? Making a simple jig from scrap wood is an easy way to install cabinet handles and knobs. We finally got tired of trying to open our kitchen cabinet doors by pulling on the sides to open. Not good! We’ve scratched our cabinets in the process. Hopefully you’re not procrastinators like we are.
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We have shaker style cabinets which I really love. It’s a very simple and versatile style of cabinet. So many different types of hardware would go with these cabinets, which is partly why it took us so long to do this project — I couldn’t decide! We ended up going with handles we already had that were left by the previous owner and painted them a matte black. And I think they turned out pretty good!
Using a jig to install cabinet hardware is important because it not only gives you a pattern for hardware placement, but it gives you a straight hole to drill into your cabinet. If you’d rather buy one this cabinet hardware jig is kind of pricey, but when you think about how much cabinets cost, it’s well worth it. If you have a lot of cabinet hardware to install or different size hardware, this would probably be a wise choice. BUT since we didn’t get this jig, we’ll show you how to make a jig yourself and how to install handles on shaker style cabinets.
Tools and Materials:
- Drill with 1/4″ drill bit
- 1″ screws for doors
- 1-1/4″ screws for drawers
The first step is to figure out where you want your cabinet hardware placed. This sketch shows a basic shaker style. The left and right vertical sides are called ‘stiles’, and the top and bottom horizontal pieces are called ‘rails’.
You don’t want your handles or knobs too low or too high. To get an idea of what I wanted I looked at several kitchen images online and decided I wanted the bottom hole of the handles in line with the inside bottom rail line. And of course, center the handle on the stile.
How To Make a Jig For Cabinet Hardware
To make the jig, the first step we did was to measure the width of the stile, mark the center point, measured the handles, then with a tape measure we marked the handle length on the cabinet stile.
We took the cabinet door off and set our cabinet door up at the drill press and drilled straight holes. If you don’t have a drill press just use your drill, making sure to drill straight and not at an angle. It’s important to drill a straight hole perfectly in the jig so that the holes are drilled straight in the cabinets. We used our cabinet door as a template to make our jig.
Then we took some scrap wood and made a straight edge with an overlap on each side. We laid the cabinet door flat and put the straight edge to the corner and counter-drilled through the pre-drilled straight holes into the straight edge.
Now the straight edge has the holes in position for the cabinet. This is our template, or jig, to use on the rest of the cabinet doors.
Installing Cabinet Hardware
Now that we have the jig made, drilling holes in the cabinet doors goes pretty quick. We just put the jig on the corner of the door and drilled through the holes in the jig. This jig works on left and right cabinet doors. We just flipped the jig over to use on either cabinet door. It works perfectly!
Once the holes were drilled we took the screwdriver and 1″ screws and put the handles on.
Installing Handles on Cabinet Drawers
We had to make a different jig for the drawers. And I’ll tell you — the drawers were kind of a b-i-t-c-h. This is where that cabinet jig I talked about above would have worked much, MUCH better. We had to modify our jig several times because the top rail on the drawers were different sizes.
The last step we did (and this is important!) was stand back and enjoy our accomplishment with a glass of Chardonnay. Our kitchen is not quite done, but getting the drawer pulls on the kitchen cabinets sure makes it look more finished.
So that’s how to install cabinet hardware on shaker style cabinets. Make a jig out of scrap wood and this home improvement project will be super easy. It’s just a matter of figuring out where you want the pulls placed, drilling the holes, and screwing on the drawer pulls.
Now it’s so much easier to open the cabinet doors and drawers. I wish we’d done this a lot sooner! Time to check this off the list and on to the next project.