Building an Entertainment Center

A sleek, country take on a traditional concept. This entertainment center is as beautiful as it is functional. This build may take you more than a weekend to construct, but the finished product will be well worth the hard work and sweat.

It is versatile enough to be painted for any room in your home. Plus, with the option to add more features (drawers and shelves) that fits your family’s lifestyle.

This entertainment center is a beast at 66″ long x 36.5″ tall x 20″ wide but will definitely become the center piece of your living space with all the storage you will have.

LET’S GET TO WORK!

On the weekends, I live at The Home Depot. It’s my home away from home. The majority of this unit is built with 3/4″ sande plywood and 1″ x 2″ strip board from Home Depot. Since many DIY’ers do not have a large table saw or a panel saw, the guys at Home Depot will cut the larger pieces free of charge! The smaller, more precise cuts here done at home on my Ryobi sliding miter saw. Most of this project is assembled using these two tools: Kreg Jig and a nail gun. The Kreg Jig will allow you to drill 3/4″ pocket holes and attach pieces with 1.25″ pocket hole screws. Pocket holes are possible without the jig, but this guide makes it easier than trying to do it by free hand. You won’t regret investing in this tool as it speeds up every project and adds stability to your joining. I also recommend a nice nail gun as they are easy to use and will greatly speed up your time table for completion.

WARNING: Make sure you read through the instructions carefully and take notice of any special construction notes prior to making any cuts. Always practice safe DIY’ing.

WARNING: Please observe and follow “General Safety” tips while using power tools.

PLEASE NOTE: Many pieces may require you to cut them to fit a certain size while you are building. It’s best not to cut pieces until you need them. Take your time and study all the diagrams.


HELP: As you read through the instructions, the wood needed for each step will be listed in this format: 1×1: 34″ (x2). This example states that two pieces of wood at 1″ height by 1″ width and 34″ length are needed.

MATERIAL LIST:

materials

1. The Sides (x2)
  • To create one side we will be using the following pieces of wood:
    • TOP and BOTTOM-    2×2: 15″ (x2)
    • SIDES –                         2×2: 35″ (x2) 
    • SLATS –                        1×6: 30 1/2″ (x3)
  • This first part will be the hardest part of the build. From here on it’s just attaching boards together.
  • Once the pieces are cut, you will need to use a router to cut out 3/4″ x 3/4″ from one edge of each piece of wood. The purpose of this is to make the sides facing in flush, thus creating an easier opportunity to customize in the future while creating a more stable structure.
rout table
This shows the lip you will create when routing out the 3/4″ x 3/4″ notch along the length of the boards.
  • Drill pocket holes (see black dots as reference) and then attach (with your pocket screws) the TOP flush to the top and the BOTTOM three inches from the floor.
    • The three inch gap at the base is to give the unit legs.
kreg1
The boards will be placed in the Kreg Jig as shown above and two holes will be drilled for attaching.
poclet2
Here shows how you will attach the TOP and BOTTOM hole to the SIDES.
  • Three of the 1×6 panels should fit nice and snug in the spacing created with your router. Nail these into place; I used my nail gun and compressor. You are welcome to hammer in the nails but the speed provided by a nail gun is uncanny!
boards12
Seen above and similar to our project, you will nail the SLATS around the edges you created with the router to secure the SLATS to the sides.
2. Connecting the Sides together

sides with t:b new

pocket holes ex
Pocket Holes (Bottom View)
  • To attach the sides together we will need the following pieces of wood:
    • TOP and BOTTOM – 2×2: 61″ (x4)
  • Simply screw the TOP pieces of wood so that they are flush to the top of the entertainment sides and make sure the BOTTOM pieces are attached three inches from the ground to show off those legs.
    • These bottom connecting sides will be level with the bottom of the sides.
  • TIP: Hide your pocket holes for a better finished look!
3. Bottom Shelf Support

bottom support

fifth leg

finished bottom

  • To create a lip for the bottom shelf to lay on as well as our fifth leg, we will need the following wood:
    • BASE SUPPORT SIDES –   1×3/4:  61″ (x2)
    • MIDDLE SUPPORT –          1×2: 13 1/2″ (x1)
    • FIFTH LEG –                        2×2: 3″ (x1)
  • Use your nail gun to attach the BASE SUPPORT SIDES to the bottom supports.
  • It is important that these pieces are flush to the bottom of the bottom supports so that the base shelf will fit snug.
  • The FIFTH LEG is attached in the middle of the MIDDLE SUPPORT and then attached perpendicular to the BASE SUPPORTS.
    • This will assist in making that area sturdy and able to hold more weight.
4. Base Shelf and Section Dividers

Bottome

dividers

  • The base shelf and dividers will be made of the following wood:
    • BASE –              3/4″ plywood: 61″ x 15″ (x1)
    • DIVIDERS –     3/4″ plywood: 16 1/2″ x 13 1/2″ (x2)
  • The BASE should fit nice and snug into the bottom opening and rest on top of the support sides from the last step. Add a few nails to keep it in place.
  • As you may notice when trying to insert the DIVIDERS that the top supports are slightly in the way. At the top of the DIVIDERS you will need to cut out a 1 1/2″ x  3/4″ rectangle to allow the pieces to slide next to and under the top boards.
  • Make sure that the DIVIDERS are 11″ from the sides as shown. This is important so that our doors will fit into place.
  • Using your nail gun, nail from the bottom and the top sides to lock the DIVIDERS in place.
  • At this point, feel free to fill in your pocket holes and nail holes with wood putty. Be sure to let it dry before sanding smooth.
5. Main Shelves

shelves

  • The shelves will be created out of the following wood:
    • BOTTOM SHELF –   3/4″ plywood: 37 1/2″ x 15 3/4″ (x1) 
    • TOP SHELF –            3/4″ plywood: 37 1/2″ x 16 1/2″ (x1)
  • We will need to drill pocket holes on the bottom side of the shelves and attach them at specific heights. The BOTTOM SHELF will be attached 9 1/2″ from the bottom and the TOP SHELF will be attached 9″ from the top.
    • It is important that this installation is exact so that our window doors will fit.
    • The pocket holes drilled on the bottom face of the shelves will create a more finished look and save you some touch up time.
  • When attaching the boards make them flush with the back of the dividers. The BOTTOM SHELF is a little bit short to account for the window doors when installed.
6. The Face Frame
  • We will need the following cuts of wood to complete the face frame:
    • FOR SHELVES –       3/4″ x 3/4″: 37 1/2″ (x2)
    • FOR DIVIDERS –      3/4″ x 3/4″: 29″ (x2) 
    • MIDDLE FRAME –   3/4″ x 3/4″: 19 1/4 (x1)
  • These pieces come from cutting a 1×2 in half-length wise.
  • The purpose of adding this face frame is to cover up the end-grain from the plywood. This creates a more professional finish and look.
  • Attach these pieces with your nail gun and then fill in the holes with wood putty.
7. The Tall Outside Doors (x2)
  • The creation of a one door will consist of the following cuts of wood:
    • BACKING –                   1/4″ plywood: 29″ x 11″ (x1) 
    • SIDES –                         1×2: 29″ (x2) 
    • TOP and BOTTOM –   1×2: 8″ (x2)
  • Measure your openings for the sides. You want a 1/8″ gap all around the door to account for hinges.
  • Place the SIDES, TOP and BOTTOM so that they are flush with the outside of the BACKING and then simply nail them in place.
  • Repeat for the second door.
8. The Window Doors (x2) 
  • The creation of one door will consist of the following cuts of wood:
    • TOP and BOTTOM –            1×2: 15 3/8″ (x2)
    • SIDES –                                  1×2: 19 1/4″ (x2)
    • VERTICAL FRAME –           3/4 x 3/4″: 16 1/4″ (x2) 
    • HORIZONTAL FRAME –    3/4 x 3/4″: 7 5/16″ (x2)
  • Measure your openings for the sides. You want a 1/8″ gap all around the door to account for hinges.
  • Drill pocket holes in the TOP and BOTTOM (reference the entertainment sides) and attach them to the edges of the SIDES creating a square.
  • Glue in the VERTICAL FRAME so that it’s in the middle of the square. Follow this by gluing the HORIZONTAL FRAME pieces in the middle as well.
    • The goal is to create a window with four symmetrical sections.
  • Repeat these steps for the second window door.
9. Top 
  • To build the top we first need to assemble the casing and then insert the top pieces of wood.

top bottom

top sides

top sides 2

  • The top casing will consist of the following wood:
    • BASE –                         1/4″ plywood: 64 1/2″ x 18 1/2″ 
    • FRONT and BACK –  1×2: 66″ (x2) 
    • SIDES –                       1×2: 18 1/2″ (x2)

 

1x3

1x6

  • And the inside decorative portion of the top will consist of the following wood:
    • THIN INSERTS –     1×3: 64 1/2″ (x3) 
    • THICK INSERTS –   1×6: 64 1/2 (x2)
  • Finally we’re almost done! Attach with your nail gun the SIDES, FRONT and BACK to the BASE so that the BASE is flush with the bottom.
  • Once you have the carcass of the top assembled, THIN and THICK INSERTS will fit in nicely. Nail the boards to the plywood for a secure finish.
  • Attach the top to the main unit by nailing the pieces together.
10. Finishing Touches
  • Be sure to fill any pocket hole and nail holes up and sand them down for a more professional look.
  • Finally attach the doors with hinges and attach your door pulls.
  • Now you can paint your entertainment center to fit in perfectly with your living space.
  • Feel free to make any additional parts you see fit!

finished 1   finished 2


Finished Product Example: My Build
  • You can see here that I made a few adjustments to my personal unit.
  • I stained the top and window doors to contrast the white paint.
  • I also added a decorative backing to the middle part of the unit for depth.
  • Finally I put in shelves and drawers to the sides for even more storage!
IMG_3091
My work station
IMG_3087
Finished sides and top
IMG_3108
Dividers and shelves installed, adding face frame
IMG_3120
Main unit all built
IMG_3128
Doors attached
IMG_3147
Personal additions for a personalized entertainment center
IMG_3145
The final product in all its glory!

 


Sources:

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