How To Build A Kitchen Island

Do you need to learn how to build a kitchen island? A kitchen island will add modern architectural beauty even to an older kitchen. And if you have a kitchen that is wide at the center, a kitchen island will fill the space with style and give you extra storage space besides. Building a kitchen island is fairly simple, and by installing wheels beneath it, you can have the added flexibility of wheeling your kitchen island into your living room for dinner parties or holiday gatherings.

To build a kitchen island you will need:

  • 3 hardwood boards, 28” x 48” x 2” (width, height, depth). 
  • 8 hardwood poles, 1 1/2” diameter, 13” length. 
  • 16 hardwood dowels, 1/2” diameter, 2” length. 
  • 4 swivel caster wheels.

You can find all the supplies you need to build your kitchen island at your local home improvement store.

Follow these steps to build your kitchen island:

  1. Evaluate the hardwood board surfaces. Wipe the surface of each hardwood board with mineral spirits or denatured alcohol. This will mimic the sheen of a finished surface for a few moments, exposing any flaws and allowing you to choose which side of the hardwood board to face up.
  2. Trim the corners of the hardwood boards. Cut the corners off the first hardwood board, at a distance of 4 inches from the tip of the corner to your saw blade. This straight cut will add elegance to the design of the square kitchen island you are building, while also eliminating the danger of injury from sharp corners. Next use the first cut hardwood board as a yardstick for cutting the other two identically.
  3. Preparing the dowels. Drill a 1 inch deep hole at the center, top and bottom, of each hardwood pole. Choose your drill bit by the size of the dowel. It’s best to test the size of the bit on a waste piece of wood before you drill into the actual kitchen island poles. Once all the holes are drilled, insert the dowels into the poles, using a little glue to secure them firmly in place.
  4. Preparing the hardwood boards. To assemble the poles with the island surfaces, you will need to drill corresponding holes in the hardwood boards. Turn the first board over, and drill 1 inch holes at the straight-angled corners on the back of the work piece. Next, drill holes at the exact same locations on the second board, this time drilling holes both front and back. Finally, drill identical holes into the front of the bottom kitchen island shelf.
  5. Assemble your kitchen island. Slip the doweled poles into the back of the top work piece, securing them with glue. Next, slip the second work piece (the center shelf of the kitchen island) over the dowels sticking out of the poles, first placing a dab of glue over them. Finally, secure the second set of poles and finish securing the bottom shelf of the kitchen island over them.
  6. Install caster wheels. Drill holes at the corners of the bottom shelf, on the back. Choose a drill bit to fit the size of the caster wheel stem. It’s a good idea to first test the drill bit size on a waste piece of wood before you drill into the actual kitchen island and risk spoiling it. Secure the caster wheels into the drilled holes.
  7. Finish the kitchen island. Now that you’ve finished building your kitchen island, sand it thoroughly and make sure to remove any glue spots. Then stain with Shellac or lacquer, as these will fuse and rub best, lending your kitchen island an even sheen.


  • Always wait for the first coat to dry before applying a second one.
  • You can buy one long dowel and cut it down to size.
  • You can buy one long pole and cut it down to size.
  • If your kitchen is very large, you can increase the measurements proportionately.
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