Friday, December 11, 2015

DIY Board and Batten Trim on Cabinets, for less than $50!

We have been slowly updating our kitchen cabinets (read: started in February 2015 and hopefully finish by December 2015?). Our renovation budget is tight, but it has been fun to find creative ways to make a big impact for a small amount of money.

Today I'd like to share with you how we are adding trim to our original 1959 cabinets without breaking the bank. If you haven't read my previous post on taking down our upper cabinets, I will refresh you with a picture of what our kitchen looked like at the end of that phase:

Not bad, compared to the cabinets that used to be there cutting off the kitchen from the family room, but of course, there was still the issue of the outline of the former cabinets, exposed drywall, and the amber-orange hue of the original 1950's stain on our plywood cabinets. I was just glad to have a view, but at some point, you need to have a place to put dishes, so we have since installed open shelving:

Overall, I have enjoyed having open shelving. There is a bit of an issue for my 5'4" frame reaching glasses or mugs too high up on the second shelf, and if I'm really honest, I do miss extra storage space. But this is our frugal transitional kitchen, one we are trying to happily live with while we pay off student loans and then save up for a bigger, deeply renovated kitchen. Adding new upper kitchen cabinets when we will definitely get rid of the old ones before we sell is just not in the cards right now.

In the meantime, we wanted to change the appearance of our cabinets as much as possible and bring an overall more neutral scheme to our kitchen/family room area. So, we painted over the yellow walls with a more neutral cream (Benjamin Moore Cloud White, in Glidden). Then we primed the cabinets with Kilz.

We are finally in a final phase of adding a bit of trim, paint to the lower and upper remaining cabinets, and new hardware. I have always loved the look of Shaker trim, but when I priced the cost per foot for a simple pine trim, it probably would have cost us close to $80 or $90 just for the trim.

I had seen tutorials on Pinterest, however, that said that you could get 1/4" plywood underlayment cut into strips and use that as trim, so off I went to the big box stores around here, only to find employees who had to be dragged out of the recesses of the store to give me a look of perplexion when I explained my perfect plan to them. They were for some reason not the same employees eager to help the Pinterest renovators, but instead, the reluctant employees who might be stuck cutting 1 1/4" trim for two hours for some crazy lady who wanted to save $50 on her cabinet renovation.

My husband said that he could go back and just ask them to do it, excuses or not, but then I started to research a tool called the Kreg Rip Cut, which is kind of like a table saw in reverse. You attach it to your circular saw and then its guide allows you to rip strips of wood to any width from 3/4" to 24" wide. And the best part? It was only $25 on I figured it was worth the money, and if it was a really good tool (which it was), then we could use it for other projects involving plywood boards.

For the price of a new little tool ($25) and plywood underlayment and a plywood blade ($17+tax), we were able to create a lot of 3" trim the board and batten side of our peninsula, and 1 1/2 inch trim for our cabinet doors.

Now, we just have to finish trimming the cabinets, caulk, and paint and add hardware. Let's hope it doesn't take another 9 months to do that!


  1. I am very impressed with the way you researched the tool you needed to cut the trim yourself! I imagine it'll likely come in handy in other projects in the future as well. If more temporary storage area is necessary, it looks as though there could be room for a china cabinet or some other piece of furniture against the wall near the table. You sound very creative - perhaps some scrutinizing at garage sales will yield extra storage nooks and crannies for you. I have an antique chest of drawers that I bought at a resale shop once that I store afghans in, but when I found a terrific sale on canned goods that wouldn't fit in my tiny pantry closet I filled a drawer with the cans. I never considered using a chest of drawers for pantry items, but it works for now:)

    I just recently discovered your blog. Best of luck to you and your family as you work on your goals!

    1. Thanks! I'm glad it worked out the way it did - you never know until you start cutting, and I was grateful that my husband was helping because I am usually the one to find a way to do something, but then I chicken out and procrastinate. That's where he comes in, as he doesn't mind moving forward even if we make some mistakes.

      That's a great idea for pantry storage, by the way! Our pantry is a tiny closet too. So far it has worked because we have basement storage as well, plus, our boys eat so often that it's hard to keep the pantry stocked :).

  2. Such a clever idea! I love how they turned out.
    I know what you mean about the guys at the stores not being excited to help :( and feeling like a pest.
    Your solution was so clever!

    1. Thanks! Taking down the upper cabinets made a huge difference in how the kitchen felt. I lost a little bit of storage, but it was worth the view, and it's been good discipline for not getting extra dishes that I don't really need (ahem, thrift store?) :)


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