Are you after an easy, low-cost island bench for your kitchen?
Natasha Dickins, DIY specialist from Little Red Industries, reveals how you can make this gorgeous kitchen island yourself. Beginners, don’t be intimidated – this project is totally manageable, especially if you get your timber supplier to cut the boards to size for you.
A spot of drilling, a few bits from the hardware store, and a tin of Monocel to treat the wood, and off you go!
Read on for Natasha’s step-by-step method, complete with video and written instructions.
“I used Monocel Bench Top Oil on the plywood top and shelves to help protect it from moisture damage while keeping it food-safe,” says Natasha.
The top of the bench is 1200mm long by 550mm wide and, the island stands at a standard kitchen bench height of 900mm, including the castors. If you’re not confident cutting timber, or don’t have the tools, ask the timber supplier to cut the plywood and pine for you.
Natasha also suggests asking for DAR pine, which means Dressed All Round, ensuring it’s cut cleanly so it’s easy to manage.
First things first, let common sense prevail. If you put a TV in your home office, then you are obviously going to watch it. If you put a guitar in your home office, then you are obviously going to play it. And if you have a couch in your home office you’re going to sit on it and watch TV or play guitar. Minimise the distractions and fill your home office up with things you actually need. The home office is a great place to store items around your house that generally don’t have a dedicated location such as bookshelves, art and collectables from your travels. You want your office to be an environment of inspiration so display items of interest and beauty that stimulate your brain.
STEP BY STEP INSTRUCTIONS
- Drop saw and circular saw, optional, to cut timber
- Drill with drill bits, including a countersinking bit for the batten screws
- Tape measure
- 80, 180 and 240-grit abrasive paper, with hand-sanding block or sander
- 4 x 75mm-high lockable castors with screws
- 12 x 70mm batten screws
- 6 x 50mm batten screws
- 8 x 27 x 27mm angle brackets
- Monocel Bench Top Oil
Find in Bunnings!
- Monocel Stain & Varnish in Black
Find in Bunnings!
- Quality paint brush
- Mini foam roller and tray
- 1200 x 550mm for the top
- 850 x 400mm cut two for the shelves
70 x 35mm DAR pine:
- 4 x 430mm lengths for the shelf and top rails
- 2 x 500mm lengths for the base
- 4 x 765mm lengths for the legs
Step 1: Set out the frames
Position the legs over the base, with the shelf and top rails between them. Measure 300mm from the top to position the middle shelf, creating slightly more space above the bottom shelf to store bigger items.
Step 2: Make the frames
At each join, measure 15mm from the edges to countersink and drill pilot holes for two 70mm batten screws, then secure the screws.
Tip: Use a hex drill bit for the batten screws, and if you have an impact driver, it’s easier and more fun to use than a regular drill.
Step 3: Sand and seal the frames
Smooth over the frames using 180-grit abrasive paper with a hand-sanding block or sander, then apply Monocel Stain & Varnish in Black (found in your local Bunnings) with a brush.
Tip: Keep the brush ready for the next coat by dipping it in the varnish and sealing in plastic wrap.
Step 4: Apply the second coat
Apply a second coat of Monocel Stain & Varnish in Black, wiping away any drips for a smooth finish.
Tip: Paint one side then flip the frame over onto spacers positioned only under the top and base rails, where any drying marks are less visible.
Step 5: Sand and round-over the plywood
Use 80-grit abrasive paper with a hand-sanding block or sander to smooth over the tops and sides of the plywood, rounding over the edges and the corners. Go over the edges and corners again with 180-grit, then finish all over with 240- grit.
Tip: Rounding the corners makes the kitchen island feel more bespoke, while removing the risk of sharp corners.
Step 6: Seal the plywood
Use a mini foam roller to apply three coats of Monocel Bench Top Oil (found in Bunnings), leaving it to dry between coats and smoothing the surface with 240-grit abrasive paper before each application.
Tip: Apply the first coat by rolling with the grain and the second coat across the grain to ensure full coverage.
Step 7: Add the castors
Position the wheels on the outside edges, attaching them using screws up to 32mm long.
Tip: Don’t scrimp on the castors. Choose a generous 75mm high and ensure they’re lockable to keep the island from moving when it doesn’t need it to.
Step 8: Assemble the kitchen island
Working on the underside of the benchtop, position the frames 250mm from the ends, drilling three pilot holes into each top rail and securing 50mm batten screws.
Tip: Add extra stability by securing four angle brackets either side using screws no longer than 25mm.
Step 9: Add the shelves
Slide in the shelves, check the overhang is the same on the ends then secure to the middle and base shelves with angle brackets and screws no longer than 25mm.
Kitchen Island Reveal!
Compact and practical, the DIY Kitchen Island is designed to have space at the ends for bar-height stools. The Monocel Stain & Varnish in Black is tough enough to protect the frame, just like an enamel paint, but lets the woodgrain shine through.
Bondall has been leading the building industry for over 50 years. With products that are environmentally and user friendly we’re focussed on extending the life of your finished projects and building materials.