How to Build a Plate Rack Cabinet


A simple way to keep your dinner plates separate and secure is to build a plate rack cabinet. Not only will it serve as an organizer, but it will also add a new dimension to the overall look of the kitchen cabinets. The one thing that will make the major difference in the size of your plate rack cabinet is the diameter of your plates.

Things You'll Need

  • 4 pieces of ¾-by-¾-by-26-inch lumber
  • Variable speed drill
  • Phillips-head screw tip
  • 3/8-inch drill bit
  • Wood glue
  • 17 dowels, 3/8-by-11-inch
  • 2 pieces of 2-by-15-by-¾-inch plywood
  • 2 pieces of 2-by-26-by-¾-inch plywood
  • 2 pieces of 11-by-15-by-¾-inch plywood
  • 2 pieces of 1½-by-28½-by-¾-inch plywood
  • 1¼-inch drywall screws
  • 2 pieces of 28½-by-11-by-¾-inch plywood
  • 1 piece of 30-by-15-by-¼-inch plywood
  • 3d box nails
  • 4d finish nails


  • Place the four ¾-by-¾-by-26-inch pieces of lumber on a worktable with their long edges touching each other. Measure from one end to the other and make a mark every 1 11/16 inches. Place a framing square on the marks and draw lines across the ¾-inch width of the four pieces of lumber.

  • Measure from the long edge of the ¾-by-¾-inch pieces of lumber and make a mark at 3/8 inches on each of the 1 11/16-inch marks. Drill holes with a 3/8-inch drill bit everywhere the lines intersect. Drill the holes 3/8 inch deep.

  • Apply glue into the holes, insert the dowels in the holes of one of the pieces and place another one on top of the dowels. Gently tap the top piece with a hammer until you feel it seat on top of the dowels. Repeat this for the remaining dowels and ¾-inch lumber. Measure from one end of both assemblies and make a mark at 13 inches on the top and bottom pieces.

  • Place all of the 2-inch wide plywood on the worktable. Measure from one end of the 26-inch pieces and make a mark at 13 inches. Repeat this with the other 26-inch piece.

  • Apply glue to the ends of the 26-inch pieces, place them at the top and bottom and between the 15-inch pieces and secure them with the corrugated fasteners. This is the face frame of the plate rack cabinet.

  • Place the two 11-by-15-by-¾-inch plywood (end panels) on the worktable. Measure from the 11-inch edge of the plywood and make a mark at 1½ inches. Place the framing square on the marks and draw a line across the 11-inch width of the plywood.

  • Place the two 1½-by-28½-inch plywood (nailing strips) on the worktable. Measure from one end and make a mark at 14¼ inches. Repeat this for the other nailing strip. Apply glue to one of the long edges of the nailing strips and secure them to the 11-by-28½-inch plywood (shelves) with the drywall screws.


  • Apply glue to the edges of the two shelves and place them on the lines drawn on the end panels so that the nailing strips are on the inside of the cabinet. Secure the shelves to the end panels with the drywall screws. Turn the plate rack cabinet over so that the 1½-inch strips are facing up.

  • Apply glue to the ¾-inch edges and the nailing strip and secure the 30-by-15-by-¼-inch plywood to the cabinet with 3d box nails. Turn the cabinet over so the ¼-inch plywood is on the bottom.

  • Apply glue to the ¾-inch edges and secure the face frame to the cabinet with the 4d finish nails. Place one of the dowel assemblies inside the cabinet and center it on the mark on the nailing strip. Secure it to the cabinet through the shelves with the drywall screws.

  • Insert the other dowel assembly into the cabinet and pull it forward until it meets the back of the face frame and center it with the mark on the face frame. Secure it to the cabinet through the shelves with the drywall screws.

Tips & Warnings

  • Clean excess glue immediately with a damp cloth.
  • Apply a finish to the dowel assembly before installing it inside the cabinet.
  • Do not apply paint or stain to the plate rack cabinet without proper ventilation.

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  • Photo Credit Lisa Sanderson/, Illustrations by Michael Straessle
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