DIY cane panelled cupboard

We are currently decorating our spare room, which until now, has been a dumping ground. As we’ve worked around the house trying to make each space our own our ‘box room’ has been neglected and has become the room where we can shut away all the things we’re just not sure what to do with. I took heart the other day when on Instagram so many of you got in touch to tell me that you too have a room of shame but it is time to get this room sorted as our house is small and we desperately need more storage. In short, we need to make this room work as hard as possible: guest room, work room, storage space. We have a very small budget to transform this room and so for storage we are using two cabinets that I actually bought some time ago from IKEA for our last flat. They are very basic pine IVAR cabinets but I want this room to feel quite smart and sleek in the hope that that will deter us from dumping here in future. Therefore, with some help from Bosch Home & Garden power tools I have made the cupboards my own and given them a makeover that I hope you agree makes them much more special than the original £40 I paid for them. There’s no way that I had the budget for fancy panelled cabinets in this room that cost hundreds of pounds so a DIY project made perfect sense and it is always worth thinking about whether you can transform a piece of existing furniture in your home rather than buying new every time.

The makeover took about two hours and it’s actually relatively simple with no specific skill or expertise needed. I was apprehensive about using a jigsaw for this project as I always think it’s a major power tool that requires real skill and strength to control but the Bosch Home & Garden cordless jigsaw was brilliantly easy to use and required far less physical effort than I anticipated as it just glides through the wood. Both the jigsaw and the drill driver were much smaller and lighter than any I’ve used before but actually felt more powerful (Jules and I are both very VERY upset that they are only on loan for this project as we think that they are much better than the ones we own). The other good thing about these tools is that they use the same battery and charger so adding more tools to the collection is relatively cost-effective and it’s super quick and easy to transfer the battery from one tool to another.

I’ll be honest and say that I am happy to let Jules take over when it comes to power tools as I always think it seems complicated and physically difficult – I have horrible carpel tunnel and very prone to tendonitis so I’m not keen on putting my joints under strain. However, I can hand on heart say that I was keen to use these tools as it all felt really easy and intuitive and at no point did I need to use too much physical effort. By the way, the only reason you can see Jules in the photos is because he can’t use the camera properly – I took over to do the work after the photos, I promise!

So, back to the cupboard… here are the step by step instructions to guide you through this project and if you have any questions please do leave a comment and I will get back you.

Materials needed:

Drill driver

Jigsaw

Cordless tacker

– Clamps

– Protective gloves, goggles and ear protection

– Solid wood cabinets (mine are IVAR from IKEA)

– Paint – I used Shaded White from Farrow & Ball in Modern Eggshell.

Cane webbing – I chose the Aerial or Radio cane weave panelling just because I prefer the way it looks compared to the six weave cane, which still looks a little old fashioned to me even though it’s very on trend. I ordered it from this site (you have to place your order by phone!) and it cost about £30 for one cabinet so not cheap but I think it’s worth it.

– Hockey stick wood trim – you can buy it in any hardware store and it comes in all sorts of decorative profiles or plain like mine. You just need to make sure you choose one that will fit the depth of your door. It cost £6 for one cabinet.

– Mitre box and hacksaw to cut trim

– Set square, ruler or tape measure

– Pencil

– Scissors

– Wood glue and a few racks and hammer to attach trim

– Handles – totally optional as the IVAR cabinets don’t actually need them. The ones I have used came out of my sister’s kitchen as she’s just sold her flat (I chose them for her) but I don’t think she’s going to let me keep them 😉 They are from Dowsing & Reynolds.

This is how the cabinets looked before the makeover. They are solid pine IVAR cabinets from IKEA. We have hung them on the wall just sitting above the skirting board as being able to see as much floor space as possible in a small room makes it feel bigger. However, they are very ‘blocky’, which can make a space feel smaller so I decided to change the cabinet doors.

DIY tutorial

Step one:

Remove doors from cupboard as well as the support strut on the back of the door using a drill driver. N.B. I had already constructed and painted my cupboard before I began this project. When using the drill driver make sure you don’t wear gloves but do use googles and ear protection.

Step two:

Use a pencil to mark the inside panel that will be removed. I left a 5cm border on each door and used a set square for ease and accuracy but a ruler or tape measure will do.

Step three:

Use a drill driver to create four holes – one in each corner of the door within the rectangle that you have marked out. I used a spade drill bit to make the hole quite big as this is where you begin with the jigsaw.

Step four:

Clamp the door to a work bench in preparation for removing the central panel of each door with a jigsaw. Wear protective gloves and goggles whilst using the jigsaw and ear protection too. You can connect your vacuum cleaner hose to the back of the jigsaw so that the saw dust is sucked away, which is very useful so that you can sight your cutting line and so your house doesn’t get filled with dust. Start cutting at one of the holes that has been drilled out and line up the red line at the front of the jigsaw with your pencil mark and that will make it very easy to cut in a straight line. You will need to rotate the door and re-clamp it after you have cut each side.

Step five:

Once you have removed the central panel from the door you will see that the cut is quite rough and therefore looks very unfinished. You can either sand it well or add trim, which is what I chose to do. I bought 2cm pine hockey trim – for both doors it cost £6 – and I think it was well worth the extra effort as it gives the doors a much more professional looking finish. Hockey trim sort of hooks over the unfinished edge so it sits proud of the door. I used a mitre box to cut the trim at a 45 degree angle and then used wood glue and a few tacks to keep it in place. I then painted it the same colour as the cupboards but a contrasting colour could look great.

Step six:

Once the paint on the trim is dry, place the door on the back side of the cane and use a pencil to mark out the internal rectangle. You then need a border of at least 2cm of excess cane on the back of the door to staple down. Cut the cane to size once you have worked out how much you need. If you find that your cane is particularly difficult to handle because it’s been rolled for a long time, for example, you can soak it in warm water in the bath for ten minutes to make it easier to manage.

Step seven:

To fix the cane panels in place start tacking in the middle and work your way outwards to each corner, holding the cane as taught as possible. I used the Bosch Home & Garden Cordless Tacker to fix the cane in place and I have to say, compared to a traditional staple gun, it is brilliant. It is battery powered and can be charged very easily and it takes all the effort out of stapling, especially into a hard surface such as solid wood. I was able to completely concentrate on holding the cane taught rather than having to put loads of effort into the stapling. So quick and easy to use – I’m thinking it would be a brilliant thing to have for upholstery projects too.

You’re all done! Re-attach the doors and I also added some pretty handles. I really love the finished doors and they ended up costing so much less than a brand new cane panelled cabinet would have cost. I hope they make this room feel much more individual than it would have done otherwise and I’m actually quite amazed at was I was able to achieve by myself with the Bosch Home & Garden power tools (remember Jules just stood in for the photos!) and for a relatively small cost. Another benefit of these doors is that they break up the big block of pine so feel far less imposing, which is ideal for a small box room. What do you think?

If you fancy trying out a DIY project of your own for your home do take a look at Bosch Home & Garden’s online magazine, All About DIY, as it contains loads of great tutorials and projects. Happy DIYing!

Katy x

P.S. I’ll show you the finished room soon!

*This post was a paid collaboration with Bosch Home & Garden

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9 Comments

  1. 31st October 2019 / 3:40 pm

    Such a stunning transformation! I am going to have to find a cupboard to make over so I can use some cane. A really beautiful touch.

  2. Susan Fairbairn
    1st November 2019 / 1:06 am

    A very clever transformation.
    Good job!

  3. Nic
    17th November 2019 / 10:11 pm

    Hi Kate

    I love all of your posts!
    We are refurbing a 30s house at the moment and I wanted to ask, are your internal doors originals, reclaimed or new ones? I can’t decide what to do, although I would love reclaimed (the ones in ours are a mismatch of awful 80s and 90s doors) I worry there will be a risk they don’t fit and it takes a lot to get it to work. Wondered what your experience has been?

    Thanks! X

    • katy
      Author
      17th November 2019 / 10:14 pm

      Hi there! Yes, all of our doors are original. We had them all dipped and repainted or left bare wood. You can get some great new 1930s style doors if you’re worried about getting a set of matching reclaimed doors that will fit (try Direct Doors). However, I’ve seen lots of job lots of original doors and it would just take some planing/sanding to get them to fit, I’m sure x

      • Mrs Nicola J mower
        18th November 2019 / 9:39 am

        Thanks so much. You are lucky to have the originals. I’ll try and hunt some down on eBay 😁

        Can you also recommend anywhere for the door knobs?

        Thanks!

  4. katy
    Author
    18th November 2019 / 9:47 am

    I got mine cheap from VintageDoorknobs.co.uk but the quality isn’t great x

  5. 21st November 2019 / 3:05 pm

    Hi Katy,

    I love your hack and have been looking to do something similar, however my Ivar doors don’t meet in the middle like yours do. I’ve googled the life out of it and haven’t found a solution to date, could you please share if you had the same problem and worked out how to solve it?

    Thank you

    • katy
      Author
      21st November 2019 / 4:44 pm

      Ah yes! The instructions tell you how to do it – you have to loosen one of the door hinge screws (the one furthest away) and tighten the other (the nearest one). Takes about a minute! x

      • Hayley Labrow
        21st November 2019 / 5:39 pm

        Thank you Katy, we will attempt it again! x

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