How to Build a Portable Kitchen Island Using Base Cabinets

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You can build a portable kitchen island.
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Kitchen islands are useful because they add more surface area, and they can also provide extra seating for family and guests. When they are portable, they open up a whole new world of convenience, since they can be brought in when needed and kept elsewhere the rest of the time. Wondering how to build a portable kitchen island using base cabinets or kitchen cabinets on casters? Either is a great approach, as both add extra storage space and flexibility.


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As an additional note, it is essential to measure out how much kitchen space you have available before you take on this project. You need to know if the island will fit in the space before buying the cabinets. Don't forget to measure the doorways, since your kitchen island will need to fit through if you want to roll it into another room.

Connecting the Cabinets

Stock kitchen cabinets are sold in different colors, finishes and sizes, and it's recommended to choose ones that are 12 inches deep by 30 inches tall for a good starter kitchen island. Wooden cabinets are the easiest to work with for this project. If you plan to use more than one cabinet, they will need to be connected together. To connect the cabinets, you'll need a level, wooden shims, clamps, a drill and cabinet screws.


First, remove any drawers and doors before connecting the cabinets. The cabinets should be lined up next to one another, and a level can be used to make sure that they are flush. If not, use a wooden shim to ensure that they are even.

Place clamps near the tops and bottoms to keep them in place, and drill 1/8-inch holes in the frames right by the door hinges. Connect the cabinets using cabinet screws. They should not be connected through their side panels, because these will not hold the weight.

Putting Kitchen Cabinets on Casters

Use casters that are from 2 to 3 1/2 inches high (including the shafts), and try to use rubber-wheeled ones, rather than hard wheels that could damage the floor. Casters with metal shafts also work well with very heavy cabinets.


When shopping, keep in mind that retractable casters for the kitchen island are best and keep the island more stable. Also have on hand a saw, wood glue, safety glasses and protective gloves. Lay the cabinet on your working surface or floor, on its side or back. Measure the inside depth of the cabinet bottoms and cut out two pieces of 2x2 wood to match. Put the wood glue on one side of each board.

Next, mount each board on the inner edge of each cabinet side, with the bottoms mounted ½ inch to 1 inch less than the caster wheel height. Cut out more wood pieces to cover the other sides, and mount these accordingly. Measure 1 1/2 inches in from the ends of each board and drill one hole that is compatible with the length and diameter of a caster shank. Insert the shank and tap into place. Finish up by screwing in the wooden pieces, and you will now have storage cabinets on wheels.


Customizing the Kitchen Island

The next steps in creating a kitchen island from your wooden cabinets on wheels would be to prime and paint them. Once they are painted and dried, you can add drawer pulls and kickboards. Finally, you will want to install a countertop on your portable kitchen island. Granite is a popular choice and runs about $60 to $100 per square foot, according to Budget Dumpster. You might also choose butcher block, Corian, quartz or another material.



Danielle Smyth is a writer and content marketer from upstate New York. She holds a Master of Science in Publishing from Pace University. She owns her own content marketing agency, Wordsmyth Creative Content Marketing, and she enjoys writing home and DIY articles and blogs for clients in a variety of related industries. She also runs her own lifestyle blog, Sweet Frivolity.