Design DIY: Mobile Kitchen Island

Kim and Scott from Yellow Brick Home found an old media cart that they used as inspiration to build their own kitchen island countertop. Follow this step-by-step tutorial and try your hand at this fantastic kitchen addition!

1/2″ plywood, cut to intended finished size – 32″ x 46″
5 – 8′ 1x4s of select pine (for the tabletop itself)
2 – 8′ 1x3s of select pine (for the tabletop trim)
Danish oil for staining
Mineral oil for conditioning
1″ drywall screws
Wood glue
Finish nails
Wood filler (for touch-up)

3/4″ conduit pipe, cut in store into four 5″ sections
3/4″-3/4″ EMT to rigid combo coupling (below, the stubby guys)
Eagle One Nevr-Dull

Compound miter saw (to cut the 1x4s into different lengths)
Circular saw (to trim the excess)
Measuring tape
Sanding block / Mouse sander
Rags (for oil)
Ratchet straps (to hold things in place overnight)

1. Using a 1/2″ thick piece of plywood as the base for the entire tabletop, cut to 32″x46″ at Home Depot. Use the compound miter saw to cut random lengths from the 8′ 1x4s. These will be the cosmetic planks for the actual top. Dry fit 12″, 18″, and 24″ sections of the 1x4s until you like the way the grains came together. (Kim and Scott’s note: We chose pine since it was smoother, had less knots, and we knew this would make our job easier in the end. It was double the cost, but well worth every penny.)

2. After piecing the pine together (flip and reorganize until you like the overall look), (a) glue one piece at a time in place, clamp it down, and (b) drill the 1/2″ drywall screws in from the bottom of the plywood.

3. With everything glued and screwed securely in place, flip over the entire tabletop, and run the circular saw along the straight edge of the plywood to get rid of the scraggly overhang. (Tip: Use a spare piece of wood as a guide, clamped into place.)

4. At this point, the raw plywood edge will still be exposed, so use the 1x3s cut to size on a 45-degree angle to cap it off. Using wood glue to help hold the trim in place, tack in finishing nails to get a snug, secure fit.

5. If there are gaps where the trim meets, cheat the finish with stainable wood filler.

6. Use ratchet straps overnight to keep the 1×3 trim pieces in place (allowing the glue to bond). Then – sanding time! Run the electric sander over everything, especially those corners, to help even out the top.

7. You can opt to give the tabletop a darker color with two coats of Danish oil to bring out the wood grain. Let dry.

8. Attach the top to the cart. Drill four holes through the cart’s top – one on each corner. With the new tabletop laying on the floor, underside up, flip our cart upside-down and secure it in place with more drywall screws.

9. Next, extend the legs! After taking the casters off each leg, attach the coupling to the exposed cart leg, push in a piece of 5″ conduit into the other end of the coupling, then secure it in place using the screws on the coupling. You might have to shave down the plastic sleeve for the caster so it will fit into the slightly smaller conduit extension.

10. Use the Nevr-Dull to buff out some of the rougher areas on the cart legs.

11. For the finishing touch, apply the mineral oil every day for a week. After that, regular oil maintenance – about once a month – will work just fine to keep your countertop in tip-top shape.

How rad is this moveable addition to your kitchen? Big thanks to Kim and Scott for sharing. Check out the full story on how they created this project from scratch. All images courtesy of Yellow Brick Home.