Add Planking to the Inside of Cabinet

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Do you love the look of a plank wall? I do and I have been wanting one in my house but the wall I want to do it on is not ready for that, so they will have to wait.  Because I am always trying to find a prefect place to add some planking to our home, why not in the kitchen?


We planned on leaving the cabinet above our fridge open but wanted to give it more detail then just an open cabinet. We thought about painting it a different color but we also had the problem of hiding this anchor, its holding the electrical to the house, it should probably stay.

Add planking to cabinet

After thinking about our options, I decided on adding planking to the cabinet. YAY, I finally have some planking in my house!

add planking to cabinet

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-1/4″ plywood or MDF
– 3/4″-1″ finishing nails
liquid nails (optional)
– caulk
– wood filler
– sand paper
– paint & primer

miter saw
circular saw (you could have it cut at the hardware store)
Kreg Rip Cut (you would use this with the circular saw)
– air compressor
caulk gun
– paint brush & roller
– putty knife
– nickels (yes it’s a tool today!)

TIP: I have used both 1/4″ plywood & MDF and the MDF does not splinter like plywood but plywood is cheaper. I used plywood for this project because I had enough on hand, making this project FREE for me!! 

This first part was covering up the anchor on my wall, so you probably can skip this part, but I wanted to share how I did it. To fix the problem, I placed 1/2″ pieces of plywood around the anchor, then applied liquid nails to hold it in place.

DIY plank cabinet-2

After letting that dry overnight, I was ready to install the planking.

DIY plank cabinet-3

First, I measured the distance between each shelf to give me an idea of how wide I wanted my planks. I decided to have 3 rows between each shelf, I did plan on a 1/16″-1/8″ gap in-between each row (space of one nickel). I then decided to cut my 1/4″ plywood at 4″ strips. Remember I was using scraps I had on hand so one shelf has 4 rows because of the size of pieces I had but I like the look of the 3 better.

Next I measured the distance/length of the back of the cabinet and cut the pieces according to that, I did check every piece to make sure it fit into the space and I adjusted if needed. After everything was cut into strips, I sanded the edges and fronts with #220 grit sandpaper. Once I was done sanding, I wiped all the wood with a clean cloth and washed the cabinets.

Now I could install the wood to the back of the cabinet. To do this, I added a bead of liquid nails onto the back of the plank (this is optional).

DIY plank cabinet-4

Starting at the bottom of one shelf, place a nickel (or penny) flat on the shelf right next to the back of the cabinet (I placed 3 nickels along the shelf). Then I placed the plank on the back of the cabinet, using the nickel to space it from the shelf. Now I added some finishing nails to the plank to hold it in place. For the next row, I again added liquid nails than spaced the plank a nickel away from the other plank and nailed into place. When I was using more than more plank board to get the length of the cabinet, I placed the sides of the boards flush together. I continued this process for the rest of the cabinets. And I was left with this.

DIY plank cabinet-5

Next I added wood filler to just the nail holes, after it dried I sanded with #220 grit sandpaper. After cleaning the cabinet with a vacuum and clean dry cloth, I then added caulk around the planks that touched the cabinet sides.

add planking to cabinet

Once the caulk dried, it was time for paint and primer. I did 2 coats of primer and 4 coats of paint, I used this same method to apply the paint, here. I also decided to add 2 coats of Polycrylic, see how I painted the inside of the rest of my kitchen cabinets here.

And here is my planked kitchen cabinets.

update kitchen cabinets for cheap

What do you think? Can you see why I wanted to add it to all my cabinets? Stay tuned for the rest of our kitchen makeover.

update cabinet for cheap

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  1. I absolutely love it and want to do this now. Thank you for the tutorial! I was wondering if it would be easier to paint the boards before you put them in the cabinet and then touch up as needed?

    1. Thanks Diane and Dean!! It would be easy to paint the boards before adding them but it was also easy to paint them once they were in the cabinet. All I did was cut in around the sides (which you would have to do either way) then I used a fold roller which took no time. But the choice would be up to you because both would work. Thanks for stopping by!!

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