Kitchen Island Tutorial

Today's post is a step by step tutorial on making a miniature island.  The design includes a breakfast bar, a working set of drawers, and space at the ends for optional shelves or design elements.  My design is based on this real-life kitchen island here.

For this project, I used Basswood in 1/16" thickness. As well as 3/32" cove moulding, 1/8" by 1/16" and 1/4" by 1/8" strip wood for trim.  For reference, the counter top is currently unfinished in the photographs and is 1/8".  If you are going to have shelves at the ends I would recommend 1/16". Also, I used a set of drawers from a basic Houseworks worktable that I took apart (you can see the table in my previous Thanksgiving post).  Alternatively, you could make your own or leave them non-opening.  Let's begin!

These are your basic components.  Front, sides, and drawers.  I used a regular bandsaw to cut my pieces quickly, but because the wood is so thin you could just use a knife.  I will admit I built this island 3 times with different dimensions before I got it just right.  The measurements I used  in the end were: (2) 2 3/4" by 3 1/8" for the ends, (1) 2 3/4" by 6 1/2" for drawer front, (1) 2 3/4" by 5" for inside (not shown above), and (10 ) 2 3/4" by 12/16" for little pieces that make up the boxes.  You will need to take into consideration your kitchen size, my island is slightly lower than the rest of my kitchen cabinets to allow for a better view.


Front with cut out for drawers and inside piece:

See the way the front overlaps both the ends?

Next fit in your drawer.  Next time I'll probably make my own.  They look really simple to make:

Then you will need to attach the inside piece using glue:

Time to add trim, knobs and finishes.  I first switched the Houseworks drawer handles for chrome knobs to match the rest of the kitchen. A really simple and quick fix.

Next, rim the sides and baseboard using the strip wood. I used the 1/8" by 1/16" for the cabinet part and the 1/4" by 1/8" for the baseboard.

The trim really adds a lot of bulk to the boxes .  It also means that the sides by the bar and the sides at the end will now look like they are different widths because of an overlap of trim.

Wider side↑ and  Shorter end↓ (see the overlap?)

For a more ornate look you can choose to add in decorative moulding (cove is shown).  I used scissors or my knife to cut it and roughly measure it using no ruler (ah!).  It's pretty forgiving and any gaps are filled in with paint.
The design I picked for the front: two tall cabinets and two lower.  Because the drawers were made so close together I only put cove above and below the two drawers rather then on all four sides.  Its something I compromised on but once painted I think it looks okay.
Paint according to your kitchen design.  I am showing you a basic paint finish.  I still need to stain the baseboards once I have chosen the colour on all my cabinets and floor.  Add your knobs, these are Elf miniatures chrome knobs in the smallest size (B).

There you are! You can now decide to either add shelves or something decorative to the ends.  Personally I think I'm going to add shelves and I will update with the final results.

I found a great way to make drawer pulls which will be explained next time.  The countertops were also re-cut and I'll be working on them too.

Hope you found this tutorial helpful and it gives you some mini inspiration!


  1. Hi Kristine! What a great look and what a wonderful tutorial for this kitchen island! I am very impressed by the way this has turned out and it is just Perfect for your kitchen!
    Thanks for sharing and I may just have a go at it myself! :D


  2. You did some serious justice to the original design. Great work and thanks for sharing your process. Very inspiring. :D

  3. Hola! gran tutorial :) una pregunta el material que usted llama tilo es igual que la balsa?

    1. Hi Yushara!
      Esperemos que recibí tu pregunta correcta (el traductor no le gustaban los nombres madera!) Creo que usted está preguntando acerca de la tilo Yo solía. Sí, es muy similar a la Balsa! Prefiero tilo porque es un poco más fuerte. Ambos tienen el mismo aspecto. Las tiendas donde vivo oferta tanto así que pueden elegir. Balsa funciona muy bien también!
      Espero que ayude!

  4. OMG! You did such a wonderful job and I appreciate you for sharing your information with us. I am wondering how you did your stove area, particularly that carved wood piece that is holding up the shelf with the dishes. How did you do this or where did you purchase it?

  5. Hi! I'm looking to buy (no time to construct myself) some pieces for a kitchen. If you are interested in making, or if you already have pieces you'd be willing to sell and they fit the style I need, please email me.

  6. Hermoso me pasarias las medidas en cm gracias

  7. Un trabajo espectacular Kristine! Llevo dos horas admirando tus minis y estoy maravillada con la cantidad de detalles que escenificas. Es una pasada!!!!

  8. Un trabajo espectacular Kristine! Llevo dos horas admirando tus minis y estoy maravillada con la cantidad de detalles que escenificas. Es una pasada!!!!


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