How to Build a Display Case Cabinet That Will Impress Your Guests

by Kelly-n-Tony
21 Materials
8 Hours

Today, I'm going to show you how to build a display case cabinet with plexiglass doors.

If you have any woodworking tools at all you can easily make a very nice DIY display case. We used a table saw, miter saw, router, hand sander, bandsaw, scroll saw, brad nailer, GRR-ripper, and drill.

DIY display case

This one was made with materials we had on hand for a neighbor boy who wanted to display one of his collections.

The Grr-Ripper will keep all fingers intact!

1. Measure the pieces

You'll need five pieces of scrap ½" plywood that are 19"x3" and two pieces that are 20"x3" and one piece that is 20"x20".

The front door plexiglass scrap we had was about 18"x18" and a simple front wooden frame was made to fit it from scraps.

The five 19"x3" pieces will be used for the top and bottom pieces of the box plus the three shelves and the two 20"x3" for the left and right sides of the back part of the box. The 20"x20" piece is the back.

Nailing the pieces in place

2. Nail the pieces in place

Here the back was nailed to the sides with the brad nailer.

Fitting the plexiglass to the frame

3. Fit the plexiglass to the frame

We used a scrap of plexiglass we had so it wasn't the ideal size but simply cut the wood frame pieces to fit. A router was used to cut a step into the frame wood the same thickness as the plexiglass so it fit flush.

Cutting the frame to a 45-degree angle

The frame wood was cut at 45-degree angles so the corners match up correctly. Once the 4 pieces were cut, they were glued, clamped, and nailed into a frame shape.

Painting the DIY display case black

4. Paint

Once the box and front frame were assembled, they were painted black.

Installing the plexiglass doors

5. Install the plexiglass

Pilot holes were drilled in the back of the front frame close to the edge so that the plexiglass would be on all four sides of the inner frame. Then the plexiglass was installed using ½" screws with washers in the pilot holes.

Adding the hardware to the display case

6. Add the hardware

The plexiglass front frame was lined up to the back box and small hinges were attached to the left side. Here you see on the right side a spring catch was installed to hold the door shut.

Making handles for the doors

7. Make a handle

It was quite tight to open so he made a handle out of a scrap piece of wood but it would be easier to purchase a small knob.

Cutting grooves into the shelves

8. Cut grooves into the shelves

Cutting a groove into the shelves will keep items from slipping out of place although cutting and gluing a strip of felt as we did also works.

How to build a display case

How to build a display case

You might choose to simply set it on a dresser or table but hangers on the back are easy and cheap if you choose to hang it on the wall.

What would you display in a cabinet like this? Let us know in the comments below.

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3 of 6 comments
  • Myrna Roy Collins Myrna Roy Collins on Jan 17, 2020

    This is really awesome. I'm working on getting my tools in order to reset up my workshop. I also have scrap wood and plexiglass I could use. Different colors would make it usable for kids and their keepsake toys and special gifts.

  • Donna Donna on Jan 23, 2020

    I know it’s totally not the same thing, and very outdated...., but have you ever seen a CD display case?

    It displays your, CD collection just like a photo photo frame does your photos. Idk why this reminded me of one. 🤣

    Maybe, bc of the way it hangs and latches and has nice shelves inside.

    Hey, it’s an idea for you, since you are handy in the workshop.

    I’ll see if I can find a photo of one.

    • Kelly-n-Tony Kelly-n-Tony on Jan 24, 2020

      You're right, it does look like one lol. Well they say everything comes back so I guess it does lol