Planning a Kitchen Renovation Using SketchUp, part 2

By Sean Headrick
San Jose, California

Last month we started the process of designing a kitchen renovation using SketchUp . We started the process by modeling the building environment, showing the placement of doors and windows, then adding moldings and door and window casings. We also saw how to use product documentation and images from the Internet to make models of appliances and fixtures not already available in the 3D warehouse.

This month we will see how to make cabinets for the kitchen, create flat panel as well as glass panel doors, then make drawers and add hardware to finish your kitchen design. The cabinets we are modeling in this example communicate a good level of detail but are not meant to illustrate construction details. Using the overall dimensions of each cabinet I normally create separate models for more precise measurements and assembly views. Once familiar with the techniques described here, you should have no problem creating all types of cabinet models.

Base Cabinets

I tend to start with cabinets that have to be a predetermined width like sink bases or microwave cabinets, then build the remaining units.

• Start by using construction guides to define the dimensions of your cabinet. A standard base cabinet is 24" deep, so your base should be 21" deep to allow for a 3" toe kick.

• Use the rectangle tool to draw the base of your cabinet.

• Select the push/pull tool and raise the base 3".

NOTE: To model accurately, you need to use the measurements box to enter values for the functions you perform when modeling. If you do not see the measurements box at the bottom of your screen, you can enable it by choosing VIEW>TOOLBARS>MEASUREMENTS from the toolbar at the top of your screen.

• With the push/pull tool still selected, press the control key. You can see this will toggle on and off a "+" symbol next to your cursor. This allows you to create a new face. I think this is especially useful for woodworkers as it helps to define where joints would occur. With the "create new face" option on, pull the base up 31.5". This should bring the height of the base cabinet up to 34.5" (36" standard counter height less 1.5" for the counter top)

• Push/pull the front of the cabinet forward 3".

• With the offset tool , hover over the top of the cabinet. You will see the edges that will be affected by the tool. Offset towards the inside of the cabinet 3/4". This defines the sides, face frame, and back of the cabinet.

• Push/pull the new face down 30.75" to leave a 3/4" bottom in your cabinet.

• Using construction guides, lay out the locations of the openings in the front of your cabinet.

• Choose the rectangle tool. Using the construction lines you made, draw rectangles where the drawer and door openings will be.

• Push/pull the faces through to create the openings.

• You should now make the carcase a group by triple clicking the object to select all the geometry, right click, and choose Make Group from the drop down menu.


These steps will describe how to create flat inset panel and divided light glass doors. Once familiar with the process you should be able to create many different door styles.

• Using the rectangle tool, draw your door starting from the upper left hand corner to the center point along the bottom of the opening. ( SketchUp will infer to center points and end points as your cursor passes over them).

• Push/pull the face of the door in 3/4" for flush inset doors or out for overlay doors.(For overlay doors you will also need to push/pull the edges to create the amount of overlay for your specific application.)

• For frame and panel doors, use the offset tool on the face of the door to determine the width of your rails and stiles, then push/pull the face of the panel in 1/4" to 3/8".

• For glass doors, begin the same way. Once you have offset the width of your rails and stiles, right click on the line that is the inside edge of the stile of your door. Choose Divide from the drop down menu. This will create more or fewer divisions as you move up and down the line. As I mentioned, center points are always recognized, so dividing the rail is not necessary unless you plan on having more than two panes of glass from side to side.

• With the line tool, draw lines dividing the space based on the divisions you set up in the previous step. These will be the center lines of the glass mullions.

• Choose the offset tool. With your cursor in one of the panes, offset 3/16" to 1/4". Do this in each one of the divisions until you have created offset rectangles in all of the panes. (Double clicking with the offset tool creates the same offset as the last time the tool was used).

• Erase the center lines you created in the previous step.

• Push/pull the area where the glass will be located through creating the divided lights, then push the mullions back about 1/4". Make all the door geometry created thus far into a group .

• To make the glass, draw a rectangle onto the back of the whole grille.

• Choose the paint bucket/materials tool. A dialog box will appear. Click to expand the material drop down menu and choose Translucent from the material options. Select one of the materials (I use the greenish type glass) and apply the material to the rectangle you made.

• With the selection tool, while holding the shift key to select multiple items, pick the "door" group and the glass. With your cursor over the selections, right click and choose Make Component from the drop down menu. This should be a component and not a group because you are going to have multiple instances in your model.

• Select the new component and Move a Copy over to create a second door.


In this example we will model a flush inset drawer face. As before, once you understand the concepts presented you should be able to create overlay drawer fronts using similar steps.

• Start by drawing a rectangle that matches the drawer opening.

• Using the offset tool create the drawer box by offsetting by 1/2". Depending on the type of drawer hardware you use, you can adjust the clearance you need, but this should be accurate enough for the purposes of this model.

• Select and delete the face around the drawer box.

• Push/pull the drawer box into the opening about 22".

• With the offset tool, double click the top of the drawer box repeating the last measurement of 1/2" (a typical drawer material thickness).

• Push/pull the new face created down approximately 1/2" shy of the total height of the drawer box, leaving the drawer bottom.

• Select the drawer and make it a group.

• For the drawer front, draw a rectangle matching the drawer opening as you did before.

• Push/pull the rectangle forword 3/4" to make the drawer front.

• Select the drawer front and the drawer box and make them a group or component.

• Select the drawer group/component. Using the move tool, click once on the corner of the drawer front and click a second time on the corresponding corner of the drawer opening to place it in the correct position.

To finish up your model, go to the 3D warehouse to find the perfect knobs and drawer pulls . I like these bin pulls for most of my drawers. I hope you find these techniques useful, whatever your project. If you have any questions or article requests, please don't hesitate to send me an email .

Sean Headrick, a former Atlantan once seen frequently at Highland Woodworking, now lives in San Jose, California where he does woodworking and design. His website is . Sean was interviewed by Wood News in 2007.

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