How to Build an Apron Kitchen Cabinet

F.R.R. Mallory

An apron sink is like a farm sink. The sink has a front facing apron that overhangs the front of the sink base cabinet, which creates a country or farmhouse appearance.

An apron sink wraps down over the cabinet face.

If you want to install an apron sink in your existing cabinets or as part of a kitchen remodel, you will likely need to modify the sink base cabinet provided with your kitchen cabinets to support the additional size and weight of the apron sink. Cabinet manufacturers rarely offer apron-style cabinets, so you will need to build in the features you need for your sink selection.

  1. Measure the width of the apron sink. Select a sink base cabinet that is wide enough for the sink and has front facing stiles wide enough to cut the shape of the apron for a precise fit. Typically, the apron will be the height of a standard kitchen drawer with clearance so that your lower cabinet doors will fit and look seamless with the rest of the cabinets.

  2. Remove the top corner blocking of the cabinet by unscrewing each corner cross-piece with a screwdriver and detaching any drawer or door face at the top front of the cabinet.

  3. Refer to the sink manufacturer's top of cabinet to top of sink shelf measurement. Some apron sinks are over-mounted and rest on top of the counter top material, and some are under-mounted and attach to the underside of the counter. The mounting method will determine how to measure for the support shelf. If no information is available, measure from the top of the sink to the bottom of the sink for the overall depth. Subtract the thickness of the counter top for an over-mounted sink.

  4. Measure from the top edge of the back wall of the cabinet for the height of the support shelf. Add 3/8-inch and make a mark. Mark the inside back and inside side walls and draw a level line around all three sides. The line should be at the same height on all three panels and appear continuous. Measure the inside width of the cabinet and cut a 1-by-2 inch board to this length. Apply carpenter's glue to the backside of the board. Line up the top of the board with the line and clamp the board to the cabinet. Screw through the cleat and into the back of the cabinet with wood screws spaced every 6 inches.

  5. Stretch a tape measure from the inside of the cleat to the inside of the front cabinet and cut two pieces of 1-by-2 inch boards to this length. Apply glue to the back of each cleat and clamp the cleats aligned with the line. Screw the cleats into the side walls of the cabinet.

  6. Measure the inside dimensions of the cabinet and reduce each measurement by 1/8-inch. Cut 3/8-inch-thick plywood to this size. Measure, mark, drill or cut the openings for the sink drain, water pipes and any other pipes or obstacles. Apply glue along the top of the cleats. Insert the plywood over the cleats. Screw the plywood to the cleats with wood screws spaced every 6 inches.

  7. Place cardboard on the floor. Lay the sink apron on its side on the cardboard. Outline the outside dimensions of the apron onto the cardboard. Cut out the cardboard and fit it up against the apron. Make sure you factor in the top edge of the cardboard for an over-mount or under-mount installation. Place the cardboard on the face of the cabinet and trace the outline. Double-check your measurements then cut out the outline with a jigsaw. Test-fit the sink inside the cabinet and make any necessary adjustments before installing it permanently.

  8. Tip

    This is the type of project where you should check your measurements several times to prevent errors. The apron sink will allow you less room to install your plumbing so try to have the plumbing ready for as few connections inside the cabinet as possible after or during the sink installation.