Plans to Build a Curio Cabinet

A curio cabinet isn't just for Grandmother to store her knick-knacks. Choose from a range of curio cabinet designs and aesthetics to build one for yourself that frames and shows off your own treasures. Whether you choose to pay for plans or use free ones, a number of curio cabinet plans exist for every budget and decor.

Corner Cabinets

Let a room's aesthetic guide curio cabinet design.

For a curio cabinet that fits neatly in the corner of your room, use plans that produce a triangular cabinet instead of the traditional rectangle. Build your corner curio cabinet to measure at least 70 inches tall, around 30 inches wide and 20 inches deep. With these dimensions, it's possible to include at least three triangular shelves at the top and a two-door closed cabinet at the base. If you decide not to draw up the plans yourself, look to online vendors for either free or paid plans. For example, Woodcraftplans.com offers plans for small cost, which include step-by-step instructions, a materials list, diagrams and drawings and full-size patterns and photos. Better Homes and Gardens offers free corner cabinet plans and Dale Austin's free online plans for a corner cabinet may also fit the bill.

Arts and Crafts Cabinet

To coordinate with an early 20th century interior, design a curio cabinet in the Arts and Crafts style. Use glass doors and up to four shelves to hold arts-and-crafts treasures. For solid joinery, use mortise and tenon construction. Achieve a more authentic finish by using antique or reproduction hardware. If you don't make your own plans, consult the plans available through "American Woodworker" magazine, which offers an "Arts and Crafts Cabinet." The piece features two glass doors and four ample shelves. The cabinet measures 64 inches high, 42 inches wide and 15 inches deep. The plans come from the May-June 1993 edition of the magazine, available online.

Flexible Cabinet

A curio cabinet can also be adapted to more contemporary lines. Glass doors work for a light, modern approach. To lighten and modernize things even further, forego wood for individual shelves and use glass instead. Build gently tapered legs to lift the curio cabinet from the ground. Maple or birch plywood are choices for a modern and durable piece. Popular Mechanics offers a sleek design with these specifications that they call "an armoire for all seasons," adaptable to many ends with optional glass or solid doors. The November 1985 issue of the magazine includes full photographs, instructions, plans and materials lists.