Introduction

completed jelly cupboard to illustrate How to Build a Jelly Cupboard
Photo: Ryan Benyi
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This classic cabinet became popular in the mid-1800s, when heartland homesteaders, far from town centers, needed a handy spot to stockpile preserves. Sometimes you'll see more ornate, antique versions in oak or cherry, but most are painted pine, like this handsome example. If you want to build one, we recommend working with edge-glued panels. They give you enough width to get the face frame and door out of a single piece, and, unlike plywood, the cut edges are smooth and feel finished when painted. If you prefer to spend your time canning, you can certainly buy a cupboard. Typically, the more you pay, the more weathered the finish. But whether you build or buy, don't think you have to keep this versatile accent piece in the kitchen—or stocked with jelly, for that matter.

Shown: Colonial Primitive Jelly Cabinet, Michelle's Pretty Prims, about $95; etsy.com
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    Tools List

    • 30-foot tape measure
      Tape measure
    • pencil
      Pencil
    • spring clamp
      Clamp
    • straight edge
      Straightedge
    • circular saw
      Circular saw
    • pneumatic brad nailer
      Pneumatic brad nailer
    • air compressor
      Air compressor
    • jigsaw
      Jigsaw
    • 1-quart paint can
    • 1-gallon paint can
    • shims
      Corrugated cardboard or shims
    • drill
      Drill/driver
    • 1/8-inch bit with combination countersink
      -inch combination countersink bit
    • 1/8-inch twist bit
      -inch drill bit
    • sandpaper
      220-grit sandpaper
    • 2½-inch sash brush

    Shopping List

    ¾-inch by 18-inch edge-glued-pine panels Get two 6-footers.

    ¼-inch pine plywood Get one 2-by-4-foot sheet.

    1 ¼-inch brad nails

    No. 8 1¼-inch wood screws

    Cabinet knob

    Surface cabinet hinges Get two.

    Wood glue

    Wood filler

    Paint