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Kitchen Cabinet Faux Panels

Customize new or existing kitchen cabinets by giving them the elegant look of raised-panel sides.

faux raised-panel kitchen cabinet

Project Overview

Skill Level


Estimated Time

1 weekend

Estimated Cost


Tools & Materials


  • Miter saw
  • Hammer or 18-gauge pneumatic nail driver
  • Carpenter’s square
  • Tape measure


  • 1/2 x 24 x 48 oak plywood
  • 8-ft oak base cap moulding, #128605
  • Minwax golden oak wood putty, #36957
  • #18 x 3/4-in wire brads

Items may be Special Order in some stores. Product costs, availability, and item numbers may vary online or by market. Paint colors may vary slightly from those shown. Availability varies by market for lumber species and sizes.

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Step 1

Panel sizing and layout diagram

Determine the size of the plywood panel based on the dimensions of your cabinet side. We left a 4-inch margin around the sides and top of the cabinet. The margin on the bottom is 4 inches from the panel to a horizontal line drawn at the level of the recessed toe kick. Cut the panel to size and sand smooth.

Good to Know

You can change the margins to suit your preference, but allow space on all sides for the moulding.

Step 2

Marking panel locations

Use a carpenter’s square against the front frame lip to measure and mark the plywood panel position.

Step 3

Nail a panel to the cabinet side

Nail the panel in position using 3/4-inch wire brads. Cover the nail holes with wood putty.

Step 4

Cut two pieces of moulding about 6 inches longer than the plywood panel sides and two pieces 6 inches longer than the top and bottom. Sand each piece smooth by hand with 120-grit and 180-grit sandpaper -- this is easier than sanding the moulding after it’s in place. Cut a moulding scrap with 45-degree miters on both ends as shown to use as a guide.

Step 5

Aligning mitered moulding on panel sides

Cut a 45-degree miter on what will be the top end of a piece of side moulding. Place the guide on top of the plywood panel at one corner and slide the mitered corner of the side moulding against the guide. Hold the moulding in place while you mark the other end flush with the bottom edge of the panel. Miter-cut both ends of the side moulding and nail it in place.

Good to Know

For a precise fit, cut just on the waste side of your mark. Then take off tiny amounts until you get a perfect fit. If you cut off too much from a side piece, recut it to use on the top or bottom.

Step 6

Mark moulding to be cut to length

Use the side moulding miters to position and mark the top and bottom mouldings. Cut them to length using the guide to test the fit, then nail them in place. For the last piece, cut the other side oversize and make repeated small cuts until it fits. Nail the side moulding in place and fill the nail holes plus any small gaps at the corners.

Step 7

Completed and painted faux panel

Prime the unfinished raised panel. Then paint the panel and cabinet.

Step 8

Faux panel on a wall cabinet

If you like the look, repeat the above steps to add panels to the sides of the wall cabinets as well.