The Steps to a DIY Gun Cabinet

The Steps to a DIY Gun Cabinet


Mathew R Reed
August 26, 2021

A gun cabinet provides a safe place to store your weapons and a great piece of décor as well, but buying one outright can be a costly affair.

If you’re handy with basic woodworking nothing is stopping you from building a DIY gun cabinet that looks just as good and saves a lot of money in the process.

How do you make a DIY gun cabinet?  A homemade gun cabinet is easy enough to do with some careful planning and basic woodworking experience.

You’ll want to start with the frame first, then build the back and sides, before finishing with the door, and you can decide the level of security and locking mechanisms you’ll include.

To help you get on your way, we’ve created this guide to answer all of your questions and give the lowdown on building a gun cabinet.

With one of these at home, your guns will be stored safely and securely, and you’ll get the bonus of a new piece of stylish furniture as well.

Can You Make Your Own Gun Cabinet?

Gun cabinets come in all shapes and sizes, and if you’d rather craft your own, it’s not that hard to do.

Most gun cabinets are made of some type of wood, which is the easiest material to work with if you’re making one as a DIY project.

To make a gun cabinet only requires some basic woodworking skills and a willingness to plan.

There’s a lot that goes into the initial stages of measuring, drawing, and cutting the wood, with the final piece of the puzzle securing it all together.

Gun cabinets can cost hundreds of dollars for a professionally made one, and even more, if it’s custom-built.

With a little bit of time and patience, you can build one for yourself and keep that money in your pocket for something else.

You’ll be able to create it to the exact configurations and features you need, so it’s even more appealing.

The Benefits of a Gun Cabinet

The Benefits of a Gun Cabinet

A responsible gun owner understands the importance of keeping their weapon locked away somewhere safe and sound.

If you already know you have a preference for a cabinet over a safe, you’ll be aware of the numerous benefits that these types of storage facilities can offer.

  • Easy accessibility: Although a gun cabinet should be kept locked at all times, they’re a lot easier for the owner to access with the key. Compared to a safe that can be an arduous task to get into, you’ll have your firearm ready as soon as you need it when it’s stored in a cabinet.
  • Affordability: The price of a quality gun cabinet versus a safe is quite dramatic, so if you want a more economical option that still delivers in security and looks, the cabinet is the clear winner. A premium gun cabinet will only cost a few hundred dollars and even custom-made ones are affordable.
  • Lightweight: No matter the type of wood used to make a gun cabinet, you’ll find them a lot lighter than a safe which means you can move their position around as needed. However, take care that they can’t be too easily moved by a potential thief.
  • Style: A gun cabinet is a classic and elegant way to display your firearms and a lot less sterile than a safe. Even if you don’t want to put them on show with a glass panel at the front, the hardwood accessory will add a lot to a room.

Read Also: Gun Safe vs Gun Cabinet: Which is Best?

Tools Required For Building

Tools Required For Building

Building a gun cabinet requires very little in the way of materials and if you have some spare plywood around, it’s even easier.

These are the simple components you’ll want to assemble before you get started to make your own gun cabinet.

  • Saw
  • Measuring tape
  • Pencil
  • Plywood
  • Electric drill
  • Screws
  • Wood glue
  • 2 x hinges
  • Latch for padlock
  • Plexiglass
  • Wood stain

Steps to Make a Gun Cabinet

Steps to Make a Gun Cabinet

Before you can jump into this project, you’ll need to spend some time measuring your firearms to see if they’ll fit.

The overall dimensions of this cabinet are six feet tall and four feet wide with a two-foot depth, but feel free to play around with measurements to get something that fits your guns and their accessories.

  1. The first piece to create is the back and front that will later be attached to the frame. Start by measuring up the wood using your tape measure and pencil, marking out a 6 x 4 foot piece of plywood for the front panel. Do this on a second piece of plywood for the back of the cabinet.
  2. On the front panel of wood, measure four inches from each edge and draw a perimeter that will be the space where the glass will go once it’s been cut out.
  3. Mark out the dimensions for the sides of the cabinet by marking out a 6 x 2 foot piece of wood, and repeat this step so you have a panel for either side.
  4. Mark out a 2 x 4 foot piece of plywood for the bottom and another for the top.
  5. Cut the marked wood out carefully and be sure to sand down the edges so they’re smooth, including the window of the front panel.
  6. Choose one side panel and one back panel and line them up so they’re flush. Use your electric drill to place screws every six inches down along the parts where they’re connected.
  7. Add the next side panel to this assembled part and then add the bottom and top pieces as well. Do not attach the front panel yet as this will be the door of the cabinet.
  8. Think about the gun holders you want inside of the cabinet, and if you plan on making these yourself, it’s as easy as cutting two pieces of plywood measuring 2 x 6 inches. Cut six notches into one of the pieces of wood, measuring every one inch. This is where your firearms will rest. Glue a piece six inches from the bottom of the cabinet and the one with notches six inches from the top.
  9. Screw the hinges onto the inside of the cabinet so they have six inches of clearance from the top and bottom.
  10. Cut the plexiglass down to size and glue it to the inside of the front panel of wood so its edges can’t be seen at the front.
  11. Attach the hinges to the front door once the plexiglass has been secured and the glue has dried.
  12. Place a latch on the front of the door where it closes so that you can lock the cabinet with a padlock.
  13. If you want to add a decorative touch, apply a wood stain to the entire exterior of the cabinet and leave it to dry before using it.

DIY Your Way to Stylish Gun Storage

A gun cabinet is an easy way to keep your guns stored and there’s no shortage of plans and tutorials available that cover just about any configuration you need.

If you’d rather keep your money in your pocket and are handy enough to perform some basic woodworking, building a DIY gun cabinet is the way to go.

Read Also: Best Gun Safe and Cabinets For Your Peace of Mind

The storage of firearms is serious business, especially when it comes to your home.

Gun cabinets are just one method of securing guns away, but there’s a lot to learn about doing it safely, so check out these FAQs and answers to find out more.

How Big Should a Gun Cabinet Be?

A gun cabinet or safe should be sized according to the firearms and other contents that are kept inside of it, considering capacity is based on weapons without accessories attached.

As a rule of thumb, opt for a larger safe than you might think at first glance as their sizes can be deceiving.

Does a Gun Safe Have to Be Bolted Down?

Most ready-made and custom gun safes are designed with pre-drilled mounting holes that enable them to be secured to the floor, but it’s not a requirement.

The act of bolting it down gives another layer of protection to your firearms and prevents a would-be thief from taking the entire safe.

What is the Best Gun Safe Liner Material?

The best choice for a quality liner that you can use inside of your gun safe or cabinet is something featuring neoprene or a latex-backed option like Polymat.

These materials are good for securing the weapons and ensuring nothing slips out of place, and they protect the firearms from potential damage as well.


Mathew R Reed

Mathew R Reed is a professional gun seller who runs a dedicated gun store in the suburbs of Oakland, CA. A hardcore hunting enthusiast since childhood, Reed has ample experience with guns and accessories. He is the founder of and creates some of the most helpful gun-buying guides and explainers. If not in the gun shop, you can find him on the nearest hiking trail or nearby hunting spot.