How to replace the back of a piece of furniture!

Not too long ago, I saw the coolest antique radio cabinet on an online auction.  The radio was already removed, so the first thing that popped in my head was – Bar Cabinet!  The only problem?  The back was missing.  Luckily for me, and now for you, I know exactly what to do in this situation, and now you will too! Read on for ‘How to replace the back of a piece of furniture’!

Isn’t it gorgeous?

So I started working on the re-do.  When I finished with the inside, it was time to put the back on.

Picture of a cabinet missing the back

No back on the cabinet!

This is a super easy fix, whether it’s just missing, or if it’s in horrible shape and you want to replace it for a fresh look.  First things first, you’re going to want to measure the space you want to cover.  It’s important that I say, don’t simply measure the opening!  Measure at least 1/2″ past the opening on all 4 sides IF you have the room.  This backing needs to be 24 inches wide and 26 inches long.

Off to Home Depot we went!  You’ll want to look for a product called Luan Underlayment.  It’s a 1/4″ thick piece of plywood that looks nice, is light weigh, and easy to cut.  Typically they come in plywood sheet size, which is 4′ x 8′ but if you’re lucky, they should also have 24″ X 48″.  I certainly didn’t have room for a 4′ x 8′ sheet in the back of our car, so luckily for me, they DID have the smaller size. So back home we went, to measure the correct size, cut and put it on.  You guys, the hardest part of this is finding the correct wood at Home Depot!  Keep reading!

Flat lay photo of Luan Board

This is what it looks like!

So first, using the tape measure, I measured down 26″ all the way across.  You can just put little hash marks all the way across at 26 inches. Then I used my square (the black ‘L’ shaped thing) to make a super straight line all the way across.  Next, I used my ‘Worx’ saw to cut it.  If you guys don’t have one of these, I LOVE mine.  It’s lightweight and waay easier to use than a Skilsaw.  I use it for lots of things!

At the time of writing this blog post, it’s ON SALE on Amazon!  If you use my link, I get a small commission, and it doesn’t cost you any more!  You can find it HERE.

At this point, if you want to paint the backing or decoupage it, now’s the time.  It’s MUCH easier to do these things before you install the backing.  I won’t be doing that, as it’s the back of a cabinet that won’t be seen much, and I don’t want anything competing with the awesome decoupage paper I used on the shelves. If you LOVE the decoupage paper I used, it’s called ‘Marbled Scales’ and you can find it HERE. Once you’ve made that decision and done whatever (or nothing) it’s time to put the back up. It’s 100% easiest if you are able to place the piece face down, so that gravity doesn’t mess you up.  It’s hard to hold it up in place AND nail it on.  If you have no option to lay it down, either have a little help, or tape it into place.

Face down for backing

Line up the backing! Make sure you have enough nailing room all the way around.

So since this is such a small cabinet, I could have used just a hammer and some finishing nails.  I ended up using my electric brad nailer.  This is a good little nailer for small jobs like this, but pretty useless for anything more major. When nailing your backing on, be sure that you’re going through the backing and into the solid pieces around the opening.  If the nail goes in really easy, you may have missed the trim and have a nail sticking through the inside of your cabinet. If this happens, you can simply finish nailing and the put the piece upright, and gently tap it out from the inside.  If you won’t be able to reach to tap it out, that’s more of a hassle.  Just try really hard to have enough space all the way around so that ‘bust through’ doesn’t happen in the first place. Once you’ve nailed it on all the way around, you’re good to go!

*This blog post contains links to products that I either sale, or are affiliate links, with which I earn a small commission.  Using my links doesn’t cost you anymore, but it sure helps to keep my blog and other pages up and running, so thank you for your support!


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