How to Build a DIY Outdoor Buffet Cabinet

Posted by: on June 28th, 2013 | 27 Comments
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Red Outdoor Buffet Cabinet open and hanging on a wall outside

Impress your guests with a delightful DIY Outdoor Buffet Cabinet. Follow the step-by-step instructions to build this one-day project. We also have downloadable instructions you can print.

Skill Level: Difficult
Time: 4-6 hours (including drying time)
Cost: Under $50
Tools and Materials

  • 1 × 6 lumber, 14 linear feet
  • 1 piece of 38 1/2-inch 1 x 2
  • 40 x 16-inch piece of sanded plywood
  • 1/2-inch square dowel rod approximately 14 inches in length
  • Light-duty #3 double-loop chain approximately 4 feet in length
  • Box of 1 1/2-inch coarse thread wood screws
  • Eyehooks and 1/8-inch S-hooks (same size as chain)
  • Continuous (piano) hinge 36 inches long
  • High-quality wood glue
  • Decorative latch
  • Hanging mounts
  • Level or T-square
  • Sandpaper
  • Marker
  • Power saw
  • Wood filler
  • Exterior stain or paint

Step 1


Click this image to enlarge

Grab all of your supplies from your local Home Depot.

The wood can be cut to size at your local Home Depot store or you can do it yourself with a power saw, carefully measuring and cutting each piece to fit.

Using a power drill to build the frame for an Outdoor Buffet Cabinet


Step 2
Assemble the sides, top and bottom pieces to make the frame. Ensure they are accurately put together using a level or T-square.

Carefully apply wood glue on both sides of where the pieces will meet before joining. Then, fasten together with wood screws, making sure to quickly take off any excess wood glue that is visible.


Applying wood glue to wood to build an Outdoor Buffet Cabinet


Step 3

Next, place the back top, middle, and shelf pieces, making sure all are flush and square.

Install and fasten them to the frame using the same steps and materials used in Step 2.


Using a power drill to install the hinge for an Outdoor Buffet Cabinet


Step 4

Center and then attach continuous hinge onto the front plywood piece with the screws provided from the hinge.

Make sure the other side of the hinge is fastened to the bottom portion of the bottom piece of the buffet. Test the hinge to make sure the front piece closes and opens properly.

Adding S hooks to the sides of the frame for an Outdoor Buffet Cabinet


Step 5

Next, attach eyehooks and S-hooks a few inches from the inside edge of the front piece and on the inside sides of the buffet frame.

Install your chain onto the S-hook, making sure it is secure. Having extra chain at this step is fine, as you can cut and change the length if it is too long.

At this stage, test all parts to ensure the front piece works efficiently.

Using a power drill to add stops to the bottom of the frame for an Outdoor Buffet Cabinet


Step 6

Inspect where you’ll be putting the two square dowel rod bottom stops, ensuring they will stop at 90 degrees when the front piece is folded down. Before fastening them to the front, make sure they will be placed a few inches from the edges of the front piece.

These bottom stops are important; they will help the front piece support weight from whatever is being placed on it once it is opened for use.

Then inspect all areas of the buffet, sand down rough areas and be sure to fill any screw holes or gaps with wood filler.

Any remaining wood glue can be sanded, leaving you with a smooth professional-like finish.

Brushing on a red coat of paint onto the Outdoor Buffet Cabinet


Step 7

Apply paint or stain of your choice to all wood surfaces.

You may choose to take off the metal hinges and eyebolts at this step, or mask off to ensure the metal pieces are unaffected. Make sure whichever stain or paint you decide to use is exterior grade and has a durable finish once it is dry.

Most stains will need a top clear coat of exterior polyurethane or similar clear coat. If you choose to paint the wood surfaces, a primer is recommended to ensure a professional and even-looking finish for the final top coat.

Using a power drill to add mounting clips to the frame of an Outdoor Buffet Cabinet


Step 8

After your paint or stain is dry, apply the top latch and back mounting clips to ensure the buffet is secure and will stay in place.

The type of screw or mounting system you will need depends on the wall surface where you’re placing the buffet. Always refer to the mounting system instructions to determine if it will work.


Red Outdoor Buffet Cabinet open and hanging on a wall outside


Step 9

Mount the assembled and completed buffet cabinet, checking it with a level after installation to make sure that it will be fully functional and safe.
Download printable instructions for this DIY Outdoor Buffet Cabinet and get started!
And while you’re at it, take a look at more DIY projects here on The Home Depot blog.


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Leave a Comment

  1. julie says:

    This design would be great in that diy motorhome coversion that we all fantasize about

  2. Kay says:

    I would use one of these inside as a desk perfect for small living areas!!

  3. Rebecca says:

    Is it meant to always stay open? If not, any pictures to show what it looks like closed?

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  8. Vicki says:

    Hi Craig, I’m in the process of building the buffet, but cannot find a piano hinge without ordering it. Is there a substitute I could use? Also, as it will be outdoors, I assume it should be a stainless steel hinge, correct? Thanks so much :-)

    • Craig Allen says:


      Have you tried your local Home Depot store for the continuous hinge? There should be several such to choose from. This isn’t normally a specialty order kind of thing.

      The hinge doesn’t have to be stainless steel. These hinges often come in nickle, which is designed to withstand weathering.

      A Home Depot associate would be happy to show you to the continuous hinges, and to consult on which one is best for this project.

      -Craig, from The Home Depot

      • Vicki says:

        Hi Craig, thanks for the quick reply. I have been there and they did not have a 36″. But, I think I will get the 48″ nichel and cut it. Or, as I made mine a little smaller at a total length of 36″, could I get away with a 30″? Vicki :-)

        • Craig Allen says:


          You could probably get away with a 30-inch hinge.


          • Vicki says:

            Thanks Craig! Now I’m trying to figure out how to hang it on vinyl siding without creating holes. It’s going to be a gift (I’ll post pics :-) ) and the intended is VERY particular about those kinds of things. Went to HD last night but they were unable to help. The 4-6 hours is turning into 46 hours for me(!) but I’m enjoying the process. Thanks again.

          • Craig Allen says:

            Vicki, you’re getting beyond my very low level of expertise. But, help is available.

            I’ve posted your question on our online How-To Community Forums. We have a team of home improvement and DIY experts there to answer questions such as this.

            Just click here to go to where I posted your question. You’ll be getting expert advice there shortly.

            -Craig, from The Home Depot

  9. Katie says:

    LOVE this super cute outdoor buffet cabinet! Must go make on now!

  10. Delle says:

    Looks great! HOWEVER, it really does need a back to the cabinet.

    Otherwise, you will have spiders, yellowjackets or whatever likes a secluded place inhabiting it whenever you open it (and I live in the North). You can clearly see the openings made by the angled clapboard siding.

    Should be an easy fix.

    Thanks for the great project idea!

  11. Cute, love it, it looks great!

  12. Barb says:

    I like it. And it is easy to do – because I made one last summer!

  13. Jeremy says:

    This would be alot better if you could actually read the measurements. You can’t see the measurements at all!

    • Craig Allen says:

      I’m sorry about that, Jeremy.

      I’ve replaced that image with a bigger one that should be easier to read. If it’s STILL not clear, click the image for a really big version of it.

      Thanks for pointing out the problem.

      -Craig, from The Home Depot

  14. Kirk says:

    I want to try this project, but I can’t make out the dimensions in the illustration. Is there another way to see the exact measurements for this?

    • Craig Allen says:

      Sorry about that, Kirk.

      That illustration was pretty unclear.

      I’ve replaced it with a larger, clearer illustration. And if that’s still too small, click the image to see a really big version of it.

      Thanks for pointing out the problem.

      -Craig, from The Home Depot

  15. This is adorable, and the photography is wonderful, making this project seem very doable. Looks like you wouldn’t recommend this for beginners, but the way you break it down so clearly, I think I could manage it. A great summer resource for entertaining easily outside on the porch!