How to Build an Outdoor TV Cabinet

Written by susan raphael
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How to Build an Outdoor TV Cabinet
Build a TV cabinet for your patio (pool patio image by L. Shat from

If you have the space on your porch, patio, or deck---and available electrical outlets---you might think about installing an outdoor television. You could show movies during barbecues, family photos during a special birthday or anniversary party, or just hang out by the pool with your favourite video. Building a cabinet to house the TV isn't difficult, and it will add to the comfort and decor of your outside space.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Tape measure
  • Brown paper
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Scissors
  • Masking tape
  • Wood boards
  • Circular saw
  • Carpenter's level
  • Sandpaper
  • Router
  • Paintbrush
  • Wood glue
  • Power drill
  • Countersink drill bit
  • 0.454kg Screws (heavy duty)
  • Auto body filler
  • 4 Caster wheels (heavy duty)
  • 4-6 Hinges (heavy duty, outdoor metal)
  • Handles
  • Paint or stain

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  1. 1

    Determine the depth of the television (distance from back to front) and then add four to six inches to the total to be sure that the cabinet has enough room for the television set, the wires, and some air. Measure how high the unit will have to be, and how many shelves it needs if you need separate spaces for additional components or storage. Make a record of these sizes, and then draw out the pattern's pieces on the brown paper using a pencil and ruler. Cut out the patterns using a pair of scissors. Your outdoor cabinet will have one big space for your television, with shelves beneath.

  2. 2

    Place the patterns for the side panels on the wood and draw around them with the pencil. Tape the patterns on the wood using masking tape and then cut the wood using a circular saw. Do the same with the top, bottom, and front pieces of the cabinet. Subtract two inches of depth from the shelf patterns to allow space for cords, and then cut the shelf patterns.

  3. 3

    Measure the size of your television. Measure horizontally from one corner of the television to the opposite corner to get the width of the TV. Then measure vertically from one corner going down to measure the height of the TV. Use the carpenter's level to make sure that all of the lines are straight. Measure the sizes of shelves of your TV cabinet.

  4. 4

    Cut a wood board according to the size of the top cover for the television cabinet, using a circular saw. Use the measurements that you took to determine how big should the cover be.

  5. 5

    Sand down the rough edges of all the wood panels that you have cut.

  6. 6

    Determine where the top, bottom, and shelf panels will slide into the side panels, and route out paths that are identical on each side panel for each panel using a router.

  7. 7

    Brush wood glue into one groove at the top of the cabinet and slide one side of the top panel into the groove on the left side panel. Brace the cabinet pieces as you work, and continue until you have inserted all of the panels into the side panel, and they all sit flush to the front of the panel.

  8. 8

    Insert a countersink bit into the drill and create starter holes for the screws across the outside of the unit, in all areas where the panels slide into the grooves on the inside. Begin from the corners and outmost edges. The starter holes should be spaced no more than an inch apart. Drive screws into the holes.

  9. 9

    Turn the cabinet on its side so that that the top, bottom, and shelves are standing up. Brush wood glue into the grooves of the second side panel. While someone else turns the cabinet towards you, slide the side onto the edges of the interior panels. Again, the interior panels must be flush with the front of the unit. Affix the screws as you did for the first side.

  10. 10

    Brush wood glue onto the cabinet's front edges and lay the front panel into place, squaring it with the carpenter's level. Drill countersunk starter holes to attach it to the side panels, and screw it together.

  11. 11

    Fill in any depressions around the screw heads with auto body filler. After that dries, sand down any rough spots.

  12. 12

    Measure the positions for the casters on the underside of the bottom panel and mark them carefully. Add a spacer between the wheels and the cabinet to ensure that they touch the floor. Screw them onto the unit.

  13. 13

    Screw the cover onto the top of the unit.

  14. 14

    Measure the exterior frame of the unit, and then measure and cut out a wood of that size. Find its midpoint, and cut it down the length of its middle, to create cabinet doors. Hold up each side to the cabinet, and mark where you would like to put the hinges. Mark hinge spots on both the cabinet and cabinet doors. Use the level to ensure that the hinges will be even from side to side, and then screw them onto the unit.

  15. 15

    Install the handles onto the front of the doors. Screw the cabinet door handles onto the front of the cabinet doors.

  16. 16

    Stand up your unit and either stain or paint it, or set it up on the deck now.

Tips and warnings

  • Wear heavy-duty gloves and eye protection when working with a saw.

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