DIY Entertainment Center

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BLACK+DECKER B+D Contributor 186 Projects

Build this smart entertainment center to blend technology with old-school woodworking. The system contains three individual sections. The middle section is 41” wide, with a single shelf for electronics and components. The two upright shelf units are 15-3/4” square, and have five shelves each for DVDs, lamps, photographs and more. When fully assembled, the complete system is 15-3/8” deep, 5’ tall and 6’ wide. You can accomplish this project in under one weekend using basic woodworking skills.

Below are the TOOLS + MATERIALS you'll need:

Things Youll Need

How to Build a DIY Entertainment Center

  1. Cut the Pieces

    Cut the following pieces with the BLACK+DECKER 20V MAX* 5-1/2 in. Circular Saw:

    From the 3/4 x 2-1/2" alder stock:

    • (8) pieces, 60" long for the upright legs
    • (4) pieces, 24" long for the middle section legs

    From the 3/4 x 1-3/4" alder stock:

    • (8) pieces, 60" long for the upright legs
    • (4) pieces, 24" long for the middle section legs

    From the 3/4" birch plywood:

    • (10) pieces, 13-7/8 x 13-7/8" for the shelves on the uprights
    • (2) pieces, 13-7/8 x 39-1/2" for the top and bottom shelves on the middle section
    • (1) piece, 13-7/8 x 38" for the center shelf on the middle section
    • (4) pieces, 13-7/8 x 20-1/4" for the sides on the uprights and middle section
    • (2) pieces, 9-3/4 x 13-7/8" for the vertical dividers on the middle section
    • (1) piece, 8 x 11" for the TV converter dock 

    From the 1/8" lauan plywood stock:

    • (1) piece, 24 x 41" for the back of the middle section
    • (2) pieces, 15-3/8 x 24" for the backs on the uprights
    • (1) piece, 8 x 11" for the bottom of the TV converter dock

    View Step 2
  2. Glue the Leg Pieces

    Apply wood glue to one edge of one of the 1-3/4 x 60" pieces of alder. Place it flush along the edge of one of the 2-1/2 x 60" pieces of alder to form an L-shaped leg that measures 2-1/2 x 2 1/2". Clamp the pieces along their length.

    Wait one hour and remove the clamps. Repeat the process to assemble three more 60" legs. Use the same technique to assemble four 24" legs, again using 1-3/4" and 2-1/2" alder pieces.

    View Step 3
  3. Build the Uprights

    Apply wood glue to the corners of the 13-7/8" plywood shelves, and fit them between the four 60" legs. The corners of the plywood fit inside the L shapes of the legs. The measurements from the bottom of the leg to the top of the shelves are as follows:

    • 3" for the first shelf
    • 24" for the second shelf
    • 36" for the third shelf
    • 48" for the fourth shelf
    • 60" for the fifth shelf, flush with the top 

    Hammer two 1-1/4" finish nails through each side of the legs into the plywood shelves. Stand up the two assemblies, and choose a left and a right. Insert one of the 3/4 x 13-7/8 x 20-1/4" side pieces of lauan plywood on the bottom left side of the left upright and on the bottom right side of the right upright.

    Use the BLACK+DECKER SMARTECH™ 20V MAX* Lithium Drill/Driver to screw the side pieces to the insides of the legs with 1 1/4" screws. You don't need to drill pilot holes. Screw the 1/8 x 15-3/8 x 24" pieces of lauan plywood on the back of each bottom section, using the drill/driver and 3/4" screws placed about 6" apart.

    View Step 4
  4. Build the Middle Section

    Apply wood glue to the corners of the two 13-7/8 x 39" shelves. Fit them between the four 24" legs. Install the first shelf 3" up from the bottom. Install the second shelf flush with the tops of the legs. Fasten the legs to the shelves with 1-1/4" finish nails, as with the tall uprights, using two nails on each side of the legs.

    View Step 5
  5. Add Sides and the Shelf to the Middle Section

    Fit the 3/4 x 13-7/8 x 20-1/4" plywood sides inside the middle section, vertically on both ends, and screw both pieces to the inside of the legs with 1-1/4" screws. Fit the 13-7/8 x 38" plywood middle shelf centered vertically, inside the frame.

    Hammer four finish nails through both 13-7/8 x 20-1/4" plywood sides to secure the horizontal shelf to the frame.

    View Step 6
  6. Add the Vertical Dividers

    Apply glue to the ends of the 9-3/4 x 13-7/8" plywood dividers. Fit one divider centered on the top shelf, and one divider on the bottom shelf, directly below the top one. Hammer two finish nails through the top and bottom shelf to secure the dividers.

    Flip the box on its face. Screw the 24 x 41" piece of 1/8" lauan plywood flush to the back of the cabinet with 3/4" screws, placed about 6" apart.

    View Step 7
  7. Cut and Install Shelf Facing and Round Edges

    Measure and cut one 3/4 x 1-1/2" piece of alder stock for each shelf facing. Fit the facing between the legs, flush with the top of each plywood shelf. Measure and cut each piece to fit:

    • (30) pieces, 10-3/8" long for the upright shelf facings
    • (3) pieces, 36" long for the middle section
    • (2) pieces, 9-3/4" long for the vertical facings on the middle section

    Use the BLACK+DECKER MOUSE® Detail Sander to round the 1-1/2" edges on the ends of the shelf facing pieces approximately 1/8".

    Install a 1/8” roundover bit  into the BLACK+DECKER 10 Amp Variable Speed Plunge Router, and run it around all the corners and edges of the unit to round them. Rounding the edges creates a V-groove joint that gives the unit a finished appearance. Apply glue to the shelf facings, and nail them to the shelves with 1-1/4" nails, spaced 4" apart.

    View Step 8
  8. Make the TV Converter Dock

    Position the TV converter unit and the remote on the 3/4 x 8 x 11" piece of birch plywood, in the desired positions. Trace around each unit with a pencil. Remove the units, and use the drill/driver to drill a 3/8" hole inside of each traced outline.

    Insert the blade of the BLACK+DECKER 20V MAX* Cordless Lithium Jigsaw into each hole and cut out the opening along the outline. Hand-sand the insides of the cutouts smooth with 100-grit sandpaper. Wrap sandpaper around a 1/2" dowel and use it to sand a recess into the wood to create a finger-grip space on both sides of the remote cutout.

    View Step 9
  9. Add a Back and Corkboard

    Apply glue to the back of the plywood dock. Place the 1/4 x 8 x 11" piece of lauan plywood on the back and clamp the pieces together. Allow the glue to dry for 1 hour. Use the TV converter unit as a template to trace a rounded corner on each corner of the dock. Cut the rounded corners with the jigsaw.

    Use a utility knife to cut 1/2"-thick black corkboard to fit inside the converter and remote cutouts. Set the cork pieces aside; you will install them after finishing the dock.

    View Step 10
  10. Sand and Finish Everything

    Use a nail set and hammer to drive all exposed nail heads slightly below the wood surfaces of the entertainment units. Apply wood putty to all the nail holes with a putty knife. When the putty is dry (about 15 minutes), sand everything smooth with the MOUSE® Detail Sander and 100-grit sandpaper, rounding the edges and corners, as desired. Also sand the rounded corners of the dock.

    Apply a water-based stain (we chose Ebony) to everything with a soft cloth, and let it dry as directed by the manufacturer. Spray all of the pieces with one coat of aerosol lacquer to seal the wood. Let the lacquer dry as directed. Sand everything again by hand with 120-grit sandpaper. Finish with one or two more coats of lacquer. When the lacquer has dried completely, place the cork pieces into the dock.

    View Step 11
  11. Individual Entertainment Units

    The individual entertainment units are freestanding, but they can be joined together, if desired. Join the units with two 2" screws, driven through the shelf facings of the bottom and second shelves of the uprights. Drill pilot holes for the screws, using a 5/32" drill bit.

    Depending on what type of screw you're using, pilot holes should be just slightly smaller than the screw.

    The idea is to allow the hole to be big enough for the screw to pass through without splitting the wood, but at the same time, small enough so that the threads grip firmly.