How to Build a TV Lift Cabinet – Part 2 | Beginner-Friendly Woodworking Project With a Free Plan

Last Updated:  October 2, 2021

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This is the 2nd and final episode of our TV lift cabinet build! We’re building the top and cutting out the lid, adding trim to the top and bottom of the cabinet, painting the cabinet, staining and applying clear coat to the top, and then we’ll install it in the house!

This is a project with several steps, but it is something that a beginner can build. The only power tools you need are a circular saw, miter saw, and drill. I also use my DIY track saw guide to make using the circular saw a breeze. I’ve got videos and articles on each of those tools and the track guide.

Making the Top

I started making the top in two sections; the first with three red oak 1x6s and the second with two red oak 1x6s. Once they were dry I cut 4 1/2″ off of each end. These pieces then get glued to the other section.

I also cut about 1/16″ from the front of the lid to allow clearance to open and close it.

When the TV is fully raised the lid needs to lean back at less than a 90 degree angle so that it will close on its own once the TV is lowered. The more I looked at mine the more I realized that it was going to be close. So, to be sure, I added a 2″x10″ platform to bring the TV lift in a bit. You might want to test fit your lift again at this point.

The top is attached with figure 8 fasteners that are designed to allow for wood movement. I drilled the shallow hole with a 3/4″ forstner bit by putting the point of the bit 1/8″ from the edge and drilling a half hole.

I drove the included screws at an angle back toward the side to prevent it blowing out the plywood edge.

It was at this point that I realized my impromptu support could be used to attach four more fasteners and help pull the top down. For that to work I had to raise it flush with the top of the cabinet. Luckily I hadn’t glued it and this was easy to do.

Attaching the top is as simple as driving the screws up through the fasteners into the bottom of the top. The shelf is not high enough to allow for a drill so it either needs to be done with a right angle attachment for the drill or mark the holes and then take the top off to drill holes and then drive the screws with a short screwdriver.

I attached a 30″ piano hinge to the back and made sure it was flush with the top of the cabinet. If you make a mistake, you want it to be too high. If it sits below the edge the lid will rub against the cabinet.

I attached the lid to the hinge after lining it up for equal spacing and then tested all the clearances to make sure it opened and closed correctly.

Making the Trim

With the top securely fastened I cut trim pieces from 3/4″x3/4″ pine and joined them at the corners with mitered corners. The trim is pushed up until it meets the top and then glued and attached with brad nails.

In the back the trim should stop at the edge of the side pieces and not extend underneath the lid or it won’t close.

I made the baseboard from 1×4 pine and also joined it with mitered corners. The baseboard is also glued and attached with brad nails.

I like to cut the boards about 1/8″ too long and then make small, incremental cuts, fitting the board to the cabinet in-between each, until it fits perfectly. This is commonly referred to as “sneaking up on the cut”.

I took 1×4 pine and attached pieces to the back that extend from the baseboard to the trim. Make sure that this piece doesn’t extend underneath the lid. If it does, you can either just skip these trim pieces (if you’re putting this against the wall the back won’t be seen) or notch them out to let the lid open all the way.


I laid the cabinet on its back and painted the bottom and sides with a hard-drying acrylic paint. This would be the only coat on the bottom and it ensures the wood absorbs moisture evenly. While it was laying on its back I also took the opportunity to paint some other surfaces that are hard to reach when it’s standing.

I screwed on some feet to slightly raise the cabinet. I didn’t go for anything drastic here, just something that would make it easier to level and get the bottom and baseboard off of the ground.

I raised the cabinet back up and put six coats of paint on the rest of the cabinet.

The top is stained with dark walnut stain from Minwax and then I applied 3 coats of General Finishes oil based polyurethane, lightly sanding in between.

Staining red oak with dark walnut is one of my favorite looks!


Once the cabinet and top dried for a couple of days I moved them inside and assembled everything. I mounted a power strip on the back of the shelf along with the electronics for the TV lift. I ran the cords along the sides to make sure they didn’t get pulled by the TV going up and down.

I realized I forgot to drill an opening for the power cord to plug into the wall and did that with a 2″ forstner bit.

The door handles were easily installed (I have a video and article showing an easy way to do this) and then I tested out all the functions of the lift and cabinet.

The response I’ve gotten by those who see this project is one of shock that it could be done by a beginner. And, my answer is YES IT CAN!

It seems like an enormous project, and it will take time, but it’s simply a series of easy-to-accomplish steps. Take it slow, and step-by-step, and you can build this beautiful cabinet!

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