Home Made Panels

I have tried several ways of making front and rear panels for cabinets and I've come upon the best way of doing it for me. Other methods I've tried haven't worked too well at getting the panel centered on the cabinet and getting it lined up with the holes for the controls. Whenever I've tried to use an adhesive or a sticky back paper I never get things lined up real well.

I use Microsoft Publisher to draw the panel and locate all the jacks and controls. I use Publisher because it has true dimensions. If it's 3 inches on the screen according to the rulers, then it will be 3 inches when you print it out.

I made the panels using 60 or 64 pound card stock which I got from a local printer. I printed the pattern on the card stock and then had it laminated at an Office Max store. I'm sure others do laminating also. After laminating, the panel feels stiff. I cut it to size and glued it to the cabinet. Since the panel is stiff and the same size as the cabinet it is much easier to apply and get it straight. I had already drilled the holes in the cabinet so it is a matter of getting the panel centered on the cabinet face (or back) and gluing it down. I used an Elmers stick glue which held the panel in place as I cut through the panel where the pots, switches and jacks go using an exacto knife.

After I cut one hole I mounted a control and let the nut help hold the panel in place. I did the same thing with another hole and then I had more confidence in the panel staying in place. It turned out that after I was halfway through cutting holes in the panel it came loose, but it didn't matter then because the controls held it in place. The stick glue is no good if you want it to hold permanently.

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