Tuesday, December 10, 2013

How to Stack Montessori Cabinets

Okay, this would be a lot prettier if I had my husband cut lumber for me to the right size.  I have stacked the cabinets like this before and had the right-sized lumber at that time.  Today I didn't want to really stack my cabinets but wanted to show a friend basically how it's done.  I grabbed scrap lumber from the basement and pieced it together to show the general idea.

So, the Montessori cabinets (botany, geometry, pin maps, etc.,) are inexplicably made unstackable.  There are a couple different variations on shape for the top "walls."  The cabinet above (originally a geometry cabinet) has curved side walls.  Pin map cabinets have two-level side walls just in the back.  But, you can stack them if you want to.

You want to set it up so that you aren't using the upper OR lower side walls for support.  You are going to create a set of walls inside those walls to use instead.  I grabbed 2x4 lumber from the basement.  Placed on its widest face it is just a little bit too short and the width wastes what could be a useful storage cubby later when the cabinets are stacked.  Placing the narrow face downward makes much better use of the resulting cubby but the lumber is then too tall.  It works, but is unattractive.  When I did this for real I placed the lumber on it's narrow face (the 2" face) and cut the 4" measurement shorter.  I think to about 2.5 or 3 inches.  I also nailed the u-shape together for stability.

This is how it will look from the side.

 And, again, from the front.  Of course if done properly the lumber will be tall enough to touch the bottom of the upper cabinet and won't look so wide from the front.

You could keep doing this successively. For example, if you bought all of the pin map cabinets by continent and wanted to stack them all.  If it gets very tall you will want to anchor them in some way for safety.  I will probably do this again next year when I buy the equivalence material and Pythagoras plates.  I intend to buy a second geometric cabinet just for the cabinet so I can store those.


  1. Cool.

    I bought end table thing-ies at Ikea and stacked those, with the cabinets on the shelves in between - sturdy, but more than a few ends up being very tall. Your way saves more space ;)

    1. I don't have any floor space left for end table thing-ies. What is that about necessity being the father of invention?

    2. I hear you about floor space. I've had to "bring the co-op home" and am doing so very slowly - to re-integrate everything that I had cleared out before. Sigh. Benefits and drawbacks to having the co-op elsewhere. PRAYING we get this house I asked about last week (ice storms have delayed them from checking it out and making a final decision - house has been sitting empty for almost a year due to septic and cistern issues (both fixed) - and they really want to sell it - but I offered to rent it for a year while they decide - and if I like it, I'd offer to buy it at that time)... Please pray we get the house! All that space! I can breathe again!

      Here is the table we used (if anyone is interested for other purposes) - I was wrong, it's a night-stand - but these are so sturdy - I use them for several other things as well:

      I am SO stealing your idea for stacking though - so I can use those tables elsewhere and save me some space ;)

  2. Thank you for this! It makes total sense. I 'll have my dad rip down some 2x4 and send it to me! He has the tools and is always game for a project.

  3. I guess I'll need to hang the US map cabinet from the ceiling at this rate though!

    1. I can TOTALLY see a ceiling map taking over Pinterest!