This step by step woodworking project is about how to build a fold down murphy bar. If you want to build a bar for your backyard but you have a tight space, or you just want something unique to differentiate from others, you should really consider building this awesome fold down cabinet. The neat design makes it the ideal choice if you want to save money while adding value to your property.
We recommend you to invest in the best materials you could afford. Therefore, you should buy weather-resistant lumber, such as pine or cedar. Always take accurate measurements before adjusting the size of the components at the proper size. Drill pilot holes trough the components before inserting the wood screws, to prevent the wood from splitting. There are even concrete log holders out there, but I personally like to show you how to build a wood fireplace log holder.
Made from this plan
It’s that easy to build a fold down bar!
Fold down murphy bar plans
- A – 2 pieces of 1×6 lumber – 25 1/2″ long, 2 pieces – 19 1/2″ long FRAME
- B – 1 piece of 1×6 lumber – 24″ long, 1 piece – 9 3/4″ long, 1 piece – 9 1/4″ long PARTITIONS
- C – 6 pieces of 1×4 lumber – 25 1/2″ long PANEL
- D – 2 pieces of 1×2 lumber – 21″ long, 3 pieces – 22 1/2″ long, 4 pieces – 14″ long TRIMS
- 2 piece of 1×2 lumber – 6′
- 2 pieces of 1×4 lumber – 8′
- 3 pieces of 1×2 lumber – 8′
- 100 pieces of 1 1/4″ brad nails
- stain, glue
- hinges, folding hinges, brackets
- latch, pull
- Safety gloves, glasses
- Miter saw, jigsaw
- Chalk line, tape measure, spirit level, carpentry pencil
- Drill machinery and drill bits
- One Weekend
Fold down murphy bar plans
First, build the frame for the bar from 1×6 slats. Drill pocket holes at both ends of the yellow components and insert 1 1/4″ screws into the vertical slats. Make sure the corners are square and add glue to the joints.
Fit a partition to the frame of the bar. Use a carpentry square to make sure the corners are right angled.
Fit a shelf to the right section of the outdoor bar cabinet. The shelf will enhance the storage space.
Build a super basic wine glass rack from a piece of 1×6 lumber. Make the notches with a jigsaw, after marking the cut lines on the slats. Smooth the edges with sandpaper.
Fit the rack to the top of the left section and lock it into place with 2″ brad nails driven through the frame of the bar cabinet.
Use 1×4 slats for the front lid.
Attach the 1×2 trims with 1 1/4″ brad nails and glue.
If you really want to enhance the look of the bar cabinet, you should build some diagonal braces and secure them into place with finishing nails.
Fit the diagonal trims to the front panel with 1 1/4″ bard nails and glue.
Apply a few coats of paint or stain to enhance the look of the murphy bar.
Add the folding hinges to the cabinet, so you can stop the lid when opened. In addition, fit a latch to keep the door into place when closed.
How to build a fold down bar
The first step of the project is to build the frame for the bar. Cut the components from 1×6 lumber at the right dimensions. Drill pocket holes at both ends of the horizontal slats and insert 1 1/4″ screws into the perpendicular components. Make sure the corners are square and check if the edges are flush.
Add glue to the joints and clamp the frame tightly before inserting the screws. As you can notice in the image, I used a carpentry square to make sure the corners were right-angled.
Next, attach the vertical partition to the folding down bar. Make sure the corners are square and insert 2″ brad nails to secure the partition into place.
Fit the horizontal 1×6 partition to the right side of the murphy bar. Make sure the corners are square and use 2″ brad nails to lock the component into place.
Build the rack for the wine glasses, using the plans from above. Use a scrap piece of 1×2 lumber as spacer and clamp the rack into place with attention. Use 2″ nails to secure the rack to the frame tightly.
Next, I had to assemble the lid for the outdoor wall bar cabinet. I cut all the slats at the right size and stained them thoroughly. After the slats got dry I aligned the edges and clamped them together, so I could attach the 1×2 trims.
As a personal touch, I sanded the side edges of the slats so I can bevel them slightly. In this manner, when joining the slats together there will be small grooves that enhance the look of the panel. This was a personal choice, so you really don’t have to follow my approach. In addition, add glue to the joints before clamping the slats together.
I used 1 1/4″ brad nails and glue to secure the trims into place. If you want a two color scheme for the outdoor bar, I recommend you to paint the trims before attaching them into place.
Fit the rest of the trims to the panel and lock them into place with glue and 1 1/4″ finishing nails. Make sure the edges are flush with the panel and leave no gaps between the components.
Next, I attached the two hinges to secure the front door to the bar frame. I align the edges with attention and clamped the component together. Next, I attached the hinges to the bar with screws that came in the pack I bought.
Attach the folding hinge to the door and to the frame of the murphy bar. Lay the bar on a level surface. Use a spirit level to check if the frame plumb. Fit the folding hinges to the sides of the bar and lock them into place with screws.
I used a roller latch to lock the front door to the frame of the bar. Install the latch to the top of the bar first, making sure it is flush with the edge.
Clamp the door to the bar frame and then attach the other component of the latch into place.
I used brackets to secure the fold down to an old shed. I used a spirit level to make sure the bar frame was plumb in both directions. I recommend you to ask a friend to assist you while hanging the bar to the wall, as the structure is quite heavy after adding all the components.
This is really a cool project, as it saves space and it can be transformed into an outdoor table so easily. It is also surprisingly sturdy. All you need to do is build a couple of bar stools and you will have a super simple and cheap bar area on your patio.
As you can notice in the image, I also attached a pull to the top of the fold down panel. Last but not least, I really liked the natural and rustic look of the wood, so I decided to apply a few coats of lacquer to protect it from water damage. The latch seems to do its job really well, but if you want to make sure the lid won’t open unexpectedly, you could attach another one to the outside of the frame.
All in all, I like how my fold down bar project turned out, especially that it only cost me 15 $ to make. If you don’t like the rustic look of the project, you can use higher quality materials and be much more attentive with the finishing touches. Therefore, smooth the slats with 120-220 sandpaper and make accurate cuts. In this manner, your project will have a more upscale look.
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