I’ve had it. Summer and I are officially breaking up. Done. Kaput. Going our separate ways…I hope. Call me a wimp, but I’m not one for three digit weather. As a kid, there was nothing better than a blisteringly hot summer day. Now, not so much. So, it may still be over 100 degrees for a little longer, but Fall is coming. The squirrels are busy hoarding the acorns that our oak tree is bombing us with when we dare to walk under it, here and there leaves are throwing off their green, and I can feel the rain coming in my bones.
Okay, so the rain part is just a hope. I love the rain.
I love the creature comforts of fall. The cozy blankets, the possibility of thunderstorms, and a steaming mug of hot chocolate.
Especially the hot chocolate.
Now, I know you coffee
addicts drinkers have endless sources of Pinterest inspiration when it comes to coffee stations of all shapes and sizes. Hot chocolate enthusiasts, not so much. Until now… [movie trailer voice there].
How to Build a DIY Hot Chocolate Station
Notice that this thing is not a piece of furniture unto itself, nor does it take up the whole of a piece of furniture or require its own room. It’s designed to sit on a counter top if so desired, and still fit under upper cabinetry. It can be picked up and moved around. It can be stored after the fall and winter seasons if you like. In other words, you don’t need to call in an interior designer to fit your space around it. Because that’s how I roll.
Here’s how else I roll…I like to build out of what I have on hand when I can. So I constructed this almost entirely out of wood already in my shop. I mention this because you certainly don’t need to feel married to the measurements or wood choices I made.
Here’s what you’ll need…
These renderings have the measurements I used. They do not take into account the shiplap I added over the backer board.
*I should note here that this post will contain affiliate links, and you can always check out more about that here.
-3/4″ plywood for the backer, base, and walls – I used scraps. You can definitely do this with a 2’x4′ piece
-1 piece of 1×4 wood at 4′ – I used 1×4 ripped to 3″, and in retrospect, a 1×3 (which is really 2.5″ wide) would have been great.
-2 pieces of 1/4″ x 24″ ply – used for the hot chocolate boxes and for the shelf.
-shiplap material – I used some planed barn wood I had in the shop. 1/4″ ply would also work great.
-1 small scrap of 2×4 material. The piece I used to cut the corbels was maybe 4″ wide.
-trim wood – I used a piece of 1×2 that I ripped down the middle. This is for the trim outlining the backer board.
-trim – I used this stuff from Home Depot – get maybe three pieces
-iron on banding if you wish
I get to all of the extra little things in there a bit later. Let’s build this thing first.
Build the base
Start by cutting out the 28 1/2″ x 14 1/2″ backer, the 28 1/2″ x 7 3/4″ base board, the two 7″ x 3″ side walls, and the 28 1/2″ x 3″ front wall from plywood.
Lay the backer board down and attach your trim. I used a ripped 1×2. The size doesn’t matter so much, just get something narrow and frame out the top and two sides. I attached mine with brad nails.
Add decorative wood here however you like. Shiplap, herringbone…nothing at all. Whatever floats your boat.
Attach the sides and back to the base board with glue and brad nails. I started staining as I went, but that was really unnecessary.
Pretty it up
Now that you have the basic structure it’s time to make it look good. Trim does miraculous things. If you chose to use plywood you may want to edge band the top of the three walls. I didn’t trim my banding down (it’s a bit wider than the wood). Instead I bent it over and applied the trim. It looked nicely finished that way. Strange, I know. But it worked. And it was easy.
Cut the front trim to cover the side trim.
I sanded gently where they came together to make it look nice. I didn’t bother with 45s or anything fancy. Simple worked just fine.
Build the shelf and divider boxes
A single piece of 1/4″ by 3 wood sold at Lowes or Home Depot works great as a shelf. My corbels are only about 2 and a half inches high. I looked for some small ones, but in the end I noticed a scrap piece of 2×4 on the table in front of me, sketched a quick outline on it, then cut it out on my band saw. Then I traced that one and cut another. The whole thing took maybe five minutes. These can be really very simple.
For the life of me I cannot find my photos of this step. Argh!
In order to screw hooks into the shelf you will need to add a board to the bottom. I simply glued and nailed on a scrap piece. Then I found a little piece of trim to hide it, and found that it made the entire shelf look so much better.
The divider boxes are simply more 1/4″ x 2.5″ material cut to fit the box. The long middle piece is 9″ long, the end piece is the width of the box (measure it, because inevitably yours and mine will be slightly different. And the other two small sections are cut to fit either side of the long piece.There is nothing special to these measurements. You can be more or less exact as you like. I glued mine together. It is not glued to the box itself, so it is possible to rearrange the layout.
PS. In the Sketch Up renderings above you’ll want to ignore the measurement for the end piece of the divider boxes (noted at 6 5/16). They don’t take into account the shiplap I added, and I forgot to take the numbers out.
At this point I went back and made sure all of the brad holes were filled and everything was stained. I added a piece of chalkboard cut from a piece I found at Joann Fabrics. It’s just a thin piece and is glued to the front. My hand lettering leaves much to be desired.
Then it was time to gussy it up with the good stuff…
Hot Chocolate Station Ideas:
These fun little glass jars, that are apparently called cruets are great for small hot chocolate flavorings like crushed mints, peppermint, cinnamon, caramel, miniature marshmallows and whatever else you can dream up.
I am so in love with these adorable little hot chocolate mugs. In a completely dunce move I ordered them not realizing they don’t have a handle, so, alas, they didn’t get to hang from the hooks in all their glory. They do fit up on the shelf, and they are such a great size for kids that I will be keeping them, so it’s not a total loss.
The mugs are from Home Goods, and are painted using oil based paint pens.
And yes, it does fit on the counter top.
I think that about covers it. Some of my instructions are a bit vague, so if you have any questions please ask and I will do my best to answer adequately. I had a lot of fun with this project and definitely didn’t take any part of it too seriously. I love the color and how happy it is. My kids will have a ton of fun with this as it gets colder and we can all enjoy hot chocolate together. And, of course, if they can’t resist getting into it I can simply pick it up and move it all, lock stock and barrel. You know what that’s called in parent land? Winning.
Happy building, and Happy Fall!