Cara’s Office – 4

When Cara told me her technique for marking and cutting the electrical outlets in her built-in cabinet I giggled …and then asked her to please document it with some pictures to share.  So this “Sawdust Diary” update is also a tutorial for what I think is a smart tip for marking outlet location.  Unusual but very smart!


Here are Cara’s tips for cutting outlet holes in EXACTLY the right location because after you spend months building them perfectly, the last thing you want to do is cut a big hole in the wrong spot during installation.

***Just make sure that before attempting any electrical work you make sure the electricity is off!***

Custom built-in dsign at

June 1,

After putting so much sweat, blood and tears (YES, ALL THREE OF THOSE) into building these cabinets, I really didn’t want to screw up cutting a 2 ½ by 3 in box in the back of the cabinet, only to have it in the wrong place.


Enter stage left, Colgate toothpaste.

I honestly cannot remember who told me about this, or if I dreamed it or what, but it worked like a charm for us and it was minty fresh.  What I did was put four little dabs of toothpaste on the outlet front, and then I jammed the cabinet into the wall, where it was going to be positioned.  Then I pulled out the cabinet and these four little dabs had transferred to the back of the cabinet.

Cara's office built-ins-044


This gave us our jumping off point.  We drilled four holes inside to where the toothpaste was and cut out a small rectangle.

Custom built-in dsign at


Then we trimmed it until the junction box fit in its hole.

Custom built-in dsign at


Perfect fit!


And still minty fresh!  🙂

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4 thoughts on “Cara’s Office – 4

  1. […] Cara is cruising along with her office built-ins! She always cracks me up with the way she describes her DIY adventures.  Need to catch up on her project? Here are Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4.  […]

  2. Cheryl says:

    I saw that tip a while back too. When my husband and I were hanging drywall, that’s the way I ‘measured’ the junction box. Works like a charm!

  3. Kathleen says:

    I’ve used this technique, only with lipstick! I watched my husband try to figure out how to do it with ruler and pencil – transferring marks from the wall then onto the cabinet. I finally took over and put the lipstick in the four corners, pushed the cabinet back and viola`! Easy and done in seconds. He hates when I do stuff like that! 🙂 Totally enjoying this series. Great job.

  4. […] If you want to see how this built-in office came together, you can read my Sawdust Diaries right here: 1,2,3,4,5,6 and 7. […]