One of my errands last week was to take a trip to the local Goodwill, I had four huge garbage bags of clothing to donate. Some from my mother-in-law and some from my husband who decided to get rid of a few suits that had been gathering dust in a corner of the closet. Of course, since I was already there, I had to stop in and see if they had any diamonds in the rough. The one thing that caught my eye was this plain wooden medicine cabinet.
While the base was made of particle board and the mirror out of wood it seemed sturdy enough, and at $6.00 it was mine.
I knew I wanted to build it out somehow and make it a bit more substantial, but I didn’t really have a vision. Had to now take a trip to the Pinterest boards…
…and that’s where I found this cute little medicine cabinet. Clean lines, vintage look, and the mirror looked somewhat like mine. The original picture was found here.
So, with my picture in hand, I took off the hinges that separated the mirror from the existing cabinet and went to work.
Because this was a recessed cabinet, I had to build up the back of the cabinet so I could attach my pieces around the mirror….or so, that was the master plan. In reality, once I built up the back of the cabinet there was still a gap of three fourths inches around the entire base, I hadn’t accounted for the mirror overlapping the base. Ooops
I could do one of three things, (1) I could scrap the entire project and never admit that I ever started…medicine cabinet, what medicine cabinet? I never wasted $6. The hubby would never know. (2) I could continue to build up my base, even though I thought that would be a little chunky (3) I could go to bed and sleep on it. I chose the 3rd option. And while visions of medicine cabinets danced in my head, I came up with a new plan.
Start over. Isn’t that a good plan? So while this post started as a medicine cabinet makeover, it turned into turning a mirror into a medicine cabinet from scratch.
So working with just the mirror portion of my cabinet, I started laying out my wood. (You can see the scrapped base above it) Used 2×6’s to box in my mirror on 3 sides.
Note: Make your box about 1/8″ wider than your mirror on all sides to allow the cabinet to open easily.
Didn’t nail anything yet, those 2×6’s need to be cut down. As you can see, there are 2 pieces the width of the mirror and 2 pieces for the sides, the length of the mirror plus the width of the end pieces.
Still haven’t nailed yet and still working around the mirror. Measured and cut to fit my interior box to fit inside the frame I had just layed out. This was cut from a 1×4.
Cut an interior shelf to fit inside the frame.
Do you see that the exterior frame is about an inch higher than the interior frame? Those are going to have to be even With the frame still layed out as above, use a pencil to mark on the 2×6’s where they need to be cut. A tabletop saw would have been greatly appreciated at this point, but I used my circular saw to make the cuts. Note: Make the cuts on the ugliest sides of the 2×6’s, since this cut side will be facing toward the wall.
If you’re following along, everything should be nice and even.
Cut the base out of a 1×6 , the width of the frame plus an inch on both sides. It looks longer above, because I have molding sitting on top, just checking for looks.
Before attaching, take sandpaper and round off the edges of your shelves. It will be easier now, than trying to get into the corners once it’s nailed into place.
It’s time to start putting this thing together. Remove the interior frame and glue and nail into place.
Put the interior frame back into the outer frame (removing the mirror) and nail into place. I used finishing nails with the nail gun.
Cut and nail into place a backing board. This board was 1/4″ luann plywood, however, any thin board should work. Measurements will be the length and width of the back minus 1/2′”. This will cover the entire back leaving about 1/4″ on all sides.
Time for trim. I added a half round molding to my bottom shelf, mitered at the corners. The top molding was cut from a leftover piece of chair molding, also mitered at the corners. (crown molding would also work but I like to use my leftovers). I also cut some leftover beadboard for the interior of my cabinet to give it a little texture.
The building is done, just the finishing work is left. Caulked all the gaps with painters caulk. Make sure you get caulk that is paintable, if it is bathtub caulk, your paint will not stick.
This is the time to countersink any nails you may have and fill all your nail holes with wood putty. The wood putty is sandable, the caulk is not.
Once the putty is dry, use fine sandpaper for any surfaces or edges that are rough, and sand down any extra wood putty.
Prime and paint. May need a couple of coats since this was bare wood. I used a semi-gloss white that I had on hand for my interior trim in my house.
I kind of liked it at this point. It would make a cute shelf in a little girls room to hold her dolls. OK, I had three boys, no doll shelves for me. The closest I had to dolls was the beanie baby craze my two oldest boys went through when they were in elementary school.
Purchased hardware, the cleat was from Home Depot. It supports up to 100 lbs, which should be plenty. Also got this latch for a window at Lowes. They had the perfect cupboard latch in brass, unfortunately, not nickel. Home Depot had a similar one by Martha Stewart, sorry Martha, it had terrible reviews. Also got a couple of hinges on my trip.
Sorry this post was so picture heavy. I find it’s easier to describe a step if I have pictures to back me up. Hope you take the time to make your own cabinet…all you need is a plan. If this medicine cabinet doesn’t work in your space , check out my other medicine cabinet makeover here.