Overview

old medicine cabinet standing in front of hanging mirrors in what looks like a salvage shop
Photo: Kristine Larsen
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When shopping for a vintage medicine cabinet for this project, look for a surface-mount unit. These tend to be older, some dating to the mid-1800s, and are typically made of wood. Recessed ones made of ­either wood or metal became popular around the turn of the 19th century, in part because of the Victorians' obsession with cleanliness. It was thought that protruding ledges, specifically those in kitchens and baths, harbored sickness-inducing microbes.

Prices typically range from $50 to $250 for a vintage cabinet, with the best deals at flea markets and online auctions. Compare that with $350 to $1,000 or more for repro models.

Shop Smart
You can get vintage cabinets on eBay, but hit salvage yards for rare finds, such as this 1880s one with a beveled diamond-shaped mirror at Demolition Depot in New York City.
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    Tools List

    • 3-inch wide paint brush
      Paint brush
    • X-Acto knife
    • mini-roller
      Small roller frame fitted with foam roller
    • flathead screwdriver
      Screwdriver
    • drill
      Drill/driver fitted with 1/16-inch drill bit

    Shopping List

    1. Vintage medicine cabinet with missing mirror

    2. Wood putty

    3. 120-grit sandpaper

    4. Latex primer

    5. Blackboard paint

    6. Painter's tape7. 12-by-12-inch cork craft tiles

    8. Wood glue

    9. Magnetic door catch

    10. Cup hooks

    11. Door pull

    12. Chalk