How to Build Medicine Cabinet
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How to Build a Medicine Cabinet

Build yourself a wall-mount storage unit, or opt for a premade option

A mirrored medicine cabinet keeps your vanity as well groomed as you are, with storage for stashing toiletries out of sight. Building the cabinet yourself could save you hundreds of dollars. It means having a mirror cut to size or ordering one online, but the construction is straightforward.

If you decide to paint the cabinet, select a semigloss finish, which will stand up to moisture and regular cleanings. If you want the warm look of stain, use a wood with an even grain, like oak or cherry, and seal the cabinet with a water-resistant finish, such as lacquer or varnish.

Similar to shown: Milforde Collection Medicine Cabinet, about $250; signaturehardware.com

Download and print the cut list for building a medicine cabinet.


Steps // How to Build a Medicine Cabinet
1 ×

Overview for How to Build Medicine Cabinet

 
Step One // How to Build a Medicine Cabinet

Overview for How to Build Medicine Cabinet

Overview for How to Build Medicine Cabinet
Illustration by Gregory Nemec

Download and print the cut list for building a medicine cabinet.

Cut List
We built a medicine cabinet with a frame 20 inches wide, 5¾ inches deep, and 30¾ inches tall. (Note: Counting the crown molding, the finished cabinet measures 25½ inches wide, 8½ inches deep, and 32¾ inches tall.)

Frame
1x6 clear pine top and bottom pieces: two @ 18½ inches, ripped to 5 inches wide

½-inch pine plywood back panel: one @ 18½ inches by 28½ inches

1x6 clear pine side pieces: two @ 30 inches, ripped to 5 inches wide

1x8 clear pine base board: one @ 21½ inches, ripped to 5¾ inches wide

⅜-inch pine cove molding for shelf supports: four @ 4¼ inches long

1x6 clear pine shelves: two @ 18⅜ inches, ripped to 4¼ inches wide

1x2 clear pine crosspiece: one @ 20 inches

2 ¾-inch solid poplar crown molding Cut to fit.

Door
1x4 clear pine rails: two @ 15 inches

1x3 clear pine stiles: two @ 28⅜ inches

⅜-inch pine cove molding to trim mirror. Cut to fit.

¼-inch high-density fiberboard (HDF) mirror backing: one @ 18½ inches by 26⅞ inches

Mirror: one @ 21⅛ inches by 14¾ inches by⅛ inch thick

 
2 ×

Build the Frame

 
Step Two // How to Build a Medicine Cabinet

Build the Frame

Build the frame for How to Build Medicine Cabinet
Illustration by Gregory Nemec

Use a compound miter saw and a circular saw to size the pieces according to the downloadable cut list. Sandwich the top, bottom, and back of the cabinet frame between the sides, applying glue where they meet, and fasten them with 1½-inch brads. Position the cabinet's base board flush at the back, with a ¾-inch overhang on the front and sides. Glue it and nail it with 1¼-inch brads. Use ¾-inch brads to tack in the shelf supports at the height you like.

 
3 ×

Attach the Molding

 
Step Three // How to Build a Medicine Cabinet

Attach the Molding

Attach the molding to build a Medicine Cabinet
Illustration by Gregory Nemec

Install the crosspiece flush at the top
of the cabinet frame with 1½-inch brads. Measure and cut crown molding to fit, making 45-degree miters at the corners. Install the molding ¾ inch from the bottom of the crosspiece with glue and 1½-inch brads.

 
4 ×

Construct the Door

 
Step Four // How to Build a Medicine Cabinet

Construct the Door

Construct the door to build a Medicine Cabinet
Illustration by Gregory Nemec

Dab the ends of the door rails with glue and clamp them between the stiles. Use a pocket-hole jig and 1¼-inch pocket screws to fasten the rails to the stiles.

Fill the holes with wood plugs. Position the masonite mirror backing with a ¾-inch gap around the perimeter, and tack it in place with ½-inch brads. Flip the door over, apply mirror adhesive to the back of the mirror, and lay it in place. Cut cove molding to fit the inside of the door frame, making 45-degree miters at the corners, and glue it in place. Fasten the hinges 3 inches from the top and bottom of the door and onto the cabinet frame. Install the door pull.

 
5 ×

Mount the Cabinet

 
Step Five // How to Build a Medicine Cabinet

Mount the Cabinet

Mount the cabinet to build a Medicine Cabinet
Illustration by Gregory Nemec

Use a combination countersink bit and 2-inch wood screws to fasten the cabinet to the wall, making sure to hit at least one stud in two places and using wall anchors at the remaining holes.

 
 
 

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