Storing is crucial to finding things when you need them.
Therefore, we use devices and areas like closets in the bedroom, cupboards in the kitchen, and vanities in the bathroom. Without them, it would be hard to find the products we need in those areas.
There is one more piece of furniture to consider in the bathroom that can vastly improve your storage and save you time when searching for any pharmaceuticals or cosmetics: medicine cabinets. These small, or large, fixtures allow you to throw goodies into them, whenever you choose.
Often made with mirrors, they’re the perfect way to store random toiletries and medicine, and they come in a wide range of styles. You can also build your own storage unit, giving you the ultimate freedom of design.
The Basics of Constructing Medicine Cabinets
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One of the first things you should know about this project is that it can, and should, save you a decent chunk of change versus buying a premade cabinet.
Most of the time, companies provide a huge markup even on the most basic of builds, resulting in too much money spent. If you decide to build your own, you’ll find that the materials aren’t that expensive, and the quality you can get with that same money goes a long way.
Overall though, the most basic things you’ll need to build medicine cabinets come from wood.
In terms of skill, you’ll find that woodworking cabinets are at an intermediate level. Thus, if this is your first job, chances are you’ll want to approach it carefully, remembering a few tips along the way.
Best Practices When Working on Cabinetry
Before we get into building, we thought it a good idea to touch on the best practices for designing, and installing, any cabinets.
One of the first things you’ll want to remember is to always measure before you cut, and measure twice. This way, should you find that a certain length doesn’t match, or you need to make an adjustment, you do it before making any cuts.
Speaking of cuts, only cut once after you’ve marked and measured your lengths.
There is no reason to make multiple cuts into wood, and if you do, it will probably ruin that piece for any usage. Thus, make one hard cut when sawing through any materials.
Lastly, when combining pieces together, using power tools to screw or nail them in will be better for the wood’s lifespan than manual tools. This means choosing a nail gun over a hammer, or drill over any screwdriver.
What You’ll Need to Make Your Own Medicine Cabinets
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Now that we’ve gone over the information you need before you start any projects, it’s time to see what you need to make one.
You’ll obviously want some wood and having a few different sized boards will make the process easier. Also, if you plan on staining or painting your cabinet, it is best to do it before the product is put together, not after.
Staining wood with a glass fixture installed is no easy task, and you risk ruining the whole piece if done improperly. Avoid this by coloring the wood first. You can use a semi-gloss finishing paint for avoiding moisture and cleanings, or use stain for a warm, rich look while applying a varnish at the end.
For a standard-sized cabinet, with finished dimensions of 25 inches by 24 inches by 7 inches (H, W, D), you’ll only need 3-sizes of planks of varying width. All wood used in construction should be 1-inch thick.
As for the widths, you’ll need boards of 2, 6, and 8-inches wide to work with, all of them being 6-foot long. This way, you’ll have plenty of wood to work with and not be out a bunch of money.
The Tools of the Trade
Building anything requires tools to do so and working with wood is no different.
Once you have all the materials you need, or want, gaining access to the right tools is necessary for completing the job efficiently, precisely, and without wasting resources.
For starters, having a circular and miter saw around will be crucial. These are the quickest and easiest ways of cutting wood planks into the sizes you’ll need. There should also be a jigsaw handy for any pocket-hole work you’d like to complete.
A drill with drill bits, plenty of screws, and nails plus a nail gun will also come into play when putting the wood pieces together.
Putting All the Wood Together
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After you’ve compiled all the tools and materials needed, it’s time to build.
The good news is that you just need to make a series of cuts that fit your design scheme. The basic outlay of any medicine cabinet is a frame, which is shaped like a box, around the mirror, with hinges on one side.
You’ll use your nail gun with finishing nails, along with wood glue, to fasten everything together. Wherever any wood touches other wood, such as the back piece and sides, is where you’ll want to throw in nails. Applying wood glue to the sides will help keep everything nice and tight.
Adding shelving on the inside is simple: cut the boards into a length that will fit inside the frame, add molding on the inside to hold them up, and set the shelves into place. You can nail these into place if you’d like, but it’s not necessary.
Adding the Mirror into the Equation
The cabinet is incomplete without the mirror.
Make sure you’ve purchased a mirror beforehand, as fitting one in later is possible, but harder to do.
Installing the mirror is easier than you might think. All you’ll need is mirror adhesive, and a couple more screws. Throw on the adhesive to the back of the mirror and set the mirror onto your HDF (high-density fiberboard). Then, apply some pressure with a towel or any plush object to avoid scratches or breakage.
Once that’s complete, your mirror is good to go.
Installing the Cabinet into the Wall
At this point, you’re virtually finished with any of the hard labor.
Other than installing the cabinet into place, of course.
For this part, we recommend having another person help you out. First, you’ll need to find any studs, hopefully, that you can anchor the piece into. Without any beams to attach your cabinet to, it will be hard to use for storing anything.
Once you have found a stud, however, you’ll want to use, at least, 2-inch wood screws to hold everything in place. There is no reason to skimp on screws, but the bare minimum you’ll want to drill in are two on the bottom of the frame, and two on the top.
At least one should hit a stud.
If there aren’t any studs to use, simply screw into the drywall. Then, make sure to add a screw or two into the studs for good measure, no matter where they’re located.
Apply Some Finishing Touches to Your New Medicine Cabinet
After you’ve installed all the pieces together, and the mirror has set into place, you can get creative with the rest of the project.
We mentioned before that painting or staining wood before you’re done is the preferred way, and that’s still true. However, if you’d like to add any accent colors or extra features, this is the time to do so.
You can use paint to add specific colors around the edges, or even etch designs into the wood. Again, you always need to be cautious when doing anything to finished wood, but it’s still possible.
Or, if you’re feeling creative, you can paint a design onto the wood for a more one-of-a-kind piece of art.
Make the Cabinet Your Own
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This is a standard model design that we’ve followed, but there are plenty of variations you could add when constructing any medicine cabinets, you want.
For starters, adding molding to the top of the frame can make a big difference in style and overall look. You’ll want to add during the building process, as attaching molding after the fact won’t go well, but a solid molding design can transform the look.
Especially if you’re going for a certain ancient Roman design scheme.
Once you’ve made one, chances are you’ll look to craft all medicine cabinets yourself moving forward. Besides, at the end of the day, you’re the one who’s going to be using, and looking at, the finished product, so why not enjoy it?
Overall, crafting your own from scratch is a seamless process, provided you have the tools and a little bit of woodworking skill necessary.