How to Make a DIY Apothecary Cabinet Using an Easy IKEA Hack

Today, we’re going to completely makeover IKEA cabinets and turn them into a trendy DIY apothecary cabinet. We’re starting with the IVAR Cabinet, then we’re only spending around $25 to jazz it up. Here’s how to make an apothecary cabinet on a budget.

This is the vintage, rustic, witchy apothecary cabinet vibe that we’re going for:

Apothecary cabinet inspiration

Tools and materials:

Materials and tools needed for the DIY apothecary cabinet

1. Disassemble the cabinet

If your cabinet is already built, then disassemble it first. As you can see, these cabinets are pretty basic.

Disassembling the cabinets

2. Cut the drawers

To create the drawers for the apothecary cabinet, we’re going to cut the cabinet doors. For the top drawers, measure 12cm down (4.7 inches) and for the bottom drawers, measure 36cm (14 inches).

Measuring and marking where the drawers will go

Ok, so now we’re going to make grooves along those lines using a handsaw. But, don’t cut through the wood completely! We’re only giving the illusion of drawers. Take your time with this step and remember to get the grooves on the edges too.

Making grooves with a handsaw

3. Sand

Sand the edges with sandpaper and get into the grooves for a clean finish.

Sanding the grooves for the drawers

4. Stain

Now, we need to stain the wood for a darker, more rustic, look. Use a rag or cloth to apply the stain, rather than a paintbrush. Stain inside and outside the cabinets.

Staining the cabinets with wood stain

To make the drawers look even more realistic, concentrate the stain in the grooves to provide depth.

Concentrating the stain in the grooves

After the first couple of layers, start applying the stain more unevenly. This makes the pieces look more weathered and authentic.

How to make a cabinet look vintage or antique

5. Create legs and a faux top (optional)

I have a lot of bulky DIY items to store, so I’m creating a faux top for my cabinets so that you can’t see all the junk I’m storing behind them.

Making a faux top for the apothecary cabinet

I’m also adding planks of wood as legs.

Staining the cabinet legs

6. Attach the hardware

I bought vintage-looking hardware in keeping with the overall look. I measured where the drawer handles would go, taped them in place, then screwed them in.

Marking where the hardware will go

For the larger drawer handles, I needed to drill holes. So, I created a template by coloring in the grooves where the holes will go and printing them onto paper.

Next, I lined the paper up with the drawer edge so that the holes were right in the middle. I marked by pressing with a pen, then I could see where to drill holes and add screws.

Using a template to place the drawer handles

7. Attach the legs

Assemble the cabinets, then nail the legs into place.

Nailing the cabinet legs in place

8. Make the paper labels

For the drawer labels, I took things one step further and stained my paper with coffee before cutting out the pieces. This adds to that vintage feel.

Using coffee to age the paper

DIY apothecary cabinet

Here’s our finished DIY apothecary cabinet! I adore it! I think it’s one of the coolest things that I’ve ever made. What do you think of this IKEA cabinet hack? Let me know your thoughts and feedback in the comment section below.

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