Decoupaged Medicine Cabinet

18 Materials
6 Hours
You may have seen the powder room makeover we posted last year. Today we’re focusing on one of the elements: the unique medicine cabinet. At Birdz of a Feather, we’re all about upcycling so when it came time to renovate our small powder room, we wanted to do it as sustainably as possible.

Since hubs was going to use the bathroom to get ready in the morning, he needed storage space for his toiletries. A cabinet door we found at Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore for only $2 was the starting point. The ReStore always has a huge selection of doors, like the ones shown below.
With a bit of creativity and some recycled materials (plywood, 1×4’s and free calendar pages) we built a box and turned it into a one-of-a-kind piece that added much needed storage. You can’t get more sustainable than that!

Refer to the table on my blog for exact material cut list we used; however if you build your own you’ll likely need to adjust your cut list according to the size of the door you use. The two part craquelure is the most expensive part of the project, but it will last you through a few projects. We used scraps to build the inside of the cabinet so this can be a very cost-effective project depending on what you already have on hand.

Our cabinet door had holes in the middle for the hardware so we used wood putty to cover them up and sanded it flush once dry. We primed the entire door and then painted the perimeter of the front and the back with grey paint (the same colour we used for our walls.

The Frame and Shelves
Cut your top, bottom and side pieces for the frame of the box to the dimensions on your own cut list (yours will vary according to the size of your door). Our cabinet door was 29 3/4″ long by 13 1/2″ wide so we built our box (the frame) 31″ long by 14″ wide (exterior dimensions) – some of which would be covered by the face frame (which was 32″ long x 15″ wide; also exterior dimension).
Since we don’t have too many fancy tools, we simply glued and pin nailed our box together. However, if you have carpentry skills, you can dovetail the joints. We spaced the two shelves 9″ apart, glued along the edges, clamped and then pin nailed them through the sides of the frame through the centre edge of the each shelf. You have to have a steady hand when the shelves are so thin!
Cap off the shelves with the plastic edging by slipping it over the ends.
I'm going to run out of picture space before I get to the best part (the decoupaged door) so head over to my blog for instructions and pictures on how to build the face frame and finish the inside of the cabinet.

 Add Some Unique Flair to the Cabinet Door

I could have left the cabinet door plain but I wanted to add a one-of-a-kind touch, so I cut up some old calendars and decoupaged four of the pictures onto the front of the door using a brush to apply the Mod Podge. I wasn’t too fussed about the cut edges because I covered them up in the last step with trim. The calendar I used for this project was one I happened to get free when I purchased my Benjamin Moore paint for the bathroom! Ever since then, I’m always on the lookout at thrift stores for new or out-of-date calendars with interesting images that can be used for decoupage, like shown below.
To further embellish the decoupage, I pressed some leftover venetian plaster I already had on hand through an assortment of nautical and nature-inspired stencils and let it dry thoroughly. I used some fine sandpaper to knock back any rough spots on the plaster. I used a two step craquelure finish over the decoupage, tinting the second part so the original colour of the calendar would show through the cracks, as shown below. Follow the steps on the particular brand you purchase and apply both coats evenly allowing them to dry between coats. Unfortunately I didn’t take pictures of each step of the crackle process, but I’m sure I’ll do another project at some point which I’ll be sure to detail for you and I’ll link it back to here!
Once dry, I put two coats of high gloss varnish over the decoupage/crackle finish.
The final step is to glue on the previously painted pieces of wood trim to cover the edges of the four calendar scenes. I carefully clamped the trim pieces in place while they dried, taking care not to mar the decoupage.

Install Hinges and Mount Door

Before installing the cabinet, it’s easier to mount the hinges onto the door and face frame first so you don’t have to work vertically.
Spread the hinges out evenly then measure and mark and door. Drill pilot holes and screw in place. Place the door evenly onto the face frame (it’s easier if you have someone to help!) then transfer the hinge holes with a pencil. Predrill the holes in the face frame and complete mounting the hinges by screwing in place. Remove the door again for the next step so the cabinet box will be lighter to maneuver.

Install the Cabinet

To mount the cabinet, we used a stud finder to find the studs. We lined our markings up with a stud on the right side of the cabinet. We marked the dimensions of the back of the cabinet on the drywall making sure our lines were level and plumb then cut a hole in our drywall. We added some additional framing for support along the left side and the bottom since the cabinet was narrower than the distance between our studs (which should be 16″ on centre).
We mounted our box – now a full fledged cabinet – into the drywall between the studs, flush with the drywall opening.
One thing to note: our cabinet was mounted in an interior wall. If you are placing the cabinet on an exterior wall however, just make sure that you replace and seal up any insulation removed when you cut into the wall. We drilled some pilot holes through the side frame and into the studs and used small head wood screws to fasten the box into the opening.
Load Up Your New Medicine Cabinet

Reattach the door and it’s now ready for all your stuff to be placed on the shelves!
Final Reveal

In the picture below you can see the final outcome of the cabinet reflected in a vintage mirror we rescued from our own basement.
Drill a hole to add a small door pull on the outside, then and a rubber bumper on the inside of the door and you’re done!
By making what's essentially a box to accommodate an old door, you too can add some personality into any bathroom space with a medicine cabinet.
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Suggested materials:
  • 1 x 4’s(frame)   (Already had)
  • 1 x 2’s (face frame)   (Already had)
  • Plywood for backing (3/4″ thickness)   (Already had)
See all materials
Birdz of a Feather
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
Frequently asked questions
Have a question about this project?
3 of 4 questions
  • Stephanie Marie Cameron Stephanie Marie Cameron on Aug 26, 2017
    how did you use the plaster? did you press the pic into it, or did you put a fine coat over the picture?

  • Nancy Robinson Nancy Robinson on Aug 26, 2017
    Doesnt having the door knob for opening on the bottom corner make the door a little hard to open? Should it have gone higher so as not to tweak corner.

  • Cal26855097 Cal26855097 on Aug 27, 2017
    This question has nothing to do with the project, but what is the color of paint on the wall? It is beautiful for the bathroom?

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