Thursday, August 19, 2010

Bathroom Wall Cabinet

I have been lamenting the lack of storage in our upstairs bathroom for some time. I really wanted to buy some sort of wall cabinet that was dark in color, had frosted glass doors and was big enough to hold a good selection of necessities without being monstrous. And it couldn't cost a small fortune. Yeah, good luck with that. So, me thinks, I could build one. Really, how hard could it be. Then Sandra, of Sawdust and Paper Scraps fame (if you haven't checked out her blog, you really should. I tell you, that girl can build anything. Any.Thing.), decides to host a Build{Hers} Club party and gives me the push I need to design, build and finish that wall cabinet I couldn't find. And, it cost far less than a fortune!

It started out with this - a few lines on graph paper.

Then I headed out the the big box hardware store and bought some primed pine in 1"x6"x7' lengths, a few pieces of trim, some crown moulding, some hinges, knobs and various other things to complete this project. Since I decided to use 1"x6" thicknesses of wood, my cabinet is 5 1/2" deep, which suits me just fine. I wanted it about 32" high and 20" wide. Sandra gives explicit details on how to build a cabinet, how to make cabinet doors, how to make many other things. I spent a lot of time checking out those posts, printing pictures and posts, just to ensure I had the hang of this thing. Then I decided to do it differently. Rather than butt joining the top and side pieces (okay, that sounds wierd - you know, just butting the pieces up against each other?) I cut grooves with my new router. I grooved the top, the bottom and where the middle shelf joins the side pieces. The pictures show what I mean.

Then I used a simple measuring tape and pencil (note to self - find a shelf hole cutting guide [or some pegboard, as Sandra suggests!]) and marked where I wanted to drill the holes on the inside of each side piece so the shelves could be adjustable. Once those holes were drilled, I glued and nailed the top, bottom and middle shelf to the sides. It was at this point the other "hers" in my life decided this was a group project and came to help out. Ari wants to know where the screws are so she can use the screwdriver for something other than a weapon.

Ali is trying on all the different ear protectors we have (she likes this one best as it plays the radio!).

RJ is actually helping and is my official glue-girl. She did a great job!

I wanted to jazz up the sides of the cabinet and the front of each shelf so I used my miter box to cut some molding.

Once again, I glued and nailed it on (I think the nail gun must be one of my favorite tools, along with the compound miter saw!)

I cut 2 shelves and then I used some scrap wood to cut the two mounting bars that run across the back of the cabinet. I know, normally you would only use one but I knew I would be not able to span the width of 2 studs with this cabinet placement. By putting a brace on the top and the bottom, I could screw into the same stud but in two different places, ensuring good strength.

I used some scrap wainscot as the backing for this cabinet. I didn't have one piece that was large enough to go over the whole thing so I used 2 pieces instead, making sure to line it up. It will be behind doors and will be less noticeable once painted.

So, that's the carcass of the cabinet and it was really easy to do. Now on to the doors.

Sandra talks about using a router to groove the rails and stiles in order to add a wainscot panel. I was doing something similar except I was putting in glass. And I used dowel joinery. So, first I cut the rails and the stiles (tops and sides of the door panel).

Then, using the new Wolfcraft Dowel jig I bought, I very carefully drilled holes in the appropriate places on the rails and stiles. The instructions are quite clear on how to do it. It really is simple. I have only 2 complaints. First, I don't have a proper place to clamp my wood pieces while drilling. Second, the jig doesn't work the greatest for thin pieces of wood. My rails and stiles are only 2" wide, leaving little room to use the jig. It would have worked wonderfully for a larger piece of wood. Nonetheless, I made it work.

This is what the frame of the cabinet door looked like before I glued and clamped it in place. I used 2 dowels at each joint on one door and only 1 dowel at each joint on the other door. I wanted to see if it would make that much of a difference. I like how it lined up better with 2 dowels but it is trickier to do given the small size of the rails and stiles. Now I know.

Then, since I was installing glass, I ordered the glass pieces now that I knew what size I needed. I found out they were 1/8" thick so I routered a groove on the backs of the door panels that was 2/8" thick to accommodate the glass. Once that was done, I glued and clamped the door together. I love those clamps. They certainly can make anything look so much better!

I wanted to have frosted glass so I bought a can of window frosting and sprayed many coats on those pieces of glass. My opinion? If there are options for different glass from the glass company and the difference in price is minimal from the plain glass, get the pretty glass. Spraying it is a pain and totally uneven and I was not the most impressed with it. But it is alright now, I guess.

So, once the doors were assembled (minus the glass), I filled all the holes and painted and painted. Once all the painting was done, I installed the glass on the doors. All I did was lay the doors on their faces with the wrong side up, laid the glass panel in that groove then run a bead of door and window silicone around it. I used my little handy-dandy silicone tool to make a nice clean bead. I love that thing! Best thing ever!

While I was waiting for that to dry, I hung the cabinet (minus the doors) on the wall all by myself (okay, well, I did this whole thing by myself but that was most impressive)! Then I added the hinges to the doors and the doors to the cabinet. I added the pretty little knobs. I installed a magnetic door catch.

Then, last but not least, this morning I added the crown moulding on top to give it that completed look!

All in all, I am quite impressed with myself and thrilled with the amount of new storage we have. I am very critical of myself so some things I really need to improve on. If I am going to be building many things for the new house, I need projects like this to practice on. After all, practice makes perfect. I am far from perfect but I am certainly happy with how this turned out! Thanks for all the encouragement, Sandra, and for answering all my questions! I really appreciate it!

Now check out all the other Build{Hers} and Modern Craftswomen and DIYers!

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  1. Ahh! My kind of drafting; on graph paper with figuring written in the blank spots. It looks great!

  2. Chantelle, I am so dang proud of you, it looks fantastic! I love all the details with the moulding and the pretty knobs. I love your helping {hers}, so cute! (I enjoyed that reference very much) It makes me so happy that you jumped in with 2 feet and did this. I'm impressed, you used dados and dowels!!! And, you give really good instructions. And, your design drawing is very neat. (It looks like you have some drawing and rendering experience!) Anyway, keep those projects coming, you're on fire!

  3. Wow! You're a DIY super hero. It's gorgeous! I love the detail. Thank so much for sharing your hard work in the DIY Project Parade! ;)

    Have a great week!


  4. This is gorgeous, Chantelle! I wish I had the creativity and know-how that you do! I think if I lived closer I'd come over all the time and ask you to teach me things!

  5. This turned out great! I am guessing this was the mystery project you posted about a little while back :)....

  6. Nice Blog! Well most of your content and image is original and informative. /many thanks for sharing this, cheers.

    cabinet doors

  7. I can't believe that I never posted this spotlight. It's going up tomorrow!

  8. Hey
    Thanks for sharing this nice and useful information about the nice picture................
    Bathroom Wall Cabinet


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