We show you how to make one and showcase three alternative looks for the same design.
Difficulty rating: Easy
Time needed: About one hour
Total cost: ±R250
Alternative materials: Supawood and 12mm pine for the edging
(for one 400 x 400 x 144mm medicine cabinet)
one 2 400 x 144 x 22mm pine plank cut to:
- sides: two 400 x 144 x 22mm planks
- top: one 356 x 144 x 22mm plank
- bottom: one 356 x 144 x 22mm plank
- shelf: one 356 x 130 x 22mm plank
one 1 800 x 69 x 12mm meranti plank cut to:
- edging: two 400 x 40 x 12mm planks
- edging: two 424 x 40 x 12mm planks
one 1 800 x 455 x 20mm laminated pine shelving plank cut to:
- door: one 400 x 400 x 20mm plank
one 500 x 500 x 3mm backing board cut to:
- backing: 400 x 400 x 3mm board (also refer to step 6)
- wood glue
- ±twelve 8 x 45mm chipboard screws (to construct the frame)
- ±sixteen 8 x 35mm chipboard screws (to attach the edging to the doors)
- wood filler
- two hinges
- ±eight 8 x 16mm chipboard screws (to attach the hinges)
- one roller catch
- panel pins
- 120-grit sandpaper
- wood primer
- mirror, cut to size (refer to step 9)
- PVA in a colour of your choice (optional)
- wood oil (optional)
- mirror adhesive
- 8mm wall plugs and screws
- tape measure
- sharp pencil
- cordless drill
- 3mm drill bit, countersinking drill bit, and masonry drill bit
- jigsaw or mitre saw
- orbital sander
- electric drill
- spirit level
- The steps for this project explain how to make the main 400 x 400 x 144mm cabinet. You can modify the project to create a more contemporary cabinet or one that appeals to children.
- If you wish to make the green cabinet you don’t need to purchase the wood for the edging; you only need to extend the size of the door to 420 x 400 x 20mm. Attach the door so that the extra 20mm extends below the cabinet and can be used as a handhold to open and close the door.
- Make sure that your wood merchant cuts the wood accurately to specification. Even a 1mm mistake can cause problems when you try to build the project.
1 Start by constructing the outer frame. Measure and mark lines 22mm from the ends of both 400 x 144 x 22mm side sections. Hold the 356 x 144 x 22mm top section against these markings on each side piece to form a U shape. Drill 3mm pilot holes through each side piece into the top piece. Repeat with the side pieces and the 356 x 144 x 22mm bottom piece so that you have a rectangular frame. Use the countersinking drill bit to countersink all these holes. Use wood glue and the 45mm chipboard screws to construct the outer part of the box.
2 Position the 356 x 130 x 22mm shelf in the box. We placed ours 150mm from the top. Use the 3mm drill bit and countersinking drill bit to drill corresponding pilot holes in the sides of the box and countersink these. Use the cordless drill and 45mm chipboard screws together with some wood glue to fix the shelf in position.
Optional: We trimmed our shelf to be 14mm narrower so that it is recessed slightly from the front edge of the cabinet.
3 Fix the 400 x 40 x 12mm and 424 x 40 x 12mm meranti edging planks to the outside edge of the 400 x 400 x 20mm door plank using glue and the 35mm chipboard screws, as shown. Remember to drill pilot holes first. This will prevent the thinner wood from cracking.
Note: You could use a jigsaw to create detail along or in the edging, such as the cut-out handle shown here.
4 Use the appropriately coloured wood filler to fill all holes and cover all the exposed screw heads. We used Alcolin’s Meranti filler to fill the holes along the meranti section. This particular range now has colour-coded lids for easy in-store identification.
5 Use the 16mm chipboard screws to screw the hinges to the outer framework. Add the roller catch to the inside of the frame and the back of the door. It’s easier to add it now, before you add the cabinet’s backing board.
6 Tip: Use the framework to trace the outline for the backing board. It needs to be 400 x 400mm cut from 3mm board. Cut it to size using a jigsaw or, alternatively, have your local wood merchant cut it to size for you ahead of time.
7 Apply wood glue to the back of the framework before fixing the backing board in place.
8 Hammer panel pins through the backing board into the framework to fix it in place and make it extra secure.
9 Sand the unit lightly and apply a wood primer before painting in the colour of your choice. We painted the framework white and added wood oil to the exposed meranti edging to protect it from moisture. Measure the size of the door or the recess (if you have added edging around your door) and have the mirror cut to this size or slightly smaller. Use an adhesive such as Bostik Mirror, which has a special formulation that will not damage the mirror backing and will not be affected by moisture, to glue the mirror to the door.
10 Drill 8mm holes through the backing in each corner, about 40mm inwards from each side. Use a masonry drill bit to drill corresponding holes in the wall. Mount the cabinet with wall plugs and screws. Use a spirit level as you work to ensure that the cabinet is mounted correctly.