Introduction: Dr. Who Rx Cabinet

On a bit of a whim, I decided the plain medicine cabinet in my kids bathroom could use a Dr. Who inspired makeover. This is that story.

Step 1: Envision Your Dream

I took some rough measurements of the cabinet in it's current state and decided which graphics I would use. I scoured the internet looking for images and narrowed it down to the POLICE BOX header image on top, the Public use sign on the left door and the St. John ambulance for the right door. The windows would have to wait for a separate project.

I pulled everything into Photoshop 6.0, yes I am that old, (you can use any editor) and made a quick mock-up of where each graphic would be placed.

Step 2: Gather Your Implements of De/construction

Interestingly enough, this project required me to buy some new drill bits and a new sander, and don't you dare tell my wife otherwise. Feel free to make any new purchases for your workshop during this step.

  • The Hardware.
    • I decided I would replace the tired and somewhat rusted hinges as well as the door pulls and the wall mounts. It is important to measure the original hardware before you go to the store or you might end up with two sets of hinges like I did. The correct answer for those of you playing at home is the 2" narrow utility hinge. The 1" will be saved for another project.
    • Also pictured are the new door pulls, an upgrade from the little knobs,
    • and the new wall mount kit.
  • The Tools
    • Wood putty,
    • tack cloth - yuck,
    • painters tape,
    • drop cloth
  • Paint
    • gloss navy blue,
    • gloss clear,
    • and general purpose spray adhesive
  • Power Tools
    • Drill,
    • Drill Bits,
    • Sander

Step 3: Let's Get Busy

Empty the cabinet and take it apart. I removed all the hardware so I was left with a cabinet, two doors, and a shelf. Then we started sanding. These store bought cabinets come with a gloss coat on them and nothing will stick to that so we sand it off. Sand the inside, and the outside, and the underside, and any place else you want the paint to stick.

This is my father-in-law, he's a great sander and a lot of help.

Step 4: Make the Modifications

This is a short but very important step. Remember the spray glue and wood putty? We'll need that here.

In order for the POLICE BOX banner to fit I needed to replace the slotted dowels with a solid backing. I had some 1/16" scrap wood in the garage. Measure, cut, glue, and putty. Let it dry and sand smooth. Add more putty, and repeat until you get a solid surface that you can paint and add graphics to.

This is also a good time to fill in the knob holes in the doors as we are going from a single pull to a handle. fill , sand,. fill, sand again and there should be no noticeable remnants that a hole ever existed.

Step 5: Time to Paint

Admittedly I tried using the tack cloth and basically stuck it to everything but the sawdust I was trying to remove. So scratch that. Instead I used a wet towel followed by a dry towel, followed by some time in the sun.

I paint in the driveway, on bricks, on a tarp. Make sure to weigh the tarp down so it doesn't blow onto the surface.

Time for a song, remember this oldie but goodie... 3 of these belong together, 3 of these things are kinda the same, one of these things doesn't belong here, well you get the point. The final picture here is not the rx cabinet, but instead the mirror for that bathroom. I decided it was a good time to upgrade that as well and throw on the same coat of paint. No sense waiting for another day you know.

Paint the back, let it dry, paint it again and let it dry. Turn it over and paint the front, top, sides, towel bar, etc. Thin at first, adding layers. Because it was August in Texas I had a terrible time with orange peel on the doors. Since I couldn't change the weather, or go inside, I opted to embrace it, I mean after all, the TARDIS is a bit weathered and this adds a bit of character.

Step 6: Graphics Time

Yes a bright navy blue Rx cabinet looks cool, but a bright navy blue Rx cabinet adorned with TARDIS graphics looks infinitely cooler right?!

I'm using my own printer which will not print a 24" long graphic so I split the header into 2 pieces, POLICE and PUBLIC CALL BOX. Using Photoshop 6.0 I was able to size all of the images to the exact dimensions I needed. I printed each on heavy card stock, not regular printer paper. This is the same stuff we do papercraft around my house with.

Print them, then cut them out, and then admire your work. We're getting close. But don't get too excited (I did) and I'll tell you why: That spray glue is super duper sticky stuff, and once it touches something it stays there. So back to my tarp.

Set each graphic face down and spray a smooth even coat across the piece you plan to place. Carefully pick it up, and even more carefully place it in it's final resting place. If you miss you can peel it off, again very carefully, and reposition it accordingly. If there is any unsightly residue, clean it as best you can. I used a pocket knife to remove the excess glue from around the ambulance graphic.

Very important: Wait for the glue to dry before spraying the clear coat. If you spray it too soon, the paper will absorb the clear coat and began to curl up. This is not fun to fix, because now you have to wait for both to dry then super glue the corners back down. This also causes a weak spot for moisture to seep in as we are keeping this in the bathroom.

Go ahead and clear coat the entire project, it'll make cleaning it later much much easier and adds a bit of protection to your paint and graphics.

Step 7: Assembly Time!

I measured the new door handles and placed some painters tape on the doors to mark where to drill the holes. I used the handles themselves to mark the distance apart each hole should be. On the first door I failed to put matching tape on the back side, which allowed for a bit of splintering.

The 2" hinges screwed right into the old holes.

I reused the shelf brackets and magnetic locks by painting them a suitable gray (they were ugly brown).

I added the wall mounting bracket here as well.

Step 8: The Final Product

Here it is all assembled, first on the back patio then mounted in the bathroom. The mirror is not pictured but lives just to the left of the Rx cabinet. We added the Think Geek shower curtain to complete the look and feel. This should help any timelord feel a bit better when he himself is feeling a bit wibbly wobbly timey whimey.

Step 9: Vote

I entered this in the Before and After contest and would appreciate a vote if you like it. Top right corner, go ahead, click it now, we'll wait.

Before and After Contest 2016

Participated in the
Before and After Contest 2016