Introduction: Reclaimed Wood & Plastic Medicine Cabinets

About: I have an unhealthy relationship with pallet wood. I make fast paced and entertaining build videos on my YouTube channel that are made for everyone, but with the ultimate goal to get the younger generations ex…

Bathroom medicine cabinets made almost entirely from reclaimed materials. It's a very unique design I came up with that has a small display window in the center and uses a woven panel in the door. The H shaped pattern in the door runs perpendicular to the shelves inside the cabinet.

The main frame is made from salvaged pine which used to live as wall paneling in a church on Cape Cod. The woven panels are created from PVC sheet packing material that came from the trash and was formed to the woven pattern. The back panel is just 1/4" plywood and it's fastened to the wall using drywall anchors.

Cabinets were finished with linseed oil and then after that dried I rub on a mineral oil/beeswax mix and buff it to a slight shine.

This was made to mimic the design of my litter box/storage unit thingy.


> 3/4" reclaimed pine

> Reclaimed 1/8" PVC sheets

> Reclaimed mahogany deck ballusters for trim

> 1/4" luan plywood

> Soft close cabinet hinges

> Linseed oil finish

> Homemade beeswax and mineral oil finish

> Adjustable shelf pins

> Drywall anchors

Step 1: Cutting Wood to Size

I start by grabbing a bunch of boards of my reclaimed pine paneling.

All the pieces are cut down to rough length on the miter saw and then these pieces are all cut to final width on the table saw. Overall the cabinets are 5" deep.

I then use the miter gauge on the table saw to cut all the pieces to final length. The main pieces around the perimeter of the cabinet are cut at 45 degree miters.

Step 2: Forming Tongue & Groove

I use my setup blocks to set the height of the blade and also set up the fence to cut the tongues in the end of the pieces for the door panels.

These are cut little by little, nibbling away to form the tongue.

Then the grooves are cut in all the door pieces which will fit the panels and also fit the tongues from the perpendicular pieces. The finger board holds the pieces tight against the fence during this process.

Step 3: Back, Shelf Pins, & Assembly

I do a dry fit of all the pieces of the cabinet and temporarily clamp it in place. I then cut a piece of 1/4" plywood to fit as a backer panel.

The cabinet has a couple of permanent shelves in the center, but above and below is an adjustable shelf. I make out a template on a piece of scrap plywood, drill it out, and transfer those marks to the side panels and drill them for adjustable shelf pins.

Time for assembly! These are the permanent center shelves. I glue and screw everything in place. A countersink bit is used for all the holes so they can be plugged later.

The perimeter pieces are installed around the center shelves. Clamps hold these in place while I fasten them with glue and screws.

Once the frame of the cabinets are assembled, I glue and screw the backer panel in place. I make sure this is nice and secure because it is going to be fastened to the wall through this back panel.

Step 4: Cutting PVC Sheet

Now for the doors, I pull out a PVC sheet from my collection. I chose red to match the bathroom storage/litter box I built previously. These are used as a shipping material and were pulled from the trash.

I cut a bunch of 1/2" strips out of the sheet...

A whole bunch of strips!

Step 5: Forming Woven Panels

So the door panels are made of 8 different pieces. The center pieces mimic the shelf structure on the inside, but run vertically. I clamp half of the door in place temporarily while I weave the small panels.

I start with 4 pieces running vertically and then weave alternating pieces in.

Every few inches I use a dab of hot glue to temporarily hold the outside vertical piece. The pressure of the weave wants to pop this piece out, so the glue holds it while I'm getting the other piece of wood installed.

I weave the other small panel and then the tricky part is installing the rail on the other side. It's just a matter of slowly working my way from one side to the other.

I do the same with the larger panel and then close up this side. Getting that piece on was a blast.

Step 6: Clamping & Forming Final Woven Panel

Before I install the final woven panel, I have to glue the short inside wood pieces because I won't be able to reach them once the panel is in.

Luckily I'm building 2 of these, so I clamp this in place and build the 3 weaved panels in the other door. Once I'm done with the 2nd door, the first door is dry.

I then do the same and weave the 4 panel. Once everything is together I take it apart again by pulling off the top and bottom piece to apply blue and then clamp them in place.

When the door panels are dry, I unclamp them and sand down each face to get the grime off of the reclaimed wood.

Step 7: Filler/Trim Mahogany

Because of the hole in the center of the door, the groove that is used to hold the panels and tongues is exposed. I planed ahead and cut a groove in the short pieces too so I could add trim and make this into a feature.

I glue some mahogany pieces in place around the perimeter and use the clamp to squeeze them in tight.

Step 8: Plugs

Now I can plug the holes in the cabinet that were countersunk during assembly. I cut the plugs on my drill press using a plug hole cutter.

To free the plugs from the board I cut them off on the bandsaw.

The plugs are installed by gluing them and hammering them in place. They are then cut flush with an oscillating saw and sanded smooth.

Step 9: Hinges

Now I just need to attach the door to the frame. I use some European hinges, so I mark out the location to drill the holes.

The pocket for the hinges is bored out with the drill press and forstner bit.

I attach the plates from the hinges inside the cabinet and then pop the hinges into place.

Step 10: Finishing

Once everything looks good, I pull the hardware off and prepare for finish. I also tape off the woven panels to prevent getting any finish on them.

I first apply a coat of boiled linseed oil on everything then set that to dry for the night.

Then I use my concoction of mineral oil and beeswax to shine it up a bit.

This is rubbed into the wood, let dry, and then buff to a subtle shine.

Step 11: Installation

I drill 4 holes through the back of the cabinet to fasten them to the wall.

The same 1/8" thick plastic is used as a shim to space it out from the wall on the right side. I push the cabinet up against these and then mark through the holes onto the wall.

I drill out the drywall with 1/4" holes to fit drywall anchors since these are metal stud walls. The anchors are installed in the wall...

...Then the cabinet is lifted back into place and screws are fastened into the anchors in the wall.

The door is then installed by popping the hinges back into place.

Tested and approved! (wife is a tough customer)

Step 12: Glamour Shots

Joke's on you guys, you thought I was building two but this whole time it was just a mirror. ;)

Thanks for checking out the build and don't miss the build video for the full experience.

Remix Contest 2016

Participated in the
Remix Contest 2016

Shelving Contest 2016

Participated in the
Shelving Contest 2016

Trash to Treasure Contest 2017

Participated in the
Trash to Treasure Contest 2017