Introduction: Small Bathroom Easy Access Storage

How many hyphens should there be in the title? Beats me!

The basic concept here is just a regular wall-hung small cabinet, but the bottom shelf pulls out of the side to make the usual lineup of morning routine liquids, pastes, and blades more easily accessible. The shelf has an acrylic tray for containing drippy situations.

The idea for this project stemmed from a cluttered bathroom counter. There were too many tubes and bottles sitting around, making it hard to prevent puddles and just a general damp mess. Sure, I have a medicine cabinet style mirror, but then you can't see what you're shaving until it's too late! Yes, you could close the door, but then you have to open and close it AGAIN to put stuff away! As a non-morning individual, my limit is opening and closing one thing, one time.

There is plenty of room for customization here, this instructable is meant more as a jumping off point. I decided to go for a more rustic-looking aesthetic, hence the twine doors, crate-like structure and lightly brushed paint. I apparently do not have an eye for matching colors from memory; I wanted a much lighter blue to match the rug and towels in my bathroom, but it instead looks like something you would find at a cheesy surfer themed restaurant. I'll repaint someday!

Step 1: Planning

Before gathering materials, plan out the size and shape of things. I put some painter's tape on the wall to get an idea of the size I was going for. I am SO glad I did this, as I was originally planning on making the middle shelf pull out. After taping, I realized the height would be ridiculous, so I went with the bottom shelf instead.

I also found the receptacle to be place on the drawer shelf before planning out the dimensions. I found this nice little 4.5" x 11.5" acrylic tray, and I based the shelf size off of that, leaving plenty of room for my inevitable errors.

Step 2: Materials

I unfortunately do not have access to a table saw, so I did this mostly with the expensive pre-cut wood strips you can find at a lot of hardware stores. Just working with what I've got.


0.5" x 1.5" x 24" - Main structure, 8 to 10 of these

0.25" x 1.5" x 24" - Side panels and doors, 14 - 16 of these

0.5" x 5.5" x 24" - shelves, 2 to 3 of these

Fasteners and Hardware:

Wood glue

4 hinges, for the front doors

2 smaller hinges, for the side door

Sprinkle small screws and nails throughout, as needed

Drawer Slide - the best for this is the Center Under-Mount, which is intended to be mounted solo on the bottom side of a drawer. I was not able to find this, so I used a regular bearing-style side mount, seems to work just fine as long as you aren't putting a ton of weight on it.

Optional - Twine Doors

A bunch of 1/4" dowels, I needed around 80 but only used 72.


Small knobs/handles - I didn't even use these they are so optional

Magnet catch - I bought a couple of these, but did not need them. I found that if you unintentionally misalign the hinges, the door will not swing as freely and will stay in the place you leave it :P

Step 3: Frame

For the frame, I used the 0.5" x 1.5" x 24" boards.

I clamped together four of the boards and cut a bit off of the ends to even them all up.

I did the same with four more boards, and cut them to 14"

I then took two 24" boards and two 14" boards, and glued them together to make a rectangle. It should be noted that this is a simple and not very good joint. I am not much of a wood worker, I am sure there are plenty of better ways to do this. I figure that since the entire thing is fairly light, these joints will suffice. I will be adding some additional screws to the corners on my setup just for peace of mind. I would recommend you do also unless you know more about woodworking than me, in which case I recommend you instead comment and enlighten us all as to whether these joints are legit.

While the rectangles were setting, I cut a bunch of 5.75" lengths from the same type of boards. These are used to hold the two rectangles together, and also act as rests for the shelves.

Once the front and back of the cabinet had set, I glued the 5.75" spacers in between the two, creating the main box of the cabinet. I only did the corners at first, as the other spacers will determine the placement of the shelves, and I wanted to do those separately after the structure was in place.

Step 4: Middle and Top Shelf

Add more spacers to act as the rests for the middle and top shelves.

Cut shelves of the appropriate length from the 0.5" x 5.5" x 24" boards. I cut three shelves that were about 16" each.

I decided to not actually attach these shelves, just have them rest on the spacers. I am glad I did so, I actually ended up removing the top shelf to let more light through after I installed the cabinet.

Step 5: Drawer Shelf

Place two or three additional 5.75" spacer blocks at the bottom, and set the bottom of the drawer slide on the spacer blocks. Line the spacers up with the available holes on the drawer slide, mark and drill. Attach the drawer slide and glue the spacers into the frame.

Take the top portion of the drawer slide and attach it to one of the shelf boards cut in the previous step. It is easier to line up if you place the board on top of the slide in the cabinet, and mark where the slide is.

Step 6: Sides

On the side that does not open for the drawer shelf, simply cut down 3 of the 0.25" x 1.5" x 24" strips to match the height of the cabinet, and glue them on.

For the door on the other side, space three boards in a similar manner to the stationary side. Instead of gluing them to the side of the cabinet, cut 2 or 3 shorter strips from the same style boards, and glue them to the 3 long boards to hold them together.

Once the glue has set, use the two small hinges to attach the door to the rear frame of the cabinet.

Step 7: Door Frames

The doors are made from the same boards as the side panels, in this case the 0.25" x 1.5" x 24" boards.

For each of the doors, use 4 full length boards, and 2 boards that are cut down to just slightly less than half of the cabinet width (the width of one door). The shorter boards are sandwiched between the longer boards, so the short boards each make up the top and bottom of the door, and two long boards make up each side of the door. The sandwich creates a small gap between the long boards on the sides of the door.

Once the door has set, drill a bunch of holes for the dowels. The dowels are there to give the twine something to loop around. The distance between the holes does not have to be consistent, unless you want more symmetrical twine pattern. I left mine more random, which I think looks nicer and is also a lot easier to do.

Insert the dowels into the holes and cut off any excess. I used a jigsaw for this, after I broke a blade off of a small hacksaw. I did use wood glue to hold the dowels in place after cutting off the excess, as some of the dowels did not fit tightly enough. I think it would be a good idea to glue the dowels first and then cut off the excess, as they do sometimes roll with the saw blade. Just be sure your saw is OK with going through wood glue.

Step 8: Paint

Do not fully assemble everything before painting, it makes painting much more difficult. I removed most of the hardware (hinges, drawer slide) before doing any painting. I used Zinsser 123 primer for the base, and a "Waterborne Interior Paint" as the top coat. I do not know much about paint, so I relied heavily on the helpful guy at the hardware store when choosing these. I recommend you do the same when picking out paint, just let them know what look you are going for and its potential to get wet, and they can point you in the right direction!

For the painting style I did, apply a normal coat of primer (maybe two). Once that is dry, get a small amount of the topcoat paint on one of those cheap "chip" brushes, paint on some scrap wood or newspaper until the strokes are not leaving full strokes (whatever application thickness you are looking for) and then lightly paint the cabinet in long strokes, keeping the direction consistent.

Step 9: Assemble and Hang

Before attaching the doors, loop the twine through the dowels. I found that adding some tape to the end of the twine is VERY helpful, it acts as a sewing needle of sorts. Just tie on to any of the dowels first, and pull it through from side to side. This step take a while, and can be itchy.

Once the doors are all twined up, put all of the hinges and things back on and verify things still open and close appropriately. Once it's all looking good, hang it on the bathroom wall! I added some vinyl pads to the back of the cabinet to avoid scratching up the wall.

To hang, I just used a simple kit from the hardware store, hooks and wires. I do not recommend this method, I will screw it directly to the wall soon and I highly recommend you do the same. The shifting weight of the drawer is not good for the wire hanging style.

A note on the look, I know I am going to revamp this soon, I will repaint and possibly find something other than twine for the doors, maybe canvas, plastic, bamboo strips, or something else. Lots of options!

Anyway, hope you like it! There are certainly tons of variations you can do on this, I hope someone tries it out and adds their own style to it!

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