Sorry I’ve been absent for a couple of days, but the projects I’ve been working on are of such awesomeness that I’m sure you’ll forgive me.
This one I’m SO EXCITED about because it looks fantastic! Save for a few small giveaways, you’d probably never guess that my bathroom storage tower was a DIY job.
First up you need to see the before:
This is our master ensuite; double sinks, laminate counters and builder’s mirror (complete with floss shrapnel all over it).
I picked up that cute copper rack at HomeSense last year, and while it is holding a lot of stuff – it isn’t holding enough and our counters are always covered with other bits and bobs.
I’ve eyeballed photos like these:
Some of the bathroom storage towers online are quite elaborate with detail work and glass cupboards and drawers and many take up the entire depth of the counter top.
I like my elbow room, so these thinner cabinets were more what I was looking for.
That doesn’t look too hard does it?
I drafted up some plans:
This can be made from a 2 foot by 4 foot piece of 3/4″ mdf. You’ll still need another shelf or two, but hopefully you have some scrap wood lying around so you don’t have to buy another full sheet.
I measured my builder’s mirror (which by the way I actually like for all the space it gives and light it reflects) to determine the height of my bathroom storage cabinet (44″ tall). I went slightly deeper than the copper shelf that it was replacing (8″ deep) and a bit wider as well (14″ wide) – just enough to store all of our things and keep Hubby’s floss shrapnel on his side of the mirror.
Bathroom Storage Cabinet:
(from 3/4″ mdf)
- 2 pieces 43 1/4″ by 8″
- 1 piece 15″ by 8 1/2″
- 4 pieces 12 1/2″ by 8″
Before assembling your bathroom storage cabinet you’ll want to cut a notch out of the bottom of each 43 1/4″ board – this is so that your cabinet will fit around the back edge of your counter top. To make life easy, I measured the height of my counter back and the depth and then cut straight lines with my jig saw. (*Remember that you will be adding a 3/4″ base to your cabinet, so reduce your height measurement by 3/4″ – I didn’t do this and you’ll probably notice my screw up below). If you are a better wood worker than I am, you could use a scribe tool to get a perfect line marking the depth and any curves of your backing before cutting. (Look at photo 3 to see how the cabinet back is sitting on top of the counter backsplash).
Building the cabinet frame was the easy part; I used pocket hole screws in the top and bottom for a clean finish.
If you are using mdf for your bathroom storage cabinet – please remember to pre-drill your holes first. Another tip to save you from the frustration of splitting the boards is to clamp the board before you drill your screws in; with the board clamped tightly it can’t split. It’s a tad tedious, but SO worth it. Glue each piece and then attach with 1 1/4″ course pocket hole screws.
If you have a drill press and want adjustable shelves, you can set the depth and distance for each hole and repeat down the sides before assembling.
I had some shelf brackets on hand, so I decided to pre-drill holes at the height I wanted each shelf. I did this by marking the depth of the shelf bracket and then putting a piece of painter’s tape around my drill bit at that depth. When drilling your holes, you know to stop when the tape meets the wood.
Glue and nail your centre shelf in place to give your cabinet rigidity and to make it square.
All of that is easy-peasy – you’ll have it whipped out in no time.
The tough part comes with trimming your bathroom storage cabinet out.
My friend Sherri (Details Renovations) came over and taught me how to cut and attach trim – starting with the facing. I purchased 1 1/4″ wide poplar to trim out the sides and top of my cabinet. For an even more professional look, trim out the front of your shelves with the poplar as well.
Next up we applied quarter round to the base of the cabinet.
This quarter round is 1/2″ tall, so it allowed for a small ‘reveal’ on the front of my cabinet. Sherri explained that when applying any trim work, you want to have a small section 1/8″ to 1/4″ exposed for a crisper look – this gap is called the reveal. Quarter round was cut on a mitre saw at a 45 degree angle measured directly from the cabinet base for the best fit. Attach one side, line up the next so you have a perfect corner then mark your cut line and cut. Repeat until you have worked clockwise (or counter-clockwise) around the cabinet base.
This was my first time using an air nailer, so there are a few mistakes where I shot right through the base of the cabinet – but if you have one, or can borrow one, I highly recommend it. It attached everything quickly and easily without splitting the trim. Definitely on my birthday wish list.
This next part is not for beginners – crown moulding is a bitch!
Sherri patiently walked me through the measuring and cutting and explained spring angles and gussets etc – but it was a shit-show of confusion.
Instead she suggested that you trim out the top of your bathroom storage cabinet with casing or baseboard so that you can get the custom-built look but short-cut by only having to cut 45 degree angles. It would have been SOOO much easier.
Fill in any nail holes and seal the edges of your trim work with DAP moulding and trim sealer (link below) then sand smooth when dry.
If you are using mdf, prime your cabinet with an oil-based primer like Kilz. MDF is like a sponge, so a latex primer will soak in where an oil-based primer (while a bit of a pain to clean up) will stay on the surface and give you a smoother finish in fewer coats.
My bathroom cabinets are stained, but because I built the storage tower out of mdf, I couldn’t stain it to match – instead my besties at Clancy’s Rainbow selected a colour from the countertop that would also go with my walls (they never lead me astray).
I probably should have staged it with rolled towels and pretty perfumes but I’m guessing that, if you go to the effort to build a DIY bathroom storage tower, you probably have actual necessities that you want to store in it.
I opted for reality.
A great use of vertical space, with a tiny footprint creating more storage and organization without losing valuable bathroom real estate.
My favourite part, beyond the trim work (thank you again Sherri), is the mirror shining through the back keeping everything light and bright.
I take it back, the best part is the price tag:
- 3/4″ mdf – scrapwood I had in the garage
- crown and trim – $19
- DAP trim and moulding sealant – $6
- KILZ primer – leftover from other projects
- paint – $28 (but there is 3/4 of a can left for other projects)
Awesome-sauce or what?! You totally need to build one!
Have a great one!