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How to Build a Bathroom Vanity

Bathroom vanities come in a wide range of not only sizes and finishes, but prices. And it makes sense that the LARGER or more custom the vanity, the more expensive. After searching long and hard for the most perfect 36″ vanity for my powder room without any luck, I decided to build one. Yes! You can DIY your own bathroom vanity using basic tools for under $85, and here’s how I did it. Be sure to Pin It to refer back to later!

Materials for 36″ DIY Bathroom Vanity Cabinet:

Estimated Cost $100 for vanity base cabinet. Beginner Tutorial. Approximate time 6-8 hours.

3/4″ Maple Plywood
1×3″ Select Poplar
1×2″ Select Pine
Cane Webbing Open Mesh Caning from Frank Supply in W901U Unbleached
1 1/4″ Kreg Screws
x4 Frameless Full Overlay Hinges
Wood Glue
Heavy Duty Staples
1 1/2″ Brad Nails
Wood Filler
Caulk
Primer
Paint (I use SW 6216 Jasper in Satin Finish, Emerald Urethane Trim Enamel)

Optional:
37″ Marble Vanity Top
Marble Side Splash
Silicone Caulk
Breckenridge Pfister Faucet
Serena & Lily Grid Wallpaper

Tools:
Circular Saw/Table Saw
Jig Saw
Drill
Kreg Jig
Kreg Right Angle Clamp
Brad Nailer
Heavy Duty Stapler
Kreg Conceal Hinge

Cut List

Cabinet Box:
x2 35×21″ Left & Right Side
x2 34″x21″ Middle & Bottom Shelf
x2 35″x3″ Support Piece

Face Frame Trim:
x2 1×2″ Select Pine @ 32.25″
x2 1×2″ Select Pine @ 13.75″

Cabinet Doors:
x4 Rails from Select Poplar 1×3 @ 12.5″
x4 Stiles from Select Poplar 1×3 @ 19.75″


Bathroom Vanity Assembly

  1. Draw a line on the left and right side pieces at 15″ and act 4.5″ and line the BOTTOM of the shelves to the line.
  2. Create pocket holes on the under side of the middle shelf and bottom shelf using the Kreg jig. Use 1 1/4″ pocket screws and wood glue to attach the middle shelf to the left and right side (like shown in the graphic below). First I would attach the middle shelf to both the left and right sides so your drill doesn’t have to fit in a tight space.
    Also be sure to use a speed square and a level to make sure everything is in line and square while securing the screws.

Middle Shelf 15″ from bottom
Bottom Shelf 4.5″ from bottom

Once you have the 2 shelves and sides attached, then you are half way done with the cabinet box! Yes, it really is that easy.

Support Pieces

Next you will want to attach some scrap plywood to the top using pocket holes to help keep the cabinet box square and also to serve as a support strap for the counter and sink. Take into account the depth of your sink. You may need to trim these support pieces to fit around the sink. Have the pocket holes visible to the top which will be covered with the countertop. Each support piece should be 35″ long and 2-4″ wide.

Face Frame the Shelf

I opted to do a frameless cabinet which is a European style of cabinet doors. These doors will completely fill the upper half covering the raw plywood edge, but to give the bottom portion a more finished look I decided to face frame it. Face frame is basically some 1×2″ wood (select pine) that creates a frame.

Face Frame Cut List:

x2 1×2″ Select Pine @ 32.25″
x2 1×2″ Select Pine @ 13.75″

Attach face frame to raw cabinet edge with wood glue and 1 1/2″ Brad nails. Fill space with wood meets with wood filler and caulk seams against plywood.

Cane Cabinet Doors

I also decided to change the cabinet doors from a traditional shaker to a cane insert shaker style. To recreate the cane doors follow the instructions below, if you opt to make traditional style shaker doors see Bitterroot DIY’s tutorial: Easy Shaker Cabinet Doors.

Cane Shaker Door Cut List

x4 Rails from Select Poplar 1×3 @ 12.5″
x4 Stiles from Select Poplar 1×3 @ 19.75″

  1. Drill pocket holes on each end of the 12.5″ styles.
  2. Apply wood glue and clamp the rail to the stile and attach with 1 1/4″ pocket screw.
  3. Sand down with 120 grit follow by 220 grit sand paper. If needed run your edges through your table saw to create an even line.
  4. Once you have your rails and stiles attached you basically have a hollow door with no inner panel. Test the fit by installing hinges and paint prior to installing the cane webbing.

Painting the bathroom vanity

There are a few options when it comes to painting a bathroom vanity, spraying would be the first option. For more tips on how to use a paint sprayer click here, but if spraying isn’t an option you can still achieve a beautiful finishing with a roller and paint brush.

I personally love using Sherwin Williams Emerald Urethane trim enamel for woodworking, doors, trim, shiplap. It hardens and cures in 7 days. it’s extremely durable and does NOT need to be top coated with any sealer. The finish is very smooth even with a roller and paint brush and it also sprays fabulously from a paint sprayer. For more about why I love using emerald click here.

My favorite painting technique is actually cutting in with a 2″ angled brush followed by a foam roller. For this vanity I did 3 coats of SW Jasper 6216 in Satin finish.

Attaching the Cane to the Shaker Doors

This process is super straight forward and very easy to replicate. You can soak the cane webbing in water for 30 minutes (just fill up your sink or bathroom and let it soak) to help loosen it and make it easier to work with. It will also shrink and tighten a little as it dries. Cane webbing can be cut easily with a pair of scissors. Cut the cane to size and as you pull tight insert heavy duty staples into the cane and cabinet frame. If some staples aren’t full embedded hammer them in.

Secure cane with two rows of nails. one row with the staples going horizontal. the other row with the staples going vertical.

If you like you can attach some fabric to the back of the cane to help protect it from damage and unraveling. I opted to not. Be sure to keep the cane webbing far enough away from the edge of the cabinet so it doesn’t interfere with the hinges or the door closing.

Attach the hinges

For this style of cabinet vanity you will want to use FRAMELESS FULL OVERLAY hinges.
Use a Kreg Conceal Hinge to create your hinges holes into the door frame. The process is simple. Clamp the conceal hinge to the stile of the door. Attach the bit to your drill, and set the depth according to the instructions. For my doors I was set to a level 3. Simply drill until the stopper won’t let you drill further, detach, and screw in your hinge.

TIP: Use a speed square to help keep your hinge straight as you attach it to the door.

Once the hinges are attached you can celebrate because you just build your very own 36″ bathroom vanity for under $90!

You can opt to build your own vanity top or buy a vanity top. I chose to buy a marble vanity top which is linked above. Let me know if you have any questions in the comments below and be sure to follow along with more projects on instagram @honeybuilthome and on Pinterest honeybuilthome.

xo- Christine | Honey Built Home

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DIY Beginner Basics

CREATED BY

Christine Gummersall

DIY Beginner Basics is here to help get you comfortable with power tools and finishing supplies (such as paint), so you can start tackling your own honey-do list and save thousands, all while getting the satisfaction of saying, “yeah, I built that!”
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@honeybuilthome