Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Spa Cabinet/ Armoire

Spa Cabinet/ Armoire

Adding on to my Jewel Box Guest room, is an armoire. I was really interested in testing out my cabinetry skills with this project, turns out cabinet making is very difficult and very tedious. I used a picture from Better Homes and Gardens that a friend of mine had sent to me as my inspiration.

Photo: Curtesy of Better Homes and Gardens. 
I really loved the color of the cabinet, the top trim, and the footer detailing. But of course I wanted to put my own spin on things. I knew that the teal blue color would not be very practical in case I ever decided to move, so I planned on making a cream colored cabinet to match the trim in the guest room.

Here is how I made the cabinet:

I started with two MDF panels that I purchased from Ikea's As- is department, I think I paid $5.00 each for them. I laid them parallel on the ground and added a top shelf  (I ended up changing this shelf later because it was too shallow).

Then I added the bottom shelf, I found this cabinet board in my basement. It was leftover from a "mistake" cabinet, the kitchen cabinetmakers made when our house was built. I attached it with wood glue and countersunk screws on the sides of the mdf panels. 

Stood the cabinet up to ensure it was level. 

My daughter = my assistant.
Then I added top supports which turned out to be plywood scraps leftover from the king bed I made a while ago. I glued and nailed them to the top of the mdf panels. 

Next, it was time to add the top trim. First I cut 1x3's and pieced them to give my top crown a sturdy foundation to be attached to. I added these to the top with lots of nails and wood glue. 

Then I cut my crown moulding (leftover from a previous project). I cut the corners at 45 degree angles, the moldings fit together nicely. I attached with wood glue and nails. Any open spaces I had I knew I would wood fill those cracks later. I only attached crown on the front portion and sides, (You have to cut a corner somewhere when you are using scraps!)

Next, it was time to add my bottom shelf. Since I knew this shelf would be behind cabinet doors I was not looking for a really beautiful piece of wood. This was a scrap panel I took off of another project I had torn apart before. I was sure to attach it to the cabinet sides with wood glue and countersunk screws) far enough up so that when I added my footer, the footer would be just about flush with the shelf.  I ended up needing to add a 1x3 here in the front later, as it was not flush with the shelf.

Bottom shelf.
Then I cut my footers. Two front pieces and two side pieces. All corners were beveled together at a 45 degree angles on all sides. I screwed them into the mdf and nailed and glued them all the way around. 

Cuts for footers. 
Notice 2x4's under shelf keeping it at the proper height for footer?

The 1x3 I ended up adding between the shelf and footer.
It needed the support and there was too big of a gap between. 
I knew some of the cracks would need wood filler later. No problem when you are planning on painting, more of a problem when you are going to stain a piece. 

My next challenge: Making the cabinet doors!

This was a serious pain!

I had purchased a very long panel door at Ikea As-is department for 30 dollars. I knew I cold cut it up and make cabinet doors out of it, plus I liked the beadboard pattern. I threw that baby on the old table saw and cut two panels for the front of the armoire. 

Cutting down huge panel.
Then, I drilled holes in the panels so that my ikea cabinet door hinges would attach perfectly to the doors. BTW these circular drill bits (Forstner drill bit) are my new favorite tools. They create a flat bottom hole in wood.  

Isn't the sawdust pretty?

Then I added some 1x2's to the length of the sides and on bottom where the cabinet doors would go. I attached them with wood glue and nails. This is more for a clean look than anything else. 

1x2 on each side of cabinet. 
Next it was time to add the hinges and attach the cabinet doors to the armoire. I bought these hinges at ikea for next to nothing in the as- is bin. I made them work!

This was a series pain getting the doors to attach perfectly. Some of my measurements were slightly off so I had do some sanding to trim them down. 

My son the helper!
Next, I wanted to create some girly interest, so I cut two squiggly brackets for the top of the cabinet from left over 1x6's, I had traced a book end edge for the shape. 

Then cut with my bandsaw- this thing cuts like a hot knife through butter!

Bandsaw on loan from my Dad!

I attached them to the top two corners using wood glue and nails, and wood filler:

Corner decorative pieces. 
Then I had to add the backing of the piece, I had to use leftover plywood for this cabinet so I just cut the seams to match the shelving on the inside. Here is where I swapped out the original top shelf for a 1x12 cut to size. This worked much better. 

New top shelf and then I added a 1x3 at the top the width of the cabinet to add trim detail on the top inside. 

New top shelf and plywood backing. 
Then I filled all holes and cracks with wood filler. And sanded down until smooth. Then I spray primed everything. 

Then I painted the whole cabinet with leftover paint from my guest room, the color Benjamin Moore- Crisp Linen, semi-gloss finish. 

Rolled on paint mostly with roller. 
Then I sprayed with Poly-acrylic coating from a spray can. This protects the armoire and makes it have a little bit more of a sheen. 

Then I added holes in the cabinet doors and installed hardware- which I changed out later for fancier knobs. I also added two sets of roller door catches (closures)- like these. Sorry I don't have a pic of that, that helped keep my doors close perfectly straight.  

I had some guy friends of mine carry this bad boy up to the guest room. I consequently awarded them with popsicles since it was hot out!

Here are some more pics of the armoire in the Jewel Box Guest Room. I filled it was spa "pretties" and girly books. 

Bottom cabinet doors. 

Top shelf and detail. 
Hope you like this project.  

Don't forget to like Lipstick and Sawdust on Facebook!



  1. Can I just be INSANELY impressed that you created this yourself, with no plans aside from your own awesomeness!

    I love it, and it looks incredibly high end.

    Well done!

    I'm your newest follower.

  2. Thanks so much! I am really trying to work on my cabinetry skills.