Bathroom vanity cabinet made out of painted MDF and oak

I used water-based stain, primer and anti-scratch polyurethane lacquer for the oak wood countertops and for the drawer fronts

We were encouraged to accept and to build this bathroom vanity cabinet, after completing our first bedside project, built in the same style. That project was: two white painted MDF bedside tables with two drawers with oak wood fronts.

This time we had to build a white painted bathroom furniture with oak wood sink counter top. It had to meet several requirements:

  • the cabinet had to be built out of MDF
  • two drawers
  • the two drawers had to be build with a custom shape so that it can hide the drain pipes
  • the drawer fronts had to be build out of oak wood
  • tandem slides with total extraction for the drawers
  • both, the counter top and the fronts, had to be stained with reddish water-based stain

There were many different elements needed for this project, so we worked at the same time at:

  • the oak wood sink counter top
  • the MDF bathroom cabinet
  • the drawers of the bathroom cabinet
  • the oak wood drawer fronts

After we glued up the counter top and while we were waiting for the glue to dry, we were working at the MDF furniture, while we were waiting for the white paint to dry, we were working at the drawers and at the fronts.

But let take them one by one.

The oak wood sink counter top

We do not think it is necessary to write more about the way we make a 4 cm thickness oak wood countertop, how we sand it and how we finish it:

  • we planed and squared the planks
  • we applied the glue and we tightened the planks using the 4-way panel clamps
  • we straightened the oak panel
  • we sanded it with 120 grit sandpaper on the faces

The countertop should have had almost the same sizes as the sizes of the MDF cabinet (a little bit bigger). We made a cutout in the counter top to be able to install the washbasin.

After all these we sanded the edges and we rounded the sharp edges by hand with 120 grit sandpaper.

We stained it with a reddish water-based stain. We obtained the color by mixing brown wood stain with red stain until we got what we wanted

We finished it with anti-scratch polyurethane primer and varnish. The polyurethane varnish is also resistant to the moisture conditions in a bathroom.

Obviously, there were small problems. At the moment we assembled the entire bathroom furniture and the sink we realized that the dimensions of the washbasin were not matched with the dimensions found on the internet for that washbasin model. So we had to cut the counter top a little bit, we had to apply again the primer and the varnish to the new cuts.

I applied anti-scratch polyurethane primer and varnish for long protection
The 4 cm thickness solid oak wood countertop is stained with water-based stain

The MDF bathroom cabinet

We used three 18 mm thickness MDF boards in order to build the bathroom vanity cabinet. For the beginning we needed two square 18 mm MDF strips. Their lengths were equal to the depth of the bathroom cabinet. We needed them to give the rounded shape to the corners of the cabinet.

these are the raw mdf boards and sticks needed to make the bathroom cabinet made out of painted MDF
The 18 mm thickness MDF board and sticks needed to build the white bathroom furniture
we cut two sticks from the raw MDF board which we will glue them on the edges of the base board of the painted MDF bathroom vanity cabinet
Two MDF strips cut from a raw MDF board
before gluing the MDF sticks I marked the distance of 18 mm from the edge of the raw MDF board
Marking de 18 mm distance for gluing the MDF strips on the edges of the MDF board

Before gluing the three MDF boards, we glued the strips at a distance of 18 mm from the edges (on the MDF boards which will become the sides of the cabinet).

I stick the two raw mdf sticks and tightened them with a few clemps
Sticking the MDF strip on the edge of the MDF board

After the glue was dried we routed the edges of these boards, using a 3d printed jig for “box joints”.

the milling cuts came out very well thanks to the box joint jig printed on the 3d printer
3D printed jig for “box joint”
I used the same 3d printed template for joining two wide MDF boards using box joint method, so to beeing sure that the joint will never broke
“Box joint” method for two wide raw MDF boards
we managed to make box joints to glue the two mdf boards using the same 3D printing milling jig
The millings for the “box joint” type

After we finished the routing process, we glued up the MDF boards.

we glued the edges of the painted MDF bathroom furniture using box joint method and we will round them inside and outside
We used the “box joint” method of joining the two MDF wide boards

The boards stuck together very well.

I used a box joint 3d printed jig to glue two raw mdf boards
The joint of two raw MDF boards

We made sure that they were glued together at 90 degree angle.

this is how the MDF bathroom vanity cabinet looks after the box joints has dried
The raw MDF bathroom furniture after the glue was dried

When the glue dried, we started the process of sanding the corners. For rounding the inner corners, which was the hardest work, we first cut the glued MDF strip with a sharp chisel.

I rounded the inner corner of the MDF bathroom vanity cabinet with a chisel
Rounding the inner corner with the chisel

Then we sanded them with the sheet orbital sander, with the multitool and in the end with a sheet of sandpaper using a piece of round wooden bar of 20 cm diameter.

The process of rounding the inner and the outer corners of a piece of MDF furniture is very well described in our new post and new video about building a set of two white mid century floating nightstands.

I used a 20 mm diameter round fir wood bar
Sanding the round inner corners with a piece of round rod made out of 20 mm diameter for wood

For the outer rounding it was sufficient the belt sander and then the sheet orbital sander.

I used the belt sander to sand the round corners of the MDF boards
Sanding the outer corners with the belt sander

When we got the correct shape, we covered the small remaining holes with wood putty and then we sanded it again until we got a surface without holes and bumps. We manually rounded all the sharp edges of the bathroom vanity cabinet using a sheet of 120 grit sandpaper.

As we said before, the cabinet needed only two drawers: one with 10 cm high front and one with 15 cm high front. So it remained an uncovered area at the bottom of the furniture. In order to hide the pipe system, we made a mask, also out of MDF boards. We used two MDF boards joined with screws at 90 degree.

I fixed with glue and screws two raw MDF boards to mask the drain pipes
The two MDF boards fixed with glue and screws which will hide the pipes

We rounded the two corners of vertical board which joined with the inner corners of the cabinet. Then we rounded all the edges by hand. The entire process of rounding the corners of an MDF cabinet can be found in a video on our YouTube channel.

in order to be able to fit the interior corners of the bathroom vanity cabinet, we also rounded the corners of the vertical raw mdf board of the mask
The vertical board of the mask has rounded corners to fit the rounded inner corners of the furniture
I marked the area where the entire MDF assembly will be fixed to hide the drainage siphon
Marking the place for the assembly that hides the pipe system

We did a first check to make sure that the countertop and the cabinet have the right sizes.

I matched for the first time the 4 cm thickness oak wood countertop on the 18 mm thickness MDF bathroom vanity cabinet
The first try to match the oak counter top on the raw MDF bathroom furniture

We also cut two MDF strips, we glued and screwed them on the upper edge of the cabinet so that the oak wood counter top can be easily install. We used two more MDF sticks, but shorter, to install the furniture mask.

I used 4 sticks cut from a MDF board to easily attach the oak wood counter top and the mask to the bathroom vanity cabinet
The raw MDF sticks for fixing the oak wood countertop and the mask which hides the drain pipes
I fixed with glue and screws the crude MDF sticks, to fix later with other screws the 4 cm thickness solid oak bathroom countertop
Fixing the MDF sticks with glue and screws
I used raw MDF sticks to easily fix the MDF mask to the rest of the bathroom furniture
Glued MDF sticks needed for fixing the mask
this is how the oak countertop for bathroom and the mask for hiding the drain pipes should be matched
The oak wood counter top and the MDF cabinet fit perfectly

The raw MDF bathroom vanity cabinet was ready to be paint. We used white paint with hardener, because it needed more protection due to the fact that a bathroom is a space with high humidity differences. After the first coat of paint, small holes appeared. They were impossible to be noticed after sanding. We covered the small holes with wood putty and we sanded again.

I applied the first coat of paint on the MDF suspended bathroom vanity cabinet
Applying the first layer of paint on the MDF bathroom furniture
I covered the remaining holes in the painted MDF with knife putty to be sure that we will obtain a very smooth rounded inner corner
Covering all the small holes and imperfections after the paint dried
I painted with white paint the MDF bathroom vanity cabinet
The MDF bathroom furniture is painted white
I used white paint with hardener for increased the resistance of the bathroom vanity cabinet due to the easily modifiable humidity conditions
The MDF mask is also painted with white paint with hardener

When we finished applying the paint layers we installed the tandem slides with total extraction.

for this painted MDF bathroom vanity cabinet we used tandem slides with total extraction
Installing the tandem slides with total extraction for the drawers

The drawers of the bathroom cabinet

Now, let’s tell you something about the drawers. As we told you, the drawers had a custom shape, with a cutout in the middle, to allow the pipe system to be hidden. We made the sides out of fir wood planks and for the bottom of the drawers we used 8 mm thick plywood. We sanded them and we applied polyurethane primer and varnish for protection.

I built the drawers so that they could use tandem slides with total extraction, but to bypass the drain pipes
The drawers have a special shape that allows them to bypass the drain pipes
I made the bathroom furniture drawers from 8 mm thick plywood and 18 mm fir wood
The drawers used for this type of bathroom furniture

The oak wood drawer fronts

We used 20 mm thick oak planks for the drawer fronts. The drawer fronts have a long story. First, we routed the handles, but we didn’t have enough space for fingers. We noticed that only after we stained the fronts and varnished them. As a result we had to redo them. That’s why, in the photos with the router the drawer fronts are colored. But after we corrected the routes, we sanded, stained and varnished them again.

before we cut the drawer fronts to the needed sizes we sanded them on the visible faces, we covered the cracks and we sanded the wood again
The drawer fronts before cutting to the needed dimensions
I milled the drawers fronts by fixing them on the table with two 3D printed corners jigs
Routing the drawers fronts handles
we milled the oak drawer fronts handles using two types of milling cutters
The handles are made so that there is enough space for fingers

We put all the pieces together. So, this is the painted MDF bathroom vanity cabinet, the oak wood counter top, with custom drawers and oak wood fronts:

I built the oak wood countertop to a little bigger dimensions larger than dimensions of the white painted MDF bathroom vanity cabinet
The oak wood counter top dimensions are slightly larger than the dimensions of the bathroom furniture
I fixed the washbasin on the solid oak wood counter top
The washbasin is fixed on the solid oak counter top
I used water-based stain, primer and anti-scratch polyurethane lacquer for the oak wood countertops and for the drawer fronts
White painted MDF bathroom furniture with oak wood counter top and drawer fronts

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