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How to Make a Three Mirror Medicine Cabinet

April 10th, 2009 Leave a comment Go to comments

Drawing 3 door mirrored medicine cabinetLearn how to make (or, “build”) a custom three mirrors, tri view, medicine cabinet for your bathroom by following this plan for fabrication. This style, three door make-up bathroom cabinet, is what every woman would love to have. You can fabricate it to be inset into the wall or hang it on the outside of the wall. The bathroom cabinetry can be built using 5/8” thick Melamine board and either European full overlay hinges or piano hinges. If you use piano hinges the center section will be a fixed panel. If you use European full overlay hinges, you can make the center section be an actual medicine cabinet. The mirror that gets applied to your parts will be 1/8” thick.

  • Tip: The glass should not overhang the edges of the doors at all. Make sure that the person who takes your order, at your local glass company, understands this. If anything, the pieces should be slightly smaller, about 1/64 to 1/32 of an inch.



Making an Inset Tri View Mirror Medicine Cabinet

The steps for making an inset tri view style mirror medicine cabinet are basically the same as one that sets on the outside of the wall. The only difference is the inset cabinetry needs to have a 3/4” thick by 1” high frame all around it. In comparison to a wall hung design which would need to be finished on the sides, top and bottom. The following fabrication instructions are applicable when the cabinet design is planned for European concealed full overlay hinges.

  • Tip: When you fabricate the doors, even though they will be covered with mirror, you should plan on finishing the face of them about 1” all around. You must do this because the glass cutters don’t always cut the mirror exactly the same size as the medicine cabinetry doors. As previously mentioned it’s good to have the pieces a little smaller anyway so no binding will occur and break the mirrors.

1. Rip all of your parts 4” deep for the sides, tops and bottoms. This dimension applies to a framed wall that is 2 x 4 thickness. If your wall is thinner, perhaps because it is in a mobile home, adjust the depth accordingly.

2. Figure the overall size of your bathroom medicine cabinet to be 1/2” smaller than the framed opening in the wall, where it will be installed. If your opening is 48 1/2” wide and 36” high, your finished box size will be 48” wide x 35 1/4” high. Now, divided the width by three. The result will be the size that you will build each of the three mirrored medicine cabinets. In this example each one would be 16” wide. Remember that the maximum door width for European concealed hinges should not exceed twenty one inches. If your opening is larger than sixty three inches consider designing the center panel larger and make it a fixed panel. If you design your medicine cabinet to have a fixed panel, it will be easiest to just build a dummy box.

3. When you figure the medicine cabinet door sizes allow for the finished gaps, between the doors, to be no less than 3/16 of an inch. So, if we have three cabinets that are 16” wide deduct 3/16” off of 48” three times, then divided by 3.

4. The finished width of the doors should be 15 13/16” in this example. The height can be 35 1/4” for the finished dimension.

5. On the bottom of your 5/8” thick Melamine doors, cut a 12 to 15 degree angle so that you can open them with ease.

6. Assemble and finish the cabinetry complete. Once it is totally finished, deliver it to your local glass company and have them attach the mirrors. If you are not using a fixed panel in the center, you may remove the doors and just deliver them to the glass company. Remember, have them attach 1/8” thick mirrors onto your parts.

7. Install the cabinet and then apply the doors. Be extra careful when you are making the adjustments on the European hinges paying close attention to the area where the mirrors are next to each other. You do not want any binding to happen when you are making the cabinet hinge adjustments.

  • Tip: Use three to four hinges per door. You may want to consider using 176 degree hinges because they are able to carry more weight than a 110 degree hinge style.

This article is written from the prospective that you already know how to make things with wood. If you have general wood working knowledge, then you shouldn’t have any trouble following these plans for making a tri view, three mirrored doors medicine cabinet. I always recommend taking the doors to a cabinet shop and getting them drilled for the European hinges, if you don’t have a drill press set up for this operation. This will save you a ton of time when making this make-up bathroom cabinet. Cupboard manufactures usually have a machine already set up with the correct specifications for the concealed hinges to work properly. Making this vanity cabinet is going to require a certain level of skill so don’t waste time and money, especially if your not planning on making cabinetry building a regular event in your life. Cut as many corners as possible to make life easier on yourself.

Categories: Cabinet Making
  1. cathy cramer
    September 24th, 2009 at 08:53 | #1

    Hi, i have a tri mirrored medicine cabinet and the doors won’t stayed closed anymore. Do the doors just need to be adjusted? I have tried to adjust them, but not much luck.

  2. William Ranker
    November 17th, 2009 at 15:48 | #2

    i have a three mirror door medicine cabinet. built by Perma-Bilt Industries.

    Question: where can I buy a hinge?

    Please advise… Thanks

  3. William Ranker
    January 13th, 2010 at 18:34 | #3

    William Ranker :i have a three mirror door medicine cabinet. built by Perma-Bilt Industries.
    Question: where can I buy a hinge?
    Please advise… Thanks

    @William Ranker

  4. admin
    April 15th, 2010 at 07:08 | #4

    Cathy, it’s possible that the doors just need to be adjusted. If you are having difficulty doing this, hire a “professional: cabinet man. Stay away from getting a general handyman. You need someone who is familiar with working with cabinet door adjustments.

  5. Darrel Knauss
    May 18th, 2010 at 11:36 | #5

    @William Ranker
    Hello Mr. Ranker – While searching the Internet to find a website for Perma-Bilt Ind., I came across your question about hinges. This is exactly my problem. I also have a three door medicine cabinet manufactured by Perma-Bilt in my lake cabin in Minnesota. One of the six hinges is frozen shut, two others are limp. I have tried using a hing from Menards made by Hickory, but it isn’t quite the same and doesn’t work in tandem with the other hinges. It looks like Perma-Bilt was sold in 1989 to an Australian firm. Did you ever get an answer to your question, “Where can I buy a hinge?”

    Thanks, Darrel

  6. Dave
    June 14th, 2010 at 16:23 | #6

    I have the same problem with Perma-Bilt. A careful examination showed the hinge was marked BLUM. It was suggested that I contact BLUM (in the US) to see if they carry a replacement for the “European” hinge.

  7. admin
    June 15th, 2010 at 07:02 | #7

    I’m not sure what problem you are referring to Dave? I am guessing that the medicine cabinet door with the mirror on it is too heavy for the Blum hinges and that’s why you need to replace them.

  8. July 6th, 2010 at 14:33 | #8

    Has anyone found the hinges

  9. July 6th, 2010 at 15:21 | #9

    I have discovered that Perma-bilt Industries was sold to an Australian company. But Simon(the original owner of Perma- bilt) thru the company RSI still makes the three mirror cabinets and are sold at Lowes and Home Depot…they might have the hinges there.
    http://www.estatebath.com/product.aspx?c=4&i=127 you can see their tri mirrors…I have not checked out their hinges yet.
    This is interesting…. http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa5293/is_200708/ai_n21253014/pg_17/

  10. July 6th, 2010 at 16:38 | #10
  11. July 6th, 2010 at 17:38 | #11

    I found a replacement hinge for my Perma-bilt medicine cabinet by using the two previously mention websites.

  12. admin
    July 6th, 2010 at 20:38 | #12

    Bill, thanks for all of your hard work. I did a little research a while ago, but got frustrated because I was striking out. I really appreciate you going the extra mile to try and find the Perma-bilt product.

  13. Bill
    July 11th, 2010 at 13:26 | #13

    Update….found out that my spring and holder can not be matched so I took my latch apart and removed the spring and it’s broken plastic housing. Reassembled latch without spring…works fine!

  14. Sherry
    August 10th, 2010 at 12:39 | #14

    @Bill
    they don’t have them

  15. Mke
    February 7th, 2011 at 18:07 | #15

    any one know where I can get replacement mirrors for my 3 mirror perma-built medicine cabinet ??

  16. John
    February 17th, 2011 at 18:00 | #16

    You should have new mirror custom made from a local glass company if you cannot find the brand name company that fabricated the original medicine cabinet.

  17. February 27th, 2011 at 09:35 | #17

    teenager accidentally broke glass on my tri-mirrored oak medicine cabinet. Being upset, I threw entire door out instead of just getting a new glass. Cannot find another door for this 36″ cabinet. Please help?

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