I'll show you how to make a jewelry cabinet from a thrift store mirror by creating a simple box construction to attach to the mirror.
Making a Jewelry Cabinet Using a Dresser Mirror as a Door
I love to pick up old dresser mirrors at thrift stores for 5-7 bucks. There are so many options. I've made them into chalkboards; sometimes, I update their look with some fresh paint. Many of these mirrors are plastic faux wood. This one happens to be real wood. They are all VERY heavy when you leave the mirrors intact.
This project was supposed to be a quick and easy makeover. It took much more time and effort than I ever imagined it would. BUT! Don't be intimidated by that statement. I will tell you how you can make it without using the method I used, taking up so much time. HINT: Learn from my mistakes. That's why I'm here! 🙂
Years ago, I made my daughter Jamie a jewelry armoire that hangs on the wall. I made it from scratch and bought a mirror for the front. That project inspired me to make this repurposed mirror jewelry armoire.
This wooden dresser mirror was around $5 at the Peddler's Mall. It is very heavy.
How to Construct a Wooden Frame
I made a simple box by ripping some 1x6s to about 5". I cut some shelf boards. This is where I got mixed up and added all those pocket holes, thinking I needed to attach the mirror. Well, I KNEW I was going to hinge it, but for some reason, I drilled all those holes (that I later had to patch)
If you don't have a Kreg jig, you can use small wood screws to attach your boards from the outside of the box. Simply countersink your screws slightly, then patch the holes. Doing this may make it faster and easier for a beginner.
Need more details on using a Kreg Jig? See my article How to use a Kreg Jig Pocket Hole System
Cut Piano Hinge to Size
I purchased a piano hinge at Home Depot, but it was too long, so I used my jigsaw with a metal blade to cut the hinge down to the correct size.
At this point, this was still an experimental project. The mirror is so darn heavy I wasn't sure the piano hinge would support the weight.
Add Supports to Jewelry Armoire for Hanging
You can see I've begun to patch all those pocket holes. I knew this cabinet would have to be secured very well on the wall, so I decided to use mounting rails just like the ones that hold your kitchen cabinets. I attached those mounting rails at the top and bottom of the box with more pocket holes.
If you use your Kreg jig to make pocket holes and don't have one of those handy Right Angle Clamps, I highly recommend you pick one up.
At this point, I mount it to the fence to ensure the hinge will support that massive mirror. The mounting rails at the top and bottom of the box will hold this thing on the wall!
Here's a close-up so you can see how this jewelry cabinet installs.
Looks good, eh?
Paint Jewelry Cabinet
It's time for some paint. I mixed up some DIY chalk paint, gave it a few light coats, and then sealed it with my favorite Minwax Polycrylic.
I hung the jewelry cabinet back on the fence to do more work on the inside.
Add Hooks to Hanging Jewelry Cabinet
I ripped some small pieces of 2x6 on the table saw to give a little thickness to the door. I had to be very careful to install these into the door, so I didn't break the mirror. It took a little trial and error to get the perfect size. They needed to be long enough so the Ryobi Airstrike nails/staples would go into the "meat" of the mirror but short enough on the right-hand side to allow the door to close.
Here is a tip for you . . .
You can use lattice wood molding found at The Home Depot for these strips. A strong adhesive such as liquid nails and a few tack nails should hold just fine. This way, you don't chance breaking the mirror. Another idea would be using vintage yardsticks, easily found at thrift stores.
I purchased these on L hooks (100) on Amazon. If you want to get some, follow the affiliate link. I spaced them 2" apart on the even numbers on the top row.
I spaced them 2" apart on the odd numbers for the next row. Why? I did this so that long chains or necklaces would hang between the hooks below them and not get tangled.
You can see that I pre-drilled small pilot holes, being VERY careful not to go too deep and break the mirror.
Tip: You can drill these holes before you install the thin boards to the back of your dresser mirror.
Look closely, and you can see how I attached those little pieces of wood with a staple on the edge.
I did that on all four hooks, never placing any directly above the ones atop them.
Hack For Screwing in L Hooks
You may think that installing the L hooks would make your fingers sore….I found a hack! I used the small piano hinge that I cut off, and it worked great to turn all those hooks into the wood with no problem. Again, I was careful not to turn them in too deep, so I didn't break that mirror. I had worked way too hard on this project for that to happen!
The back of the cabinet is a piece of thin plywood that I attached with my nail gun.
Here she is, hanging on the fence for yet another test drive. My poor fence gets put through the wringer with holes, screws, and nails! But that's better than testing it in the house on my WALL!
There are plenty of hooks for necklaces and bracelets and such, with lots of shelving to hold earrings and other trinkets.
And again, I'll say no, it's not meant to hang on a fence. I use the fence for staging purposes to get good lighting for photos.
So, all in all, the cost breakdown is about $40 for everything. The piano hinge was the most expensive component, but I don't think regular hinges would have supported that heavy mirror.
Gail Wilson is the author and mastermind behind My Repurposed Life. She is obsessed with finding potential in unexpected places and believes that with a little hard work and imagination, any old thing can be made useful again, including herself!
Gail reinvented herself during a midlife crisis and has found purpose again. She hopes you will find new ideas for old things and pick up a few tools along the way.