Old Medicine Cabinet Made NEW!

I’ve done this in two different houses…one was a rental!  If you have an old medicine cabinet that is rusting or just looks rough, this 2-3 hour,
$10-$20 project will make that old, sad medicine cabinet look new!

*Note: This can also be done outside! It must be warm and dry outside. Find a shady spot and put paper and a couple 2x4s or a block down to raise the cabinet enough to allow paint to go right along the edge. It will take some propping and a bit more time. Most medicine cabinets are fairly easy to remove. Just remove a couple screws and wiggle it out. Warning: It will also be rusty and dirty where it comes out of the wall.

1 window in the bathroom with a powerful fan set up to blow air out
please note: an exhaust fan will not provide enough ventilation
1 face/mouth cover this project exposes you to fumes  
1 can of white rust resistant high gloss spray paint
1 sheet fine or medium sand paper
1 newspaper/paper from your recycle bin
1/2 roll of painters blue tape

Prepare the Surface
Remove everything from the cabinet and give it a good once over with a wet sponge.  Once you’ve removed the grime that can be removed with a sponge or wet paper towel it’s time to lightly sand the surface.  If your cabinet has a lot of rust you will need to spend more time sanding to get rid of all of the crumbly rust spots – you may need to start with rough sand paper and work your way down to fine sand paper. You want to end up with an even surface that is flat, not glossy, so that the spray paint will adhere evenly. Use a lightly damp cloth to remove the sanding dust.


Tape the edge & the chrome

Carefully tape along the wall where the medicine cabinet and the wall meet.  Use the flat edge of something to tightly press the tape down. You are creating a clean edge—everything under the tape will not be painted.


tape the edge

Tape the chrome on the inside and outside of the door. 


tape the chrome

These are after pictures: you can see the point of taping!


Tape paper to the edge tape
You want a good 10+ inches of paper on the wall all around – both top and bottom.  I recommend putting paper over the sink as well. The more paper you have the less overspray you will have to clean up.


 Tape over the mirror but be sure to paint the frame close to the wall and the mirror hinge.

behind the door hinge


Place your fan and turn it on



Start Painting

Follow directions on the can.  Only spray a light layer to avoid drips over the whole area then immediately go back and spray another layer.  You will know you are finished spraying when either you run out of paint or you have a nice glossy finish.

This is going to expose you to fumes.  Do everything you can to avoid breathing in these fumes.  Go slowly to allow the overspray and fumes to blow out the window.  Try to breath from air outside of the bathroom or get a special mask to filter these fumes.


high gloss rust resistant spray paint


Remove tape & paper

Do this right away. It will be easier to take the tape off without peeling paint.  Take your time, be careful and systematic.  This is the fun part!  When you are finished leave the cabinet door open slightly to dry.

shiny & newthe fun part


   CIMG2316 Congratulations!  It’s beautiful! Good as new.


With Love,


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Filed under DIY Home Improvement

11 responses to “Old Medicine Cabinet Made NEW!

  1. Janet Kiddie

    I had a couple rusted spots in our medicine cabinet. I sanded and sprayed Rustoleum and the paint bubbled. Do you know why and how I can fix it?

    • I don’t know why it bubbled. I would try to sand again with super fine sand paper and then spray a very light coat, let dry and spray again. You may need to use rust stop spray paint (not all spray paint will stop rust). Good luck!

  2. Laury A Tarr

    This diy is exactly what I’ve been planning. Then I saw your pin. I don’t have a window in my bathroom and am hoping that between the exhaust fan and a good mask that I’ll be alright. Looks great!

    • You may want to remove the medicine cabinet and do it outside. Spray paint fumes are really toxic. It is easier than you think it would be to remove the medicine cabinet. Look for a few screws to remove and wiggle it out. Good luck!

  3. Thanks so much! Just bought an older home with a medicine cabinet built into the tile wall. Unfortunately it was filled with rust. Followed your instructions and it looks great. And you were right and then some about the fumes! Thanks again!

  4. Sarah

    Hello, I just refinished my medicine cabinet according to the instructions provided. It looks amazing!
    My only afterthought was that I should and could have simply removed the cabinet and sprayed it outdoors. Having not used spray paint in a number of years, I’s forgotten about the overspray and fumes. The bathroom was covered and I spent a lot of time afterwards cleaning out the shower, floors, mirror, etc.
    If you can remove the cabinet, I would highly recommend that this be done outside.

    • Yes, I totally agree! It is way better to remove the cabinet and do outdoors. Of course, it must be at least 50 degrees F outdoors. I had a large box fan blowing out to do mine. They are fairly easy to remove, so removing and painting outside in warm dry conditions in the shade would be ideal.

  5. chen feng-sui

    so goo…

  6. This is better than going to Home Depot for a self help calss. Thanks 🙂

  7. Dad....

    You’re such a talented girl…
    It really looks great……for about 5 bucks….
    Recycling at its’ finest!!

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