DIY: Birch Cabinet Fronts

by Garrett Fleming

DIY: Birch Cabinet Fronts, Design*Sponge Each corner of Racheal’s Washington home features something she and her husband have crafted themselves, from one-of-a-kind murals to walls dressed in unconventional materials (Legos!). But there was one DIY that really caught my eye while I worked on her home tour earlier this year: her bathroom vanity. The piece looks so well crafted I initially thought it came from a store or local furniture maker, but Racheal proved, yet again, to be the mastermind behind the memorable look.

Today, she’s breaking down the steps and tools you need to give your own existing vanity a refresh using birch plywood. While I haven’t tried this project yet, it sounds rather simple once you familiarize yourself with the necessary tools. Scroll down to see how she did it, and get ready to roll up your sleeves. Good luck! Garrett

Photography by Racheal Jackson

DIY: Birch Cabinet Fronts, Design*Sponge


  • Birch veneer plywood
  • Circular saw
  • Drill
  • Staple gun
  • Sandpaper
  • Cabinet hinge drill bit
  • Cabinet hinges
  • Ruler
  • Measuring tape
  • Pencil
  • Masking tape
  • Boiled linseed oil


Step 1

Remove all the old cabinet doors, hinges and drawer faces.

Step 2

Sand down the base of your vanity, removing all varnish or stain. 

Step 3

Measure the vanity base and determine the sizes of your new drawers and doors.

Step 4

On your new birch plywood, mark out the lines for your cabinet faces using masking tape. (This isn’t strictly necessary, but I found that skipping this step means that your plywood faces can chip while sawing. This ensures a smoother edge.)DIY: Birch Cabinet Fronts, Design*Sponge

Step 5

Using a straightedge, draw lines demarcating your new cabinets (over the tape). DIY: Birch Cabinet Fronts, Design*Sponge

Step 6

Use your circular saw to cut along these lines. You now have your cabinet and drawer fronts! 

DIY: Birch Cabinet Fronts, Design*Sponge

Step 7

Sand the fronts of the boards.DIY: Birch Cabinet Fronts, Design*Sponge

Step 8

Take your cabinet doors and turn them to the backside to install the hinges. Using the guide that comes in your cabinet hinge drill bit kit, mark the center point for your hinge and the accompanying screws. Carve out the holes for the cabinet hinges using the drill bit, and drill pilot holes for the screws.

DIY: Birch Cabinet Fronts, Design*Sponge

Step 9

Attach hinges to the doors.

DIY: Birch Cabinet Fronts, Design*Sponge

Step 10

Attach the doors to the cabinet frame.

DIY: Birch Cabinet Fronts, Design*Sponge

Step 11

Staple your drawer faces from behind onto the existing drawers. Here you have the option of putting wood glue in, too. DIY: Birch Cabinet Fronts, Design*Sponge

Step 12

Using boiled linseed oil and a work rag, oil the new wood fronts. 

Step 13

Add the hardware of your choice, admire your work and give yourself a massive pat on the back!

Suggested For You


  • One helpful tip when cutting plywood is to have the finished side face down when cutting. This minimizes splintering on the face. Also use a finishing blade (smaller, more teeth), not a general purpose blade (larger, less teeth).

  • They look beautiful!

    Mostly great DIY instructions. Yet, there might actually be someone out there who doesn’t know that you need an air compressor (not pictured as part of the tools you need) to power the stapler. An alternative solution for those without access to a compressor is to attach the fronts using four screws from inside each corner of the drawer that bite into the front at least 1/4”. Pre-drilling the holes all the way through the drawer makes it super easy. Glueing makes it permanent.

    Also, if you put a piece of blue tape around the hollowing bit to the correct depth of the hole into which the hinge seats, you are less likely to carve too deep or wonky (technese for not level).

  • Is the saw cutting on the side of the blue tape or in the middle of it? Thanks!

  • You make it look easy and simple! I wish I was handy to us even all this tools, lol…
    But I am also inspired, may be I should try it and learn. Beautiful results, and I love the red, great choice!

  • I absolutely ADORE this! I just bought a house that was built in 1917…and oh man, it needs some new cabinets! I think instead of buying all new ones I’m just going to do this.

    Also-could you do this with a different type of wood and just paint/finish it? Or is plywood the best way to go on terms of ease/price?