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Hi, all! I wanted to share with you a project I did a few summers ago, on a whim. This particular summer, I was in the mood to do some home improvements, but we were strapped for cash. I decided that I would redecorate my laundry room with things that I already had on hand. Well, when we first moved in, the house had been foreclosed on, so we had to shell out a lot of dough for common things like blinds, a doorbell, shower curtain rods and shelves for every closet. We didn’t have a utility sink in our laundry room, but had an empty space for it with hookups. My father-in-law had one that he didn’t need anymore, so he gave it to us. It was old and needed refinished and didn’t come with a cabinet. After spending so much money on blinds and shelves when we moved in, we decided to make a cheap frame for the utility sink out of 2 x 4’s instead of buying a costly cabinet. And, there it sat, just like that for a few years. That is until I decided to put some makeup on that pig.
- Scrap Wood (I used 1/8-inch Birch Plywood Planks and a 2×4)
- Circular Saw
- Tape Measure
- Steel Wool
- TSP (Trisodium Phosphate) Cleaner
- Carpenter’s Square
- Power Drill
- Door Hinges
- Cabinet Pull or Handle
- Orbital Sander
- Wood Stain (I used Minwax in Dark Walnut)
- Rust-oleum Appliance Epoxy in Gloss White
- Paint Brush
- Stain Rag (or old t-shirt)
- Disposable Gloves
- PPE (dust mask, gloves, safety goggles, earmuffs, etc.)
I know I have been horrible about taking pictures, and the ones I do have are blurry. I promise I will get better about taking pictures. At least, that is what I tell myself with each post. This is what I started out with that summer.
The Mr. made the 2×4 cabinet frame when we first moved in. It didn’t take him very long, either. He just measured the sink to know how long to cut the lumber. He made it standard counter height. If you measure the front of the sink, then cut four boards that length. Then, you can measure the side of the sink and cut four more 2×4’s that length. Then, you can build two identical rectangles, one for the top and one for the bottom. Just butt the ends of the 2×4’s up against each other and screw them together. Then, measure the height you want and cut four more boards. These will make the posts. Screw a post on to each corner. Then screw the top to your frame. It was a very simple frame, that was only there for support. The sink wasn’t secured to it, so it slid around easily.
Ideally, I would have loved to buy a cabinet and new utility sink. Since I couldn’t, I wanted to build a rudimentary door, to make it look more like a cabinet. This project was originally supposed to be a temporary fix, so I wasn’t too worried about messing it up. We plan on replacing it eventually. I had some left-over birch plywood from a previous project, 2×4’s, nails, hinges and cabinet pulls, so why not use them? My plan was to make, and hang a door, refinish the sink, and stain the frame. The utility sink was going to look amazing!
I started this project off by disassembling the sink. I disconnected the faucet and drain. Make sure you shut off the water before disconnecting anything. If you have never disconnected a sink, you can read more about it in this article, from the DIY Network. I also sanded down the 2×4’s lightly. To prep the sink for refinishing, I sanded it and scrubbed it with steel wool and tsp cleaner.
Refinishing the Sink
I used Rust-oleum Appliance Epoxy in white to refinish the utility sink. This project was a temporary solution and I already had the spray paint, so why not? We mainly use it to wash our hands, rinse out the mop and rinse stains out of laundry. If this sink got used regularly, I would have lived with the dingy yellow. This spray paint wasn’t designed to refinish a sink, so I wasn’t sure how long it would last. Spoiler alert- after about 3 years it started to bubble up and peel off the bottom. The original plastic of the sink is poking through in a few places.
Before you start painting, make sure you are protecting everything around your project. Spray paint is messy. It is easy to get carried away and end up with speckled toes. Also, it is a good idea to wear a mask and some form of eye protection. I am not kidding when I say it gets everywhere!
Make sure you follow the directions on the can for application instructions and dry times.
Building a Door
Then, I used the frame measurements to build a door. I had some left-over birch plywood from this project that I used to make the planks for the door. I just used a circular saw (always use PPE) to cut the slats to 3 inches wide instead of the 6 inches that they were. Keep in mind, my goal is to build a makeshift door with materials that I had on hand. I wouldn’t choose to do it this way if I had more resources at the time. To build the door, I cut two 2×4’s to fit within the frame width wise and I screwed the planks to the front of them. The planks were vertical, so I ran the 2×4’s horizontally. You can use a carpenter’s square to help you line up the planks.
To hang the door, I used some left over cabinet door hinges. I also used a cabinet handle that I had left over from another project. To mount the handle, I had to get creative. Since the main part of my door is 1/8 inch thick planks, the screws would stick out the back. To give it some thickness, I glued a scrap piece of wood behind the handle.
You can kind of catch a glimpse of the door in this picture. Nothing fancy, right?
Staining and Protecting
After I was sure that the door would fit, and worked, it was time to sand stain and poly. I had to remove the hinges and handle, but that was alright. Then I lightly sanded the door with 125 grit sandpaper. You can use the sanding technique that makes you feel most comfortable. Sometimes I like to use the orbital sander, then other times it’s too powerful for the job. For this job, I used the orbital sander. Make sure you have experience with it before trying to sand the edges. They’re always the trickiest part. The sander will take off, if you aren’t careful.
To stain the new door and 2×4 cabinet frame, I used Minwax Dark Walnut Wood Stain. Make sure you read and follow the directions on the can, and use PPE. I let the stain dry overnight and then, gave it two coats of polyurethane. Take your time, and don’t rush. Make sure you leave enough drying time and are following the recommended temperature ranges for each product. It can make a huge difference in your finished piece. I have learned the hard way, a few times. 🙁 No one likes it when their purse sticks to a hastily painted end table. So, let each coat dry thoroughly before you move on!
After everything was dry, it was time to reconnect and secure the utility sink and hang the door on the 2×4 cabinet frame. You can check out the previously mentioned tutorial from the DIY Network if you need a refresher.
After the utility sink was installed, I had to hang the door and attach the handle. If I had a magnetic clasp, or other latch on hand, I would have definitely preferred to use it to keep the door closed. Any latch would have worked. But I didn’t have any. So, I got creative again. When I was building the door, I cut the 2×4 support beams with only a tiny sliver of space to spare. After mounting the door, I let friction be my latch. I had to sand down the 2×4 in a few spots, but was able to get a snug enough fit that it works. It’s not ideal, but it keeps me on track to complete my challenge. Believe it or not, this project was completed four years ago, and it is still looks like this today. It’s not perfect, but I think it looks much better than it did before. Wouldn’t you say?
Note: I would recommend adding more support in the form of triangle support brackets or braces to make the 2×4 frame cabinet sturdier. Also make sure you have fully secured the utility sink to the cabinet.