How to Build an Over the Toilet Bathroom Cabinet

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Bathroom cabinets that fit over the toilet can save space and keep small items such as washcloths and spare toilet tissue handy. If you prefer to make your own instead of buying one of the commercially available types, make sure to measure your toilet carefully first and adjust the width and height to fit your bathroom since toilet tanks come in a variety of sizes. Use a hardwood, such as maple or oak, for a sturdier cabinet than softwoods such as pine will allow.

Cut two 6-foot-long pieces of 1-by-8-inch boards for the sides of your cabinet and three 2-foot-long pieces for its shelves. Cut two more 25 1/2-inch pieces for the top of the cabinet and a support for near the bottom.

Cut the 3/4-inch square dowels into eight pieces the exact width of your 1-by-8-inch boards. These will be slightly less than 8 inches wide due to the finishing process that the lumber goes through before it is sold in stores. These pieces will be your shelf supports.

Lay the sides of your cabinet side by side and use a measuring tape and carpenter's pencil and mark them at exactly 3, 4 and 5 feet from the bottom. Line your straight edge up with the marks and draw a straight line across both boards at each mark.

Align a shelf support with its top at each of the marks on each board and place the remaining pair of shelf supports so that they line up with the tops of the boards. Nail all of them into place with 1 1/4-inch nails.

Nail 2-foot boards to the top of each pair of supports to form your cabinet's interior shelves, then nail one of your slightly longer pieces to the top.

Cut a 2-by-3-foot 3/4-inch square of 1/4-inch plywood and nail it to the side of the cabinet facing up, lining it up with both sides of the cabinet frame, the top and the shelf that is 3 feet high.

Nail the remaining 25 1/2-inch board across the back of the two cabinet sides about 1 foot from the bottom (or just higher than any hardware such as a water line valve behind your toilet). This will help stabilize the cabinet's legs.

Cut two 2-foot 3/4-inch-long pieces from your 1-by-12-inch board for your cabinet doors and cut your 1/4-inch by 2-inch hardwood strip to the same length. Turn your cabinet frame over so that the side with the open shelves is face up and lay the doors on it so that they line up with the top, sides and 4-foot-high shelf (the bottom shelf will be open). Lay the hardwood strip across the gap between the two doors and nail it to the right door only.

Flip the doors over and place a hinge on what will be the outside edge of each one and 1 inch down from the top and 1 inch up from the bottom. Mark where the hinge's screw holes are, then remove the hinge and drill holes approximately 1/8-inch deep at each mark. These are called pilot holes and will keep the wood from splitting. Set the hinges back in place and use a power drill with a Phillips head bit to drive the screws that came with your hinge sets into the holes.

Align the doors back on the cabinet frame, but in the open position, so that the unattached part of the hinge is on the front edge of the frame. Mark and drill a pilot hole for each screw, then screw in the hinges to attach the cabinet doors.

Place two cabinet magnets on the underside of the 5-foot-high shelf, each about 1/2 inch aside from the center, using the screws provided with them. If the screws are too small for your power driver, use a hand-held screwdriver and skip the pilot holes. Attach the metal plates provided with the magnets to the inside of each door so that they align with the magnets. These will keep the cabinet doors from swinging open when you do not want them to.

Stand the cabinet upright and paint every surface except the hinges with exterior latex paint. Exterior paint is mildew resistant, which makes it ideal for bathrooms. Set the cabinet in place over your toilet once it is dry. You may need to remove the bottom support, then re-attach it with a manual screwdriver once the cabinet is in place.

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