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DIY Apothecary Cabinet

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My friend, Karen, sells doTERRA essential oils and always wanted a DIY apothecary cabinet. Have you ever looked at the price of those things? They start at about $900 and go up!

One day I saw this green dresser in an auction and the light bulb went off! I paid $50.00, much more than I wanted to, but the dresser was perfect.  Once I picked it up I immediately got started refinishing it! 

Step 1: Cut off those Ugly Legs

I asked the hubby to help me cut off the ugly legs and wavy apron on the bottom of the dresser. It needed to be precise and he’s better at this than I!

He marked a straight line and then used his circular saw to make the cut.

circular saw

Step 2: Remove the Finish & Fill the Hardware Holes

apothecary cabinet diy

I filled all of the original hardware holes with a stainable wood filler because I knew I wanted to install new hardware and did not want to be locked into a specific hardware.

I got lucky with this dresser, it was all wood!! So I sanded and stripped, using Citristrip, until it was at the bare wood. As in other posts, I used 120 grit sandpaper and worked my way up to 220 grit sandpaper for a smooth finish.  

faux apothecary cabinet

Step 3: Cut Faux Drawers

All of the drawers were already sectioned off to look like 4 smaller drawers. However, I wanted the top drawer to appear to have smaller drawers to give it more character, so using a circular saw and not cutting through, I cut a straight line across the 4 faux drawers, making it 8 faux drawers.

apothecary cabinet diy

Step 4: Stain the Dresser

I used General Finishes gel stain, color Java and applied the gel stain using an sock. I like this method because it gives a nice even coat and clean-up is super easy! For this method, you wear a disposable glove and then the sock. Plop some gel stain in the middle of your hand, work it around a bit and with a flat hand, rub it on the wood in the direction of the grain. Working in sections, for example finish the top, and then wipe off the excess stain with a dry clean rag (old t-shirt is my preference). Allow to dry overnight.

apothecary cabinet diy
apothecary cabinet

Step 5: Paint Drawer Fronts & Apply a Top Coat

I decided to paint each faux drawer front a different color with random chalk paint I had around my shop.  I used chalk paint because it’s easy to pull some off to give it that old/worn look.  Once the chalk paint had dried, I then applied General Finishes gel topcoat in satin using the sock method mentioned above.  I allowed the topcoat to dry overnight and applied another coat using the sock method the next morning.   I did do a quick sand with 220 and wipe down with Denatured Alcohol between coats. 

apothecary cabinet diy
apothecary cabinet diy

Step 6: Add New Hardware and Legs

apothecary cabinet diy

As you can see from the picture I used the original hardware, linked a similar option below, on the top 4 faux drawer fronts but replaced all other hardware.  I purchased both the label drawer pulls and the cup drawer pulls from Amazon.  Once I received the hardware, I was able to center and mark for the new hardware holes.  I used my drill with a drill bit and drilled all the hole to attach the new hardware.  

Then, I chose 8 inch hairpin legs which I also purchased from Amazon. Since this was a solid wood dresser I was able to simply attach the legs with the screws provided and did not need to add any other special hardware.  With the legs attached, this faux apothecary cabinet was complete!

I’m really pleased with how this DIY Apothecary Cabinet turned out but my friend Karen was Over-the-Moon with excitement!

apothecary cabinet diy

Love this furniture flip?  Check out how we turned an old dresser into a Kid’s Dress up Station

Apothecary Cabinet DIY Links

*Disclosure: We only recommend products that we regularly use ourselves and all opinions expressed here are our own.

Faux Apothecary Cabinet

DIY Apothecary Cabinet

Prep Time 2 hours
Build Time 1 day
Dry Time 1 day


  • Circular Saw
  • Palm Sander
  • Drill
  • Disposable Paint Brush


  • Citristrip
  • Wood Filler
  • 120 Grit Sandpaper
  • 220 Grit Sandpaper
  • General Finishes Gel Stain Java
  • White Socks
  • Disposable Gloves
  • Chalk Paint
  • General Finishes Gel Topcoat Satin
  • Label Drawer Pulls
  • Cup Drawer Pulls
  • Hairpin Legs


  • Cut off Legs
  • Remove Finish & Fill Holes
  • Cut Faux Drawers
  • Stain Dresser
  • Paint Drawer Fronts & Apply Top Coat
  • Add New Hardware and Legs
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