Home decor I Built That!

How to Build a Faux Apothecary Chest

Kitchen Makeover Hutch Faux Apothecary Chest | The Chelsea Project | www.thechelseaproject.com

Got a space that needs a little something special?

Here’s an idea….

How about a faux apothecary chest that will provide the look, but not the function of a real chest?  This was just the perfect little piece to fill a space in the super deep (17 inches) unit in my kitchen.

It’s totally made with mis-matched scrap lumber, painted with leftover paint, and finished with pulls found on clearance.  That’s right.  It’s a super easy, low-cost option to get this kind of look.

Ok. Distressed wood….and chippy goodness….here we come. 🙂

Build a faux apothecary chest to fill a large, empty space | www.thechelseaproject.com


First, I had some MDF cut and made a three-piece frame to the exact size chest that I wanted.  The cuts can be a little crude, but it is important to counter-sink the wood screws.  Two wood screws hold the base frame together at each end.  A special drill bit, called a counter-sink, will clean out a little pocket so that the screw head sits flush with the wood.

DIY Faux Apothecary Chest

Then, lay out your pulls and draw the drawers to size.  I only had seven pulls, so my options were limited.  But, once the look of the front is determined, use a level and draw pencil lines so that it is easier to keep the “drawers” and the pulls level and even.

DIY Faux Apothecary Chest with Outlined Drawers

The squares that I drew on the frame were a little bigger than the faux drawer fronts that were cut from a two-by-four.  This was also the case for the big drawer front in the center.  If you look closely, you can still see the pencil lines.  And, yes.  I planned it this way.

DIY Faux Apothecary Chest with Raw Wood and Pulls

Then, after the sizes were confirmed and the edges were sanded, the pieces were simply glued to the frame.  Just use your favorite wood glue, spread a thin bead over the backside of each piece of wood, and stick it to the frame.  Then, let the frame lay flat, like it is in the above picture, until the glue dries.


Powder Room Makeover Bookcase Apothecary Chest

Poppies Paint Powder (an additive that turns latex paint into chalk paint) was provided for use and review. No compensation was provided and there are NO affiliate links. All project selections and opinions are 100% my own.

The finish isn’t fancy either.  It’s painted with some chalk paints that were made from leftover latex paint.  I used a basecoat of brown (from the oops section at Home Depot), dry-brushed on some blue here-and-there (also from the oops section at Home Depot), and then top coated with SW Dover White.  When the paint had dried about 24 hours, it was lightly sanded to distress the edges, but not enough to smooth out the rough wood.  All that chippy goodness just HAD to stay!


To create depth, a mix of Ralph Lauren glaze (color – Tobacco) and water in different strengths was applied.  Full-strength was brushed in between the drawers on the frame.  A half-strength mix was used on the sides of the frame and 1/2 to 1/4 strength was used on the drawer fronts to vary the look of aging.

DIY Faux Apothecary Chest Distressed finish Close-upGlaze is really easy to work with, but it’s important to have plenty of wet and dry cloths ready and to wear gloves.   The open time, meaning the length of time the glaze remains wet and movable, varies with the temperature and humidity, but is usually around 5 minutes.  Once the glaze sets, it can’t be buffed away like wax.  It creates a seal sort of like polycoat.  Another important note is that the wet glaze color and the dry glaze color will differ.  


If you’ve never used glaze before, more about it is explained in an earlier post (here).  I also recommend that you do a practice piece.  Glaze is awesome to use, but does take some getting used to.

10 Tips for Buying and Installing Furniture as Kitchen Cabinets | www.thechelseaproject.com


Then, after the glaze dries, attach the hardware and you’re good to go.  I did a tutorial on how to attach hardware that’s centered and level over at FrugalMommas.com.  If you’d like to take a peek, the link is here.  The concept is the same, only this time, the tape runs left-to-right across the width of the chest for each of the three drawer sets.

Powder Room Makeover Bookcase Apothecary Chest

And, there you have it.  A faux apothecary chest that will fit any space.

Please, feel free to email me if you have questions or comments.  It’s always a pleasure to assist you with projects.

In the meantime, if you liked this little chest, please, don’t forget to pin.

How to Build a Faux Apothecary Chest | The Chelsea Project | www.thechelseaproject.com

And, as always, thank you so much for stopping by.

Faux Apothecary Chest | Easy DIY | The Chelsea Project | www.thechelseaproject.com


Sharing with:  DIY Sunday Showcase Party via The Interior Frugalista

Disclosure:  Poppies Paint Powder (an additive that turns latex paint into chalk paint) was provided for use and review. No compensation was provided and there are no affiliate links.  All project selections and opinions are my own.  For more information about this product, please visit their website or FaceBook page.



  • Reply Helen Holley March 21, 2016 at 4:00 pm

    I so love this! Thanks for sharing,
    Helen H

  • Reply 1915house March 21, 2016 at 10:10 pm

    Another lovely piece, Susie? –

    • Reply theChelseaProject March 21, 2016 at 10:13 pm

      Lol….thanks, Sarah. Just a little sumpin I threw together. LOL.

  • Reply KreativK April 17, 2016 at 3:15 am

    Susie, what a brilliant project & idea! I’m loving this, it’s so great! I’d love for you to stop by and share this at our party Sweet Inspiration, it’s live now!

    • Reply theChelseaProject April 17, 2016 at 8:54 am

      Thanks so much. I’ll pop over and add it. Appreciate the invite.

  • Reply Pili Gomez April 18, 2016 at 3:19 pm

    Susie, I LOVE faux apothecary furniture!! I am working on a post about something similar, but I have never thought about a faux chest to fill in a blank space!! It could be great to hide the router and ugly cords too!

    Thank you so much for sharing it with us at Sweet Inspiration party!! Have a wonderful week!

    • Reply theChelseaProject April 18, 2016 at 3:36 pm

      My pleasure. So glad you find it useful. Thanks so much so your kind words. Much appreciated.

  • Reply DIY Faux Apothecary Chest | The Chelsea Project April 21, 2016 at 8:33 pm

    […] How to Build a Faux Apothecary Chest […]

  • Reply Easy DIY Wood Serving Tray- Farmhouse Style - Sawdust Sisters June 1, 2016 at 6:50 pm

    […] Faux Apothecary Chest […]

  • Reply Carolann July 6, 2016 at 7:24 pm

    I just love this! The color and style are so very chic! I can’t wait to try this. It’s so very creative of you but then again, you are one of the most creative gals I’ve met! XO

    • Reply theChelseaProject July 6, 2016 at 9:45 pm

      Thanks Carolann.. you’re just too sweet to me.. XO

    Thanks so much for your comment!

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.