Upcycling for preppers: How to turn an old medicine cabinet into a seed starter box

Most bathrooms usually have a mirrored flush-mounted medicine cabinet to store hygiene products, medications, and toiletries. Some people may think these cabinets can only be used for storage, but preppers know that they can also be used to make a DIY seed starter box. (h/t to MDCreekmore.com)

For this project, you can upcycle an old medicine cabinet that you have laying around the house. If you don’t have one, you can buy an old cabinet at flea markets.

To make an upcycled seed starter box, gather the following materials.


  • 1 medicine cabinet
  • 1 piece of wood (the same size as the cabinet)
  • 2 old hinges (e.g., old door hinges)
  • Screws (enough for the door hinges)
  • Packing tape (alternatively, you can use a piece of glass, clear plastic smaller than the piece of wood above, or cling wrap)
  • Aluminum foil
  • Saw, hammer, screwdriver, etc.
  • Seeds, seed starter pots, water


  1. Remove all of the shelves in the cabinet. Some cabinets have clear glass shelves that can be taped together to form a glass sheet. If the cabinet doesn’t have glass shelves, set aside the material.
  2. Next, you need to rehang the door of the cabinet. The mirror needs to face into the opening, so pull the pins out of the hinge then separate the two pieces.
  3. Take the mirror out of its housing, then mount a door hinge to the mirror housing. Put the mirror back in, then mount the other side of the door hinge to the metal frame of the cabinet. The lid doesn’t have to shut like a door, it just has to move back and forth. (Related: Great Ideas For Up-cycling Pallets on A Homestead.)
  4. Take the wood and cut the middle out of it to make a frame. Once you’re done, tape or glue the glass (or plastic) to the middle of the frame.
  5. Line the interior of the cabinet with aluminum foil. Top with the glass and wood frame.
  6. Angle the mirrored door above the open part of the cabinet to ensure that a lot of sunlight enters the box. The heat will help the seeds in your box germinate.

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Since this DIY seed starter box is light and portable, you can move it around your garden if you want to.

To use the box, place starter pots of seeds in it, water them, then set the glass frame in place. Angle the mirror to catch the most light to start the germination process. This handy seed starter box can be used in any climate.

Alternatively, the upcycled medicine cabinet can be used as a makeshift solar oven if you need a cooking method that doesn’t require fuel of any sort.

How to start seeds in eggshells

If you’re looking for another home gardening project, try starting seeds in eggshells. This method is perfect if you have limited space in your house.

Use this eco-friendly technique if you want to start a few herbs or flowers indoors. An egg carton will easily fit on a small windowsill and once you’re ready to transplant the seedlings, everything can be planted, composted, or recycled.


  • Empty eggshell halves (rinsed)
  • Recycled egg carton
  • Seed-starting mix
  • Seeds (e.g., small seeds like herbs and flowers will work best)


  1. It’s fine to use unevenly cracked shells, as long as at least half of the shell is still intact. Arrange the eggshells in the carton. Take a spoon then fill each eggshell “pot” with pre-moistened seed-starting soil.
  2. Place a couple of seeds in each pot. Refer to your seed-sowing instructions.
  3. Place the egg carton in a sunny south-facing window.
  4. Lightly mist the soil with a spray bottle every couple of days or as needed. You need to water the seeds carefully since the eggshell pots don’t have drainage holes.
  5. When the seedlings have emerged, trim the weakest or smallest ones to give the largest seedling room to grow.
  6. Once the seedlings have developed their first set of true leaves, transplant them into a larger pot or directly into the soil in your garden. Gently crush the shell and remove a few shards around the bottom. The seedling can be planted this way since the eggshell will decompose in the soil and give extra nutrients to your seedling.
  7. Rip the egg carton apart and toss it into your compost pile. Alternatively, you can add it to your recycling bin.

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