Master Vanity Tutorial

So I am FINALLY writing this tutorial, I am the worst at actually taking photos, and actually writing stuff down, since I would rather just move on to the next project! (worst blogger ever!)
So If you remember, this vanity from Pinterest was my inspiration for my vanity makeover,
I really loved the color, and the mirrored doors, but not necessarily how modern it looked (my house is a colonial style farmhouse.) 
So here is my version, and I am so happy with how it turned out! I realize that there are a lot of differences in the exact styles, but the feel is really similar to me.
Sorry, all of the following pictures were taken one handed with my iphone while I was working, so they aren’t exactly a work of art.
So to start, I went to the Dollar Tree and picked up 8 mirrors per door from their candle section. (well actually 3 Dollar Trees to get enough) and then Michael’s to pick up balsa wood pieces from the model making section. I took a door with me so that I could get the best combination possible. I was able to get the right widths for the sides and center mullion, but I bought a couple of 3″ wide pieces so that I could custom cut the widths for the horizontal mullions. I got balsa that would fit depth wise within the frame of the door, so that it didn’t stand out higher than the frame edge.
To start off I sanded the frames of the doors down, and then I used an x-acto knife and my quilt ruler to cut the first pieces of balsa to length.   

I used all purpose adhesive caulk to glue the pieces of balsa down to the doors.

After adding the caulk, I also added a few daubs of hot glue, so that the hot glue would hold the wood in place while I waited for the caulk to dry.

immediately after adding the glue, you have to hold the piece in place, until the hot glue cools and then you can move onto the next piece.

I did all the pre-bought widths first, and then figured out exactly how wide I needed the other mullions to be. I used my quilt ruler again and simply cut them to width with the x-acto knife again! Yup, you heard that right, wood working with NO power tools. I got the width I needed for each piece by squishing all the mirrors together on one side, measuring the space left, and then dividing that number by how many pieces I would need to go in between the mirrors.

Here is what the door looks like after gluing down all the pieces of balsa.

This is what it looks like up close at this stage, don’t panic! Those little chips will be taken care of in the next step.

Take the same adhesive caulk that you used to glue everything down and go over every seam, and along every piece, then smooth down with your finger and possibly a damp rag depending on how cleanly you can wipe it back. You want it sealed on every surface, but with as little glue left on as possible.

Here is what it looks like at this stage. Now let everything dry, and then lightly hand sand to knock down all the edges on the wood.

Okay, due to my lack of attention when taking pictures, you are going to have to imagine the next couple of steps. On the back I cut paint-able beadboard wallpaper to size, wet it and glued it down to the back. to ensure that it never peeled up I went around all the edges with the caulk again after the wallpaper was dry, and once again ran my finger along the edge to take off the excess.

After everything dried, I primed everything with a black tinted primer, and then added 2 coats of black paint with a brush. Once the black paint was dry, I tinted some clear glaze with a light grey acrylic craft paint I had, (actually all the paint for this vanity came from leftovers in my garage or craft room.) I used a brush to paint it on, and then a cloth to wipe all the excess off. leaving some in the low points. After everything dried, I clear coated the whole thing with a polyurethane varnish. I used a plastic scraper to scrape the little foam foot pads off of the mirrors and then after the varnish dried I used mirror mastic to attach the mirrors to the doors. I then used the same holes that were there before from the previous knobs to add new knobs, and that was it for the doors!

I added the same beadboard wallpaper to the side of the vanity, along with the caulk on all sides to make sure a corner can never start to peel up. I sanded all the frame pieces of the vanity and did the same primer, black paint, glaze, and clear lacquer treatment as I did on the doors. Paul and I cut 3 bun feet we bought at Lowe’s to the right height to go right under the vanity, and we sliced a bit off of the back of each one so that it would lay flat against the kick-plate. (this was easier said then done – lots of trial and error to cut the round thing shorter; Paul eventually threw them onto his lathe and just lathed them shorter. Cutting a slice off the back was difficult too, the legs are made of glued together pieces, and they want to split or explode off of power tools, so we ended up hand sawing them in a miter box; we kept taking turns sawing since it was sooooo tiring.) I painted the legs the same way as the rest of the vanity, and drilled new holes and added pulls to the wood pieces that look like drawers (obviously they don’t open anything, I just liked the look.)

Next I used 2 colors of beige paint (tester pots from Lowe’s) to sponge a mottled look onto the kick-plate, and then added fake grout lines so it looks like it is tile (I was sort of going for a blended into the floor look.) I then used my trusty adhesive caulk to adhere the legs to the kick-plate since it’s not like they are structural or anything.

And there you have it, my balsa wood makeover cost $11 a door including the mirrors, and I couldn’t be happier! The vanity has been done for the last 2 months and it looks as good now as it did when I first finished it. I’ve wiped it down with bathroom cleaner, and have used glass cleaner on the mirrors, and none of the paint has moved or scratched, and it all looks sooo good.

Here is a link to the finished bathroom so you can see how it all turned out!


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