DIY Your Way to a Pretty and Practical Bathroom Vanity
With the limited space most bathrooms provide, the stakes for beautiful and functional furniture are high. You want pieces that are both attractive and useful, and you want them on a budget. If you’re agreeing, you’re in luck! The best way to a pretty, practical, and practically free piece of bathroom furniture is DIY. That’s exactly what Wendi from H2O Bungalow thought when she asked Designs by Studio C for a plan to build a bathroom vanity that would add big style to her small home. With Wendi’s comprehensive step-by-step tutorial, your dream bathroom vanity can be a stunning reality!
- Table saw
- Jig saw
- Kreg Jig K-4 for pocket holes
- Kreg Clamps, and C clamps, (not necessary but helpful, more info here)
- 2-½″ pocket hole screws
- Wood glue
- Sandpaper (100, 150, 220 grits)
- Finishing supplies (primer & paint, or stain, sealer)
- 1 – 2x2 at 4’
- 4 – 2x2 at 8’
- 10 – 2x4 at 8’
- 4 – 2x8 at 8’
- 6 – 2x8 (ripped to 3-1/2” wide) at 33” – Legs
- 2 – 2x8 (ripped to 3-1/2” wide) at 16-1/4” – Side Frames
- 10 – 2x2 at 16-1/4” – Side Frames & Slat Supports
- 8 – 2x2 at 23-3/4” – Slat Stretchers
- 4 – 2x8 (ripped to 3-1/2” wide) at 23-3/4” – Upper Stretchers
- 3 – 2x4 at 16-1/4” – Upper Supports
- 10 – 2x4 at 58” – Slats
First, prepare the pieces by doing all of your cutting. “Rip” the 2x4's and 2x2's down to the correct sizes (as per the cut list) using a table saw. Next, trim about 3/16 off of the two sides of each of the 2x4’s, taking the slight curve off the edges and enabling the boards to join without gaps. Label everything as you “rip” and cut your boards, even going as far as listing 1 of 4, 2 of 4, etc. so that you don’t mix up vanity pieces and scrap wood.
Next comes the pocket holes. Use your Kreg jig to drill all pocket holes (Wendi did all the drilling in one Sunday afternoon, after putting down a drop cloth and putting on an old Meryl Streep movie!).
With the pocket hole Kreg jig set for 1-½” material:
- For the legs and the side frame pieces: drill pocket holes in each end of the frame pieces.
- For the slat stretchers: drill pocket holes in each end.
- For the slat supports: drill pocket holes in each end.
- For the upper stretchers: drill pocket holes in each end.
- For the upper supports: drill pocket holes in each end.
When you’re ready for assembly, put all the pieces together in piles. Lay out the sides and adjacent pieces before assembly. For assembly, it’s best to have a partner help you build--4 hands will be very useful in arranging and holding parts together.
Before you begin to build, make sure to check the height of your plumbing pipes and be sure that they clear the center shelf. Making adjustments before will save you trouble later if things don’t quite fit.
First, secure the legs and side frame pieces using glue and 2-½” pocket hole screws. The outside face of the frame pieces will be flush with the outside edge of the legs.
Next, secure the slat stretchers to the legs, using glue and 2-½” pocket hole screws.
Then, secure slat supports to the slat stretchers, using glue and 2-½” pocket hole screws.
Now follow the same process with the upper stretchers and upper supports, still using glue and 2-½” pocket hole screws. If you don’t want the pocket holes to show, face the back pieces to the wall to hide them.
Now it’s time for the slats. Cut the 3 notches each in four of the pieces using a jigsaw, to allow the slats to fit inside the frame. The notches should be 1 ½” x 3 ½”, two in the corners and one in the middle:
To get the sides of the shelf slats and the inside sides of the piece evenly, put your finish on the slats and the whole frame before installing the slats. Make sure to prep by filling in spots with wood filler and giving the pieces a light sanding. In order to get the same color as this vanity, use Minwax Wood Conditioner to prep the wood for the finish, and then use Polyshades to color. Follow Polyshades directions, painting multiple coats for a darker hue and wiping off excess stain between coats, to avoid pooling or splotches of color variation.
After an appropriate amount of drying time, it’s time to add the slats. Flip your vanity upside down and drill pilot holes along the bottom, where you will be attaching the slats. Secure all slats as you build them, with glue and 2-½” screws, starting with the bottom shelf. Install the two outer slats of each shelf first, then the center slat, then the surrounding slats, to keep a measured spacing between each, approximately ½” apart. If you have a clamp, use it to hold shelves in place as you work for an easier assembly experience.
Once your vanity is dry and assembled, you're off to a great start! Now, you just need to install the counter-top and plumbing of your choice. Wendi made her own counter top with poured concrete, which you can check out on her Hometalk profile.
For more DIY home improvement inspiration, check out Hometalk's DIY topic page.