Ebay Win Vanity Makeover

Don’t you love it when you wish and wish for something, only to MAKE something better? I had dreamt of a makeup vanity for years.  For so long I would sit at the end of a dresser, with no leg room, and do my makeup as quickly as possible because it was so uncomfortable.  Or I would grab a mirror and attempt to do it on my bed, only to completely mess up my eyeliner, forcing myself to start over at the uncomfortable dresser.

Needless to say that when I had the opportunity to create the vanity I had always envisioned, I jumped at it.

Here is a stag minstrel dressing table.  Stag tables are a type of handmade furniture that were pretty much generically produced in the 1970s in Britain. If you google them, you will see that there are 100’s which generally go for around £70 today. I won mine on eBay for £40. While the collection was a little bit tricky (they are certainly not light pieces of furniture) it came with a lovely glass top and mirrors.  I still don’t have a proper bench for it (I am using my music chair), but it gives me all the luxury I need while I complete my makeup.


In a way it’s a shame I had to do anything to it.  The wood was a lovely colour and really went well with the grey I had in the bedroom. However, not only did it have too many bumps and scrapes to ignore, but I had a vision for it.  Like most of my furniture visions, this one started by browsing Anthropologie’s online store.  I found these beautiful handles on sale and knew that I had to use them.

A lot of my inspiration for this vanity came from my bedroom scheme that I had planned.  I’ve mentioned in earlier posts about how I live in a rented house but was given full reign to make any superficial cosmetic changes that I wanted.  I genuinely did not hold back, at least not upstairs; I completely repainted everything. During the time my boyfriend and I moved in, we thought that we would be in this new house for at least a couple years.  It’s only been in the last few weeks that we have realised we might only be here a year! In any case, I’m always happy to leave a place better than I found it.  I feel like it’s good karma.


Anyway, after I filled the major bumps with wood filler I sanded over the whole thing using my BLACK+DECKER Mouse Sander with medium grit paper.  I washed the whole thing with sugar soap and water before priming it.  I painting the inside of the drawers as well, as I wanted a really clean finish inside and out. In hindsight, I shouldn’t have painted the outside edges of the drawers.  They stuck once I went to put them back in when I had finished the project and spent an hour sanding them down again! As is the same phrase I am sure I will use in all of my projects: We live and we learn.

Once the primer had dried, I gave it two coats of Dulux’s Bowler Hat, followed by a water-based gloss varnish.  The varnish was a little weird in the beginning.  After two days, you could still really see the brush strokes from its application, which seemed to collect and emphasise dust.   However, after about two weeks the brush strokes seemed to fade, leaving it to emphasise dust like most furniture. I still think I might varnish any similar projects in the future. Besides that, I love the colour.  I think it came out really well.  The accent wall in my bedroom is the same colour, so my table sitting opposite really balances the colours of the room. 

The final step was to mercury-effect the glass top.  I really wanted it to have a vintage-romance look to it (and to not have to clean it as much as a regular mirror), which is why I wanted to do this effect instead of just getting a mirrored top. I used Krylon Looking-Glass spray paint, which I ordered from Ebay (no stores carry it in the UK).  It took almost the full can, so considering I had to pay £25, it was pretty pricey, but so worth it. I sprayed the top with a few coats of the paint before misting it with a 50/50 solution of water and White Vinegar (purchased from Amazon). I left the solution on for a 20-30 seconds before blotting it off with a paper towel.  I continued this until I reached the desired effect.

IMG_2150And here it is!! I still need to find a proper stool for it, but it houses all of my beauty supplies beautifully and is not only beautiful but practical.


IMG_2250 IMG_2252

I’d love to do more of these in the future.  I don’t know where I’d keep them (or if I could sell them).  For some reason I’d like to do a really bright one next time, like a canary yellow with some sort of reflective top with a hexagonal print. Or maybe even a deep maroon.  How about you?  What colour or theme choice would you go with?


About Mara

Hi there! I'm an American gal who fell in love with an English fella. I am in love with home style, seasonal decor and some serious DIYs! Follow my home journey through building furniture, creating a homey space from scratch and collecting inspiration from my travels!

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