Despite the fact that I am now incredibly busy with school, I put in a good many hours trying to get this vanity re-do done quickly for two reasons: 1. I need to finish unpacking. I have been living in my apartment for almost a month. This is getting ridiculous. And 2. I really really REALLY wanted to enter something awesome in the Crafting with the Stars contest on Sew Dang Cute, and TODAY IS THE DEADLINE. So I scrambled. And this is also the reason that this post is not as witty as my usual posts – I just want to enter the contest super badly so I am writing quickly. I will try to edit this post later, and maybe make it better.
Here is the finished product:
Isn’t she adorable? She was SOOOOOO much work, you would not even believe. And about half way through, I decided that I hated her. And then I kept working on her and fell in love with her again. It turns out the selections for Crafting with the Stars are being decided by judges, not just by vote. However, you can go to this facebook page, and tell the judges which projects you think are awesome.
I am having a hard time figuring out this button thingy – so here is the link for the contest too in case the button doesn’t link you: http://www.sewdangcutecrafts.com/2011/09/crafting-with-starsseason-3.html
Now gather around children, and I will tell you all about the saga of this vanity… To start, I first saw this vanity at Salvation Army. I originally passed it up, mostly because I wasn’t sure how much I loved her, and I didn’t have enough space in the car I borrowed from a friend. Fortunately, she was there when I went back. [NOTE TO READERS: If you find something you LOVE at a thrift store, BUY IT! Even if you have no way to get it home then, buy it and arrange to come pick it up later. It is very rare for something awesome to stay at a thrift store long. Probably because I will buy it if you hesitate, and then you will see it all awesomized on my blog, and you will kick yourself.]
For just $40, she was in great shape, and that price included the vanity bench, the mirror, desk/vanity itself and the darling little cabinet on the left that matches everything. She looked like this a few weeks ago:
Not too bad, but not adorable, and needed some TLC.
To start, I reupholstered the vanity bench with a piece of cream microsuede. This was a fabric remnant at Joann’s, so it was 50% off. I love suede.
First, I removed the fabric that was on the bench – that weird blue fabric. This was an OLD piece of furniture. The vanity bench did not have an actual cushion – it was STUFFED WITH STRAW!!! I wish I had taken a picture. But I was kinda grossed out by the old old straw, so I got rid of it quickly. Here is a picture of the bottom of the vanity bench seat, with the original label from the makers. Crazy old, huh?
Since there was no cushion, I used four layers of an old egg crate mattress pad that I had at home. It was free. It was there. Enough said. I didn’t have spray adhesive to hold the foam in place – and this is something I wish I had done differently. The foam had a tendency to move around a little while upholstering, which was annoying. But whatevs. I put the vanity seat onto the foam, and cut around it:
Then I did the same with the batting.
I did the same with the microsuede to cut the piece to the correct size. But didn’t take any pictures for some reason. I stapled the microsuede onto the bench board, making sure to pull very tight. The suede didn’t work that well for this upholstery. Or the layers of egg crate didn’t work that well. Or something. The final vanity bench ended up a little lumpy. If the rest of this project hadn’t been so daunting, I may have redone the upholstery, but with the Crafting with the Stars deadline looming, and all the other headaches that arose along the way, this got put on the back burner.
Here is the final bench pic:
Note: I left the bench seat off the vanity until the painting was done. Do not attempt to paint when the pretty fabric is on the vanity!
I removed the hardware. Then I sanded everything lightly. I primed it all with Kilz spray primer because the wood was so dark and old. Here is a picture of the hardware, originally.
After spraying the vanity with primer, I used Krylon spray paint in Ivory Gloss for the base. Even with priming, it took three coats of spray paint because the base wood was so dark. Remember – always do light coats, and repeat as necessary. If you spray on too thick, your paint will run. No fun.
Once painted and left to dry overnight, I antiqued the vanity. I knew that I didn’t want to use black and I had recently read about Martha Stewart’s new line of awesome craft paints. This new line includes a tintable antiquing glaze and a wide selection of colors to choose from. I love the idea of antiquing in colors and created new awesome hues, which is like creating infinite colors of spray paint, because the antiquing glaze changes the color slightly. I selected the “Indigo” paint, and mixed in the paint with the glaze until I had the desired color. This is what the glaze bottle looks like:
Since this was a flat surface, glazing this project was difficult! I wanted to achieve an effect like the one Mandi at Vintage Revinvals got in this desk – which has a similar shape to my vanity. Mandi gives a pretty good tutorial on flat surface glazing techniques. Check it out for more information. I went back with a sponge and added more glaze to the edges of the drawers and cabinet cover, because I wanted more color:
Getting the glaze just right took FOREVER! The tintable glaze is very watery, so it wiped off the surface very easily, which mean that it left little color behind. Then, if you tried to wipe off just a little glaze, sometimes, it would remove ALL the glaze. This kept happening if I spent too long working with the glaze. You have to move fast and trust that it will come out ok, otherwise, it will be midnight and you will be cursing at the glaze and your neighbors will think you have turrets. You have been warned. In the morning, in some spots the glaze was too thick, so I sanded it down to lighten the color. This seemed to work ok.
I also recently discovered this other awesome Martha Stewart product, which is a metallic glaze. It gives everything a super awesome, metallicy sheen. I used the “Mercury” finish [I also put this on a candle stick that turned out AMAZING. Will try to show it later.]:
I then applied a layer of the glaze. This was pretty easy. It gave the desk this lovely, luminous glow, but barely affects the color of the paint beneath. Very fun stuff. This glaze is much thicker than the other glaze, which makes it more pleasant to work with. I wish the pictures showed the effect that this glaze has on the vanity better – but I hope you can take my word about how awesome it looks in person.
I spray the hardware with Krylon’s satin Brushed Nickel. The blue part of the hardware is Krylon’s Peek-a-boo Blue.
Then I reassembled everything. And took lots of pictures which are below. You may notice that the top right drawer isn’t closed all the way. And this brings me to a point about old furniture: when taking drawers out, make sure you note where each drawer came from. Even if it appears that all drawers are the same size and interchangeable, they may not be. I will have to do some sanding, and some more playing with the drawers because no matter what I tried, I could not find an arrangement where all the drawers would close fully after I had painted the furniture. Also, the hardware on old furniture can be very frustrating. In this case, the screws were much shorter than they probably should have been, and it probably took me an obscenity-filled hour to get all the hardware back on. There are only 7 handles, so an hour seemed like an EXCESSIVE amount of time. I literally threw the screw diver across the room at one point (ok, I sorta pushed/rolled the screw driver across the floor in frustration – throwing may have been dangerous – but I was REALLY frustrated). But, all the frustration was worth it, because now I LOVE her. I get to do my make-up in that mirror every morning. I feel like a movie star. Or like a grad student with an awesome vanity, at least.
What do you guys think? Awesome or what?
And don’t forget to tell the judges who you want to see in the next Crafting with the Stars competition. Go here: http://www.facebook.com/SewDangCuteCrafts
That is adorable! But it’s not clear on their website how to vote. Confused!
Man I don’t get where you get the time. You must be a hermit this days. It’s pretty.