Introduction: Custom Vanity/Table

This is a great way to customize the look of your bathroom/vanity space when there isn't a great pre-made option available to you.

The steps are pretty condensed because I didn't take very many photos during the process.

What you will need:

  • 1 - 4'x8'x3/4" birch plywood.
  • 1-4'x8'x1/2" birch plywood.
  • 8' of oak trim.
  • 4 - 1" square dowels.
  • 1qt gunstock (or other color) stain.
  • 1qt polyurethane.
  • Assorted hardware and glue.
  • Assorted black pipe for the pulls and shelf supports.
  • Drawer slides as necessary.
  • Assorted tile and thin set for the surface.
  • Grout.
  • Any bathroom fixtures.
  • Schluter waterproofing membrane (not necessary, but gives your reassurance).

You'll have to adjust the sizes accordingly so that it fits where you want it to be, but because you are making it your own, any combination is possible.

Tools you'll need:

  • Table saw
  • Circular saw
  • Mitre saw
  • Drill/Driver
  • Orbital Sander
  • Router
  • Finish nailer (much easier than hand nailing everything)
  • Kreg Jig and screws
  • Trowel
  • Measuring devices and square.
  • Brushes/Foam Brushes

Step 1: Step 1 - 5: Prototype

You have to make sure that everything fits together before it is finished and looking good.

1: Legs

  • First, figure out what height makes the most sense for the use. Bar height table needs to be taller - coffee table needs to be lower.
  • **This is based on how I did it. Your dimensions may vary!**
  • Cut (4) - 2" strips of 3/4" plywood per leg. You can either miter all edges to a 45deg angle so no edges are showing (thats what I did) or you could form a box where the edges would show.
  • Glue the 4 strips around the dowels to form a thicker stronger leg.
  • Once the glue dries on all 4 legs, cut to size. I believe that my finish height was around 38" (I'm a taller guy), so my leg heights were around 36-37". There will be time to alter this, so err on the long side if you aren't sure.

2: Top

  • This is probably the easiest step there is.
  • Figure out where the vanity/table is going to be located and if there are any strange corners that need to be accounted for.
  • Simply sketch the sizes of the top on a flat piece of the 3/4" plywood. As this is going to be mostly covered, the plywood doesn't have to be very pretty and could be a spare piece or multiple pieces if necessary.

3: Drawers

  • This is where the Kreg jig comes into play.
  • Decide on the size of the drawers (or if the drawers will be necessary at all).
  • Be sure to take into account any plumbing that will be installed. (in my project the left drawer is 9" deep and the right drawer is 17" deep.
  • The sides of my drawers were pocket holed into the back and the drawer front.
  • Use the 1/2" plywood for the sides, back and bottom of the drawers.
  • Use the 3/4" plywood for the drawer fronts.

4: Table Structure

  • So this is how you are going to start putting it all together.
  • Flip the table top over and sketch the layout of the table.
  • The sides, front and back of the table were offset 1/4" from the edge of the legs to create a slight reveal.
  • Use the 3/4" plywood to make the sides, center support for the drawers and the front and rear supports. These will vary depending on the size of your drawers.
  • The rear support doesn't need to be much, especially if you are pushing it against a wall (vanity).
  • Decide if the drawers are going to be flush mount or recessed and plan the front supports accordingly.
  • Assemble the table and test fit the drawer mounts and see if the drawers slide easily or if modification is necessary.

5: Assembly

  • Put it all together.
  • Use the pocket hole screws to assemble the table and do a final test fit.
  • Check all gaps around the drawers and move the drawer slides, drawer faces, etc. to get a better fit.
  • This is where you can check the height of your table and if you need to, trim the legs to make it a more proper height.
  • If you are going to add the lower shelf, be sure to cut the holes in the legs for the pipe to pass through.

Step 2: Step 6-11: Finishing

This is where you are going to start seeing some real progress.

6: Sand Liberally

  • Take a sander to the whole thing. I started with a 120 grit to remove all pencil lines.
  • If needed, fill the gaps in the legs with wood filler to create a smooth corner.
  • Step up to 220 grit and even out all surfaces and smooth out any filled areas.

7: Stain

  • TEST YOUR STAIN! Use a scrap piece of wood and test your stain before you do the whole thing and don't like the color. If you are trying to match something be sure to test, test, test. Apply multiple coats, try different colors, etc. You have to play with it a little bit so that you can get it right.
  • Choose your color and apply liberally. It is best if you can do all the pieces at the same time, so you know how many coats you have applied to each piece.
  • Once you have a coat applied, wait approx. 15 min. and wipe off any excess (follow the directions on the can).
  • I applied 3 coats, which gave me the color I was looking for to match my flooring.

8: Poly

  • While you are testing your stain, be sure to test it with the polyurethane applied. It can alter the final finish.
  • Be sure to take your time doing this. Polyurethane can make or break your project, so go slow and apply in thin coats to avoid runs.
  • I applied 2 coats and did some light sanding between coats.
  • You can now reassemble the table.

9: Waterproofing (optional)

  • Because this was a vanity and the potential for water is ever present, I decided to use some leftover waterproofing membrane that I had from a previous project.
  • Lay some thinset on the table top and spread with a trowel (per manufacturers instructions).
  • Spread the waterproofing membrane across the top and use another trowel to flatten it a push out the excess thinset.

10: Tile

**Be sure to provide a place for the plumbing to pass through the top of the table.**

  • Once the thinset from the WP membrane is dry, you can start tiling the top.
  • Apply thinset on top of the WP membrane and spread with a trowel.
  • Set the tiles into the thinset and press down firmly to make sure the tile is adhered properly. Use the tile spacers to get proper spacing for grout.
  • Be sure to provide spacing around the edges of the table top to allow for a grout line around the edge of the tile.

11: Pipe

  • I added the pipe as part of the industrial look I was going for, your pulls may vary.
  • Luckily Home Depot will cut pipe to any length that you ask them to, so I had the shelf supports (1/2" black pipe) across the base of the table cut to the right length and added the pipe caps to either end.
  • I also pieced together the pulls/hand towel racks from the pre-cut lengths of pipe at the store. Whats great is that you can make it as custom or as vanilla as you'd like.

Step 3: Step 12-14: Completing

12: Finishing the Top

  • Take your oak trim and measure/fit it around the edge of the table top.
  • Be sure to stain it once you have it cut to size.
  • I used the finish nailer to attach the finished trim to the edge of the table top.
  • Add a piece of scrap wood across the back of the table to contain the grout for the tile.
  • Apply the grout to the tiled top. Make sure to push the grout between the tile to fill all the gaps around the tiles.

13: Install Plumbing (as required)

  • Add your plumbing fixtures to the table top.
  • The faucet screws directly to the table top, but the sink is only caulked. Flip the sink over on a towel or cloth (to protect the edge) and apply silicone caulk to the bottom where it sits on the table top.
  • Flip the sink back over and set it gently in place on the table top.

14: Completing the Project

  • If you are adding the shelving across the bottom, cut the 2" slats from 1/2" birch plywood.
  • Use a router to round over all edges.
  • Sand all surfaces to get a smooth surface.
  • Apply stain to match the rest of the project.
  • Drill holes in the black pipe shelf support and screw the slats into the support.

A couple of notes:

  1. When I installed this, I didn't use a backsplash and simply caulked the table in place.
  2. Upon doing this, it lifted the front feet off the ground a little. To solve this problem, I drilled and inserted some adjustable feet into the bottom of the front legs to make a sturdy table. Whats nice if that its not too high and its not very visible.

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