Introduction: The Manliest... Ok, It's a Vanity Mirror for My Wife.

Let me start this by asking for your forgiveness for the crudeness of this Instructable. I have been a member of this site for a very long time, but I have never posted an Instructable... until now.

With that said, the reason I am posting one now is because my wife is out of town for a couple weeks visiting her Sister in California, and I came across the Hair & Makeup contest. No, I'm not getting my hair did, or wearing my wife's makeup while she is out of town - not that there is anything wrong with that, I just don't make a pretty lady.

ANYWAYS. My wife loves her current subscription to Birchbox, so when I saw that the prize for the Hair & Makeup contest was a 12 month Birchbox Ultimate Collection, I decided to give it a shot. Besides, what's the worst that could happen? Other than electrocuting myself, burning down the house, cutting my hand off... OK. Stuff could happen. But it won't. It didn't. This time.

I already knew exactly what I would make for her; a vanity mirror. She's been wanting one for a couple months now, and just hasn't found one she likes, or convinced me to build one for her yet. I know... I'm a stupid man sometimes. Build something for doing hair and makeup? HAH! Give me football and beer!

So here I am building a vanity mirror for my beautiful wife. (She really is beautiful - and awesome too!) As you can see from the photo, "The Plan" is SOLID. That's because it was drawn after I finished building the thing. But shhh...

Step 1: Gather Many Materials!

I apologize for this image because it isn't a very good representation of what was actually used throughout this build. By that I mean obviously there isn't nearly as much wood in the photo as I actually used, and that during the building process my ideas of what I wanted to do changed fairly constantly.

As you can see, I ended up using completely different receptacles - mainly because I came across some really nice wooden receptacle covers that I wanted to use.

Anyways, basic list of materials needed for the vanity mirror:

  1. Wood. I have a ton of scrap wood laying around the garage from past projects. I had all the wood I needed for this project. To save some money, you could easily build this with pallet wood.
  2. Fabric. I found a nice black faux leather fabric at Walmart for a few bucks.
  3. Spray adhesive. I used some Loctite that I had, but I would recommend using 3M or Elmer's.
  4. Staple gun. This was my PawPaw's staple gun. Has served me quite well over the years.
  5. Scissors. To cut fabric.
  6. Wire cutters/strippers. To cut, and strip wires...
  7. Level and Square. To make sure everything is level and square... OK I'm done.
  8. Wire!
  9. Drill! Drill bits.
  10. Screwdriver - philips and flat!
  11. Screws. I used mostly 1/2" drywall screws for everything like I always do because I have 3409856230865 of them in my garage.
  12. Receptacles. I used 1 normal set, and then 1 that had 2 USB ports.
  13. Dimmer Switch - or a regular switch if you prefer.
  14. Light bulb sockets.
  15. Wire nuts, electrical tape, zip ties.
  16. Optional: Lots of ice cold beverages and some music.

Step 2: Build Framework

Sooo... I kind of got involved in what I was doing, and forgot to take photos during this portion. My bad.

BUT! All we're doing here is building the basic framework for the vanity mirror. I used a Kregg jig for some of the joints to help with proper alignment. If you have never used, or heard of a Kregg jig, I highly suggest you invest in one ASAP if you like working with wood. It's not very expensive, and it is quite an amazing little contraption.

In the 1 photo during the build part that I did manage to snap, you can see my rough cuts for one of my receptacles. I put 2 cross sections across the lower bottom of my frame so that I could tuck away wiring connections behind a board that would attach to these 2 cross sections later.

Step 3: Step 4: Fabric Time!

After building your frame, and after any sanding you may do make sure you clean your wood surfaces with a damp cloth so that no dust gets trapped between the wood and the fabric. I just use a damp paper towel, and give it a minute or so to dry before moving onto the fabric part.

Once your frame is ready for fabric, set the frame with the part you want covered in fabric facing up. Make sure you have a piece of fabric large enough to completely cover your frame. Now, cover your frame with your spray adhesive. I like to use spray adhesive a bit on the excessive side. I find that it gives me a little more time to work with it, in case I need to move the materials I am using it on around some.

Once the glue is applied, lay your fabric over the frame, and starts rubbing it with your hands until you smooth out all of the fabric onto the surface of the frame. You don't want any air bubbles, or wrinkles here so just keep rubbing it until it is smooth.

At this point I went inside for some lunch, and to let the glue dry a little bit. 30-45 minutes later I returned, and flipped my frame over. I then sprayed glue on the back side, and stretch the fabric over the edges and stapled it to the back.

Anywhere there were holes in the wood, I cut an 'X' in the fabric so that I could stretch it to the back and staple it as well.

Step 4: Wire It Up! at Your Own Risk...

Ok, so 2 sets of receptacles, a dimmer switch, and 6 light bulb sockets.

To avoid telling any of you something that may cause you to get electrocuted, blow a fuse, or burn your house down, I'm just going to say follow the manufacturer's instructions on how to wire all your plugs, switches, and light bulbs.

But I will say make sure you wire your bulbs in parallel and not series.

Although the photos do not show the end result of the wiring, I assure you that each wire nut has been properly taped, and all of my wires have been covered from view - I used a piece of the fabric outlined in velcro to cover the back when everything was complete.

Please be careful :)

Step 5: It's the Little Things That Matter Most...

I have a small device the size of a cigarette pack that is rechargeable, and has a USB port. With that item I have a small USB powered fan. Both my wife and I are the type of people that require a fan to get a good night's sleep. So whenever the power happens to go out, or we're off in the woods camping, we always go straight for the tiny USB fan, because it actually works really well. Lots of air flow, and just enough white noise.

And that is the reason behind me using a receptacle that has USB ports. That and my wife can use the other one to charge her cell while doing her hair and makeup. And she can use the normal outlets for her flat iron, hair dryer, or other electrical things that people with hair and makeup use... I'm bald.

Step 6: Let There Be Light. and a Mirror. and USB Ports. and Plugs.

All of the wiring on the back leads to a single cord that plugs into any normal 3 prong outlet.

So, put in some light bulbs, and plug that baby in!

I know this isn't a very well put together Instructable, but hey, it's my first one, and it's for a good cause.

Now I can't wait for my wife to get home next weekend and see what I made for her!

Thank you everyone, and if you have any questions please feel free to ask!

Step 7: One Final Addition...

About to head to the airport to pick my wife up. Had to add one more little detail - foam lettering.


Hair and Makeup Contest

Participated in the
Hair and Makeup Contest