Upcycling Workshop: A Dresser Becomes a Bathroom Vanity
Upcycling furniture is a very popular DIY project these days, and fortunately, our ReStores are packed with wonderful pieces to choose from. In a recent DIY Workshop held in our Torrance ReStore location, our own Justin DiPego demonstrated how to transform an old dresser into a beautiful bathroom vanity. For those who were unable to attend the workshop, Justin details the project below.
Skill level: Intermediate
Tools and Materials Needed
Drill and bits
Adhesive silicone caulk
Step 1: Finding the right dresser.
Look for an interesting piece that will complement or add style to your bathroom. It should be sturdy enough to withstand the conversion; anything too rickety may fall apart. It’s always better to use something made of wood rather than particleboard, and we don’t recommend using antiques that will lose their value.
Choosing the right size is also important. Standard vanity height is 30 to 36 inches, however many dressers are much higher or lower than that. Even a couple inches outside the normal range can feel weird when you’re brushing your teeth or washing your hands. A standard sink is 18 inches front to back, so be sure your dresser is large enough to fit. Measure the body of the piece, not just the top, so you’re not fooled by the overhang.
Step 2: Selecting the right sink.
There are usually plenty of sinks at the ReStore, and many of them come with faucets attached, which will eliminate some steps.
Step 3: Attaching the sink to the dresser.
Remove the drawers and trace an outline of the sink on the top of the dresser. Keep in mind the hole needs to be smaller or the sink will fall through. Mark a line ½ inch inside the outline you traced. (This may vary from sink to sink, but ½-inch is standard.) Drill a starter hole a little larger than the blade of your jigsaw. Put the blade in the hole and with your jigsaw cut out the inside line.
The sink should easily fit into the hole, with the lip resting on the top of the dresser. Insert the sink and replace drawers. At least one of the drawers will need to be modified. The easiest way to do this is to deconstruct the drawer, detaching the face. Then use glue and nails to attach it back where it belongs, thereby permanently covering the hole. This typically works best using the top drawer.
Step 4: Connecting the vanity to the water supply.
If you know the exact locations where the water supply lines and drain will enter the back of the dresser, you may drill out holes to match. If the placement is challenging, an easy solution is to remove some or all of the dresser’s backing.
To do this, set the depth of your circular saw to cut only the backing and then cut out a hole a few inches inside the edges of the back. This will give you access to the entire inside of the dresser.
Step 5: Installing hardware.
If your sink does not already have a faucet and drain, now’s the time to install them. These instructions vary depending on the faucet set. The drain is often included in the kit. Simply follow the provided instructions.
Step 6: Adjusting drawers. (If applicable)
If the bowl of the sink and the plumbing are getting in the way of lower drawers, there is an easy fix for this. Place the sink in the top and measure how far in the drawer goes before it hits the sink. Then, using a circular saw, cut the back of the drawer down to size. Retrieve the back of the drawer from the portion you cut off and glue and nail it to the now shortened drawer, closing off the back. This drawer should fit in place.
Step 7: Installing the sink.
Remember the line you traced around the sink? Follow that line with a thick bead of adhesive silicone caulk. When you rest the sink in the hole, it should land in the middle of the bead so there’s caulk on the inside and the outside of the lip. Using a wet finger, smooth and clean up the caulk line on the outside of the lip so it blends with the sink and vanity top. Some sinks have clips that hold them to the underside of the top. Secure these now if necessary.
Replace the drawers and you have a brand new, upcycled, custom vanity that you can be very proud of. A note of caution…when you want to show it off, don’t say, “Come see what I did in the bathroom!”