DIY Bathroom Vanity from One Board

In: Powder Room Tutorials
vanity made from a single board.
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DIY Bathroom Vanity from Scrap Wood for my $300 Powder Room Remodel.

For all of you new readers who may not know me all that well, I’m pretty…what’s the word- frugal.  Or cheap is fine as well.  At least when it comes to things that I can make on my own.  A bathroom vanity is made from wood- If it’s made out of wood, I can make it, right?  Let’s up the ante shall we…Let’s make it interesting hmmm…  How about I make it from a single piece of wood that I rescued from the church dumpster when it was being renovated.   I said this all while wearing my Poker Face.

So…  Here is the hideous, boringness of the original vanity that graced our powder room..


honey oak bathroom vanity without sink

The vanity is so ugly, the sink ran out of the picture.

I kid, I kid, I took the sink off before the picture because I’m silly and momentarily forgot that you guys like to see ALL of the ugly  before pics.  Sorry- I’ll do my best to remember these things…

Obviously, you’ve seen better.  Plus, the monstrosity was so big that this is what caused you to have to do the Tootsie Roll just to fit into the bathroom around the door.  I’m taking this pic from the hallway because the room is so cramped.

Let’s move on to how I made this miraculous vanity out of a piece of junk wood.

The vanity measures: 31″ tall (the sink gives it a few extra inches in height) by 24″ wide, by 17″ deep


  • 1 piece of junk wood measuring 1″ x 12″ x 8′
  • Kreg Jig
  • 1 1/2″ Pocket Hole Screws
  • Drill and 1/4″ drill bit
  • wood glue
  • planer
  • sand paper/sander
  • stain
  • oil based polyurethane.  I use Minwax Wipe-On Poly in satin and apply with a foam brush.  I like how it turns out and how it goes on.
  • 1/4″ dowel or pegs
  • Wood mallet

This is a rough diagram of how I cut my board to fit all the pieces after I cut the damaged areas from my board.  If you buying a new board, you wouldn’t have to worry about that.  My board is 12″ x 96″

Vanity cut diagramSo here is what my junk piece of wood used to look like…

old weathered board side by sideDon’t you love how it’s all chewed up on the sides and the nail holes are all… holy.It did come from a church!  I just couldn’t resist.  Don’t worry, it won’t look like this for long, I promise.

For this vanity, I wanted something very simple, rustic and open.  Nothing like what I started with in the powder room.  So let’s keep it simple and make it basically like an old washing stand, but with running water of course.

I needed the top of the vanity to be no less than 17″ x17″  to accommodate the $15 Vessel sink I scored off Craigslist.  That’s right, a brand new one for $15.  Don’t be jealous, I’m sure you can find one too.  eh hem…  But I also wanted a little space for some soap and something pretty.  I opted for 17″ deep x 24″ wide.

I very carefully measured out my board after cutting off the diagonal ends and the pieces that were pretty damaged on the sides.  Here is what I cut for the legs (the piece on the left) and the table top (the pieces on the right.)

Step 1: Cut boards into workable pieces.

3 pieces weathered boards

The longer piece on the left measures  and will be cut into four pieces for the legs.  The two identical pieces on the right (8 1/2″ x 24″) will be joined to be my table top.

Still not impressed… Just wait.  It gets better.

Step 2: Plane boards until satisfied that they will no longer give you 1″ splinters or Tetanus.

Dewalt Planer planing a board

It’s fun time!  Give those boards a nice planing.  If you don’t have a planer, you probably should do one of two things:

  1. Don’t use junk boards to build things.
  2. Bake cookies for your neighbor down the street so you can use his planer.
No planer? No worries, bake cookies for the neighbor who DOES have a planer and use [email protected]

Now, this was just the first run.  I probably ran it through 3 or four times to get it just right.  Here is how they turned out:

planed boards side by side


What a difference.  I didn’t plane until they looked like new pine boards, now why would I do that when the years have been so good to them.  They’ve aged just right.  I left a bit of character on them, but they are still smooth to touch.

Step 4: Measure for sink

Now to measure for my sink.  The sink that I bought on Craigslist wasn’t just a vessel sink that sits on top.  It actually sits half on top and half below.  I know, it’s weird, I never actually would have chose this sink at the store, but $15 is $15 and that made me fall in love…

If you are using a vessel sink that sits on top of the vanity, still measure for where your drain will need to be, you just won’t need a large hole.

Using the compass, I measured the diameter of the bottom portion of the sink that will need to go beneath the table top.  Then I transcribed that onto the wood.

compass drawing circle on boards


Step 5: Cut Hole for Sink

To ensure they were the same on both sides, I flipped the boards on top of each other, clamped them together nice and tight, and cut the half circle out with a jig-saw.

If adding a vanity top vessel- Do the same for the drain , but depending on size, you may be able to use a saw-bit instead of a jig-saw to make the hole.

circle on board and cutting circle out of board with Bosch Jig-saw


Now there is a perfect circle for my sink to fit into.

circle cut out of board


Step 6: Join the table top together.

I did this by using my Kreg Jig to drill pocket holes along the joining edge and adding wood glue.  This pulled the two halves together perfectly and seamlessly.

Using Kreg Jig to join 2 pieces of wood collage



Step 7:  Cut the large piece into 4 equal pieces for the vanity legs.

Each of mine measure 2 5/8″ wide.  So just cut that piece into strips.  This is a strange measurement because I had to take off a bit of my board because it was pretty chewed up on the edge.  Initially, I had planned for 2 3/4″ wide, but had to change it.

Step 8: Using the Kreg Jig add pocket holes where the legs will meet the table top.

I used a spacer block to get a measurement for placement and placed the screws.  Yes, it’s wobbly now, but you’re not finished!

Using Kreg Jig to drill pocket holes and spacer block for placement collage


Step 9:  Add the side and front pieces.

Sides– Each measures 10 1/4″ long by 3 1/8″ wide .  Again, I drilled pocket holes with my Kreg Jig, added glue to the surface and screwed them in place between the front and back legs.

Kreg Jig Screws with Dewalt drill


Front-Measures 20 1/2″ long by 2 1/2″ wide. I added glue to the surface, and using the Kreg Jig Mini

, I drilled pocket holes in the sides and attached it to the front legs.

board clamped with Kreg Jig Mini


Step 10: Ensure Stability

For added stability, I placed 2 horizontal boards between the front and back legs about half-way down so they couldn’t wobble and would be nice and strong.  Each measures 10 1/4″ long and 3 1/8″ wide, just like the top side pieces.  For these, I opted to use pegs instead of screws. After clamping the boards in place-

  1. drill 1/4″ holes through the front and back legs into the side support pieces.
  2. Cut a 1/4″ dowel rod to a little longer than your drill bit.
  3.  Add glue to the entire surface of the dowel and use a wooden hammer to hammer it into the drilled hole.

Once the glue dries, the wood swells to fill the cavity,and it’s super strong.  

Wooden nails- Just like Grampa used to do it!

Saw off the excess with a Japanese saw.

Using wooden hammer to hammer wood pegs into boards. Trim with Japanese saw.


Step 11: Clamp and Dry.

Clamp the front and back legs in toward the middle board and allow to dry overnight.  At this time I also used stainable wood filler to fill any gaps or holes that I didn’t like.

Step 12: Make it Pretty.

  • I sanded the entire piece so that there were no jagged edges, sharp edges or corners.  I like the rustic look of a piece with worn, smooth edges and corners.
  • Using a spray bottle and a rag, lightly mist the entire piece and allow it to soak in some water before staining.  This just gets the wood ready to accept the stain.
  • Start staining.  I used Minwax Provincial.  I just love that color- it’s the same as my counters.  I gave it one coat, let it sit for about 5-10 minutes then wiped it all off.  Don’t let your stain sit to long or it gets gummy.
  • Allow that stain to cure overnight if you can, but if you just can’t wait, you could probably poly after 4-6 hours if its nice and dry to touch.
  • For the poly- I use Minwax Wipe-on Polyurethane in Satin, but I apply it with a foam brush in long even strokes.  It just goes on really well this way for me, nice and smooth.  Don’t shake the can because that makes for some nasty air bubbles in your finish.
  • I did 1 coat for the legs and side supports.  2 coats on the entire bottom of the vanity top, 4 coats on the vanity top and around the inner ring.  Lightly sand with 220 or higher sand paper between coats until it’s nice and smooth, then wipe with a tack cloth to remove the dust.  Water just beads up and I have no worries about any water damage.  My counters are basically bullet proof with this same method.


Wood vanity with white vessel sink


That’s a $1 towel holder I scored at Habitat ReStore and some Phlox from my garden.

There ya have it, a vanity from one junk board found in a dumpster, a lucky Craigslist find, and a ReStore gem.  Not bad for a grand total of $16… Yeah, okay so the faucet wasn’t free, but you’ll have to wait for the reveal for the entire break down.

Vanity Watermarks6

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  • ToolBox Divas

    The vanity looks great! I still can’t believe you did it from one board!

  • Karren Haller

    Hi Erica, I miss you and when I was visiting another blog I saw a comment and came over to see what you have going on.

    You and your husband make a great team!! What a great job you did in replacing the vanity, it is perfect!! I love the side addition of a mason jar with flowers :)

    I hope you enjoy your day!

    • Erica

      Awww, I miss you too Karren!!! Things are super busy On Bliss Street right now!!

  • Sue Pekarek

    Wooden dowel nails- Ah-mazing. I love the transformation, the dark stain color on the wood and the design are fantastic. Wonderful inspiration for us all Erica.

    • Erica

      Thanks Sue! You are so sweet! Wait till you see what I have cooking up next 😉

  • Naomi @ Plaster & Disaster

    Nice job on this Erica! It looks so good, like a nice antique. Amazing transformation!

    • Erica

      Thank you Naomi! Now to cover up those pipes…They are driving me insane 😉