Vintage Vanity Face Lift

8 Materials
7 Days

I found this vanity (with a matching chest of drawer) up for sale....of course I wanted to go look at it. I dragged my husband along (hey somebody has to do the heavy lifting). Imagine that I came home with two new project pieces. Sadly, there was about five layers of paint on them. 😞
Here is the picture from the ad. Hard to really see what condition it is in, but it looked like it still had some life in it...just waiting for somebody to give it some love.
Chemical stripping is not a fun thing to do, but alas there wasn’t much of a choice in this situation. So, I threw down some cardboard and grabbed the citristrip (I prefer this stripper because it is safer if you get it on you, and I generally do). I tend to do this over the course of several days.
Here you can see the stripper at work...see how the paint is bubbling up? Depending on the atmosphere, you can leave it on for up to a couple hours to work it's magic. Again, I prefer citristrip because I ALWAYS make a mess and get some on me. I tried a different stripper that we had, and it ate through my glove and had started in on my nail polish. 😨
Once you are done with the stripper, wash down your piece. I used warm soapy water for this piece...if you use a harsh chemical you will likely need denatured alcohol. Then sand it down! I start with a 120 grit and finish off with a 220 grit.
Here you can see my oribital (okay hubby's) sander at work!

I decided to paint the body of the vanity with black chalk paint (look I remembered a during photo).
I brought the mirror inside so I could get some work done on it as well. Here you can see it with the mirror already removed and some stripper doing it's magic!
After the stripper did it’s work, the orbital sander had it’s turn! I keep saying never again to pieces that have layers of paint....
After sanding down the drawer fronts, I stained them with a nice espresso stain.
I wanted to give the sides of the drawers a little something extra. I bought this cute stencil, and used a silver acrylic paint (I wanted them to match the hardware.
After struggling with how to finish mirror frame, I decided to paint it black and have stained accent pieces.
Using this handy precision decorator tool (a gift from, purchased from Amazon). I filled in the grooves on the vanity with the same silver paint I used with the stencil. I wanted to make sure the black and dark stain didn't make the piece too dark, and decided the silver would give it a little something extra.
After cleaning the hardware up, I decided they needed a new look. You can see how I cleaned up the hardware in a previous post," target="_blank"> In this picture you can see how I spray painted them with a nice silver. To give them an aged look, I used a dark glaze once the paint had dried.
Here she is all finished up! That is my son holding the mirror for me. I didn’t want to attach it just for the photo’s.

Suggested materials:

  • Citristrip  (The Home Depot)
  • Minwax stain  (The Home Depot)
  • Orbital Sander  (Purchased years ago)
See all materials

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Have a question about this project?

1 question
  • Sea Trace Creations
    on Jan 25, 2018

    Wonderful makeover, a lot of hard work went into it! Does this stripper eat into the glue holding the pieces together? I found that with a few jobs I attempted, the joints all became loose and needed to be re- glued.

    • Lynnette Soltwedel
      on Jan 25, 2018

      I have never had that happen with the citristrip. It is definitely one of the least harsh strippers to use, and it doesn’t smell terrible. 😂 the last thing you want is even more work!
    • Sea Trace Creations
      on Jan 25, 2018

      I agree, I've never seen that one but I'll keep an eye out for it. We never have access to half the products you all get in the U.S.
    • Robyn Garner
      on Dec 1, 2019

      I've never had CitriStrip eat into anything but finishes.

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