All my projects are made from recycled materials and on finding this table I was not sure at first what I was going to do with it. My daughter had just bought a beauty bar and loved the idea of having all her makeup and beauty supplies in one place. So that was what I decided to do, It would be a makeup beauty bar as they are called in Australia.
How to repurpose a desk into a Makeup table/dresser
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Stripping down the desk
As much as I love wood I knew no women would buy a wooden coloured beauty bar (Makeup table). To make it more appealing to the younger generation I knew I would have to paint the wood. And nowadays there is not much call for an old-fashioned writing desk. So a beauty bar it was. I started by removing all the hardware, which I loved so I kept them to be put back on when completed.
I used a rubber mallet and gently hit the sides of the paper tray and partitions to remove them.
To build a new box on the top of the dresser I used scrap wood because it was going to be painted you would not see the wood.
Because I used recycled wood I don’t like to spend hours sanding off all the old stain and varnish. To clean up the wood I pushed it through the thickness planer which cleaned the wood up in seconds. I used a wood router with a round-over router bit to round the tops of the wood for a softer look. And then smoothed off the wood using an orbital sander starting with 120 grit sanding discs and ending with 240 grit discs.
I marked out where I wanted my partitions to be, using my makeup sets as a guide. I used a square ruler to make sure the partitions were straight before I attached them permanently. This is where I made a time-consuming mistake. I did not sand the base before I made my partition box which made it very hard for me to sand them.
To attach the partitions to the desk I used a nail gun and wood glue. I nailed the partitions in from the back and the front to hold the wood in place while the glue dried.
Making the lid
To make the lid for the table I used an offcut of an old tabletop. I measure the size that I wanted and allowed for a 2cm overhang in the front. I used a scrap piece of wood to make a fence which was clamped to the table as a guide for the jigsaw.
Next, I sanded down all the wood, which took a long time because it was difficult to get the sander into the partitions. I left the lip on the end of the table because it looked like an added decoration. I did a test fit to make sure the top fits correctly and continued to sand down the whole desk. Even though chalk paint is supposed to cover scratches I sanded most of the imperfections away.
There were areas at the back of the desk that had deep scratches. I filled these using wood filler and sanded them smooth with an orbital sander using 180 grit sanding discs and ending with 240grit.
Painting the dresser
When I was browsing Pinterest one day I say a chest of drawers painted in this colour and I just loved it. It is not very easy to get Annie Sloan chalk paint in Australia and it was very expensive because the colour I wanted was called peacock which was made up of 3 different colours of paint. But I had my heart set on the colour so I paid the price.
This being my first chalk paint project I was not convinced about the claim of no priming or sanding and once I added the first coat my heart sunk because you could still see through to the wood. But the second coat was great I really did cover the wood well. I added 2 coats of Peacock paint, which was made up of 2 parts Napoleonic Blue + 1 part Antibes Green+ 1 part Aubusson Blue. And I added 2 coats of clear wax.
I found hinges similar in colour to the ones already on the box. The hinges for the lid were put on as well as all the old drawer pulls.
I was going to leave the lid without a handle which could still be pulled up by the 2 cm overhang at the front. But because I had a handle leftover I put it on the lid. I measured the lid to find the centre and found the centre on the hinge. I drilled my holes and used screws with a washer around the head to secure the handle.
Adding the hardware to the dresser
I always have a stock of these decorative corners which I added to the front to get a nicer look
I added a lift hinge to the inside of the lid, which I had to fit many times because I kept getting the position wrong. So it might be a good idea to fit this when building. I did have to fill in the holes with wood filler and repaint the wood. This is where I learnt another lesson. Always mix a little extra paint for touch-ups. Lucky for me my touch-ups were inside the lid so no one would see that the colour was slightly different.
Adding a mirror
No beauty bar would be complete without a mirror on the inside of the lid. We all need to see where we are putting on our makeup so this was a must. I had a piece of a mirror leftover from a fake live edge mirror which I took it down to our local window shop and asked them to cut a piece the size that I needed.
To attach the mirror I originally used self-adhesive velcro, but it fell down the first day. I ended up using mirror corners to secure them in place. The image below is the most accurate picture of the final colour. All the other pictures looked like a light blue but I think it was the sunlight that affected the colour.
Adding accessories to the inside
I lined all the drawers and the compartments using a nonslip mat that I attached to the bottom using double-sided tape. And finally, to make it more appealing to a buyer I added some plastic baskets for loose makeup like mascaras, eyeliners and lipsticks. The bigger partition was to store a hairdryer and straightener.
More repurposed desk ideas
This old desk was repurposed into a standup sandpit.
Another desk repurposed into a Lego table for a toddler.
If you are looking for any of the items used in this project, please consider using our links. By clicking on the links we will earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Which helps us come up with new and exciting ideas to share with you.
KristieFebruary 16, 2020 at 10:36 am
Very nice, Anita! I can only marvel at your patience and skill in the completion of this beauty bar desk/table!
Anita HollandFebruary 16, 2020 at 11:51 pm
Thank you so much, It did turn out better than I hoped.
Deana LandersJuly 13, 2021 at 12:55 am
Anita, this is really nice. I love color you chose.
Anita HollandJuly 14, 2021 at 2:50 pm
Thank you Deana.
Kate HolmesFebruary 17, 2020 at 2:27 pm
How very clever! I really love the paint colour too. #AnythingGoes
Anita HollandFebruary 17, 2020 at 11:19 pm
Thank you so much, I saw the colour on a Pinterest post and had to have it.
JeannaFebruary 17, 2020 at 4:03 pm
I don’t know if I’m more impressed by your project or that you have a jigsaw. Fantastic and creative idea and a beautiful job. I love the color, one that I have in the loft.
Anita HollandFebruary 17, 2020 at 11:18 pm
Thank you so much, if you are impressed by the jigsaw you will be blown away by my workshop. I have every tool and machine a woodworker would need, lol
Lydia C. LeeFebruary 17, 2020 at 8:37 pm
That’s great. Aren’t you skilled?!
Anita HollandFebruary 17, 2020 at 11:17 pm
Thank you so much.
SherryFebruary 18, 2020 at 12:43 am
What an amazing transformation!! I LOVE the color!!!!! Very nice!
Anita HollandFebruary 18, 2020 at 1:39 am
Thank you so much for the lovely comment. It was the colour I loved first then found a piece of furniture to go with it.
Esme SlabsFebruary 18, 2020 at 1:58 pm
Hi Anita, Welcome and thank you for sharing your post at #Senisal. So glad you found us and hope that you will now be a regular weekly participant. RT your post
Anita HollandFebruary 18, 2020 at 7:48 pm
Thank you, yes I will be back next week.
Su-sieee! MacFebruary 19, 2020 at 3:53 am
Very cool! And satisfying, no doubt, when you finished. You’ve got me motivated to build small basic planter boxes.
Anita HollandFebruary 20, 2020 at 11:21 am
Thank you so much for the kind comment, It feels great to be able to inspire others to try new projects.
Monika Ohson | TravelerInMeFebruary 19, 2020 at 7:50 pm
Brilliant work Anita. Its good to recycle things as much as we can.
Anita HollandFebruary 20, 2020 at 11:27 am
Thank you so much, Monika, I have been building from recycled materials for years now it is a great way to keep my hobby cheap.
MarieFebruary 20, 2020 at 3:22 am
Anita, this is such a clever repurpose! It’s like the desk was waiting to become a fabulous vanity! All those drawers make it a perfect piece of furniture to use as a makeup table. Love the color too! Pinned 🙂
Anita HollandFebruary 20, 2020 at 11:29 am
Thank you Marie, I saw the colour on Pinterest and had to have it. I just had to wait for the perfect piece of furniture to come along and this old desk was it. I have always been a hater of painted wood but I have now been converted. lol
TeresaFebruary 21, 2020 at 2:43 am
Great repurpose, I love the new color too. Thank you for sharing at The Really crafty Link Party. Pinned.
Anita HollandFebruary 21, 2020 at 1:23 pm
Thank you so much, I do believe the colour makes the table.
MichelleFebruary 21, 2020 at 7:26 pm
What a cool idea and an amazing makeover!
Anita HollandFebruary 23, 2020 at 1:07 pm
Thank you so much, Michelle.
Julie BrionesFebruary 22, 2020 at 9:52 am
Such a super smart and pretty idea to convert a desk into a makeup vanity! Thanks for sharing at Tuesday Turn About!
Anita HollandFebruary 23, 2020 at 1:09 pm
Thank you so much, beauty bars are very popular here in Australia.
#SeniSal Roundup: Feb 17-21 ~ Esme SalonFebruary 22, 2020 at 4:31 pm
[…] Old desk repurposed in a make up vanity […]
Anita HollandFebruary 23, 2020 at 1:10 pm
Thank you so much for the shout out.
JulieFebruary 23, 2020 at 12:03 am
You really do put so much effort into your furniture renovations and the hard work really pays off. The results are just beautiful. I love your attention to detail.
Anita HollandFebruary 23, 2020 at 1:13 pm
Thank you so much Julie, I love to try and make and old piece of furniture great again. I get such a thrill doing it. lol
CeciliaFebruary 24, 2020 at 8:44 am
This is lovely, Anita–great color! Thanks for sharing at Vintage Charm!
Anita HollandFebruary 25, 2020 at 2:38 pm
Thank you so much and great party.
AnnFebruary 24, 2020 at 11:26 am
I love how you repurposed this old desk, Anita. You are being featured on my blog Tuesday evening. Thank you for sharing at Party In Your PJ’s!
Anita HollandFebruary 25, 2020 at 2:39 pm
Thank you so much for the lovely comment and for the feature. I really appreciate it.
Dee | Grammy's GridFebruary 25, 2020 at 1:54 am
Looks great, nice job!! Thanks so much for linking up with me at my #UnlimitedMonthlyLinkParty 9, open February 1 to 26, shared. My themed party 11 for Handcrafted Jewelry is open February 15 to 25 if you have any appropriate posts.
Anita HollandFebruary 25, 2020 at 2:41 pm
Thank you Dee, I must confess I always assume the parties are all anything goes. I will have to check that in the future.
MelissaFebruary 25, 2020 at 12:13 pm
What an amazing job! Truly a beautiful piece! Thanks so much for sharing with us at Farm Fresh Tuesdays! You are one of my features this week at Little Frugal Homestead! Stop by to see your feature and say Hi! Congrats!
Melissa | Little Frugal Homestead
Anita HollandFebruary 25, 2020 at 2:44 pm
Thank you so much Melissa for the feature I will be sure to pop by next week with another of my projects.
Farm Fresh Tuesdays Blog Hop #41 - Little Frugal HomesteadFebruary 25, 2020 at 12:27 pm
[…] from Unique Creations By Anita is sharing How To Repurpose An Old Desk Into A Makeup/Vanity Table. She does an amazing job and the results are truly beautiful! I will readily admit that I […]
Anita HollandFebruary 25, 2020 at 2:45 pm
Thank you so much for the great feature.
Mayor Sonni (@Readeropolis)February 27, 2020 at 5:51 am
Wow – awesome makeover! It gave me some ideas for fixing up an old side table. It’s good to recycle things when you can. Dropping by from Traffic Jam Weekend #222.
Anita HollandFebruary 27, 2020 at 11:52 am
Thank you so much, Happy I could give you some inspiration.
Marilyn LesniakFebruary 27, 2020 at 11:30 am
Sorry I am late! I have been running behind this making memories! Thank you for sharing at #OverTheMoon. Pinned and shared. Have a lovely week. I hope to see you at next week’s party too! Come party with us at Over The Moon! Catapult your content Over The Moon! @marilyn_lesniak @EclecticRedBarn
Anita HollandFebruary 27, 2020 at 11:51 am
Thank you so much Marilyn, I will be back next week.
Podcasting Your Purpose Workshop - DelBloggerFebruary 28, 2020 at 10:01 am
[…] all set goals to keep our vision clear as we pursue our goals.” Sonni chose How to Repurpose an Old Desk into a Makeup Table/Vanity Table from Unique Creations by Anita. “Wow – awesome makeover! It gave me some ideas for […]
Anita HollandMarch 3, 2020 at 11:16 am
Thank you so much for the great feature on my makeup table.
Traffic Jam Weekend Linky Party #223 | Epic Mommy AdventuresMarch 1, 2020 at 7:34 am
[…] we should all set goals to keep our vision clear as we pursue our goals.” Sonni chose How to Repurpose an Old Desk into a Makeup Table/Vanity Table from Unique Creations by Anita. “Wow – awesome makeover! It gave me some ideas for […]
Anita HollandMarch 3, 2020 at 11:20 am
Thank you so much for the great comment and the feature on my mirror.
Teresa HocevarMarch 4, 2020 at 2:34 am
Do you know you can make chalk paint very easily? Just look it up online. You make the base and add the paint color of your choice. Here’s a link to a YouTube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TTNcF9b3m-g
Your beauty bar is really awesome, but I’ve never heard of one. Beauty bars here is USA are more like a salon with beauty services.
Anita HollandMarch 5, 2020 at 4:19 pm
Thank you so much, I saw that colour on Pinterest and just had to have that colour. Beauty bars are very popular here now that women have become make-up crazy. Mine still fits in my one wash bag.lol
Christina WoodcockMarch 18, 2020 at 8:30 am
Anita this is gorgeous your hard work
payed off! 💙
Anita HollandMarch 21, 2020 at 11:36 am
Thank you so much Christina, it does feel great when you get a good end result.
Traffic Jam Weekend #223 – View From The Beach ChairApril 20, 2020 at 3:57 am
[…] chose How to Repurpose an Old Desk into a Makeup Table/Vanity Table from Unique Creations by Anita. “Wow – awesome makeover! It gave me some ideas for […]
Anita HollandApril 20, 2020 at 1:41 pm
Thank you so much for the lovely comments and for the great feature.
15 Bedroom and Bathroom Makeup Storage Tips You'll Love • OrganizenvyMarch 10, 2021 at 7:06 am
[…] you’re a handy DIY type, check out this upcycled makeup vanity project from Unique Creations By […]
PamJuly 12, 2021 at 9:32 pm
That’s a great idea! And love that color!!!
mariaJuly 12, 2021 at 9:50 pm
What a pretty upcycle. You really did a beautiful job. I love that kids desk too I see.
Anita HollandJuly 14, 2021 at 2:48 pm
Thank you so much, Maria, the kid’s desk was a huge hit with my great-niece.
Rosemary PalmerJuly 12, 2021 at 10:18 pm
What a great find, and makeover. Everything – hardware, color and how it will be used – just perfect.
Anita HollandJuly 14, 2021 at 2:49 pm
Thank you, the colour was something I saw and had to try, I just had to wait for a piece of furniture.
SaraJuly 12, 2021 at 10:25 pm
Beautiful transformation! You are a woman of many talents!!
Anita HollandJuly 14, 2021 at 2:50 pm
Thank you Sara, for your comments always make my day.
Cat MichaelsJuly 13, 2021 at 1:12 am
Anita, they just don’t make furniture they way they used to. Love repurposing old stuff instead of tossing it, and you have the knack! Your little sand play station is too cute!
Anita HollandJuly 14, 2021 at 2:51 pm
Thanks Cat, I love the challenge of creating something new.
MeeganJuly 13, 2021 at 1:52 pm
I just love how you added so many details to make this a one-of-a-kind piece. It’s so lovely in blue! You are very talented for having a vision for making something out of nothing.
Anita HollandJuly 14, 2021 at 2:51 pm
Thank you Meegan, I get these ideas in my head and sometimes they pay off like this project.