How to Build a Wood Makeup Vanity Table

Judi Light Hopson

Putting on makeup or fixing hair at a vanity table is easier than standing in front of a bathroom sink or dresser. Dressing at a vanity table in the bedroom leaves the bathroom free for others to use. A vanity table does not need to be large, but make it large enough to accommodate a stool stored beneath it.

Build a simple table consisting of a top and legs, or find intricate plans for a fancier table.


Attach fabric around the perimeter of the table’s top if it has no actual sides or if the sides are rough. Fabric will hide table legs that have been screwed and glued into place. Place a mirror on the wall above the makeup table or secure a mirror framed in wood to the table. Screw wooden strips to the back of the table and to the frame of the mirror to create an attached swing mirror. Try cutting out paper templates that will serve as pattern pieces. This is especially helpful if you plan on making several equally sized vanities. Choose a wood based on your style and budget. Softwoods like cedar and pine tend to have red or yellow hues and are cheaper. Hardwoods like cherry and mahogany come in a variety of textures and colors, and tend to be more expensive. MDF wood is also a possibility, as it's plentiful, strong, easy to cut, requires little to no sanding, and doesn't split since it has no grain. Build solid sides and a back from wood boards or plywood that is sanded smoothly. Glue and screw the sections into place to form a base under the top. Create one or more drawers by cutting a front surface with spaces left for the drawers. Install wood framework to hold the drawers and metal tracking for the drawers to slide on. Build the drawers separately, or use drawers you already have and design the table around their measurements.


Never just prop a large mirror up on the back of a vanity makeup table. It could easily slide forward and break. Secure it to the table or the wall.

  1. Measure the space for your table using a measuring tape. Design the legs, top and drawers of the table on paper using the 1/6 scale on an architect's scale ruler. This means every inch on your design will equal 6 inches in the real world. Work within the designated space so as not to overpower the room. Square and kidney-shaped tops are among the simplest designs, and the table might have one or more drawers.

  2. Assemble all wooden boards needed for the top. Glue and clamp boards to create a flat plane for cutting. After the surface is dry and solid, trace the top of the vanity table on the surface and cut. Alternatively, use half-inch thick plywood for the top. Cut the top with a jigsaw if you are making a kidney-shaped vanity table. A tabletop saw will work on a square top.

  3. Sand all of the wood's surfaces with a piece of medium grain sandpaper. Use a cloth to wipe away any extra debris.

  4. Dill holes in each corner of the top no closer than 3/4 of an inch from any edge. Each hole should be half the size of the screw's thread. Glue each leg to the underside of the top where the holes are and allow them to dry. Then fasten screws through each hole on the top to secure the legs.

  5. Stain or paint the makeup vanity table. If you plan to leave the top bare with no type of covering, apply a couple of coats of sealer. This enables someone applying makeup to wipe up spills easily. If the table is square, consider installing small or large tiles. Mirror tiles can be installed to create a top as well.

  6. Place the small stool in front of your vanity table and enjoy.