Wood Sewing Machine Cabinet Transformed into a Bathroom Sink/Vanity

Written by: KAYLA ALLEN


I have been dreaming about a vanity made from a piece of furniture for such a long time, but the time just hasn’t been right... until now!!

I looked all over the place for the perfect piece. I just couldn’t find it. I’m sure it will show up after this vanity is set in place. That’s just how things go, right?

I was running out of time though so I had to pick something. I found this old sewing machine cabinet at a peddlers mall and it was the perfect size. Plus, the price wasn’t bad. So I picked it up and set to refinishing it.

If you are new to refinishing furniture, something like this is exactly where you want to start. The lines are flat. There are no rounded pieces or intricate areas. Because of this, I was able to have it prepped for the next step in less than an hour.

This sewing machine cabinet transformation can be done on any piece of furniture.

Follow this step-by-step process for transforming a sewing machine cabinet into a bathroom vanity or any other piece of furniture.

To start this project I removed all the pieces and parts. Strip it down. I removed the sewing machine cabinet, took off all the pieces, removed the drawer, and removed the handle.

The next step is to sand. You can use a palm sander for this, but I think the orbital sander does a better job. Put some 80 grit sandpaper on your sander and go to town. There may be a few corners that your sander won’t reach; I got these spots by hand. I was able to remove all the old finish with the sander.

After I removed all the old finish, I switched to 220 grit sandpaper. This will ensure that the surface of the wood is as smooth as a baby’s bottom. Go over the whole thing with the 220. Run your hands over it as you go to see if any spots need another pass.

Now you will need your tack cloth. Tack cloth is essential in my opinion when refinishing or finishing anything. It is basically a cheesecloth that is sticky or tacky. It picks up all of the dust from sanding. I generally leave it on the plastic it comes in because if you touch it, it will make your hands sticky. Ensure you remove all the dust.

This vanity was just a bit too dark for me; I wanted it to be lighter. I have done this technique before. It works better if you can finish it with water-based poly, but when using oil-based, it just naturally darkens the wood. It still lightened it a bit and honestly, I am super happy with it, but it turned out differently than I was expecting. I bleached it with household bleach four times.

Sewing Machine Cabinet Transformation

Here’s how:

Take a microfiber cloth and get it wet with bleach straight from the jug. Wipe your furniture down with bleach. You want the wood to be visibly wet all over. 

Allow it to dry completely and repeat the process until you like the way it looks. Remember that it will always be darker after a finish is applied. The way for it to look the most like it does raw is to just apply a wax or a water-based poly. Oil-based poly will protect it the best but it will darken it. 

You are ready to begin finishing. Because this is a bathroom vanity and it is wood, I chose to use a floor finish. We used this poly on both our hardwood floors and our butcher block counters. It does a great job. If water gets left on it, it doesn’t bother the finish at all. It holds up really well. So it will be perfect to protect this vanity in the bathroom where it will get wet every day. 

I used a China bristle brush. You want to buy something that is made for oil-based poly. You can also use a foam brush, but a China bristle brush is the easiest to use, in my opinion. 

Here's a great tip to remember: Stir your poly. Never shake it as you do with paint. Shaking will put bubbles in it. You don’t want that. So give it a good stir. And start applying it to your furniture. 

I like to start at the top. The biggest thing to remember is that poly is self-leveling. It runs, making it very easy to have drips. You want to always make sure you triple-check all areas for runs and drips. I start at the top and work my way down and around, doing one side at a time. If I get to a leg, I will finish that leg before I move on. 

I gave my vanity four coats of poly. You will need to do at least three. After the 2nd coat, you will sand with 220 grit sandpaper. Do this by hand. It doesn’t take a lot. You just want to smooth the surface out. Wipe the whole thing down with your tack cloth after you have sanded, then apply your next coat. If you apply a fourth coat, you will sand again after the third coat. 

That is it! I am so so happy with how it turned out. Stay tuned to see how it looks in my finished bathroom. 

Sewing Machine Cabinet Transformation

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I hope you enjoyed this sewing machine cabinet transformation.

Always Remember to Celebrate


I remember when you did this, and I love how beautifully it turned out!!

Kristie Baxter

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