“The Goddess from her Chamber Issues, Arrayed in Lace, Brocades and Tissues.”

I never really used much make-up while I was at school and university, and only boast a modest collection since taking a more active interest in various lotions, potions, colours and creams over the last year. Any new additions have always been lumped with the old stuff in an unused (albeit rather brightly coloured and fetching) wash bag, then onto a windowsill where it invariably gets dusty and the majority of it neglected, as I settle for reaching for the products on top of the pile.

make up bag

This is the bag in question on the left, and below is an example of another problem caused by squishing everything together. Nicely packaged makeup like this lipstick gets covered in gunk; I think the culprits in this instance are a mixture of loose eye shadow powders and pencil sharpenings.



After having a clear out recently I found I no longer had any use for a plain desk tidy, but didn’t want to get rid of it. It sat on my floor for a few days, near the bin though not quite confined to the rubbish heap. I can’t remember how the thought came to me, but suddenly it seemed like it might be the ideal contraption to put all my makeup in. It could display all my stuff and keep it separate, prevent anything getting muckier, and ensure that I might actually make use of something other than my usual mascara/foundation routine.

This is how it looked with everything packed in:

make up holder

I was quite pleased with how it turned out, because halfway through assembling it all I realised that reaching for things in the back two compartments might prove tricky. I managed this by putting all my foundations and ‘eye tools’ in the second tray, which could be stood upright, and used the third section for a big box of eye shadows and stacked my nail varnishes on top of each other. The first bit has a couple of creams and small pots that I like to use regularly, while I used the side holders for my brushes on the right and lipsticks on the left.

This is the view from above:

first section

section 3

section 2

section 4

Then it was time for the fun part….what else is there to do with a plain storage device other than to decorate it?!

craft bags

I had loads of little craft bits and pieces hanging around because I spend way too much time and money in the local art shop. I had some of these ‘craft bags’ (left), and also used lots of sequins plus a few decorative flowers. Everything was attached using standard PVA craft glue. I made it slightly difficult for myself by decorating while the makeup was already in the holder. I had put it all in first to check whether this idea would work, and then couldn’t be bothered to take it out again! However, it did help me to keep my design to a minimum and not go completely overboard like I usually do in these situations.

Here is the finished holder:

completed holder

The quote I have added on the black piece of card is the first and last two lines from The Lady’s Dressing Room by Jonathan Swift. It is a poem about the vain attempts of women to present a beautiful, superficial image of themselves to the world, but also mocks men’s expectations that this ‘illusion’ is real. quoteThe poem is very funny if you want to go and read it, and these lines, I feel, are an appropriate addition to my makeshift ‘vanity case’!

Buying plain storage devices is not only cheaper, it allows you to personalise it yourself. My mum first gave me the idea with some standard Ikea drawers that she got me when I was young – an MDF box with eight small compartments. She stencilled on some patterns and filled them in with acrylic paints as a birthday present. When I was looking for something to keep all my arts and crafts materials in earlier this year, I bought a plain cardboard box and then went rather overboard with the glitter glue and felt-tips:

desk tidy

I suppose the moral of the story is save money on cheap storage, and then spend what you’ve saved on important things like sequins and mini felt creations. Wait, no, that wasn’t it…..


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