Monday, August 30, 2010

Drab to Darling Desk Re-Do

I have mentioned before that I have some pretty incredible thrift stores in my town. I know that it is only by sheer luck that I come across these treasures, and feel it is a duty of mine to bring them straight home, and gussy them up so that they'll reach their full potential. Such was the case with this darling little desk. I have already bought my son a desk (a really incredible old desk, but I'll get to that in a minute,) but this one is one of those super tiny ones, smaller than a kindergardener would use, and perfect for my 2 year old son right now. For only $3 I snatched it right up.


First things first, I gave it a really good scrub with a bristled brush and some steel wool. It had a lot of funky cobwebs and rust all over the bottom, and since this is for my son, I wanted those to be good and gone.

The top of the desk was a plastic laminate material that wasn't winning any beauty awards, so I decided to cover it up completely and made the top into a chalk board. I coated the whole top and edges in chalk board paint. I then seasoned the chalk board by rubbing a piece of chalk sideways over the whole top. This ensures that once we start writing words, letters or anything else on top, the lines won't be permanently etched into the paint.


My son came out in the middle of this part and assisted in dusting off the chalk. I could barely keep him away the desk, he loved it already!


Next step, paint the body of the desk. Something with this many little crevices called for spray paint, and I went with Rustoleum since it has such a high level of protection and stops any more rust from forming.


I made sure to tape the desk well, all around the edges of the wood and the metal details. I then started spraying!


I did 2 - 3 light coats of paint leaving 10-15 minutes drying time in between coats, then I flipped the desk over to do the bottom and the inside.


Looking better already!!


I sanded all of the grime off of the wooden seat and back until I was down to the wood. I then tried out this Americana gel stain in Oak.


I really wanted to try this stain because it is water-based, and I really hate the fumes of oil based wood stain and the paint thinner that I then have to use to clean my brushes. I also don't ever know what to do with the thinner afterwards, so this let me avoid both of those situations.


You'll need to use a different technique than with a oil based stain, where you would paint it on, let it soak in, and then wipe off the excess. For this water based stain, you paint it on a bit at a time, and then wipe over it with a damp cloth to help blend the color until it's as light or dark as you want. It took a few applications to get it just how I wanted, but once I was finished I really loved the warm oak.


It needed a little something extra, so I went for a 3. If people ask me, "Why a 3?" I will say, "Oh, because Jayce is the 3rd member of our family!" or something like that. The real reason is, I wanted to put some sort of detail there, and this 3 was the best option in my craft room at the time. Sometimes my details are sentimental, and sometimes they are just completely random!


I sealed the wood with a coat of satin polyurethane and I was done!!


So?! Better, right?!


My son just loves it! Actually, while I was in the backyard cleaning it and it's successor, the neighbors' kids came over and all 3 were fighting over writing on it.


And here it is next to the bigger, up next for a re-furb desk. Isn't it tiny? And isn't the big one great?! It has a wooded desktop and a big hollow compartment inside for storage. I feel a responsibility to do this big one just right since it's such a great find, so I'll welcome your suggestions. But for now, we're loving the 2 year old chalkboard version.


I'll be linking this up to these great link parties this week. See you next Monday!

DIY Club



Unknown August 30, 2010 at 6:34 AM  

First off, I love the new look! Second, what a great post! A magnificent transformation! ha ha

I knew you had to "season" chalkboard paint, but I never knew why, so thank you for that. Also, thanks for sharing what type of stain you used. I hate oil based stain too. Can't wait to see what you do with the larger one.

~The Speckled Dog

Unknown August 30, 2010 at 6:45 AM  

I am in Lurve!!!!

Jessica @ This Blessed Life August 30, 2010 at 6:46 AM  

GREAT transformation, Erin!

Traci August 30, 2010 at 7:12 AM  

Great post - love the desk. You could always say the number 3 was because you only paid $3 for it. I would smile every time I saw that 3!

Danielle Leal August 30, 2010 at 7:33 AM  

I must say that I am quite jealous of all your great thrifty finds! I could only dream of finding some of the great things that you find! With that said, that desk is amazing! I love the idea of a chalk board top!
Thank you so much for sharing!

Anonymous August 30, 2010 at 8:54 AM  

I have a desk similar to your little one that I recently redid too! We also did the chalkboard desk top!

Ruffled Feathers August 30, 2010 at 9:26 AM  

I love the way it turned out! I'm glad you found one in your size too!

Erin @ 3 Meadow Lake Cottage August 30, 2010 at 10:00 AM  

That is the cutest little desk I've ever seen! You did a great job!

Lacey August 30, 2010 at 10:18 AM  

I was blog hopping and found this blog and post! So adorable! I had to share it on my blog today!

Christina Marie August 30, 2010 at 11:08 AM  

What an awesome idea to do a chalkboard top! I will be scouring the thrift stores looking for a desk like that... :o)
Fabulous job!

C. August 30, 2010 at 1:24 PM  

erin, the desk is fabulous. really.
and the new site looks AWESOME!
wish i could help you w/the bigger one!

Kaysi @ Keeping it Simple August 30, 2010 at 2:34 PM  

super cute!

About Southern Belle August 30, 2010 at 4:35 PM  

So cute! It must have been the week for school desk transformations because I did something similar. Its amazing what a little paint can do for an old piece of furniture isn't it?


Amy Kinser August 30, 2010 at 7:22 PM  

That is a great desk! Looks wonderful...

Courtney August 30, 2010 at 8:30 PM  

What a great job you did! I love that you used green chalkboard paint too, classic. I'm sure your son LOVES it.

~Heather August 30, 2010 at 10:10 PM  

What a fabulous transformation!!! Great idea!

Patrice August 31, 2010 at 6:21 AM  

So cute! I love old schools desks. What a great find!

Bumblebee and Sophie August 31, 2010 at 8:58 AM  

I have one of these desks out in our Barn! It's been sitting there for quite a while...and now I know what to do with it! What a great idea!

Tiffany August 31, 2010 at 9:04 AM  

Love it! It looks a lot like the one in Avery's room and that is one of my favorite decorations in our house! You did a fantastic job with the transformation and what great finds with both desks! Score big time!

Atticmag August 31, 2010 at 8:16 PM  

The desk could not be more adorable. No way. And the little ones really know a good thing when they see it, obviously. So cozy for them.

Do stop by when you have time. Jane F

Cara@HomespunKitchen August 31, 2010 at 10:06 PM  

That is CRAZY gorgeous!!!!!!!!

Korrie@RedHenHome September 1, 2010 at 11:09 AM  

Very cute! I have done a couple of chalkboard desks myself, but not as cute as this old school desk!

Lori@Paisley Passions September 2, 2010 at 3:49 PM  

LOVE IT! I am hosting a Thursday Linky called Thrilling Thursday. I would love for you to stop by and link up!
Thrilling Thursdays @Paisley Passions

Lori@Paisley Passions September 2, 2010 at 10:07 PM  

Thanks for linking up and adding my party to you linky list! Hope you will join in again next week :)

Nita Stacy September 3, 2010 at 2:11 AM  

How cute! I'm sure your son does love it especially with the chalkboard top.

Roo {NiceGirlNotes} September 3, 2010 at 12:17 PM  

I absolutely love it! I want to find one for my mini-mes. :) Great job. Will you use that water based stain again?

Laura September 4, 2010 at 1:24 PM  

Love it! Your little guy is so lucky! I never knew you had to season the chalkboard, so that was excellent info.

Its So Very Cheri September 4, 2010 at 5:21 PM  

I love your shabby and chic chair duo. The big one is fabulous.

I love seeing some of the old coming through on it, maybe do the chair in black and leave some of the metal, you could use magnets on the metal and you could stencil the top of the desk or do a message across it. i can not wait to see what you do--whatever it is I hope you enter it too.


My Dream Canvas September 6, 2010 at 12:56 AM  

This is beautiful. I am hosting a 50 dollar CSN Giveaway on my blog. I would love for you to stop by. Thanks Anu!

Holly Lefevre September 6, 2010 at 2:13 AM  

What a darling desk and a fabulous project. You are so lucky...what a find! Love what you did with it.

The Watkins team September 23, 2010 at 1:11 AM  

So cute! I have a big one just like yours & it is painted red to match my son's room decor. I love it! I've also thought of painting it orange.

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