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Make Over an Old Desk with Postcards & Paint

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I’ve wanted a little desk for a while now, so I decided to purge some things from a corner of our living room to make room for my new, yet-to-be-purchased desk. It needed to be small-ish–particularly the width. The process of finding something that wasn’t big with a ton of drawers was frustrating, so I was thrilled to finally find something at our local Habitat for Humanity ReStore for under $50:

desk makeover

(This post contains affiliate links. You can read more about that here. Thank you!)

desk makeover chalk paint

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True, it needed some love, but isn’t that the best part? HOW EXCITING! I couldn’t wait to get started. First, I repaired a few big cracks and filled in some dips on the top. I used Durham’s Rock Hard Water Putty.

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desk-6

Once that dried, I needed to pick out a paint color. I knew I wanted to do something a little bit different for the desk; however, since it would be sitting in the corner of our living/dining room (which is one room…), it needed to be somewhat neutral and discrete. So, I settled on painting the exterior light gray and lining the interior with some sort of paper pattern. That way, the desk would have something different without clashing too wildly with some of the other pieces in the room.

Here is where the annoying part started. I wanted to try a new paint, so I did a little research on some paints that did not require priming/sanding/etc. I settled on FolkArt Home Decor Chalk Paint because the reviews were good, and it was readily available in all colors at my local Jo-Ann. Why did I choose to use a new brand of paint for a big project that I’d been looking forward to for weeks? Because I’m an idiot. Don’t be an idiot.

I decided to mix Castle and Parisian Grey 50/50 to mimic the Annie Sloan Parisian Grey. Although the FolkArt paint required more coats than Annie Sloan or Americana Decor Chalky Finish, it is very affordable, so the extra coats didn’t really bother me too much. Plus, I loved the color. After three coats, it looked pretty good:

desk makeover chalk paint

Exactly the color I wanted! Hooray! At this point, I was very excited to put the finish on and start using this bad boy. I started to put on a coat of Minwax Satin Polycrylic Protective Finish (here, half pint), and immediately noticed this happening…

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Ugh! No! Ahhhhh. What’s happening! Why is the wood bleeding through! I’d never had this happen before, but I’d also never used this paint before. I called my dad, who knows everything, and he said that the paint is probably the culprit. I decided to do a test using an Ameicana Decor Chalky Finish paint I had on hand. I let one coat dry over one of the stained spots; then, I put a coat of the Minwax on and waited. Sure enough, no bleed through. Blah.

I was pretty pissed at having to start from scratch, but I was also happy to have found that Americana Decor seemed to seal the bleeding. Despite the success, I decided to put a coat of primer over the entire desk before painting. Even though the Americana Decor paint does not require a primer (the FolkArt wasn’t supposed to either), I decided that I wanted the insurance policy because I was a little paranoid about some of the darker spots on the desk. Also, I really didn’t want to waste more paint. I decided to use a Zinsser primer; then, I did two coats of Americana Decor’s Primitive and Yesteryear colors at about a 4:1 ratio.

desk makeover

First, I put a primer coat on using a roller on the top/back and a brush on the sides/trim.

desk makeover chalk paint

Here’s how it looked after two coats of paint and one coat of the Minwax (to finish the desk off, I did a total of two coats on the body and three coats on the top for extra protection). I love the Americana Decor Chalky Finish line’s even coverage. The Minwax Satin also gave the desk a nice sheen without being too glossy. I prefer to have a clean finish with a little bit of sheen over the distressed and waxed look (but Americana Decor paint is excellent for distressing and waxing, too).

Desk2-2When the painting was finished, I moved on to selecting a lining. I wasn’t able to find a shelf/drawer liner that wasn’t cheesy and/or a lot of money. So, I ventured to a Paper Source near my house to check out their gift wrap options. I ended up coming home with four sheets of this at $2.99 each:

desk makeover chalk paint

Postcards. Perfect. Who doesn’t like the nostalgia of postcards? I also liked the colors–soft without being too girly. After measuring the interior of the desk, I cut four sheets. Before putting them up, I gave each sheet a few coats of Krylon Workable Fixatif for protection. Spray this one outside away from your kitties. Fumes aren’t good for people or kitties.

desk makeover chalk paint

After the sheets thoroughly dried, I was ready to adhere them to the desk. I used 3M Multipurpose Adhesive Spray on the backs of each sheet. One at a time, I sprayed them on my balcony over a cloth. Then, I immediately stuck them to the desk’s interior. This stuff dries fast and is really sticky. I suggest latex gloves and a day that isn’t windy (despite wearing gloves, I had adhesive spray stuck all the way up my forearm due to wind).

Here’s the first sheet up, conveniently covering up my lazy painting job:

desk makeover

desk makeover

After successfully adhering all four sheets to the desk, I was DONE! I’m absolutely thrilled with the final product. Here’s always-nosy Blanche showing it off.

desk makeover

desk makeover chalk paint

desk makeover chalk paint

I added a little command hook on the right side of the desk for my bag:

desk makeover chalk paint

And a comparison to see you out:

desk makeover chalk paint

As I write, I’m looking at a half-finished lamp and pot for pens, both of which I will put on my new desk. I’m also sitting on a $10 chair from ReStore that I now must add to the project hopper.

See more DIY here.

Products used: Durham’s Rock Hard Water PuttyMinwax Satin Polycrylic Protective Finish | Zinsser PrimerKrylon Workable Fixatif | 3M Multipurpose Adhesive Spray | Americana Decor Chalky Finish in Primitive and Yesteryear | Paper Source gift wrap


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Ersin

Friday 23rd of January 2015

Hello, I love this idea. Everything looks great! :)

Loves...

Brittany Merth

Friday 23rd of January 2015

Ersin, thank you and thanks for stopping by!

Julie McNeill

Wednesday 21st of January 2015

Looks great Brittany! You are an inspiration.

Brittany Merth

Friday 23rd of January 2015

Well if my mom thinks I'm cool, then I'm definitely cool.

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