Outdated Wooden Desk Turned Magical Homeschool Desk

2 Materials
8 Hours

I had a customer ask for a desk (everything has been sold out in stores since home schooling started). The guidance I was given was that the girl it was for is the "ultimate girly girl" and that she loves pandas and mermaids. So I went with it and had some fun. When looking for a new piece of furniture, look at the bones! It can become anything your heart desires.

Look for BONES

The cat paintings and kitty cat drawer knobs are a bid distracting, yes. BUT the structure is there and this piece was solid wood for $20 on craigslist.

Remove Veneer

Veneer was once (and still sometimes is) a big hit. But it rarely stands the test of time. I knew the black cats were going to be hard to cover and the edges were lifting in some places anyway so I decided to remove the veneer altogether.

I've found the best way to do this is to let a DAMP (NOT WET you'll warp the wood) towel sit overnight. That will soften it and then use a heat gun and chisel to peel it up.

Mix the paint

I knew for this to be magical I wanted a pearlescent finish. To achieve this I went with Rustoleum Metallic Accents.

I got a big jar of Pearl White to use as my mixer. I added "Amethyst" in small incriments and then wrote down the ratio once I got the color I wanted. I did the same in separate jars with Glacier Blue to make a mint and Ruby Red to make a soft pink.

Prep and base

The whole piece was thoroughly sanded with 80 grit working up to 120 and then cleaned with soap and water.

I did use General Finishes primer to block the bleeding since I knew I was using a lighter color. Most primers will do the job, just stick to the same base you are going to paint with (oilbased on oilbased and waterbased on waterbased)

Then I sprayed the entire piece with the lilac that I had mixed.

Blend Blend Blend

I went for an ombre finish on the side and insides of the desk. To achieve this you will need several brushes and a bucket of water and plenty of towels.

I found the best blending happens when strips of colors have dried... and then you go back with wet paint and do the blending then so as not to remove the color that you want to stay.

Add details

The girl wanted pandas! So I found this cute stencil and added some drawer details.

Change Hardware

I had these on hand and just spruced them up in gold

Final look!

Finished off with 3 coats of water based poly for long lasting beauty.

Before and After!
Any price and availability information displayed on [relevant Amazon Site(s), as applicable] at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.
Hometalk may collect a small share of sales from the links on this page. More info

Top Hometalk Projects

14 DIY Must-Haves For All Camping Trips
3 Great Ideas To Easily Upgrade Your Window
31 Update Ideas To Make Your Kitchen Look Fabulous
3 Brilliant Ideas How to Use Photo Frames
15 Pieces Of Furniture That DIYers Built From Scratch
30 Creative Painting Techniques & Ideas You MUST See
15 Amazing Things You Can Make With Dollar Store Gems

Have a question about this project?

1 question
  • Carol Daly Drasak
    Carol Daly Drasak
    on Oct 5, 2020

    What does the finished TOP of the desk look like?

    • Amanda
      on Oct 6, 2020

      You can kind of see it better here. But the top looks just like the drawers. The edges have some of the mint showing through and then pinks and purple throughout the middle.

Join the conversation

4 of 15 comments
  • Martha W
    Martha W
    on Oct 6, 2020

    I love it! It's wonderful...and magical. A perfect place for a young girl to learn...

  • Flipturn
    on Oct 19, 2020

    'Not crazy about the paint, but the pretty filigree handles remind me of Cinderella's coach.

    • Amanda
      on Oct 19, 2020

      Thanks! That's exactly what I thought of! I just had them stored away and they worked out pretty great :)

Your comment...