Vintage Child's Desk With Modern Masters & General Finishes Products

I have always wanted to refinish an old school desk and recently came across this little gem at a local thrift store. When the good people at Hometalk challenged me to use a Modern Masters product I knew exactly what I would do. This old desk, manufactured in the 1940s, was updated with brilliant color on the body, but I wanted to respect the character of the wood. I enjoyed thinking about all the little kids who have done their sums at this desk and didn't want to erase all that history, just enhance it.
Difficulty: Medium
First, I cleaned the entire desk and wiped it down well. You can see some of the deep scars on the top here. Seventy-five years of abuse take their toll.
I decided to strip the wood, using Citristrip, a product I have used before with good results. I recommend doing this in a well ventilated room. Because of bad weather I elected to strip the desk in my great room. It reeked for a few days and was messy!
After pulling the stripper off with a plastic spatula, I thoroughly cleaned the wood with odorless mineral spirits and allowed it to dry for several days before sanding.
I used an orbital sander to remove the worst of the scars on the desktop but decided to leave a few of them. I like the compass. It adds character and it makes me smile. :)
I'm a big fan of General Finishes products and because I wanted to renew the wood without changing its overall color tone I chose Candlelite Gel Stain. Two coats were all that I needed to give the wood the rich amber-brown tones I wanted.
After allowing the stain to dry, I taped all the wood surfaces in preparation for priming and painting.
I sprayed the cubby with Rustoleum Hammered Siver paint. I tried to remove the seat but couldn't get the screws loosened so had to make do. I wouldn't use this product again in such a confined space since it was impossible to get a completely even finish. It looks good, just not perfect.
I then primed the body (after re-taping) with Rustoleum 2-in-1 Primer. That gave me the even body color I wanted for the metallic paint to follow.
The first coat was a bit disappointing. It dried fairly matte, but the second coat sparkled! This paint is a dream to lay down and cleaned up very easily. Each coat dried quickly. I love this stuff!
I used white chalk paint under the silver stripe I added, both to increase opacity and to stick to the wood better.
A few coats of bright blue in the pencil slot and inkwell add a bit of fun.
  • vintage child s desk with modern masters general finishes products, painted furniture, repurposing upcycling
This was a great project. I had some challenges with it as I had to haul it down to our country home for part of it so I wouldn't miss my deadline. The metallic paint does streak a bit when brushing but for this desk I was okay with that. Where perfection is needed I would recommend using a sprayer.
Thank you, Hometalk team and Modern Masters for entrusting me with this beautiful paint. I will definitely use it again.

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