Desk Makeover

Leap of Faith
by Leap of Faith
23 Materials
3 Days

Score! How great is it when you’re out thrifting and luck up and find a nice piece of furniture for $15? That is exactly what happened!

With just a few scratches to repair and needing a good cleaning, this desk was one of my easier furniture projects.

I used Dixie Belle Paint's White Lightning cleaner and a Scotch Brite scouring sponge. This cleaner is great for cleaning furniture before painting. It comes in powder form which you mix with water. I made a batch and stored it in an old plastic milk jug. For easy application, I poured some of the solution into a spray bottle. You will need a bucket of clean water for rinsing off your piece. I clean in sections and immediately rinse the part I just cleaned. Always make sure you wear gloves when you are cleaning.

I removed all of the drawers and handles. I always label the drawers because sometimes they do not fit in different drawer slots correctly. As you can see I simply wrote LT (left top) on painter's tape and stuck it in the bottom of the drawer. I also tape the drawer handle holes so primer/paint does not drip into the drawers.

Now it was time to repair the scratches. I used MH Ready Patch wood filler and a plastic putty knife for this. After the wood filler dried. I sanded those spots with 220 grit sandpaper. To make sure these areas are smooth, I look away and run my hand over them. Sometimes I have to reapply wood filler if I still feel any indentions. I used a soft bristle brush to dust away sanding residue and then wiped the entire desk with a microfiber cloth.

Then it was time to sand down the top using my orbital sander. I started with 60 grit paper to remove the finish. Next, I used 120 then 220 paper to gradually make the surface smooth. Once again I brushed off and wiped down the entire desk.

On to priming. first I applied painters tape to areas where I didn't want primer. Since I had decided to paint the lower potion white that meant I definitely had to prime to stop bleed through. Zinseer Primer with shellac is my go to product. I turned the desk upside down to apply primer first. This helps to make sure I get primer everywhere. I used a roller to apply the primer and a sponge brush to get the small, tight areas. Then I turned the desk upright to finish priming. I lightly sanded the primed areas to make sure the surface was smooth and then applied another coat of primer.

I still had a few spots that bled through and had to be touched up with more primer.

I used Jolie Paint in the color Pure White. Even though I primed I still had to put 3 coats on some areas.

After the paint was dry, I used 220 grit sandpaper to lightly distress to highlight some of the details of this beautiful desk.

To seal the paint, I applied 2 coats of Dixie Belle Paint's Satin Clear Coat. I worked in small sections brushing it on with a paintbrush first then I went back over it with a sponge brush. This helps eliminate brushstrokes.

For the desk top, I applied a coat of Varathane Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner with a lint free cloth before I stained. This helps give an even colored tone. After 30 minutes, I applied a coat of Varathane Wood Stain in Dark Walnut with a lint free cloth, wiped away any excess, and let it dry over night.

To seal the stained top, I applied 4 coats of Minwax Wipe On Poly in Clear Satin. I lightly sanded in between coats using 325 grit sandpaper. I wiped off the top with a microfiber cloth after each sanding.

Next it was onto the drawer handles, I decided to use the original handles. I cleaned them in soapy water and discovered they were brass plated. The plating was peeling off so I sanded the stubborn areas with 220 grit sandpaper. You can also use fine steel wool.

After the handles were clean, I applied 2 coats of Rust-Oleum Clean Metal Primer first to help the paint adhere. Next, I sprayed on 2 coats of Rust-Oleum Metallic matte paint in Sunlit Brass. Last, I sealed the paint with 2 coats of Rust-Oleum matte clear sealer. They look so much better!

The inside drawer bottoms were not in bad shape but I wanted to give them a little something extra. I had gift wrap paper I found on clearance at World Market. I measured the drawer bottoms by turning the drawers over. Then I measured and cut my paper to fit. I placed them inside the drawers to make sure they fit properly. They did have to be trimmed a little so I used an Exacto knife to trim the excess. I placed double sided tape in the bottoms to make the paper stay in place.

A perfect work space for any home office!

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  1 question
  • Trina Davis Strong Trina Davis Strong on Jul 11, 2020

    Beautiful! And thank you SO VERY MUCH for the detailed instructions with pics. A lot of times the stories look like they just waved a magic wand.

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  • Cheryl Cheryl on Jul 02, 2021

    You put a lot of hard work into this, but look at the beautiful results! Thank you for the detail in your description of your steps to this look. You did a great job!

  • Catherine Catherine on Jul 08, 2021

    i have the exact same desk in my home, used to be my grandfathers. i will try this out because it looks great. thanks. 👍👍👍