Wooden Desk Revamp

As I mentioned earlier, we got a new desk for our office so the one I’ve had forever had to go.  We brought it out to the garage, took a few pictures and listed it on Craigslist.  I was actually surprised that it didn’t get many hits, and contemplated just donating it.  The night Erin and Maggie came over to paint, Erin was redoing a side table with some chalk paint.  I loved the color and how easy it is to use (no sanding or prep!!) and decided that I’d repaint the desk and try to sell it again with a more contemporary look.

Wooden Desk Revamp

What you’ll need:

  • 2 8oz containers grey chalk paint
  • 8oz white chalk paint
  • Paint brush
  • Polycrylic clear finish
  • Screwdriver
  • 5 cabinet knobs

I think we got this desk when I was in middle or high school, so it’s been with me for a long time and travelled from move to move through the college and post grad years.  The white piece on the shelf part is a magnetic strip for pictures.  When we moved to our house, I used the top as shelves that held random yard tools in our garage, and some fertilizer spilled and left a blue spot on it, oops.  So this is what I was working with…

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The first step was to remove the wooden knobs and magnetic strip.  I unscrewed them, then sanded the area by the knobs since there was some wood stain built up that needed to be smoothed down.

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Then I started painting.  I had one container of gray chalk paint that I bought from Michael’s.  There was enough in it to cover the desk and most of the shelves with one coat to get me started.  I decided to paint the back of the shelves a different color, which is why they weren’t painted yet.  At the end of the first night everything had a coat of paint on it and was drying.

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I picked up some white chalk paint for the back of the shelves, but they were out of the gray I had used before.  I used the little bit of gray left to finish as much as I could and painted a few coats of white on the back of the shelves.  This part took a few days to complete since I’d paint a coat after work, then let it dry overnight.

Note: I ended up not using painter’s tape and just trusting I could paint the edges in a smooth line.  For the most part this worked well, but I had to paint over a few spots where I messed up and white was on gray or vice versa. 

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Apparently Michael’s sells out of that gray chalk paint fast, because I checked and checked, and it was almost never in stock.  I found some at Hobby Lobby that I thought was a similar color and used it to touch up some areas on the shelves and desk.

And then the paint dried — totally not the same color, at all.  Whoops.

Finally, I got more of the gray paint and I did a second coat on the desk.  I also had to make sure I covered up all of the places where I used the wrong gray paint..

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desk 09

When all the painting was done and you couldn’t see through to the wood, I moved on to the next step — sealing the chalk paint.  You can either use wax or polycrylic finish to seal the chalk paint.  Wax takes a little more effort, and while the finish may look a little better, you have to maintain it and wax it over the years.  Polycrylic finish is a one and done kinda deal, plus I had just gotten a can to use on my corn hole boards – bingo.

I covered the desk in a coat of clear polycrylic sealer, and let it dry some more.  Like it recommends, I did 3 coats of polycrylic on it, just in case.  This actually changed the color a little — it made it darker, and smoother to the touch instead of chalky.

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The last step was to put the new knobs in. Thanks to y’all for helping me decide which ones to use — I ended up with the teal & white ones I found at Hobby Lobby.

The knobs weren’t long enough to go through the shelves and be clasped on the other side, so I got creative.  I ended up using a big drill bit to make the holes bigger on the inside of the shelves by ~1/2″.  Then I was able to get the washer and nut on securely.  I screwed the new knobs into all the drawers, screwed the magnetic strip back in, and was done!

desk 01

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desk 12Now that looks a lot better!  Anyone in Charleston looking for a desk with shelves? 😉

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