Friday, April 5, 2013

Awesome desk restoration!

I inherited several nice old pieces from my uncle that belonged to my grandparents. They have been good sturdy pieces of furniture but they are tired looking. So again, I went to Pinterest and surfed refinished furniture. Some pieces I came across looked gorgeous, others, not so much. But then I came across this little gem:
If you scroll down the blog page linked here:
Desk inspiration
You will find the beautiful desk inspiration! It's the rusty orange/red one with the typewriter on it.

I looked at a lot of antique shops to find a similar luck. So, I had a good sturdy desk in my craft room and it needed a makeover.

I started by washing it down with TSP cleaner because I didn't want to strip the piece down to the wood. I was going to paint it anyways so that step was unnecessary. I rinsed off the TSP cleaner really well. TSP cleaner dulls the shine and lets paint adhere better to the finish.

Then I took out my Zinsser primer. In Canada, new environmental regulations were passed and my favorite primer was now no longer being made and so I had to find something new. I chose the Zinsser primer because it does not allow bleed through as it has a stain blocker in it. It did definitely block some of the previous finish from coming through, but not the ink. I gave that spot a couple more coats just to try and block the ink, it still came through. Not a biggie because, the final coat of black will cover it and so it won't show. The Zinsser primer was runny and so even after I painted it and cleaned up the paint runs, I'd come back to find more (too late, of course). Live and learn and getting to know this product. Probably my problems were more due to user error than anything. This particular product was also fast drying...which can be a good thing if you are a pro, but for me, just learning, it didn't help my cause so much.  Next time I think I will go back to a thicker primer that doesn't have the fast drying properties until I become a better painter at least.

Once primed, I painted the whole desk with three coats of Beautitone Designer Series Cabinet & Furniture paint (Canadian Brand). I loved the color in the original inspiration and after much detective work found out it was a Sherwin Williams color (SW6608 Rave Red) that had some Umber put into it, it never stated how much. So I had the color name and used the system to color match at Home Hardware and added 1/48 of the paint tint H (which is Umber). I only needed a quart of the paint to refinish the whole desk. After painting it three coats, I still had a third of a can left.

I let it dry completely for a week and then measured and taped off a section of the top of the desk with painter's tape. I went over the inside edge of the tape several times to seal the edge so that no black paint would bleed. (I had a few tiny spots of bleed when I pulled off the painter's tape but it wasn't too bad.) Once again, I had a quart of Beautitone Cabinet and Furniture paint in black. With a small roller, I rolled on two coats. Once the paint was dry, I slowly pulled off the painter's tape. Then once again I left the black paint dry for a week.

The final decorative scroll work done in Beautitone white paint was a little bit more fun to do. First, I went onto Youtube and found some of Donna Dewberry's how to videos on her painting technique. These are the ones I watched:

scroll work video      More scroll work video

I then went and practiced loading my brush and did some practice strokes to get the hang of it. It was only after practicing that I attempted to paint the very simple scroll pattern onto the top of my desk. Just in case I messed up, I had an old wet rag ready to wipe off my messed up scroll work. And yes, I did use it more than once. I did water down the white paint slightly to make it flow better. When the paint started to drag, I would go and wash off my palette and brush and start again adding a drop or two of water depending on how much paint I had on my palette.

This is my finished product and I'm so pleased with it! This beautiful new desk will now hold my Cricut cutter in my scrapbooking room. It is a major improvement over what it looked like before. It's not a perfect job, but I am very pleased with how it turned out.

Before the great transformation:

After the great transformation:


  1. Di~ this is fabulous!!! Love, love, love the color and scroll work.

  2. Di -

    What a wonderful project - gorgeous colors and scroll work! I am so totally impressed! Wow!!!!

  3. Di, your desk is beautiful. What a wonderful piece of furniture that has been given new life. Fantastic job!!!!

  4. WOW!!!! You did a fantastic job on this project & I am totally lovin' it!!! I sure wish I could have you help me with re-doing my porch rockers, tables, etc, I'm sure they'd come out much better with your help!