Sunday, August 4, 2013

once grotesque now a lovely desk!

do you ever buy something because you not only know it's such a good deal but because you also know that you can make it look a million times better?  well, that is exactly what i did . . . er . . . at least three years ago!  

while junking with my mother-in-law on a saturday in cincinnati, ohio, i came upon this old wooden desk for (gasp) only $10!  it even had a matching chair!  as soon as i laid my eyes on it i made a beeline to the owner and claimed it as mine.  i knew that it would be the perfect sewing/craft desk that i had been needing.  i immediately had big plans for her and didn't care how long it would even take to get around to it.  she would only be living in the basement anyway, so it didn't really matter.  well . . . that was until i moved her to my house in orlando where she now lives in the corner of my living room for everyone to see exactly how bad she was looked.  i had finally had enough of the grossness and decided it was time for a change.  besides, for the last eight months my husband and i have been building our next home and i need to get off my butt and get some projects done now before time runs out! 

recently, i've been seeing a ton of projects on pinterest that have used chalk paint and i was curious to try it out and see what it's all about.  i knew that this desk was the perfect piece to try out this new paint technique.  

enter my talented and crafty auntie.  i am lucky enough to have an auntie who not only is a wonderful confidant and friend, but also one that is super good at creating and making amazing things.  (you should check out her blog here and her cool etsy shop here)  i knew that she was just the person to go to for info on how to get this project started.  she sent me a detailed email with how she made her own chalk paint and then directed me to this blog for another option to try.  (this blogger is a gal after my own heart . . . i mean, the blog title says it all!  who the heck doesn't love nap time? well, except maybe my son!  naps are so wasted on kids . . . but that's a topic for another day and another blog.)

in the end, i pretty much followed what the blog said and purchased only a few things and i was on my way.  i already knew that i didn't want the rubbed off look so that was one step that i was able to omit from the start.  basically, the whole project couldn't have been easier!

i purchased a sample paint pot from lowes in a coral pink color, plaster of paris, a paint brush, and minwax paste finishing wax.  

in a throw away food storage container i mixed up the plaster of paris and water . . . approx. 5 Tbsp plaster of paris and 3 Tbsp of water.  i made sure to get rid of all of the lumps so it was a very smooth consistency (like thin pancake batter).  then i added it to the paint in a separate container.  i mixed it very very well.  

(note: do not try to add more dry plaster of paris into this paint mixture to make it more thick!  i made that mistake and ruined an entire paint pot.  i couldn't get the lumps out no matter how hard i tried and adding more water only made it a watery mess.  ugh!  make sure to mix the plaster first with water before adding it!)

after i mixed up the paint i got right down to applying it to my desk.  i did end up doing two good coats of paint since some of the brown was still showing through after my first coat.  

i waited approximately four hours between the two coats of paint . . . then i let it sit overnight before i was going to apply the wax.  

well, i had every good intention of doing the final step the next day . . . however, when i finally got around to reading the finishing paste label i read that it can cause birth defects in unborn children.  since i am preggo again i decided it best to instead beg my husband into helping me with this final step.  i am lucky to have married such a capable and nice guy!  he spent the better part of two hours this afternoon finishing it for me and i couldn't be happier with the end result.  

he told me that he tried to do a thin coat (per the directions) but that he didn't feel like it covered well enough so he kept adding wax until he felt it was coated to his satisfaction.  whatever, i say . . .  i'm just glad to have it finished!!  

here she is now . . . 

i can't wait to move this desk into my new craft corner in our playroom.  huzzah!

Project Cost Breakdown . . . 

desk = $10

plaster of paris = $7

three paint pots = $9 ($3 each . . . remember i had to pitch one that i ruined.  stink!)

paint brush = $2

minwax paste finishing wax = $9

knobs = $0  (from anthropologie . . . paid for with a gift card from my recent birthday!)

Grand Total = $37

i still have a crap ton of plaster of paris and minwax left so i will be able to really stretch out the value of these purchases . . . score!

so, what do you think?  i think it's a huge improvement that didn't take that much time or money . . . an extra blessing in my book!


  1. It looks SO GOOD -- I love the coral color you chose and it's *so Florida*! I can't wait to see the next project you do with the leftover Plaster of Paris and wax!

    I was all blushes, though, with your description of your 'talented and crafty auntie' -- that's just a gross exaggeration, but really sweet, too. Thanks for praise, however undeserved...