Today I am going to show your how to chalk paint a desk. If you love a good DIY painted furniture before and after, you will love this Annie Sloan furniture makeover. My office desk before and after is quite dramatic. Come see!
She is finished! And ready for her moment of fame and her big before and after reveal. My vintage secretary desk received a chalk paint makeover. There were quite a few steps involved and I had to pivot and adapt along the way. But I love how my old writing desk looks now.
Chalk Paint Desk Before and After
Isn’t she pretty?! I used Annie Sloan chalk paint in the colors White Linen over Paris Grey and I gave the old desk some heavy distressing. I am not sure you remember the before pictures. I showed them in great deal when I was going over all the desk makeover ideas that I had. But here is the proper before picture.
And here is the – in full glory – after picture:
Quite the metamorphosis, from ugly duckling to beautiful swan.
How to chalk paint a desk
It was an intensive process let me tell you that. The first step I showed you before and that was the easiest one. Removing the (faux) leather top was just a matter of peeling it off and removing some glue remnants and little nails from the edge.
The center of the top was nice and clean, but around the edges there was a layer of peeling veneer. Removing the veneer from the top was not an easy job. It took me the better part of a day.
After chipping away at it for a couple of hours I was left with a ruined old iron, a raw, wood desk top, very tired and badly bruised and slightly burned hands and an enormous sense of accomplishment.
I removed the veneer by heating it up with the iron and then scraping it off. Stubborn bits got soaked with water then heated and scraped. And that over and over again until all the veneer was gone.
My iron still works fine but it can obviously only be used in my workshop now. So use an old iron from the thrift shop for a job like this.
For the peeling and the scraping part I used a small putty knife and a triangular paint scraper
Next up was removing the glue that remained after getting rid of the faux leather. And than there was lots of sanding to do. I scraped the glue off with a glue remover and my scraping tools. Always be sure to make sure you are in a well ventilated area if you work with any kind of solvent.
The sanding was straight up. I used my triangular sander and varying grades of sandpaper. I started with something like an 80 grid paper and worked my way down to a 240 grid paper. Wear ear protection, safety glasses and a face mask whenever you start sanding something. Health and safety protection is especially important when working with vintage pieces.
After all that work I was left with a nice smooth surface.
A desk with a ‘smooth’ surface. Still old, roughed up and naturally distressed but looking so much better and ready to be painted.
I started by giving the desk one good layer of the color grey. I used Annie Sloan Paris Grey. I followed up with two layers of the chalk paint in the color White Linen (except the drawer fronts Those were left grey).
After the painting I did the distressing with sandpaper and finally I gave my chalk paint desk a good coat of clear wax. The drawer fronts also got some dark wax to tie them in. I chose new drawer pulls that would hide the non-functioning key holes. I really like these new cup drawer pulls. I think they pull the whole look together. New hardware on vintage furniture can make all the difference for the final look. So never skimp on that.
The whole painting process again was not a joy. I am delighted with the final outcome, but I struggled a lot with the chalk paint. I have written an in-depth review of my experiences with Annie Sloan chalk paint, and go into the details about the troubles I experienced when I did this chalk paint furniture makeover. You’ll have to go there to read up about that, because today I want to forget about the troubles and rejoice in the outcome!
The careful observer will have recognized which of my inspiration desks turned out to be my most important inspiration.
So in honor of the wonderful Marian I tried to channel my “inner Miss Mustard Seed” and style the desk in her style as well.
The vintage typewriter has a story to tell that I will tell you another time soon.
Another project in my big Craft Room Makeover project finished!!
Only 1385 more to go
Isn’t she pretty!?!
This was my second time I worked with chalk paint. The first project involved a makeover of a maid’s closet.
You can find my review of Annie Sloan’s Chalk Paint (my feelings were a bit mixed, to say the least) here.
My desk now proudly stands in my craft room/ home office / sewing room. You can find the full reveal of my craft room here.
Marianne Songbird is the founder of Songbird, where she hopes to inspire everyone to create a home they love, one DIY project at a time. She shares anything from craft ideas to home decor inspiration and from DIY projects to decorating hacks. Originally from the Netherlands Marianne and her husband Lex are currently renovating a 250-year-old farmhouse in Germany.