Old School Desk-How I Taught it a New Trick.

In: Home Decor Tutorials
School desk graphic

So we’ve already established that I have C.A.D.D- Craft Attention Deficit Disorder, and these last couple weeks have really exacerbated that diagnosis.  I’ve been working on multiple projects all at once with little progress on each.

Our powder room downstairs has not had a sink or vanity for almost 2 weeks, I’ve ripped the flooring up and now the walls are all spackled and waiting for a sanding.  Going to the potty just isn’t a pleasant experience right now.

Plus, completely building a new website.  How do you like it?  I’d love to know in the comments below.

But, finally, one project is finished that isn’t bathroom or website related.  And not a moment too soon.  Seriously- my Peanut’s birthday was Friday and this happened to be her gift.  The last photos were taken on Friday morning while she was at school and the stain was still wet.

I’ll give you a brief background related to this gift.

Christmas 2014-

yes, just four months ago.

I built her an adorable little desk that is attached to the wall.  She could pull it down whenever she wanted to work at it, the chains on each side were really strong and when she was finished, it would lift up and be out of the way…

Enter little girl playdate with two extra excitable little girls.

The desk didn’t make it.

It was a lost soldier.

We poured some apple juice that day- one for our homey.

Fast forward a few days to me scanning the local Salvo-Chic for something ugly to make pretty.  There she was… A particularly ghastly, but potentially adorable little school desk.  I like to think the desk we had recently lost was smiling down on me that day.  The apple juice memorial worked.

Cute isn’t it?  For $6 it’s downright gorgeous! Well, besides the yucky rust and all the grime.  That stuff doesn’t matter to me.  Unless there are spiders involved.  That is a different story.

Anyway, here is how I prettied it up a bit.


  1.  Safety first.  Pre-sanding Selfie.

2.  I sanded it using 120 grit sandpaper to get all of the loose paint and rust off, then I hit again with a 220 to smooth it all out.  The rust didn’t disappear, but it wasn’t coming off anymore.

Let’s face it, a little rust never hurt nobody- unless you haven’t had a tetanus shot of course.

Then you’re in trouble.

The tools I used to make this thing pretty are simple.  Spray paint and Vaseline.

I wanted that pretty turquoise color to stick around, plus you know me, I love me a nice rustic, distressed piece of furniture.

That really melts my buttah- if you know what I mean.  You do.  I know it.

3.  To keep that turquoise, I smeared a thin layer of vaseline where I wanted it to show.  Just enough where it looks like hundreds of school kids kicked the crap out of it for years, but it never rusted, just chipped off a bit of white paint.  That’s the look I was going for.

Just a little bit now!  You’re not lubing up Gramma’s feet before bed or anything!

Then if you are not like me, you would probably take this time to tape off the areas that you do not want white…Well, that just doesn’t sound like a party to me.  I just go for it.

This is what happens when you grossly underestimate the amount of spray, spray paint gives off.  Duh, the name says it all doesn’t it.  This is my Dad’s wood shop floor.  It may not look like much, but the fact is that I put that large desk sized rectangle on it… Not Dad.  Let’s just say, he wasn’t all that happy.  I’m 32 years old and my Mom still enjoys saying, “Wait till your dad gets home!”

This statement sounds like I still live with my parents.  I assure you, I do not.  Not that I wouldn’t, especially if Mom still did my laundry.  My parents can only handle my kids in small doses or they might keel over.  I wouldn’t want to be responsible for that.  

I heart you Mom & Dad!  

You should call your folks right now…or at least send them a short email.  They will thank you for it.  Especially if you’ve ever spilled paint on the wood shop floor :)

I digress.

4.  Spray paint that baby till your hearts content.  I did at least 3 coats to cover all the ickyness.  I’m not going to lie to you, I tend to suffer from drip marks, but I don’t let them get me down.

Let the paint dry completely.  I mean like walk away from this thing for a couple days… rip apart a bathroom, shop for a great deal on mosaic tile in vain, then you can come back and do the next step.

Those were just suggestions.  That’s what I did and it was adequate time for the paint to cure.

5.  Take that 220 sanding paper off of the sander and give the entire desk a nice sanding by hand.  You’ll notice while you do this, the areas where you had applied the Vaseline, the paint just falls off.  Neat huh?  

Totally worth my Mom having sloughy heels because I stole her Vaseline and left it in the wood shop.

I did the same thing on the metal of the chair.  But the seat and back are special.  They are actually wood.  I know, dreamy right?

6.  I sanded both of them down to the bare wood– taking off years of sweaty kid bottoms and whatever they had stuck under the seats.  I’ll leave you to think about all that could be.  Then I gave it 2 good coats of stain- Minwax Provincial.  Love it.

Want to see the finished product??  Are you sure….

Okay, here it is…













This project also came just in time for Toolbox Diva’s kid’s room challenge!  To see more pics of my project and other kid’s room projects, head over to Toolbox Divas and say hi to my girl Timisha!  While your there, browse for a while, your bound to find a project you have to do.  There is a little Diva in all of us after all.


  • http://www.housekaboodle.com Sue Pekarek

    This is soo cute for any little kids to have, I just love it and you did a super job.

    • https://onblissstreet.com Erica

      Thanks Sue! I just carried it upstairs and almost broke my back! That’s how you know quality- when it weighs 300 pounds! They don’t make things like they used to! xoxo

  • Indah Nuria Savitri

    Look at you and all those great work! Love the original turquoise color but it was a great final result indeed..

  • Kim Daniels Lewis

    Hello gorgeous! I love seeing your masterpieces.Thank you for bringing such great things to our party. Pinned and tweeted. I hope to see you on Monday at 7 pm.. Lou Lou Girls

    • https://onblissstreet.com Erica

      Thanks Chickee! xoxo

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  • doreen

    Love your school desk transformation! I am constantly amazed how paint makes such a difference to a worn out piece. Found you via The Creative Exchange linky party. Now following you, and hope you’ll come visit me at https://alteredartworks.wordpress.com/
    Doreen @ Altered Artworks

    • https://onblissstreet.com Erica

      Thank you so much Doreen!. Yes, I’ll come see you soon!