Welcome to Kelli's Olympic Nest's tale of how we are creating a home we love through thrifty DIY projects, crafty ideas, and a willingness to get dirty. In between, there's the stories reminding us to also live the life you love. 

Quick and simple desk makeover with Rust-Oleum chalk paint

Quick and simple desk makeover with Rust-Oleum chalk paint

Saturday's with Kelli: a yard sale desk gets a diy no-sweat, easy makeover 

Just another Saturday where Miss Kelli decides the office desk needs a little somethin'-somethin'. Usually this happens when Hubby decides he's going to cast a few lines or cut a load of firewood...could be anything that takes him out of the house. 

I can't really explain what comes over me. Just think ya know, what if... and then pretty soon the brushes come out and I'm elbow deep in paint. Home is my happy place. If I sit too long two things happen: my body burns in pain and my mind goes to a not so good place. Make and create is a much healthier option. 

All I know is I do what I do because I love to see what the end result is. Hopefully it's a two thumbs up like our closet and bedroom makeover or the guest room. Other times it's a big oops like when I took the sawzall to the cupboards or decided to rip out the craft room carpet and paint the sub floor

Sometimes these projects take a life of their own. Like this one did.

The original plan was to just paint the back (or is it the front?) of this yard sale office desk. But if you paint the back then you should paint the side. Then if you paint the side, you should just paint the whole damn thing.

So I did.

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oak desk before makeover.jpg

Best part though...the prep was super simple. I mean really simple! 

Didn't move the desk. Didn't sand the desk. Didn't empty the drawers. And I for sure didn't touch the stuff on top of the desk! (Slow learner but I'm figuring out that his system works for him.)

How is this possible, you ask? Chalk paint. Rust-Oleum chalk paint to be more precise. And let me tell you, I like it better than the homemade version I used here. Mostly I like the consistency of the paint because it's a bit thicker and dries faster and smoother than the homemade version. 

So let's get started.

Step 1: clean surface

Confession time. I cheated on this step. All I used was a slightly damp towel to wipe down the surface. That was it! You may want to use soap and water or tsp to remove any oils. Again, I really just thought I was painting a small section and it was the face of the desk. That's not true. I just wanted to hurry-up and paint!

Step 2: tape off area you wish to paint an accent color

frog tape prep.jpg

Since I already had Rust-Oleum writable chalk paint, decided the accent part would also be a chalkboard to write messages on. I have used this product before and like how easy it is to use. 

rust-oleum chalk board paint.jpg

The first coat looked like this. It took about two coats and then some touch-ups. Again, just used a good all-purpose paint brush. You want to let it cure at least over night before you actually write on it. Will talk about that further down.

Step 3: paint the desk

Before I started painting I used some kindling (cedar fire starter) to raise the desk just a bit then slapped down some newspaper. If you plan on your paint going in all sorts of places, then you might want to add more protection. What? It happens.

I chose to paint the desk Rust-Oleum Aged Grey Ultra Matte Interior Chalk Paint. Now this kind isn't meant to be used like a chalk board. It's called this because of the texture of the paint-- once it dries, the texture is like chalk . 

This is the first coat. You can see that my original plan began to ooze onto the other parts of the desk. It was about this time I figured I was painting the whole darn thing. 

simple way to update furniture is with chalk paint.jpg

Which led me removing the vertical file system.

yard sale desk before makeover.jpg

Yep, the top was NOT TOUCHED for this project. No way. No matter how much I wanted to tidy it up, it remained untouched.

This led me to the front of the desk (or is it the back?). This was the part I was trying to avoid from the get-go. Drawers--ugh. Pull-out keyboard area--double ugh. 

So I started underneath and in the back while I pondered whether or not I needed to really remove the pull-out keyboard station.

I did add a strip of Frog tape along the base of each side. You can just barely see it. You can actually press just a bit under the desk and it gives you a nice clean line to follow. No paint on carpet! Woo-who!

rustoluem chalk paint desk.jpg

The pull-out had to be removed. Just couldn't paint around it and I thought it would look odd if it didn't look like the rest of the base.

Which brings me to the office desk drawers.

Wanted to complete this ASAP so rather than take the drawers and their contents out, I just pushed the inside stuff back and removed the hardware with a phillips screwdriver. I kid you not. No drawers were removed for this project!

oak and brass desk drawers.jpg
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With the hardware removed, I painted the trim and boarder around the drawers; then, carefully, pulled out the drawers just enough to paint those too. 

Step 3: Seal chalk paint

After two coats of paint, I then sealed it with varnish. You could also use a clear wax. This smooths out the chalk texture. I didn't sand the chalk before the seal. You might want to if you want to remove any brush strokes. To seal this project I chose Folkart clear satin varnish (because I already had in my paint supplies).  I did not have a wax or varnish brush so I used a small Purdy all-purpose brush. A small amount of varnish goes a long way. I used, maybe, 1/2 of an 8 oz. bottle.

Step 4: Contact paper

When the varnish dried I decided to dress-up the drawers with contact paper from the Dollar Tree.  I measured and cut to fit the face of each drawer. Once it was in place, used a credit card to remove all air bubbles. Return the hardware and the drawers are done.

easy desk makeover.jpg
no sanding required office desk makover.jpg

Step 5: chalk board message

We're into Sunday now. The Rust-Oleum Chalk Board paint is ready for a message. Ready for mine? 

diy chalk board office sign.jpg

It's deep; I know. 

Rather than use chalk pens, I went with regular chalk. This way when I want to change the message, the chalk will erase entirely. If you choose to use chalk pens, buy the kind that work with chalk paint.

I used a stencil for 'office' and free-handed the rest.

how to update a desk with chalk paint.jpg

So a quick Saturday project did turn into a weekend one. But, in the end, it gets a thumbs-up. The office is beginning to come together and, his system is still in tact. Win-win.

Materials Used: 

  • Rust-Oleum chalkboard write on black paint

  • Rust-Oleum Aged Grey chalk paint

  • 3" Wooster paint brush & 2" Purdy glide angled brush

  • Folkart satin varnish 8 0z.

  • Painter's tape

  • Phillips screwdriver

  • Contact paper (didn't use an entire roll)

  • Pencil, ruler & scissors for paper

  • Stencil (6", 4" letters)

  • Dust chalk (like sidewalk chalk)

how to quickly and affordably update office desk.jpg

Here's to all of you who get the bug to just change your space on a whim. 


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