I bought this little $10 school desk about 2 months ago at a thrift shop for my baby. She loved it immediately. Unfortunately, I’ve had to keep it outside and watch her constantly on it because the bottom was completely full of rust and the wood was totally vandalized (lol). I had the plan to refinish it since I first laid eyes on her. Now, I am ready to move her indoors. It was time to crack the whip and get this girl all gussied up. I was sure mint was going to be the best color for her and how perfect for my first post?! But, once I went spray paint shopping, the specific color I had in mind was no where to be found and I do not have the patience to order online and wait. I thought about a lavender. Was lavender to girly? What if I have another kid and it’s a boy? Yellow. Mustard yellow was in my cart. My heart wasn’t in it. I decided to live in the moment and worry about the color for a-maybe-second-child later. I turned my cart around and French Lilac by RustOleum it was!
Here’s the desk in all of it’s thrift store glory:
First, I had to sand the rust off the bottom and the paneling. This was hard work. My hand was cramped, and it was gross. There was so much rust!! I used an 80 grade sand paper and make sure to wear your face mask. And, gloves probably ( I didn’t >.<).
After I sanded as much of the nasty rust off that I could, I wiped it down with a damp rag. It was amazing the difference! Then I took a finer grade sand paper (180) and went over all the metal one last time and wiped it down. These sandpaper sponges are amazing and reusable
Now it is time for the wood! Yay. I used an orbital sander and a medium grade (100) sandpaper. I had to go over the desk a couple, ten, times. The marker sure did bleed through. Sorry, Melissa. For the seat and chair backing, I had to sand by hand most of it. Be careful with the orbital sander to always keep it moving if you are on an uneven surface or it can eat in to the wood at certain spots.
I had to go over some of the marker stains on the desk and pen out of the pencil space with a lower grade by hand. Then finish it with the sander and a 180 grade to smooth it out and prepare it for stain.
After the sanding was done, I was ready to paint! I bought cheap blue painters tape at ReStore (I am lucky and live right next to it!), and also a cheap paint brush for the stain.
Now, paint! I did light coat by coat to prevent dripping and get an even finish.
Now, I was ready to stain! I used a stained polyurethane that gave the wood just a little bit of color and gloss (Miniwax Polyshades in Pecan). Make sure to go with the grain when you are staining. I used my $2 ReStore polyester brush, but the stain suggests using a natural bristle. Mine turned out fine. I did two coats and let it dry about 6 hours in between.
There were a few very minor scratches from taking off the tape and small amounts of stain on the paint. I sprayed some paint into a small cup and used a cheap paintbrush to touch up.
She was finally ready to put back together! I love how it turned out. It took me about two days, time well spent. Now, I can move her back inside.
So there you go, my first DIY blog project! Snag one of these if you find it for a great price and make your own, you won’t be sad you did 🙂