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Hello There!

I am so happy to finally show off this vintage school desk makeover! I’ve been working on the desk redo for a while, so I am glad that it is done and ready for use! 

vintage desk redo with spray paint, chalk paint, chalkboard paint

When I started the project, I wasn’t sure exactly how I wanted the desk to look, and I didn’t want to rush it, so I waited a little bit between each phase until I was sure of the look I wanted. I also had to consult with my little Diva because she will be using the desk, and she had definite ideas of what she wanted. Here is how the desk looked when we started the redo.


vintage desk redo with spray paint, chalk paint, chalkboard paint

This was originally my desk back when I was a lot smaller and younger–and no, I’m not that old! My aunt worked for one of the local school districts, and she saved this from being thrown when one of the older schools was being renovated. I think it was originally gray, and the top was covered with yellow laminate.

My dad painted it yellow, and over the years I used it to hold my growing sticker collection–ugh! What is it with kids and stickers? Anyway, after I outgrew the desk, it sat in my parents’ old shed until last year, when they decided to clean the place out.  Because it was so old and worn, they were going to toss it, but they thought they’d see if I was interested first. Seriously–Of course I was, and my daughter was thrilled because this old school desk was just her size.

vintage desk redo

Hubby helped by removing all of the stickers and spray painting the metal with a different shade of yellow paint. My daughter chose yellow, which surprised me because I was expecting to hear a request for a pink and black diva desk! By using spray paint, we were able to get a nice, smooth finish over the old paint. You can see how the desk was covered with old paint and pen marks, and you can also see how worn out the wood is. Don’t you love the old inkwell?

I wanted to cover the old laminate finish, and I thought it would be cute to paint the top with chalkboard paint. This way, the kids can draw or do math problems and erase the marks afterwards. We used a layer of spray paint as a primer for the entire top. Yes, folks, even the wood is being painted here.

vintage desk redo, spray paint, chalkboard paint, chalk paint

I found a cute shade of chalkboard paint at Michael’s, and my daughter helped paint the layers. On some projects, I’ve used two layers, but because this is a lighter shade than black, I used a total of three layers of chalkboard paint.
Personally, I like using foam brushes with this type of paint. I just think that foam gives a smoother finish, and there are no stray brush hairs to deal with.

vintage desk makeover with chalkboard paint

After the top was completed, I went to work painting the rest of the desk. Prior to this, I had never used chalk paint, but I wanted to use it for this project. I thought that it would give me the rustic, slightly aged look I was going for, which I thought would fit perfectly with the vintage style of the desk. 

The Diva and I decided on a a slightly off-white paint color, and I used this to paint the seat and the very top of the desk, which was basically all of the wood. After I finished painting, I sanded the surface very lightly–just enough to smooth it out a little. Because my kids will be using the desk, I didn’t want to distress it too much, and I also figured that the kids will probably do their own distressing!

After I finished painting with the chalk paint, I felt that the white needed something extra, so I used the chalkboard paint to add stripes and give it a grain sack effect. Are you confused yet? Spray paint, chalk paint, chalkboard paint–this project pretty much has it all!

vintage desk redo with chalk paint, chalkboard paint, spray paint
Still, I think the wait was definitely worth it! The colors work well together, and this is exactly the look I was going for. My little guy uses the desk sometimes, and this isn’t too girly for him!

vintage desk redo with chalkboard paint, chalk paint, spray paint, stripes

There was a very faded stamp inside the desk from the American Seating Company, and from what I’ve been able to gather, this was probably manufactured in the 1940s or possibly the 1950s. Most of the pictures online show a wooden top, so I don’t know who actually added the laminate. I think the chalkboard paint looks much better and is more suitable for the age and style of the desk.

My daughter is thrilled with the desk makeover, and this little vintage school desk is definitely getting a lot of use! I love trash to treasure projects, and now, I just need to find some more furniture to redo! What are your thoughts? I would love to hear them, especially if you have your own furniture makeovers to share.

Thanks so much for following the story of the desk redo. If you want to see more projects, I would love it if you subscribe by email or follow me on your choice of social media.  Have a wonderful day!

Dee šŸ™‚

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2 Comments

  1. Keinya says:

    Love this! I’ve been looking for ideas. Now I need to find 3 school desks though. Thx so much for sharing your process. ????

    1. Dee says:

      Thanks so much! Good luck in your search! šŸ™‚