A friend offered me some school desks recently and I politely turned her down. I didn’t need any more spaces for my kiddos to sit during homeschool. But I did offer to help her get the word out to my homeschool group.
All the desks got taken except for one. So as it sat in my driveway, I started thinking it would be fun to figure out a way to make cute that lone desk. It’s just a standard desk with a laminate top and metal base. The kind you’d see in most schools today. I’m guessing here, since I homeschool and haven’t really been in any schools. It’s a pretty basic and plain desk. But with all the creative ideas floating around the Internet, I thought I could find something to do with this sad little piece of furniture.
I Googled high and low and couldn’t really find any great ideas for school desks. So I expanded my search to re-purposing old furniture of any kind. And all I can say is WOW! There are some incredible blogs and websites out there. I was truly inspired. I’m swimming with ideas I dreamed up after seeing all the great things being done on blogs like this and this and this. My friend found four more desks in her barn and I nabbed those too.
Here’s the first one I’ve finished–a chalkboard desk for my toddler for our homeschool room. I’m hoping it keeps her little hands busy during our school time. It will also give her an official place to sit that’s a little separated from the big kids (and their papers she loves to doodle upon).
Here’s a somewhat-vague tutorial on how I turned this plain school desk into a fun chalkboard desk for our homeschool.
It started with sanding the top of the desk before I could prime it. Sorry, but this photo is actually from the next project, but you get the idea. We used our hand sander, which I have never used before, with course grade sand paper. Easy peasy! Even my 10 year old wanted to help out (with protective eye wear, of course).
Next, my eager assistants helped take all the screws out that attached the base to the top of the desk. You could skip this part, but it did make it easier for moving the top around for the many layers of paint that would go on.
I painted on 2 coats of latex based primer. You can see the black band of rubber around the edge of the desk remains. It was in good shape and since I wasn’t changing the color of the base, I just left it. You could remove it and sand and prime it as well.
The chalkboard paint went on next. I had purchased this dark green paint last summer when I had another idea for chalkboard paint that never got implemented. I think I did 4 coats of this in all, but it may have just been 3. I waited 8 hours between coats, which was applied with a sponge roller. I did this step inside to keep little bugs and pieces of nature from getting stuck in the paint.
When it was all dry, I attached it to the desk base and got to work on the vintage-looking alphabet stickers. I’m not a scrapbooker, but I found these in that section of the craft store. These are the Sticky Alpha Stax by Colorbok.
I applied them with my new favorite thing…Mod Podge! Or if you want to sound more “Martha-ish”, we could call the whole process ‘decoupage.’ That sounds kinda French and sophisticated! I applied some glossy Mod Podge on the back of each sticker and then pressed it onto the desk. After it dried in 15-20 minutes, I went back over the whole black part of the desk with a coat of Mod Podge. I did 2 coats in all here.
This was a super easy project and didn’t take that much time to complete, although it was spread out over several days. I may do another one for our homeschool room to use for spelling practice and handwriting practice (this would be great for all the Handwriting without Tears fans). Also, because this desk will be used by a 2 1/2 year old, I wanted to keep it low to the ground. So I didn’t put the leg extenders back onto the base.
I’ve got several more desks to work with now and am full of ideas. If you’ve done a makeover on a school desk, I’d love to see it. Please leave a comment and a link.
Stay tuned for next weeks featured desk makeover….Ode to Mod Podge Play Desk.
Linked up to Reinvented: Trash to Treasure Tuesday