I love a good upcycle – especially small projects that can be done in just a few hours. Not to say that I haven’t tackled larger pieces of furniture, it’s just that I usually never get around to doing the finish work. Today I’m sharing a fantastic little desk upcycled with a little paint and stenciling.
You might remember this darling little desk that I used for this forest wonderland themed baby shower a few years ago. I found it at my favorite little thrift/antique shops and it had a cute style, but was not all that attractive. I wasn’t able to find an original condition photo, but if you can imagine golden brown wood and 70’s style wood scroll inserts in the glass doors, you’re on the right track. After giving it a quick coat of white paint and hauling it to the party, I’ve had it sitting in my family room with various office supplies/holiday decor/etc. It’s nice, but lacks a fun, finished look. When I came across some of the Folk Art stencils and chalk paint supplies, I knew the perfect way to update my little desk! Using the chalk paint and stencil intimidated me at first, but once I got started, I found the products so easy to use! I’m excited to share this stenciled desk upcycle with you today!
Home Decor Chalk paint in White
Home Decor Chalk paint in Seaside Villa
Home Decor Wax – clear
paint and wax brush set
piece of furniture
1. Begin with your piece of furniture. You can see my desk was previously painted white, but is a little dull. Clean the furniture well, making sure it is free of dust and debris. Remove lacquer and/or paint with primer. Sand if needed.
2. Using the white chalk paint, apply one to two coats using the labeled paint brush. I was surprised that the chalk paint was thick and coated well. It doesn’t run or drip, but covers easily. I applied just one coat to the desk, which was already a thinly painted white. Because the chalk paint is thick, you have the opportunity to add some texture with the paint. I used long sweeping strokes to cover the areas and then went back in with a little more paint and gave short, curled strokes – much like a parentheses )( – to create an even, textured look. This doesn’t show much, but depending on if and what type of wax you use later, it can really provide some visual interest.
3. Now, for the stenciling part! This was so much easier than I thought it would be. First of all – the stencil fit in the little shelf space almost perfectly – if your space is smaller than the stencil, I would recommend trimming it with sharp scissors so that it fits without a lot of bending. I used tape on the outer edge to hep hold the stencil in place. Load the stencil paint brush with some contrasting paint (Seaside Villa) and dab it over the stencil. The thickness of the paint helps to produce a clean stenciled design without dripping or bleeding under the stencil. I used a smaller paintbrush to help along the very edges.
Wash the stencil (a quick rub with a sponge works well) between each set and pat dry with paper towels. Overlap the last row you painted when you start the next section to keep the stencil and design all lined up!
4. Once the paint is completely dry, use a fine grit sandpaper to add some more texture and interest to the furniture. Gently sand along the ridges and edges of the piece. Think about areas that would be well worn and sand more in those spots. Step back and look at the furniture to determine where to add more sanding. Dust off the piece well.
5. You can use the same stencil brush to add a coat of wax to the furniture. This wax is really thin and goes on quickly. Work the wax into the paint with a circular motion. There are also tinted waxes if you’d like to play around with changing the look of the paints. The wax gives the furniture just a very light sheen and protects the paint and exposed wood. After the wax dries, you can buff it with a lint-free cloth.
Now load up your gorgeous desk with your favorite dishes or all your pretty fabric and enjoy!
Do you have a piece of furniture that’s just waiting for a stencil upcycle? You can find more ideas with my stenciled bedroom accent wall and the stenciled side table projects I’ve also completed. I’d love to hear about your stenciling or upcycle projects! What are you waiting for? Time to go for it!