Friend, I hope you’re having a fabulous day! And to make it even better, there are two new makeovers from me in today’s post – and five more makeovers at the end for Furniture Fixer Uppers day.
For today’s first project, I’m showing how to paint a vintage metal desk (and a few fails I had along the way).
This desk has been in my garage for about three years, and I’m guessing it was about $10 – I really don’t remember.
It’s not hard to see why I felt uninspired every time I saw it collecting dust in the garage.
*This post contains some affiliate links so you can easily find the products I recommend. Discover all my favorite brands and products for DIY projects Here. Also, thank you to Country Chic Paint for sending me paint for this project.
How to Prep a Metal Desk for Painting
First I took it all apart – it’s much easier to work on that way.
The scratches and rust on this thing were no joke! Gross.
I gently smoothed them out with 120 grit sandpaper and then wiped it down, not really sure what to expect.
How to Paint a Metal Desk
Can you believe that when the paint dried there was no evidence of any prior rust or scratches?? I was shocked, but it’s true!
Tip: Between coats, I wrap the paint brush in a sandwich bag to keep it from drying out too quickly.
Next the base was painted in Go Fetch! by Country Chic Paint.
It’s a limited edition color and part of the Furry Friends collection, with part of the proceeds going to North American organizations that help pet owners with expenses like vet care, emergency shelter, education, and more.
Now here’s where the fails happened (is it really a DIY project if you don’t have at least one fail?)…
Plan A: Fail #1
Unfortunately (head smack) it wasn’t real wood and therefore wouldn’t take stain, so that idea was scrapped.
Then I had another great idea…
Plan B: Fail #2
We measured and cut wood strips to do a planked top, similar to this project. Guy in the Garage (he had such patience helping me with this project) stained the boards in Minwax Espresso and I arranged them on top of the desk… not good. Not good at all. The boards looked great, but they just didn’t look right on this project.
That idea was scrapped too. (Sorry honey! xo)
Honestly I could’ve went through with the planked top idea, but I never want to share a project here if I don’t absolutely love how it turned out. That wouldn’t be fair to you guys, and it would keep bothering me until I fixed it anyway.
Plan C: The Faux Stained Wood Desk Top
How to Paint a Table Top to Look Like Stain
Finally I decided to paint the top brown (Honfleur by Annie Sloan Chalk Paint) to give it the appearance of wood stain, which I originally wanted.
I wiped Annie Sloan’s black wax directly over the brown paint with a lint-free cloth to darken it and give it some texture.
I’ll share the desk reveal below but now here’s project #2 for today’s post:
I guess you could say this project had 3 fails, because I ran to the thrift store to buy a chair and when I got it home, the seat part was too wide to fit between the desk legs. (Head smack again)
So the next morning – yesterday – I had to load up my three boys and drive back to the thrift store and buy this very sad (but narrower) chair. Fun times. But hey, it was only $5!
If definitely needed wood filler and lots of sanding to turn it into a smooth, useable chair again.
Then I painted it in Go Fetch! by Country Chic Paint to match the desk.
Finally I added a fun grain sack stripe stencil in Midnight Sky to tie all the colors together.
Country Chic Paint is clay-based for a matte finish and it’s all-in-one, which means it doesn’t require a topcoat unless it’s a high-traffic piece.
I also used Country Chic recently on this striped and floral dresser.
Finally – when the wood chair and the vintage metal desk makeover come together:
Boom – it’s just like they were a set all along.
Here’s a closer look at the faux stained wood top:
And here’s a better look at the painted chair with grain sack stripes:
Now my only problem is that my two older sons are arguing who’s going to get this in their room… Oy.
Not bad at all for a $10 desk and $5 chair!
Here’s another look at the before pics and the after (pin for easy reference later or share if you’d like):
I pray you’ve found some inspiration and new ideas in this tutorial for how to paint a metal desk makeover. And even if you have a few fails along the way, don’t give up – keep going until you’re happy!
Woohoo, now are you ready for Furniture Fixer Uppers? Discover more furniture makeover inspiration from my creative friends below:
Below are the Before photos – visit the links underneath to see the amazing Afters and to learn how they did it:
For even more DIY furniture makeover tutorials, my popular book Amazing Furniture Makeovers: Easy DIY Projects to Transform Thrifted Finds into Beautiful Custom Pieces is out now. Learn more Here including a list of online retailers, or visit Amazon Here and read through about 200 reviews.