Saturday, November 5, 2011

My Freshly Painted Desk

A long over due project that I finally got to this fall... painting my desk! This was my mom's desk, before it was my dad's desk, before it was my desk. My mom had painted it a cream color with "shabby chic" style green brush strokes over it as a graduate student. But the paint peeled off easily, was very old, and the desk was embarrassingly dirty, too. Maybe you can see all the finger prints on the drawers in the before pictures...

I roughly followed the "how to paint furniture" post on Young House Love. First, I filled a few dings in the surface with white wood-filler. Then, after that dried overnight,  I sanded, with 100 grit paper and a borrowed electric sander. Then I primed it with the Benjamin Moore acrylic primer that was recommended to me for the project at Blue Ridge Builders Supply.

After priming, it was clear I needed to sand the top surface a whole lot more to fix the places were the original paint had peeled up. Because the paint peeled so easily off the wood, I realized I needed to get all the paint off the top. This was still a slow process, and required 80 grit paper, and the help of my husband with the sander.

Finally, the top was smooth, and I primed again. And after that dried, with a two-inch brush, I painted not two, not three, but four thin coats of Benjamin Moore Aura fancy-pants paint in "Provence Creme"—a very pale, warm yellow.

I let those dry overnight and the coated it with two coats of Benjamin Moore acrylic polyurethane (Benwood Stays Clear in High Gloss). Kind of cancelled out the low-VOC paint... that stuff is toxic! I worked outside and tried to hold my breath and not get any on my hands.

Then, with great patience, I let the desk and drawers dry (and off-gas) on the screened in porch for five full days and nights (as recommended on Young House Love) before bringing it inside and moving my computer back onto it. I am glad I went with the polyurethane because my desk gets a lot of wear, crayons, coffee, you name it, and it wipes clean so easily. Considering all the work that went into repainting, I am happy that it won't be instantly stained.

I was originally planning on using the original hardware, and spent a while soaking it in brass cleaner and buffing the tarnish off. But it was very hard to get them clean, and I bought some knobs and handles at Anthropologie to try out. I haven't decided yet what to use.

But it is so nice to have a fresh, clean desk to work at!

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