Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Stained Vintage Desk Makeover with Monogram

desk makeover

An old school desk makeover complete with personalization.  How a dark, painted desk got refinished with stain, new hardware pulls and a monogrammed top. 

vintage teachers desk details

This desk belongs to my neighbors and has been in the husband's family for a long time.
It had multiple, multiple coats of paint under the thick, shiny black enamel:

vintage teachers desk before and after

I completely stripped it down to the bare wood, then added stain and poly.
The drawer pulls are basic Home Depot stock in black.
Even the gorgeous brass leg bottoms were covered in paint.

vintage teachers desk drawers with black pullsvintage teachers desk leg brass detail

Now the desk resides in their son's new bedroom in a nook created perfectly to fit:

vintage teachers desk monogrammed top

teachers desk makeover monogrammed top

The top surface is not wood but clay - I think - we couldn't stain it so decided on paint and adding the giant B:

kids desk with monogrammed top

Here's how I refinished the desk:

1. Using liquid stripper strip all the paint.
I used an entire large can with multiple applications.

chemical stripper to remove paint

All sanded and stripped:

vintage desk stripped to bare wood

The clay? top:

vintage desk stripped top

2. Clean the brass feet with salt/vinegar/flour paste:

vinegar mixture on brass feet

3. Stain all the wood portions Minwax Early American.
Tape off the top, prime (and putty for smoothness):

stained wood vintage desk

4. Paint top two coats BM chamois high gloss enamel.
Draw 'B' in pencil:

refinished clay teachers desk top

5. Paint B using acrylic/latex, I mixed up a grey/blue color to coordinate with the dark blue walls:

handpainted monogram on desk top

6. Seal everything two coats Minwax polyurethane satin.

refinished teachers vintage wood desk


  1. Jaime, Love the personalization that you've added to this desk! And love that you breathed new life into a family hand me down! Great job!

  2. I adore this desk, and the personalization really sends it over the top! Beautiful job!

  3. such an awesome desk! i love the finish, love the letter, and hello to those sweet feet!

  4. What a transformation! Love the brass feet and how you stripped them, never heard of that "recipe".

  5. Wow! It's so much harder to bring a piece "back" that has been painted. You did an amazing job!

  6. Every time I see something like this, I'm like, "Man, I wanna do that!" So rewarding I bet. Nice work!

  7. Beautiful! Love the rustic, natural look ~ and the Monogram!
    I'm visiting you today from DIY Showoff. I hope you get a chance to stop by my blog and leave a comment, too!
    ~ Megin of VMG206

    Burlap Ruffle Wreath

  8. Just popped in from 36th ave - this is fabulous looking - I'm in love!