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I’m excited to share this vintage desk makeover project with you! This gorgeous antique drop front secretary desk is being donated to the Yellow Rose Gala in Dallas, Texas to be auctioned off to benefit MS also known as Multiple Sclerosis. This is a chronic, typically progressive disease involving damage to the sheaths of nerve cells in the brain and spinal cord, whose symptoms may include numbness, impairment of speech and muscular coordination, blurred vision, and severe fatigue. I was contacted by a lovely lady in my hometown that lost her mother to this disease and wanted to know if I would donate my services. Heartstrings pulled! I guess it’s the nurse in me that never quits giving because it’s a lifelong commitment and I love what I do.
This post contains a few affiliate links to help you find the products I use. You are not charged extra to use any of the links, but any income I make will be used for more fun projects! To see my full disclaimer, click here.
Vintage Desk Transformation
I was given full reign to do whatever I wanted to this old gal. That’s always fun for an artist, but the one thing that kept repeating over and over in my head was the words “she is afraid she won’t recognize it.” Okay, let me explain. The delivery guy that dropped off the piece had told me about the woman that donated it. It must have some sentimental meaning if she was worried about what was going to happen to the vintage desk. Bless her heart! That means I need to preserve as much as I can of the wood. Hey, I get it! I don’t paint over all wood pieces, but I will add my flare. Whitewash the wood and add a pop of GOLD!
Click the product links below to find what you need.
- Vintage Desk
- Orbital Sander
- 160 Grit Sandpaper
- Denatured Alcohol
- Spray Bottle (alcohol & water mixture)
- Paper Towels
- BOSS (white)
- Paintbrush FS (Dixie Belle)
- Butter Cream Chalk Mineral Paint (Dixie Belle)
- Disposable Bowl
- Chip Brush
- Low Lint Cheese Cloth
- Krylon Metallic Gold Leaf Spray Paint
- Painters Tape
- Decor Transfer
- Clear Topcoat Flat (Dixie Belle)
- Warm Gold Gilding Wax (Dixie Belle)
Prepping and Cleaning The Vintage Desk
Start with prepping the wood first. Use a 160 grit sandpaper with an orbital sander and remove the old varnish down to the bare wood. This is a fairly quick process, but be sure to do this outdoors. It’s messy! Not all pieces can be sanded down this way. It works best on the vintage pieces that the varnish has turned dark and is in poor condition.
Cleaning The Wood on The Vintage Desk
To clean the wood after sanding off all the old varnish, I used a 50/50 mixture of denatured alcohol and water mixture. Simply mix the denatured alcohol and water in a spray bottle and spray over the wood. Wipe away the leftover dirt, dust, and grime with paper towels. The alcohol mixed with the water will help the wood to dry faster and doesn’t leave a residue. Plus the old nurse in me can’t ever get enough of a disinfectant, so alcohol it is.
Using A Stain Blocker Before Painting
The inside of the vintage desk had been painted before so there was no way to preserve that. I used a product call BOSS (stain blocker, odor blocker and prevents bleed through) in white to paint the inside and then painted a beautiful chalk mineral paint called Buttercream. It’s a great color for vintage furniture. I can remember my Grandma painting a lot of things with a neutral color as a child on the farm. I guess you can say that’s where I get my love of painting from.
And let me tell ya, painting those tiny cubby holes inside the vintage desk was HARD, but thank goodness for the long handle on the
FS Paintbrush from Dixie Belle. This made it so much easier and I have a great deal more respect for all you that paint daily.
Whitewash With Dixie Belle Chalk Mineral Paint
Here’s the fun part! Mix Dixie Belle Chalk Mineral Paint and water… 50/50 whitewash mixture in a small bowl. Mix it well until it’s a watered-down paint. Brush the watered-down paint mixture over the clean dry wood and then wipe it back with a dry cloth or low lint cheesecloth. The residual paint from the mixture will create a soft transparent color that enhances the wood, but you’re still able to see the wood grain. You can do this process on wood with any color. Oh, the possibilities!
Adding GOLD Accents| Vintage Desk
GOLD fan right here! Anytime I think it will add that wow factor to one of my makeovers, I try to sneak it in. To make the legs appear to be dipped in gold, I used a spray paint by Krylon called Gold Leaf. Be sure to tape off the areas you don’t want to paint and cover anything around where you are spraying. It’s best if you do this outside, but sometimes the temperature and wind don’t play nice in Texas. I used two light coats on these legs allowing the first coat to dry before applying the second. Always follow the manufacturer’s directions when spray painting and wear protective equipment. Protect your eyes and lungs.
Decor Transfers For Furniture
Have you ever used decor transfers? It’s a great way to add special details without a ton of work. Here’s how they work. They come in sheets with a backing. You simply remove the backing and place them where you want to add them. The transfers come with a wooden stick and you rub across the top of the transfer to adhere it to your piece. I customized this decor transfer by cutting out the flowers. It’s your project and you can do anything you want! CLICK HERE to learn more about transfers on furniture.
I used warm gold gilding wax to accent the frames around the desktop.
Did she turn out amazing or what? Paris inspired with a GOLD twist and an amazing furniture transfer. It’s the happy endings like this that fuel my love to rescue, preserve, and give new life to these beauties. I hope you enjoyed this makeover and maybe gained a few tricks to add to your arsenal of finishes for your future projects. Check out more related posts below!
Until the next project… xo, Do