School desk makeovers...

The temps FINALLY warmed a bit and I was able to get out in the garage and get a few projects done! It is impossible to paint outside, or even in the garage, when it is bitter cold! Yes, I need a heated shop, but since I don't have one I am at the mercy of Mother Nature!

One "project in the waiting" were 5 old school desks I bought at an auction several months ago. I have "repurposed" several old school desks over the years (these oak desks and this cute little metal desk) and it is always one of my favorite projects. Every time I fix up one of these little desks I wish I had done them for my own kids but they are still fun projects because I know some special kid, somewhere, is going to get an awesome little desk!

When I bought these desks I knew immediately what I wanted to do with them...paint the metal legs bright colors and chalkboard paint on the tops! 

The first thing I did was give them a good scrubbing. They had been used as plant stands so they were pretty dirty. I scraped off all the gunk and sanded the most glaring scratches and rust.

Rust on metal is common on older metal pieces and it is important to get as much of it off as you can and then use a good metal primer before painting. I usually scrub the pieces with vinegar water (1/2 and 1/2) and steel wool, then prime with a metal primer specifically for rust. ..I use Rust-oleum automotive primer!

I used this process on these outdoor chairs and this old metal typewriter table and both have held up beautifully!

I primed the laminate tops with Kilz. After all the metal primer and Kilz dried well, I sanded them with 0000 steel wool and then wiped them down with a tack cloth to get rid of all the dust!

I sprayed the legs and underside of each desk with spray paint. I usually use Valspar "paint and primer" spray seems to hold up well and comes in wonderful "designer colors." Keep in mind, even though it SAYS it is a "paint and primer in one" I always prime the pieces me "old school" but I just think it is best to prime first before you paint! Besides, the primary coat will highlight anything that needs to be sanded or patched before the final coat of paint!

I applied chalkboard paint to the tops of each desk with a 4" sponge roller...three coats! 

TIP! The trick to a flawless paint finish (other than chalk paint!) is first and foremost the prep! Paint WILL NOT cover up scratches and rough spots. So make sure you sand, tack and prime well before you apply paint.

The trick to spray paint is to apply light coats and allow it to dry well between coats. Spray paint dries fairly quickly so I usually apply additional coats after about 1 hour...too hot or too cold and you will see your "spray lines!"

The trick to getting a good finish when applying paint with a sponge roller on flat surfaces is to apply your paint with the roller, then run the roller in the same direction on the final pass. Think of it like running your hand on velvet...if you run it in different directions, the nap of the fabric will look different...same with paint!

If I am brushing or rolling on latex paint I add Floetrol...oil based paint Penetrol. The additives allow the paints to "level" while drying and will eliminate MOST paint and roller lines. I don't add an additive to chalkboard paint so it is important to run the roller in the same direction on the final pass!

And PRESTO...super precious little makeover! 

These little desk are super simple to makeover and since spray paint comes in a multitude of designer colors, you are sure to find a color that will coordinate with any decor!