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So a couple years ago, my little one needed a desk and not having shop space at the time, I was unable to build one for him. The next best thing was to pick up a junker at the local thrift shop. It totally was a junker, but for $10 it worked fine. It was an old Ikea desk someone had taken and done a horrible paint job on the legs and on the top. It looked like dark faux wood on the top and white, flaky, paint dribbled legs. 

We decided to finally sass it up a bit, and I have to say, it is 100% better than what it was with only a little bit of paint, stencils, and a angle grinder.

This intructable is def an easy, and it was def cheap. I ended up spending less than $20 for the table and fixing it up. I only had to buy red spray paint and stencils because I had leftover house paint and polyurethane. 

What you will need:

Old desk
Two paint colors
Masking Tape
Plastic or paper to mask
Stencils
Angle Grinder
Tools to take desk apart and sander
Polyurethane (optional)

Step 1: Step 1: Breaking It Down

The first thing we did, was break the desk down. For this desk, it was about 6 screws that we had to remove. We wanted to remove it so we could paint both the top and bottom, and also grid all the finish off the legs and base.

Step 2: Step Two: Prep and Paint

Next, we prepped the surface before painting. This means sanding it and wiping it down with a damp rag.

After we sanded and wiped it down, we started to paint it. We used interior house paint we had and we put about 3 coats on. Knowing this was a kid's desk, we wanted it thick.

Step 3: Step 3: Mask and Add Second Color

Next, we decided to add some numbers and a stripe of a different color to sass the desk up a bit. To do this you will have to use stencils and masking tape with some plastic or paper to make sure you are painting only where you want to paint.

For the red, we used spray paint, just to make it easier.

Step 4: Step 4: Legs and Frame

We decided to not paint the legs again and instead decided to leave them ground and industrial looking. I used a flap wheel on a grinder to take the paint off, and did the same to the frame.

Step 5: Step 5: Poly and Rebuild

The last step for us was to polyurethane the paint job and to put it back together. You don't have to put poly on it, but we did to help with durability. Once it was all dry, we put it back together.


All in all it was a pretty easy and fun project. We did the entire thing in about two hours of working on it, swimming while coats dried and keeping a cold beer handy. I was extremely happy with the results, and the little one loves it, so it is a win all around!

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