Introduction: Computer Desk Flip

We're really proud of how our first Instructable project turned out. Fixing up particle board furniture can be an easy and inexpensive project, and we will explain how to do so with our computer desk project. For reference, the first picture is when we bought it, second after the first layer of paint.

We're two "Flea Market Flip" inspired high schoolers and at first, we thought we bit off more than we could chew when we started flipping. This particle board desk project consumed just a few hours of our time each weekend, for two months. Think twice before throwing away or overlooking particle board with a little wear, because it can easily be repurposed!


• Sandpaper (Grit: 60, 150, and 320)
• Hand Saw
• Grey Primer (Recommend: Rust-Oleum Filler Primer)
• Black Paint (Recommend: Rust-Oleum Semi-Gloss)
• Drill
• Screwdriver(s)
• Wood Filler (Recommend: Elmer's Wood Filler)
• Putty Knife

Step 1: Step 1: Deconstruction and Repairs

We started by disassembling the desk and assessing the damage. Any unimportant or damaged pieces were removed from the project completely (door, wheels, bottom board, and backboard that was barely hanging on). Our desk had no signs of water damage (bubbling), but particle board can easily absorb moisture that will be a bit more time-consuming to fix. We then moved on to filling any holes or trouble spots with wood filler. Wood filler should be slightly overflowing when applied because it will contract as it dries. This will make sanding a whole lot easier.

Step 2: Step 2: Sanding

We then moved on to sanding it all down. In order to prime/paint the desk, all the laminate had to be removed. We bought this piece used so in addition to sanding to remove laminate, we sanded to smooth out any imperfections left by the previous owners.
We started with hand sanding but quickly switched to an orbital sander which did the job much quicker, though it wasn't the most precise. One could sand by hand, or with a sander, we prefer the sander but whatever gets the job done works. We recommend, starting with a heavy grit (40-80) to strip away the laminate and then move to a finer grit (200+) to smooth out the pieces.

Step 3: Step 3: Making Additions

Other than fixing and remaking/painting the desk, we decided to make it more functional. Here we cut a new shelf because the desk had an odd useless little shelf that only went about halfway back. We made the new shelf from the bottom board which was bulky and unnecessary. The bottom board just needed a few inches too big so a hand saw proved efficient to quickly resize the board.

Step 4: Step 4: Priming

We discovered that you absolutely CANNOT apply spray paint primer outside when the wind is blowing. Which should be common sense but because of just how badly that worked, we're going to mention it as a clear reminder not to do that.
Priming is a quick and easy process and will make the paint job smoother and easier.

Step 5: Step 5: Painting

This process was simple and painless. The primer did its job so the paint stuck very easily to the desk pieces. It may not be evident but we used the gloss black paint on the outermost pieces and semi-gloss on the inner pieces.

Trash to Treasure Contest 2017

Participated in the
Trash to Treasure Contest 2017

First Time Authors Contest 2016

Participated in the
First Time Authors Contest 2016