Craft DIY

September 17, 2012 at 6:00 am

School Desk Redo


School Desk Before and After

We have had a student desk sitting around, waiting to be refinished for about a year now.  With the start of school, Nathan is now a first grader.  First grade requires more homework and concentration than Kindergarten.  Nate also has ADHD and sensory issues.  A quiet place to do homework was a must.  So the desk project moved to the top of the list!

School Desk Before and After

There were several problems.  It had definitely seen better days!  There were lots of pencil markings, scratches and glue residue to go around!

School Desk Before and After

The biggest job was to remove the top and the legs from the metal basin.  Then I lightly sanded the whole thing with a 220 grit sandpaper.  This is a fine grit that scuffs things up a little without leaving deep scratches.

Then I used Rust-oleum in a red gloss protective enamel.  It covered amazingly well and was incredibly easy!  After two even coats, and less than a full can, both insides and out were ready.

School Desk Before and After

Then I went to work on the laminate top.  All it needed was literally a Mr. Clean Magic Eraser and a little elbow grease.  It cleaned up very easily.  I did tape off and spray paint the pencil tray, as the laminate had been peeled off by a previous user.

For the legs, I just used that same 220 grit sandpaper to clean them up a bit and we were set to go!

School Desk Before and After

Nathan and Eli’s room is a vintage transportation theme.  I used my Cricut, blue adhesive vinyl and the Street Signs cartridge to work on some theme appropriate embellishments.

School Desk Before and After

I also decided to add Nathan’s full name right above the pencil tray.  As anyone who has a long name knows, being a small child trying to write the whole thing is often a challenge.  Plus it is reminiscent of the name plates on their desks at school.

School Desk Before and After

I love how it came out and now Nate the Great is ready for homework!

School Desk Before and After


School Desk Before and After

Here it is in their room…

School Desk Before and After

And the before and after…

School Desk Before and After


I’ll be linking up here:



  1. Oh it looks super good now!!! I wish I had an old desk handy to get crafty with!

  2. How fun is that!!! Love the red! Great job!!

  3. This came out really great! I have two vintage school desks for my boys (the kind with chairs attached), and I have literally been debating whether or not to make them over for almost two years now. I’m feeling inspired by yours now!

    • It was actually much simpler than I thought it would be. I had the supplies to do it for awhile and I kept putting it off. In the end it was very inexpensive (Less than $10 total for all materials used) and I wish I had done it sooner! Good luck!

  4. What a great desk for a child to sit at! You did a great job restoring it to even better than it was once long ago!

    • Thank you so much! I really like how it came out, and was super impressed with how easy the Gloss Enamel was to use. Thank you for taking the time to comment!

  5. This looks great! I have an old school desk too that needs a makeover, you have good inspiration 🙂

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