How to Rehab an old School Desk: Decoupage

Or: things to do when you're procrastinating.

So in typical Me fashion, my first order of business after deciding to homeschool was to obsessively organize, plan, and pretty much avoid thinking about what I would actually be doing every day. I started by setting up work boxes, moved on to curricula comparisons, and then bought two cute little desks off Craigslist.

Vintage desks. Awesome Craigslist find!

Vintage desks. Awesome Craigslist find!

My initial plan: paint the metal, strip the wood. Snag: the chemical stripper only took off the top layer of paint. So I sanded but the next layer (old primer?)  seemed very lead-based. And with Rowdy crawling all over...

I moved on to painting, after soaking the rusty areas in a baking soda paste and scraping and sanding, after a crap load of painters tape. Voila. 


Now, what to do with those seats! Any sane person would have painted them or never %#€!! them up in the first place. No sane person would plaster them with pictures from iconic children's books. So of course, I did decoupage with pictures (google images + color printer). Of course I did!

Step 1: collect images. For extra fun, let the kids pick their favorites!

Step 2: Glue! Ok more specifically make a solution of half glue and half water. Cut or tear out your pictures. Working in small areas, brush the glue mix onto your surface. Then submerge the pictures one at a time in the paste mix for five or so seconds. Apply to your surface. You'll have a few minutes of flex time to reposition things and adjust layers. Be sure some overlap. And try to make it look random. Smooth out bubbles with damp hands. Oh, and use straight glue (white school glue in case I didn't mention that) and a little paintbrush to affix tricky corners. You can always trim with an exacto when dry. 

Step 3: after an overnight dry, apply coat after coat after coat of this stuff:

At least three coats or until you've entirely lost your mind or are so high on fumes the pink elephants are dancing. But do let each coat dry before sloshing on the next. 


That is Mud Pie's desk. Note the happy colors and cute chickies and bunnies. Contrast with Fish's: