The best furniture in life is free

Tom used to monopolise the desk in our living room for his freelance work *cough cough gaming* so me and my sewing machine were demoted to the dining table.  Meaning it was not uncommon to find thread in amongst your peas or a pin next to your fork.

Because I haven’t quite let go of being a student (sob) i’m still a member of some studenty groups on Facebook, so when June and July roll around there are a plethora of used tea towels and old hangers being advertised sale. Occasionally you do come across a real gem, and that’s where I found my lovely FREE IKEA desk, my sewing machine would finally have a home! Picking it up even allowed me to nose round other people’s houses which is one of my favourite things to do. It was win win.

I’d read lots of articles and blogs about upcycling furniture but this was a cheapy IKEA number so the rules didn’t really apply. However I did discover, despite what Annie Sloan says (and it really does pain me to admit she might not be right) it can be done! Obviously real wood takes the paint better, but the cheaper chip board can handle it. You just have to be more careful about knocks and maybe keep a small amount of your paint after for touch ups.file_000

I started by sanding down my desk with grade 8 sandpaper around a sanding block. I didn’t use a mask which was a mistake, I was blowing white furniture dust out of my nose for about 3 days after that. I also did not do it outside, I just sort of sanded it out of my Juliet balcony which again, was less than ideal. After sanding I wiped it down with a damp cloth several times to get the dusty residue off.

I’d chose Pantone Violet Ice , like the rest of the Valspar paint at B&Q it is a primer and paint and it was SO NICE to paint with. I did the whole desk with two of the tester pots which cost around £7 for both. The box areas took me the longest because of all the cutting in, but after two afternoons and two coats it was done.

file_001It looked pretty sweet just painted a shiny (matte) new colour but I wanted to jazz it up a little bit more. So I did a bit of decoupage. It’s SUCH a simple technique but it looks awesome. I bought decoupage papers from Hobbycraft but you can use any type of paper. I looked at buying the special modge podge glue, but after some advice from one of the very helpful ladies at Hobbycraft, I found mixing one part water and one part PVA glue works just as well. I tore the paper up into random shapes and glued the back. After I completed each section I put the glue mixture over the top to work as a sort of varnish.

I then used Rust-Oleum furniture lacquer
to protect the top of the desk. If you have your mask left over from your sanding it might be useful to wack it out now as well, as that stuff STINKS. It worked well but I think next time I might use varnish just to see the different effects it can produce.

Overall I was so chuffed with how it turned out, it’s so nice being able to create furniture that’s exactly how you want it for a fraction of the high street price.

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