The No Time, No Money Milk Paint Desk

The old desk.

The old desk.

"I told mom not to throw it away," our good friend said as I helped her husband unload an old desk she'd rescued. "I just knew that you two could fix it up and make it beautiful again!"

Alison was optimistic, but I have to confess that I was a bit skeptical. It was an old plywood and veneer-clad piece with steel medallion drawer pulls – not likely an expensive piece even when it was new. And it was pretty beat up in places. "It's great!" Alison said. "We'll see what we can do," I said.

Not wanting to spend a lot of time or money on this project, we decided that we'd do this as fast and as cheaply as possible. Alison decided to go with Miss Mustard Seed's Artissimo milk paint for this furniture project (we happen to have some on hand), but first I'd need to fix a few things.

I repaired a spot where an old plywood piece had broken off and left a few exposed nails which I removed with pliers. I made a new piece with a strip of plywood reclaimed from a gift basket (of all things), and glued it in place using a few clamps to ensure that the glue made firm contact with all sides.

Putting the new piece in place.

Putting the new piece in place.

Some of the veneer on the sides was in extremely bad shape. I covered these spots with more gift basket plywood, knowing the difference in the materials would not be visible under a few coats of milk paint. More glue and clamps kept the plywood right where I wanted it.

Gift basket plywood – the recycled gift packaging that keeps on giving.

Gift basket plywood – the recycled gift packaging that keeps on giving.

I lightly sanded it down with 150 grit sandpaper and tamed some high spots where water rings had raised the surface. I blew the dust away with the air compressor.

Alison gave it a few coats of Miss Mustard Seed Artissimo milk paint.

This Miss Mustard Seed Artissimo furniture project is starting to look nice.

This Miss Mustard Seed Artissimo furniture project is starting to look nice.

While the paint dried, Alison cleaned the drawer pulls with Barkeeper's Friend and an old toothbrush to get the gunk off of them.

After the paint was dry, Alison scraped off the bits of milk paint that didn't adhere to the surface, giving the piece an aged appearance. Then she sealed it by brushing it with hemp oil and wiping away the excess after half an hour. Last, she put the hardware back on.

Before...

Before...

After!

After!

The finished product, done just in time to finish this post.

The finished product, done just in time to finish this post.

I've got to say, I'm pretty impressed that it turned out this well. It's amazing what a little vision and some milk paint can do.