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Rags to Riches Desk Makeover

This desk was a special project for a dear friend. The design was intended to complement a bedside table I did earlier for her. The color scheme is black and gold.

Project list:

  • Electric sander

  • 80 grit sandpaper

  • Dixie Belle sanding pad - fine

  • Tack cloth

  • DAP Dry Dex spackle

  • Dixie Belle Silk Mineral paint in Anchor

  • Modern Masters Rich Gold metallic paint

  • Dixie Belle Slick Stick

  • Dixie Belle Gatorhide

  • Dixie Belle matte top coat

  • Decoupage paper: Lokta Paper Origami Pack - Ginkgo Leaves - GOLD ON BLACK @

  • Drawer liners: Michel Design Works Scented Drawer Liners, Bouquet @

Here is the desk pre-makeover:

It needed a little bit of prep to ensure a smooth finish. I was planning to use Dixie Belle Silk paint which is very forgiving but the top needed work for sure.

Step 1. Cleaned the entire piece with Krud Kutter than sprayed down with water to make sure any residual cleaner was gone.

Step 2. Sanded the top to bare wood using my Surf Prep sander

I lightly sanded it by hand with a fine sanding pad by Dixie Belle and wiped the whole top with a tack cloth prior to painting. The legs needed a little work but I did not sand them down. It is really up to you how much you want to do but it can be labor intensive to sand smaller areas and does not always lend that much to the finished product. (we’ll see what you think at the end !)

Step 3: DAP Dry Dex spakle (you can purchase this on Amazon or at Lowes or Home Depot) to fill a few larger defects on the legs, then sanded prior to painting.

Step 4: Applied 2 coats of Dixie Belle Silk Mineral Paint in Anchor to the top - no primer needed. This paint applies beautifully. I use a mister to thin the paint a bit to minimize brush strokes. Here is the top after the paint was applied and the top coat.

The thing to remember with hand painting is there will always be some brush strokes. The only way to completely eliminate them is use a sprayer. I think it is important to be realistic with your clients at the onset of the project !!

Step 5: Drawers: They have built in pulls so was a little bit of a challenge. I tried to clean them with brass cleaner but they did not look great. I decided to paint them with the gold accent paint I was planning to use on the legs. I applied a base coat of Dixie Belle Slick Stick to help the paint adhere. Below are the before and after of the pulls. I had to apply many coats of the gold to get the desired depth. I think they came out reasonably well. Fortunately the decoupage paper will help to camouflage the imperfections

Here they are after applying the gold paint (Modern Masters Rich Gold) and the decoupage paper:

For drawer liners, I used Michel Design Works Scented Drawer Liners, Bouquet, which I found on Amazon. It is nice, heavy weight paper that is actually good for decoupaging. I applied 2 coats of the matte sealer to the drawer bottom. Cut the paper to fit then ironed on the paper. I will do a separate tutorial about decoupaging at some point. There is a good video available by AJ Designs that covers the technique. I covered the paper with 2 coats of the sealer.

The gold paint is semi-opaque so it took 5 coats to get rid of the streaks (more or less !).

I did paint the inside and outside with black paint and put in drawer liners

Everything got sealed with Dixie Belle Matte sealer:

  • 2 coats for the sides

  • 3 coats for the front

Dixie Belle Best Dang Wax in clear for the handles

So here is the finished drawer. You don’t have to do this necessarily as it definitely adds time to the project.

To finish the desk I painted the legs with black and gold.

For the top, I used 3 coats of Dixie Belle Gator Hide. Applied with their blue applicator sponge. It is always tricky to get a smooth finish. I would say that I am better at it now but it does take practice.

  • Use a tack cloth to wipe the piece down before applying to remove any dust etc.

  • Apply thin coats in one direction with a slightly overlap

  • Check your edges for drips and wipe up immediately

  • You can lightly sand between coats but I did not do this

For the legs, you don’t have to be as exact but still try to keep application in 1 direction. I did 2 coats on the legs.

Here she is - ready for delivery !!

My friend was very happy with her new desk - the best part of the work for sure !

If you have any questions about this project just send me a message and I will be happy to help in anyway.



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