Up-cycled Pine Desk with Annie Sloan paint – lessons from the trenches

When I was admiring a beautiful painted royal blue desk in my son’s friend’s room, his mum told me about how she did it with Annie Sloan paint. It was apparently an old pine desk before that had been transformed into a really cool one for her son. Coincidentally, my dad had been offering to off-load my brother’s old pine desk to us, whilst the orangey-pine wasn’t really my style, I agreed with him that it was a good desk. Sturdy and a good size for all that *work* that will be done on it in the future (parental optimism alert).

‘Annie Sloan’ is chalk paint designed to go on anything and created in an era when shabby chic became chic.  I bought a tin of white and a tester-size of blue to reflect the colours in my son’s room.  I thought an all-white desk would be boring, so thought I could perhaps jazz things up a bit (…albeit going ‘wild’ with muted tones).

I embarked on this some time before Christmas a few years ago and stupidly told my son he’d have it for Christmas Day. You’d have thought by now that I’d know promises are the kiss of death to any such craft or DIY attempt.  Whilst Annie Sloan paint was meant to go on anything (except of dark mahogany), it didn’t seem to want to go on the desk. I painted layer after layer and the orange from the pine kept seeping through.  The chalky paint seemed to be thick and left brush-marks – not what I was looking for.  Truth-be-told, it was a total mess and a huge time-sink at that – it was only during painting that I realised quite how big it was.

After a lot of puffing and huffing I conceded defeat and bought some under-coat. Although it set me back, it proved to be the right thing to do. I wasted an awful lot of Annie Sloan, but after the undercoat, I finally got a solid-white the base coverage, on which I did a final coat of Annie Sloan.

I then used the light blue tester-paint to create the stripe effect on the middle drawers. After painting, Annie Sloan recommends rubbing a wax in to the paint in order to seal it. By this point, the Forth Bridge came to mind.

In spite of the wax, I was still dubious about how hard-wearing the paint would be, especially on a child’s desk, so I ended up getting a sheet of glass on top to protect it. I lined the drawers with left-over wallpaper (I didn’t have the patience to paint the insides too…), put an old white chair with it and it was *finally* finished (about a week after Christmas).

Although it was a bit of an undertaking, I’m pleased with the result. Once I’d put the undercoat on, the top layers didn’t have streaks/brush marks – so with the passage of time, I might even be ready to contemplate doing another one for my youngest son’s room. This time we don’t have one to up-cycle, so I fancy trawling some junk shops for something a bit different (but won’t forget to swing by B&Q for undercoat). Salvage Hunters here we come 😉 .

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