Saturday, May 4, 2013

Turning a vintage vanity into an office desk

Hi friends,

If you have been following me on FACEBOOK, you probably know by now that I have been seriously working on a complete basement makeover. Though we have a finished basement, we never really used it as a functional family room - it pretty much had become the resting place for all the unwanted stuff around the house and needless to say, it quickly had become unmanageable. Though my basement makeover is not complete, I still have clocked in over 12 full days of hard labor (all by myself - otherwise it would not be much of a challenge) and I am ready to start sharing some of the things I have completed thus far.

My big goal is not only to have a fully functional family room, I also want to create a sacred space for myself, a corner of the house where I can go and take care of the household management - undisturbed. And since I also plan on returning to school to "sharpen the saw", I also needed a desk where I could study away from all.

Years ago, I had found this vintage vanity waiting to be trashed on bulk day...

At the time, I had turned it into a fabulous patio buffet table.

To see how I had complete this initial project, check out my post on repurposing a vanity into a patio buffet.

While we had enjoyed our buffet table for more than 18 months while it sat on our deck, I really felt that I could put it to better use by moving it down to the basement and repurpose it, one more time, as a command center/mini office desk. And this is exactly what I did!

For this project, you will need the following items:

  • Interior paint in semi gloss (bright white) with all the necessary equipment that comes with painting such as brushes, paint tray etc.,
  • Mod Podge,
  • Sponge brushes in various sizes (they can be found at any craft store and are relatively cheap)
  • Two rolls of Heavy duty wrapping paper in your choice  of color and design- I picked two colors: silver for the top of the desk and hot pink to line the drawers,
  • Glass buttons or new hardware of your choice.

This is the vanity, which I will now call a desk, as it sat in my basement while I was working around it with all manner of painting, plastering etc.

I apologize for the poor quality of the pictures in this post, I worked mostly in the evening hours on this project and tried to take pictures both with and without flash.  Before taking the desk to the basement, I had measured it and was very glad to find out it would fit perfectly in the space right against the stairs (you can see it behind the desk).

The first thing I did (after washing the desk to remove all the dusk) was to paint it entirely in white, I needed three coats for the side, front and back but opted only for one coat on the top of the desk since my intention was to cover the top with a sheet of wrapping paper and Mod Podge.

Once all the paint was dry, I was ready to work on the desk top. I had purchased a roll of heavy duty foil wrapping paper from Domain (found at Home Goods for under $5/roll). This is a white paper with the thickness of craft paper, decorated with a silver scroll pattern. My intention was to cover the entire surface of the top portion of the desk with paper and seal it with Mod Podge so that it would be protected from scratches and other wears.

Adhering the wrapping paper onto the desk was a very easy task. First I unrolled the paper and cut it to size. I left enough clearance to allow the paper to wrap around the edges of the desktop.

To apply the paper to the top, all I needed to do was to brush Mod Podge directly onto the surface and slowly press on the wrapping paper, making sure I would not have any air pockets.

The desk has a groove along the edges and also curves at corners so that part was a bit tricky and I needed to go slow. However, do not worry about mistakes, just make sure the paper does not rip. To form the angles, you may need to slit the paper in order to give it more flexibility. If you have spots where there is no paper, just patch them using smaller pieces and more Mod Podge. I found that technique allowed for a seamless blend. The one thing you want to focus on is pressing the paper into the grooves to make sure the wood design shows through.

Whenever there is a fold or some kind of issue where the paper does not seem to stay flat, just press with your fingers while the glue is still wet to get it to set into the shape you want it to take. Work slow because the paper is now wet and will rip easily.


Once the paper was set and the Mod Podge dry, I was ready to apply another coat of Mod Podge, this time directly onto the paper to seal it (I actually brushed on a second coat once the first one was dried).

At  first, when you apply Mod Podge, it will look completely white. No worries, it dries to a transparent sheen. Mod Podge is a great sealer (almost like a varnish) and the top coat also acts as another layer of glue so whatever you adhere to your surface, whether fabric or paper, it is there to stay.

Once my desk was fully dry (day two), I used my second roll of Domain wrapping paper, this time to repeat the exact same process, to line the inside of the drawers. In this case, all I did was cut one big piece of paper and glued it on from left to right on the inside of the drawer (wrapping it around) and only used smaller pieces for the front and back of the drawer. Once applied, I again used Mod Podge to seal the paper lining my drawers.

In the picture below, my second coat of Mod Podge is still drying. The advantage of lining drawers with Mod Podge is that you not only make them stylish to reflect your personality, you also protect them from stains.

Here is my desk as a complete project and before attaching new hardware (miniature glass buttons).

And here is my desk project once completed and waiting for me to begin setting it up as a mini office.

The possibilities are endless with Mod Podge. I am fairly convinced that you cover anything with it. It provides a durable finish and allows you to really give character to ordinary objects.
I am hoping this post has inspired you to try some new projects of your own. Please share them with me as I would love to see my readers' creativity!
Do not miss tomorrow's blog when I will take you on a tour of my new mini office desk in its current set up, complete with a command center board.

Thank you for liking and sharing MGC with friends and family. You can find me on FACEBOOK and YOUTUBE.

Sophia, NJ

 *This site contains affiliate marketing. All opinions are my own.



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I welcome your feedback and comments. If you have a question or a specific request, do not hesitate, I am here to help! Thanks, S.

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