Revamping Laminex Craft Desk
On my list of things to do in my craft room clean up, was altering my old brown craft desk. Don't get me wrong this desk has served me well for over 15 years now, I rescued it from a closing down office for $80 and have been using it ever since. The desk is nice and big, sturdy and has 4 drawers on one side which are nice and roomy, I like my desk - I just dislike the way it looks, so I've decided to give the old gal a new lease on life!
Step one: Replace laminex on desk top and desk top edges - I had help with this step from someone who knows what they were doing and is versed in the finer points of contact adhesive. I chose a high gloss white laminate called White Valencia with a Diamond Gloss finish. This was recommended as being the most scratch and dye ink resistant - he he he - the man in the store looked a little confused when I explained what I would be doing on the desk top. This is where things began to go a little pear shaped, the top turned up, but not the laminate for the desk edges - minor problem until I found out that the edging would never be arriving as the strips were too wide for normal edging. OK options, buy another whole sheet of White Valencia laminate to cut up ($$$$) or go with an off cut available in the store - I chose the off cut - I just didn't know they were planning to cut it to size with a hack saw! So when the lovely man (thanks Tony) who was installing the laminate collected it, he had jagged edges to work with which were not even straight or able to be used with the laminate trimmer aarrrggghhh! Poor Tony had to FILE the edges to get them to line up with the desk top - so not OK laminate store, not ok at all! Thankfully Tony (a consummate professional) made this work and I then had a lovely white top and contrasting brushed aluminium edges.
Step 2: Prime remaining laminate on desk and drawers / drawer handles for painting with White Knight Grip-Lock Primer - this is when it started to rain and didn't stop for 3 days. I was determined to get this done (as it was the only time I had off work) so I dragged the table inside - put down a drop sheet in my lounge room, moved all the furniture out and ploughed ahead.
Step 3: Paint with Taubmans Water based white enamel paint - allow a minimum of 4 hours between each coat, 2 - 3 coats recommended.
This first photo is the table after 3 coats, obviously the recommended number of coats hadn't figured in dark brown laminate.
It took 5 coats all over the desk, and one more on each end and 3 days of painting before the streaks were acceptably gone. I was really sick of painting at this point, but wait there's more to go - groan - WHY am I doing this again?
The paint was touch dry in 4 hours, but took 3 days to cure - it's now looking pretty darn spiffy! BUT there was still more to go - I had a special plan for the desk drawers.
Drawers Step 1: Apply same white enamel paint (same number of coats) to drawers and let dry, I also applied these coats to the handles - which were a nasty mid-brown. Leave to cure (I left these 3 days) before continuing.
Drawers Step 2: Apply 2 thin coats of black paint to drawer handles - I used Stewart Gill 'Pearlise' in Black Pearl available from The Artist Cellar, I did a rough job to begin, just to get the base colour down on the inside of the handles.
Drawers Step 3: I previously mentioned I bought a special decal in this post, well my plan all along had been to use this on the desk drawers. This is the decal I purchased solid black orchid it's similar to a HUGE rub on, you trim off the excess or unwanted pattern, peel off the backing sheet, rub firmly onto the flat surface you want to transfer the design to and then cross your fingers and peel off the top sheet. I was a tiny bit nervous, but what the heck it was my desk and if I want a big orchid on the drawers why shouldn't I have one!
I trimmed the excess and cut off the base of the planter, so the image would fit where I wanted it to go.
I lay the image over the 4 drawers (as they would line-up when in the desk) and carefully cut the image into 4 sections.
I started applying the image from the bottom drawer up, checking each time that all the segments were aligning. I used a small sharp craft knife to cut the image around the drawer handles, this ensured the image sat completely flat. Then I rubbed that image onto the paint, carefully peeled back the top layer and I had this.....
Squeeee - looking good isn't it! At this point I'm almost there. To make sure this decal will last the abuse I'll be giving it, I applied a very thin amount of Glossy Accents to the top and bottom of the image on each drawer - this should stop the image lifting where the drawers rub together. I used the same black paint to paint the edges of the handles and filled in any tiny gaps in the image.
Then just as a finishing touch I applied some Viva Decor Silver Ferro Metal Effect Paint that I picked up from Passion 4 Paper - this gave a subtle silver shimmer to the handles and when viewed from different angles, looks rather like the brushed aluminium trim on the desk top.
As a final touch, Kasey had suggested, that I apply either soap or candle wax to the drawer runners to help them slide more easily. The runners were plastic but I figured why not - so I've applied soap to the runners, top, bottom and side of each drawer front and any other surface I could find. Not only do they smell rather good, but the drawers are sliding much more easily, so big thanks Kasey - what a helpful suggestion!
You may have noticed I'm not really showing the 'finished' bit of these - I'm going to make you wait for the big reveal .....