Step-by-Step Secretary Desk Makeover!

Desk makeover

Table of Contents

Read on for a step-by-step breakdown of a fantastic desk makeover!


Are you tired of the same old furniture in your home, but don’t want to break the bank or sacrifice your sense of style? In this post, we’ll be showing you how we gave new life to an old Secretary Desk, turning it from a dusty relic of the past into a functional and eye-catching piece that’s perfect for any room. We’ll take you through each step of the process, so you can get creative and give your old pieces of furniture a fresh new look!

Step 1: Decoupage Application

For this project, we decided to use the Posh Chalk ‘Posh Tea Time’ Deluxe Decoupage in size A1. First of all we tore off the edges of our decoupage using a water pen, doing this instead of cutting the edges with scissors makes the colour blending much easier later on. We then painted the area of the desk it was going to be applied to with Cotton by Magic Paint; this white base would make the decoupage colours really pop!

After this paint dried we applied a thin layer of our Posh Chalk Pigment Infusor and began the application of the decoupage. Due to how large the piece of decoupage is, we applied this first layer of Infusor in two stages: the top half was stuck down and smoothed out, before Infusor was applied to the bottom half. After this was firmly stuck down in the correct position we then applied a top layer of Infusor, more liberally this time, to complete the application. The infusor also acts as an outdoor-grade sealant protecting the decoupage from any potential wear and tear.

Step 2: Mounting WoodUbend Appliques


The next step was getting our WoodUbend Appliques mounted onto the furniture. We first selected the range of different moulding designs we wanted for the front of the desk and experimented with arrangements a little until we defined exactly where we wanted them to be positioned. One of the appliques we chose (WUB1261A) had two scroll designs connected via a centrepiece. We decided that these scrolls would be perfect for our design but we did not need this connecting piece. So, we warmed the applique up and used a knife to cut the desired parts free, then sanded down the cut edge until it was smooth. We then heated the rest of these appliques (see the bottom of the page for the full list) to get them ready for mounting and applied a good quality wood glue to the entire footprint of each applique before firmly pressing them into place.

Then, we heated them once more in situ to ensure a strong adhesion. Some of our appliques didn’t quite fit within the area we had due to where the drawer handles needed to be, in those cases the ends were cut off during the mounting process. Finally, we went around the edges of the appliques with a wet paintbrush to remove any excess glue that leaked out. This was then repeated for the two side panels of our desk. After this was completed the decoupage and appliques on our front panel had fully dried, allowing us to cut along the drawer openings to ensure the desk still functioned properly.


Step 3: Colour Blending with our desk makeover

Now it was time to paint the piece. We loved the background colour of our decoupage design so we started blending a mixture of Olivia and Pepper Blue by Magic Paint on the furniture itself to try and extend this background colour around the full piece. This colour combination worked perfectly with the decoupage background so we continued the blending process around the full piece; using a Posh Chalk Mouldings Brush, a Posh Chalk Stencil Brush and a Posh Chalk Smooth & Blend Brush on different areas.

We were also lightly spritzing the area we were painting with water as we wanted to help ensure our paint would get into all the nooks and crannies of our appliques. Also due to the layer of Infusor we had applied earlier, it made it easy to remove any paint that accidentally overlapped onto our decoupage’s design by wiping it away with a baby wipe. We also utilised Torta di Zucca, Profumo D’oriente and Vintage by Magic Paint to blend in the other colours toward the bottom of our decoupage.

Step 4: Stencilling & Pigments

Next we decanted some of our Posh Chalk Bronze Alloy Pigment onto an old WoodUbend moulding board and gradually added some of our Posh Chalk Pigment Infusor until we had the thick paste-like consistency we desired. We then selected the Posh Chalk Moroccan Vibes Premium Stencil to feature on the sides of our piece and used a spray mount to adhere it centrally on one of those sides. We then stippled on layers of Pepper Blue, Olivia, Orange, Yellow and Brown by Magic Paint and finally a layer of our Bronze Alloy Pigment mixture.

We used the same Posh Chalk Stencil Brush throughout, allowing our colours to mix on the brush and in situ. This was repeated until the area of the side panel within our WoodUbend Applique boarder was filled. We also used slightly less pressure and paint on the extremities to create a subtle fading effect. After we replicated the stencilling on the opposite side of the piece, we gently dry brushed the Bronze Alloy Pigment mixture over all of the mouldings on the sides of our piece to tie the colours together.

Step 5: Aqua Patina Highlights

We realised that the front side of the piece could use some highlights. To create this we grabbed the Primary Green and Prussian Blue Posh Chalk Aqua Patinas as well as the Radiant Gold Posh Chalk Precious Aqua Patina. First of all, the Prussian Blue was gently brushed onto the peaks of the moulding, then the Primary Green was applied in select places. Due to the Aqua Patinas being water-based, they blended together in situ very easily, creating some beautiful shades on our mouldings and giving it some character. We then used our Radiant Gold to remove a harsh line at the top of our Decoupage design that looked out of place.

By blending the golden coloured smoke on our design into our background and moulding, we made our piece feel more naturally cohesive. After we were satisfied with our highlights, we dry brushed our Bronze Alloy Pigment mixture over the appliques on the front, the metal drawer handles and the balls on our desk’s ball and claw feet in order to further tie everything together.

Step 6: Shading & Wax

The final touches required for our project was to create some depth with subtle shading, and then seal it with wax as we had used the chalk based Magic Paints earlier. To create this shading we selected our brand new Jet Black Posh Chalk Aqua Patina and began painting a thin border around all of our appliques. Once our border was created, we spritzed the surface with water to feather the shading out, making it blend into the rest of the design to achieve the discreet shading effect we desired.

Finally, in order to seal our piece, we used a Posh Chalk Wax Extender Brush to apply a layer of our Posh Chalk Patina Extending Wax over the entire surface of the piece. This wax dries clear and acts as a sealant so it was absolutely perfect for this use!

Desk Makeover: Conclusion

If you enjoyed seeing the full step-by-step ‘desk makeover’ process of upcycling an old piece of furniture, make sure to check out next week’s blog where we will demonstrate how we used the brand new Posh Chalk Athenian Plaster to create a beautiful marble effect on the top panel by replicating that process on an MDF board. We hope this gave you some insight into the different techniques and products we use in these project, we can’t wait to see you all apply them to your own projects!

If you’d like to see the creative transformation project in video format click here!

I hope that my story of creative transformation inspires you to embark on your own crafting endeavours, discovering the joy and satisfaction that comes from bringing your visions to life.

With love and laughter,

P.S If my blogs inspire you, and you get round to trying some of these techniques and products, I would love to see them in the Creations community we have. There are over 25,000 members who post daily. You’ll also find lots of creators in there who have posted some wonderful projects. It truly is an inspiring group with lots going on. You can join here and best of all it’s free!

Products Used:
Posh Chalk Deluxe Decoupage Posh Tea Time A1
Posh Chalk Pigment Infusor
Posh Chalk Large Smooth & Blend Brush
WoodUbend Applique WUB1261A
Woodubend Applique WUB1418
Woodubend Applique WUB1388-9
Woodubend Applique WUB1320
Woodubend Applique WUB1723
Woodubend Applique WUB1364.48
WoodUbend WoodUglue
Posh Chalk Stencil Moroccan Vibes
Posh Chalk Pigments Bronze Alloy
Posh Chalk Premium Stencil Brush
Posh Chalk Aqua Patina Jet Black
Posh Chalk Aqua Patina Blue Prussian
Posh Chalk Aqua Patina Primary Green
Posh Chalk Precious Aqua Patina Radiant Gold
Posh Chalk Patina Extending Wax
Posh Chalk Wax Extender Brush
Posh Chalk Premium Stencil Brush
Posh Chalk Mouldings Brush
Posh Chalk Smooth & Blend Brush Large
Magic Paint Cotton, Olivia, Pepper Blue, Torta di Zucca, Profumo D’oriente, Vintage

You can find all these products except for Magic Paint on our website, here:

To watch the whole process described here in action, click on the links below:

Watch On YouTube!

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