Today I am pumped to show you how I created this art desk or potting station from freebies I found on the side of the road. Raise your hand if you love junking as much as I do!!! I would love to travel the country and find disposed goodies to bring back to life….day dreams!
So back to this gem. I found this old desk on junk day in my town and I knew I needed to rescue it. I mean, who would throw away such a great piece!? But lucky for me, they did not see the glowing halo around this thing.
The color and bits of rust just make it pop. I was instantly in love with it.
I knew the top had to come off and I knew it needed to be something other than a desk, but it was not until I found the shutter that the ideas started to spark.
So first thing first. The top had to go. The plastic wood muckery was not going to cut it. I grabbed a board that was 12inchs wide and cut it into two boards with my DeWalt Miter Saw to make the top.
After I took the top off and had my board cut, I did make the new top a little bigger because I wanted this desk to double as a potting station or art desk and wanted there to be enough room to have large sheets of paper out to color or paint or craft their hearts out!
The first thing I needed to do was make the new top secure. There were only 4 holes in the metal to hold the new top and I wanted to secure the two boards together leaving them seamless. So I measured the inside of the desk and cut two narrow scrap boards to fit inside snugly.
You can see here how I placed the scrap boards. They were maybe a 1/4 inch thick but perfect so that it would not take up extra space in the desk and was enough to nail onto the 2 boards to keep them snug together. I made my measurements and wood glued the boards on and then screwed them into place. Pipe clamped it together until it was dry.
You can barely see the seam after gluing it together. If I had a biscuit joiner I would have used that. It is on my list of tools to buy. The small boards will fit snug inside the desk base leaving no wiggle room. This is just sitting on here for now. Next, it is time to build the top.
To make the top I pulled out an old shutter pocket door that was busted. But it was busted in a perfect spot and all I had to do was trim it down. At least that is all I THOUGHT I was going to have to do. (read below for the epic fail)
I grabbed the shutter and another board.
I needed to trim the bottom of the shutter so that it was flush. I was planning on using my Kreg Rip Cut tool but because of the length of the shutter I was not able to. Instead I made a make shift guide using a board that fit under the base of the saw and clamped it in place.
You can see where my guide is and the line of where I am cutting. The edge of the saw will run along the board leaving my blade to run along my cut line. Done and done! Until I failed, which you can read about below for a good laugh at my expense.
I wanted to make sure the height of the shutter was supported so I took a board and ripped it down to make two sides. Using a Kreg Rip-Cut tool I was able to cut the board in half easily. If you do not own a Kreg Rip-Cut or Kreg Jig, you are missing out!
After I got the board cut I used the Kreg Jig to make pocket holes along the bottom of the shutter and two holes up each side of the board I cut. This allows you to insert screws far more easily and quickly than anything I have ever attempted before.
After the pocket holes were made, it was time to attach the boards to the sides of the shutter. Making a somewhat U-shape. This gives you extra support for the height of the shutter. Once they were screwed together I did a quick dry brush in an offwhite chalk paint.
Because the board for the top of the desk was prestained in a custom mix I had to paint the shutter differently because it would not have matched. I also thought about painting the desk top white too, but if it is used as an art desk I knew it would get super messy and stained. So for now it is white and the desk is staying stained in the pretty mix.
I also wanted to put a board across the top to make a little shelf so I cut another board to go across the top.
Once the board was cut and dry brushed. I used a bar clamp to hold the sides straight while I nailed the top board in place. The sides were bowed a little and this kept them straight while I secured the top on and secured it to the desk.
Oh and after everything was dry I gave it two coats of water based poly.
Once that is dry I screwed the desk in place. Flipped it over and screwed the top in using the pre-drilled pocket holes that ran along the back of the shutter and one on each of the side boards. This this is more secure that Fort Knox.
It seems like it was a lot of work. It really didnt take me longer than an hour to make all of the cuts and drill the holes and put it together minus waiting on the paint and poly to dry.
Ta Dah! The finished project is so fun and creative and I kind of want to keep it. But for now it is for sell in the shop waiting for the perfect kid to take it home and make it theirs! The shutter adds so much charm to it. Don’t you think?
Epic Fail…let’s have a laugh
Ok, so during the makings of this I had an epic fail. It almost derailed the outcome of this and I may have shed a few tears before I pulled myself together.
I had to cut the bottom part of the shutter off to make it flat. But then…BOOM. Disaster struck.
I went to pick it up after I cut it and….
This happened! When I made the cut I cut the nail that was holding the shutter together. So when I picked it up by the bottom the whole thing fell to the floor and the dark wood piece was left in my hand.
My heart sank to my feet and I am pretty sure I stopped breathing for quite some time. Apparently, if you stop breathing it makes what happened a dream and not reality. Like somehow it will rewind time.
Well, that did not work and I was left with a mess of shutter rungs (is that what they are called?) and a broken piece of wood that I had to reattach.
I tried to think positive things..like “hey not it will be easier to clean the rungs off!”. Which in reality this thing was filthy dusty and dirty and I was having a hard time getting it cleaned. Until this happened. Then I was able to clean each rung spotless. I was just scared I was cleaning them for no reason. What if it wouldn’t go back together as easily as it fell in shambles!!
Well, the good news is it went back together. The bad news is it wasn’t easy. Not one bit! The rungs had holes they went in. I would get them all in on one side and when I tried to put them in the second hole half of them would fall out or get twisted and not fit.
It took over an hour of me hammering and twisting myself into a pretzel to get them to stay. I used my legs to hold them straight as I sat on the floor with a hammer and tried to get them to stay put!
Pain in the butt!
But in the end, I did it. And it is one of my favorite repurposed pieces to date!
Tools I used and mentioned during this creation.
Biscuit Joiner (need one)
What would you use it for? Art desk or a potting station..or do you have another idea for it? I would love to hear about it in the comments or hop on over to my facebook page and let me know what you think there!
Thanks so much for stopping by today!!