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Upcycling for Good

Restore a desk

Restore a painted desk to its former timber glory.

Resene upcycling for good with Sarah Herring - Project 12

Step 8
Finished project

You will need: Clean cloth rag for applying the stain, electric sander and sandpaper, painter’s masking tape, pencil, resene aquaclear waterborne urethane varnish, Resene Colorwood Stain in Resene Bark, Resene Quick Dry waterborne primer undercoat, Resene SpaceCote Low Sheen waterborne enamel in Resene Alabaster, Ruler, Testpot brushes.

Restore a desk
Finished project
Prior to refinishing
Step 1 Step one
This beautiful old desk had been completely painted in a bright blue colour, and Sarah wanted to remove this to restore it back to a timber finish. Use an electric sander to start removing the paint. There was only one layer of paint on this desk, so a paint stripper was not required, however if you are trying to remove more layers of paint use a paint stripper first such as Resene Sea To Sky. Make sure you remove any drawers first so that they can’t fall out.
Step 2 Step two
It took a considerable amount of time to remove all the paint from this desk. Remove all the paint from the large surface areas, getting as close to the corners and small edges as possible, finishing these last parts off by hand with coarse sandpaper. It was a nice surprise to find a gold detail around the top surface of the desk. Sometimes when restoring or upcycling old items you find original details like this that are worth keeping.
Step 3 Step three
Once the desk is completely sanded, mask out the areas of the desk that you wish to paint. In addition to the flat surface on the top of the desk, Sarah wanted to paint the insert panels around the sides. You can apply a chevron pattern to the main drawer at the front to give the desk a bit more of a modern feel. Measure out the pattern with a ruler and a pencil and then mask the stripes for painting. To all of the masked areas, apply one coat of Resene Quick Dry Primer.
Step 4 Step four
Once the primer is completely dry, apply two coats of Resene SpaceCote Low Sheen in Resene Alabaster.
Step 5 Step five
Remove the masking tape and then prepare the remaining areas of the desk for staining. Mask out the sections already painted to ensure you don’t get any stain on the paint.
Step 6 Step six
Apply the stain. Sarah chose to use Resene Colorwood in Resene Bark for a warm, dark finish. It is important that you use a clean cloth rag to apply the stain as you want to wipe the product across in a thin, even layer. Sarah used a brush to initially get the product onto the desk, then wiped it around straight away with the rag. This gave a great finish. Apply one or two coats depending on the depth of colour. The more coats and the heavier the application, the darker the stain colour.
Step 7 Step seven
Once the stain is completely dry, remove all the masking tape from the desk. Applying Resene Aquaclear waterborne urethane varnish to the entire desk. This will give a nice gloss finish and protect the paintwork. For a lower sheen finish you could use Resene Aquaclear semi-gloss or low sheen. And there you have it – one formerly bright blue desk given a whole new on-trend look.
Step 8And there you have it – one formerly bright blue desk given a whole new on-trend look.

Upcycling for Good

You can find a huge range of treasures, from ornaments and picture frames, to furniture and toys at your local Salvation Army store that you can easily upcycle with a little Resene paint and some imagination.

"Our Family Stores are full of treasures generously donated by members of the public. We value these donations and try our hardest to re-purpose and sell as much as possible. We’re all about re-using and recycling, so teaming up with Resene on Upcycling for Good was a perfect match. Resene’s products and tips are a natural fit with our pre-loved furniture and accessories, which are usually great quality but could sometimes do with a lick of paint to ensure they fly off the shelves.

Each year, nationally, our stores save 16,000 tonnes from landfill. This initiative increases the value of the donated product, improves the range of goods for our customers, and furthers The Salvation Army’s mission and Resene’s community activity.” Gareth Marshall, The Salvation Army's National Family Store Manager.

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