Thursday, September 3, 2015

Office Make Over

Have you ever gotten tired of looking at the same furniture?  Well, I did.  I purchased a very solid set of oak office furniture, but after looking at it for 22 years......I needed a change.  So, I thought I would go out and buy some new furniture, but could not find what I really needed.  Many of the new office pieces were particle board and not really as nice as what I already had.  So, I decided I would paint mine.  I spent countless hours watching DIY videos on YouTube, scoured Pinterest and went to every furniture store in our area for inspiration.  Finally, I had the nerve to tackle my project.  I had quite a bit of furniture, so I took a week's vacation and got busy.

Here's what my office looked like before and after.

Chalk Paint seemed to be the way to go.  Many of the chalk paint videos mention Annie Sloan Chalk paint, but it was not available in my area and I was too impatient to order it online.  I wanted to get started!  Lowes sold a Valspar Chalk Paint, so I tried that for my larger beige piece.  It came out a bit whiter than I anticipated, but with the dark wax, I achieved my desired results.   The beauty of Chalk Paint is that you don't have to sand or prime your piece.  I really was not interested in doing that!  You just start painting.  It is a thicker paint and a little pricey, but no mixing.  Just open the can and paint.  You can just use one coat if you want a really distressed look, but I wanted to fully cover the piece so I did a couple of coats.  Here we go!

The second method with Chalk Paint is to make your own.  I looked at a lot of recipes but ended up going with Plaster of Paris and latex paint.    My recipe for DIY Chalk Paint:

5 Tablespoons of Plaster of Paris
2 Tablespoons of water
Mix this together in a separate cup until you get a very smooth consistency.  Trust don't want lumps.  The lumps end up being white specks in your paint. I just mixed mine in a dixie cup with a plastic fork so I could throw it away when I was done.
Add the above mixture to about 1 1/2 cups of latex paint and mix well.  Again - no lumps.  This will come out to a consistency of pudding.

I used this for all of the blue paint.  The DIY paint needs time to cure and scratches easily.  Some web sites said a week, some said a month.  The good news is that it is very forgiving when you patch over a scratch.  Don't know if this works well on all colors, but on this shade of blue you can't see where I have fixed a scratch.

I also needed 2 coats of the blue DIY Chalk paint.

Once I had all of the furniture painted, I wanted to stencil on it before I added the wax.  There are a lot of wonderful stencils that you can buy, but I wanted my furniture to be custom and unique to me.  Being a travel agent, I just had to do something that expressed that.  So, I finally came up with the lyrics to my husband's favorite song:  "And I think to myself, What a wonderful world"  It was just perfect.  We do live in a wonderful world and we should all travel as much as possible to see it!  Of course, this saying was not waiting for me at my local craft store so I used my very favorite craft tool, my Pazzles.  With a Pazzles, you can cut anything you want - any font, any picture, anything on your screen.  It allows you to be as creative as you want to be.  Here's a picture of my Pazzles:

It uses cutting mats like many of the other cutting machines, but it does not use cartridges.  I just love it!  If you are interested in learning more about this amazing machine, go to their web site:   They had lots of wonderful swirly patterns I could download, so I chose one, blew it up to the size I wanted and cut it out on my Pazzles.  I cut it out in a plastic stencil material so that I could use it over and over again and then stenciled it in a yellow chalk paint right over my beige.  I just purchased a little sample of yellow Valspar paint for about $3.00 at Lowes and used that, mixing it with my Plaster of Paris to make chalk paint.  For the lettering, I cut out my stencils in cardstock paper since I was only using them once.

We all learn from our mistakes, so of course I had to have one one on this project.  I had read that you can mix the Plaster of Paris with any paint to make chalk paint.  I did not find this to be true.  While I thought to buy the yellow latex paint, I did not buy the black paint.  I just used a very inexpensive craft acrylic paint from Walmart.  It went on beautifully, but when I added the wax over smeared!  Yuck!  I had quite a little mess that I spent a lot of time trying to make it look better.  I ended up having to go over some of my lettering with the new black latex sample paint that I had to go and get.  My advise....only use latex paint.

After you get it painted, you will need to apply clear wax.  The clear wax is what protects the furniture.  I used 1-2 coats on the sides and 5-6 coats on the writing surfaces.  Again, this takes time to cure - any where between 7 days to a month.

The above photo shows the hutch before I applied the dark wax.  The photos below show it half done and completed with the dark wax.

Hints on applying wax:
Always use clear wax first.  It will not change the color of your paint, just make it look a little richer.  It does not have much of a sheen.  The dark wax is very dark and a little scary to apply, but the good news is that you can erase it by applying more clear wax to it.  That helps so much.  What I did was while my clear wax was still wet, I applied the dark wax on top of it and immediately began to wipe it off.  You can apply both of the waxes with either a wax brush or a soft cloth.  I used both methods.  When applying the clear wax, I put it on with a brush, rubbing in circles and then finishing with a stroke the same grain as the wood.  Then I wiped it off with a soft cloth.

You might notice that I no longer have my free standing desk.  I went to the hardware store and bought a 4x8 piece of cabinet grade plywood and had them cut it to the size that fit inside of my bookshelf.  Then, I used one of the lower pieces to anchor it on the other end.  I painted that one in the garage and added the stencils I cut out with my Pazzles to break up this long space.  I love having this giant work desk!

I cut out the "Come Sail Away" using Vinyl on my Pazzles.  It was fun choosing the font and having it look exactly the way I wanted.  I love this flexibility you get with the machine!  Did I say I love my Pazzles?  LOL

Next, I had to change out the curtain.  I wanted something that looked like flags or pennants.   What do you think?

To complete the look, I added a little more travel decor.  I had this chest in another room and just moved it in here and added other suitcases around it.
My next project is to scrapbook all of those squares in the window pane photo door.

Hope this helps you a little with your re-decorating plans!  Now it is time for me to get back to work and help you plan your next vacation.  We book crafting/scrapbooking/stamping/mixed-media cruises.  Visit our web site:  CruiseAndCrop to to on one of these cruises.  We have so many to choose from.  Or, if you just want to get away we handle all kinds of cruises as well as land packages.  Visit our other web site:


  1. Love, love, love the transformation! I think this would also be a really helpful method for people who want to upgrade their kitchen cabinets. Thank you so much for the honest and fun description of all your work!

  2. What a big difference to the look of these two rooms. Great job!


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