Monday, July 4, 2011

A Time Gone By

I don't know if you remember these little fellas or not.

This was the only project that I was able to work on while my kiddos were at camp.  
You might say that getting these finished is a huge accomplishment. 
 It is, but I had so many other projects that I wanted to work on.  
There just was not enough time.
In fact, I get more done when my kiddos are home--weird huh?

It is a little hard to see it on these photos, but these desks have layers and layers of varnish and stain on them.
It looked like a crackle effect.
The color was an ugly burgundy stain.
Needless to say, I did not like it.

I thought about painting one and refinishing the other, but my thought was that these would make cute end tables.  However not in my house--my rooms are too small.

 I wanted them to blend with each other.
They are not very valuable.  The legs have the year 1912 and 1913 on them.  I looked on ebay and it seems that everyone wants to sell these desks for $90-$125, but there were no bids.
So I wanted to add writing or something to them.

First, I tried to sand them down, but it was impossible to get those layers down.
  I ran to the hardware store and bought some stripper.
It worked beautifully.

Always wear protective gloves when using this stuff.  It will burn your skin.
I applied the stripper with a brush going in one direction only--not back and forth.
Follow the directions on the can.

After waiting 20-25 minutes, I used a scraper.  It came off so easily.
I then sanded it again after wiping the wood down with mineral spirits.

I was wanting to do some lettering on them.
I didn't know what would go well with an old school desk.  
Dan thought, "Public School No. 2"
Now that I write it, maybe that would have been pretty cool.
Well, I guess it is because it is near the 4th of July; I went Patriotic.

I went into Word on my computer and checked out some fonts.
The one I chose was Viner Hand ITC.  It looked like it just fit the Revolutionary War period.
I printed the lettering off and took my son's medium charcoal pencil and colored on the back of the letters.
Like this:

Then I taped it to my sanded-down desk.  
Making sure it was centered the way I wanted it.

I then trace around the lettering.
This is what it looked like after I trace it.

As you can see, I didn't worry about sanding it down to just plain wood.  
I knew that this would add character to the desks once they were stained.
I then painted the letters in with black paint.

It was such a beautiful day--gorgeous day.  There was no humidity.
I would have to say that it was the most enjoyable time--painting outside.
Hubby was reading on the wicker seat while I painted.
Gotta love those precious moments:)


After I let the black paint dry, I sanded down the lettering so that you could see some wood through the lettering. 
 I love the way it gave it a worn look.
This picture was taken after I stained it too.
I used Early American Minwax Stain.

Here they are!!!
I love them!!
I wish they would fit in my house as end tables.

Here is the before:

Linking up With:

Tip Junkie handmade projects

Keeping It Simple


  1. Beautiful! What a great project. I have one from that vintage that is a double-seater where two kids sat side-by-side. Unfortunately, there's really no place where it fits in well, although now that I'm re-thinking it...

  2. Wow, you did a fabulous job with these! I think you should keep at least one even if you don't have room for them now. They're very cute! If your kids are little, maybe they would like to sit at them to color?

  3. WOW!! They look GREAT!!! Love the wording!! :) I have to say, "Public School No. 2" made me laugh. Shawn's always giving me suggestions, too. I think that's why. :)

  4. Those turned out fantastic! I have one of those chairs down in storage cause I think I don't have room for it now. Your project makes me want to get mine out and do something cool to it too and enjoy it again! Deb

  5. These are BEAUTIFUL. Just gorgeous. I've wanted one forever, but they just can't be found in my area:(

    I'm following!!

    Crafty Butt

  6. LOVE these!! Wonderfully creative idea! Hope you had a Happy 4th!

  7. These turned out fabulous! Love the wording- they are gorgeous :)

  8. Those turned out beautiful. You should link them up to my my {wow me} wednesday link party. It goes live tonight. :) Thanks for stopping by my blog.


  9. Oh !! How neat ! How about one on your front porch. It would look great against the brick. The other one would look great on my front porch! He!He!

  10. BEAUTIFUL!!! I'm glad you had a great day for painting. I love when you do projects when I'm there. Keep up the Beautiful Crafts!! :)

  11. Way to cool! They turned out great! Thanks for checking out my table and commenting.

  12. Tammy, I love these! This is a great idea! Thanks for sharing such an inspiring idea!

  13. So glad you didn't sand them down all the way, they look great:)

  14. What a perfectly splendid idea! Love the new look!

  15. They look great! I love them!

  16. What a fantastic job you did! I have one in my garage that is in sad, sad shape. Thank you so much for the inspiration.

  17. They look great! You did an awesome job! Thank you for linking up!

  18. Love your schooldesk redo! We bought one of these at a garage sale this fall and want to do something cool with them-your refinish is beautiful.


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