Friday, January 27, 2012

Nautical Themed Roll Top Desk

In case you haven't noticed I love to do very feminine pieces. I felt like I needed to show myself and my husband that I was capable of something different. This is my idea of whimsy for boys or men?

I got this roll top desk on craiglist, and I've had this chair in my garage forever from a dining room set I bought and didn't use just one chair. For the desk, I used Aubusson Blue Chalk Paint with a mocha glaze, then polyurethaned the whole piece. I used a spray can poly for most of the desk but on the writing surfaces and top I did a paint-on poly. I just felt like wax wasn't going to be strong enough for what might happen on a desk. Last, but not least, I distressed with a medium grit hand sanding block.

The hardware features a compass and were purchased at hobby lobby. I printed off an old map and lined the drawers using Mod Podge to stick and seal.

The chair was originally black. I used Old Fashioned Milk Paint in barn red. Milk paint is really wonderful, it has a great matte look and distresses in its own unique way. Old Fashioned milk paint is sold in a powder that you mix with water. I found it online, but some local home improvement stores sell it in cans premixed. It is cheaper than the chalk paint and goes a long way. It doesn't have a long shelf life once you have mixed it in water, so just mix a little at a time. It is non-toxic and works really well on porous surfaces or bare wood. It has something in common with chalk paint too- it can stick to any surface if you purchase a bonding agent called Ultra Bond to mix in. Well, I was out of this bonding agent, but I remember thinking it looked and smelled a lot like glue, so what did I do? I added a little (you guessed it) MOD-PODGE! It did the trick and stuck amazingly. I did notice that it distressed a little differently than with the ultra bond and it was even more matte than usual.

I put a new cushion on the chair and had a rough time finding a way to fit the chairs odd shape. Not my best easy reupholstering job. To get the ship design on the fabric, I printed a picture off of the internet on regular paper and Mod Podged it on to some canvas material. Then I sprayed water on it, ironed it, and let it sit for a couple of hours. I gently rinsed off the paper, then let the fabric dry and stapled it on the chair. Lastly, I put a very thin layer of Mod Podge over the ship for protection. The desk and chair will be available for purchase in my shop.


  1. This is clever, sweet and oh so nautical. Cottage furniture can't be fussy, and you did an incredible job!