who doesn’t love jack?

My neighbor, nnK, has been busy dumpster diving for me again.  This time she came home with a old school desk and an industrial stainless steel cart.  You’ll have to wait to see the cart, but I finished up the desk this week.  Here is what it looked like when she brought it over.

trash talk before

I had to laugh when I saw that it was literally labeled as “trash.”


The desk has a metal base with a formica top and is the perfect job for Fusion paint.  I knew it would stick to both of these surfaces.  Initially I was going to paint all of it, the base and the top.  But as I started working on it, I decided I liked the patina on the base, and if I could find the right color scheme for the top, it could work as is.  I hate to cover up a good genuine aged patina.

The inside of the base was another story though.  It was kind of disgusting, so I opted to paint that with one of Fusion’s new colors from their Michael Penney collection, Seaside.  These colors will be available for a limited time, so if you love it, you’d better get it now.  The Seaside is very similar to Annie Sloan’s Aubusson.  As a matter of fact, I was painting a dresser in Aubusson at the same time I was working on this piece and they were practically indistinguishable (you’ll see that dresser next week).

Now that the inside is painted, you can feel comfortable tucking your favorite books inside without them getting grungy.

uj inside

As for the top, I knew right away that I wanted to do another Union Jack.  I could have done it in the traditional red, white and blue (and Fusion does have an awesome navy and red), but I wanted to change it up a bit.  I started with a base of Seaside.  Then I taped off the lines for my Union Jack and painted the next layer in Fusion’s Champlain, which is a shade of white with a tiny hint of grey in it.

trash tape

You may be noticing at this point that I forgot the diagonal lines.  Ooops.  Drat.  I had to wait for this to dry and then go back and add them.  I’ll note here that I let each layer of color dry for about 24 hours before moving on to taping the next one.  As a result, my tape came off very cleanly and didn’t remove any paint with it.

The final layer of my Union Jack was painted in Fusion’s Bedford, which is a nice warm greige.  And voila!

uj desk top

Once the top was dry I sanded it with a fine sanding block.  That removed some ridges of paint that had developed around the tape lines and left a nice smooth finish.

us smooth top

One could use this desk as a desk, although it is rather small if you like to spread out. I think it would be more fun to re-purpose it as a bedside table.  Or use it next to your sofa, or in your foyer as a place to drop your keys and mail as you walk in the door.

uj on angle

I am rather in love with this desk now.  After all, who doesn’t love Jack?

vintage desk painted with Union Jack

 Please note that I have not been compensated by Fusion for this post, but they did send me some free samples of their paint to try out with no obligation which was awfully nice of them.

28 thoughts on “who doesn’t love jack?

  1. I remember using those kind of desks in school, though none were ever as stylish as this one!
    Did you do any sanding or prepping of the top before applying the paint? I have some samples of fusion that I am excited to try on painted metal surfaces and am wondering if I can just go at it or if I have to sand first.


    1. Yes, I did sand the top. It was fairly scratched up, so if nothing else I wanted to smooth out the surface. The Fusion people do recommend sanding your piece first to get the best results. But they probably have to say that 😉 I almost always sand my pieces at least a little though. It doesn’t take very long, and is the only arm workout I get these days.


  2. This looks amazing. I love the color combination. Like Tammy, I too was wondering if you have to prep the Formica before painting it. I have a vintage child’s library table I got out of a school that was being torn down. The base is walnut but the top is Formica. I would love to paint it. My grandchildren use it all the time.


    1. I can’t personally speak to the long term durability of the Fusion on Formica since I just started using it. However, once cured (and to be fully cured takes about 21 days) it should be highly durable and washable as well. With small children, I think I would let the paint fully cure before letting the kids have at it. And with a surface like Formica, I would definitely sand it a little first. Just enough to scuff the surface a bit before painting.


  3. Aaah! I LOVE this! What a fabulous use for this old desk, and the color scheme is so awesome. My Nana was from England, so I have a soft spot for the Union Jack. A local place of mine is going to start carrying Fusion, I am really looking forward to giving it a try after seeing all of your great projects using it!


    1. You’ll find that it is super easy to use. Truly, just open jar, insert brush, paint. I have another post coming next week with more info on distressing the Fusion, so be sure to check that out.


  4. Love that it was marked ‘trash’! I’ve considered doing a Union Jack before, but hadn’t considered alternative colors. Looks smashing!


    1. I really like the look of a totally monochromatic Union Jack also, for example three shades of grey. It can make it easier to work into your decor, especially if you don’t decorate in red, white and blue! Give it a try!


  5. This turned out awesome! Love the colors you chose and it’s nice to know there is a Fusion paint shade that matches my all time favorite color, Aubusson blue!


    1. The Aubusson is maybe just a tad brighter than the Seaside, but while painting with both of them side by side I had two paint brushes going and I kept mixing them up. If you love the Aubusson, I’ll be interested to see what you think of the dresser I just finished in it. It will be on the blog next week. Stay tuned.


  6. I loved the way you revamped it! Looks amazing! In the “before” photo which app did u use to put the “before” label in it?
    Look so original!


    1. Thanks Marcia! I used picmonkey to add that ‘before’ label. Check out this post I wrote about using picmonkey. You’ll find that exact paper-clipped scrap of paper overlay under “Paper Scrap” on picmonkey. You have to add the ‘before’ text to it as well. I used the Chelsea Market font on that one.


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