a colorful desk do-over.

Last summer I brought this desk home from a garage sale.

I loved the chunky knobs, and at just $5, the price was definitely right.

After my handyman Ken made some repairs to it, I painted it with Dixie Belle’s Drop Cloth and added a grain sack style stripe in their Yankee Blue.  You can see all of those details in my original post about the desk.

Unfortunately, here it is January and I still have this desk in inventory.  For whatever reason, I have not had any luck selling this piece.  Well, then again, I have to admit I’ve been a little slack about promoting it.  I took my remaining Facebook Marketplace and Craigslist ads down before I went on my trip back in early November, and I never re-posted this one.  So that could have something to do with it.

Never the less, I decided it was time for a do-over.

I started out by sanding down the grain sack stripes and painting over them with more of the Dixie Belle Drop Cloth.  Then I pulled out one of the new Prima Marketing re.design transfers called Passion Flower.

Isn’t that just gorgeous?  All of those vibrant colors!  This boho style is a bit outside of my normal comfort zone, but I’m hoping it will add that little bit of something special to this desk and help it find a new home.

Now before you get all excited and rush out to try and find this one somewhere, this is a sneak peek at one of the brand new designs coming out soon from Prima.  So it’s not available quite yet.  I’ll try to remember to give you guys an update when it becomes available.  But for now, this is just a tease.

I definitely wanted to use the entire transfer on this desk with the oval ‘free spirit’ portion on the top.

But I wasn’t quite sure at first how to make the other section of the transfer work with this desk.  Then I realized that it would look pretty fab if I just wrapped it around one corner giving the desk a more asymmetrical look.

If you’re wondering about the logistics of actually applying the transfer, here’s how I did it.  I started by removing the knobs from the drawers.  Then with the drawers back in place I figured out the placement I wanted and taped the transfer in place over the front of the desk.  I used a razor blade to trim the transfer around each of the drawer fronts, then pulled each one out individually and applied that section of the transfer.  Next, with the drawers still out, I applied the sections of the transfer that went between the drawers.

Once that was completed, I lined up the transfer around the side of the desk and applied that part.

It took a little patience to do this, and my results are not 100% perfect.  I don’t think anyone would notice unless they were seriously scrutinizing the details though.

Applying the transfer on the top was much simpler.

Once that was done, I added two coats of The Real Milk Paint Co’s Finishing Cream in Dead Flat to the top of the desk.  Since this is a desk, and it’s white, I thought it wise to have a very durable and washable surface on the top.  The rest of the desk was already finished with Dixie Belle’s Clear Matte Spray Wax so I freshened that up with another coat of the spray wax.

At first I was completely at a loss as to how to stage this piece for photos.  I think we can all agree that my usual look is more vintage, farmhouse, neutral, or sometimes even more mid-century.  I don’t have very many boho style props … or more accurately, I don’t have any boho style props.

But as I was studying the desk with its new transfer, it reminded me quite a bit of a little gift my sister and niece brought over for me while I was sick.

Yep, it’s a grown up coloring book.  It was the perfect thing for me.  It allowed me to be creative without having to think about it too hard, nor did it require too much physical effort.  I colored quite a few of the pages while I was laid up on the sofa watching Outlander.

I added a couple of my favorite blue pitchers, a pretty plant and an old swing set seat turned into a magnet board and that was all it took to style this desk.

The Dixie Belle Yankee Blue that I originally used inside the drawers still works beautifully with the transfer …

as does the Yankee Blue chair …

Now, all that remains is to see if this version of the desk sells better than the last!

Hopefully there is a free spirit out there somewhere who needs a desk!

Fingers crossed!

Thank you to Dixie Belle for supplying the paint and spray wax for this project, Prima Marketing for supplying the transfer and The Real Milk Paint Co for supplying the Finishing Cream.

If you’re wondering where to purchase the Prima Marketing transfers check out their ‘where to buy’ page.

If you’re wondering where to buy the Dixie Belle Drop Cloth or Yankee Blue paint and Easy Peasy Spray Wax, you can shop with them directly online or find a retailer near you.

You can also order The Real Milk Paint Co’s Finishing Cream online here.

And finally, if you happen to be local (Twin Cities, MN) and in need of a free spirited desk, check out my ‘available for local sale’ page for more details.

29 thoughts on “a colorful desk do-over.

  1. As much as I like traditional ‘looks’ you totally upgraded this desk with the boho transfer. I love it and believe it will sell quickly with the new look. I clicked through on the finishing cream look to The Real Milk Paint website and got kinda lost there. Have you used the powdered milk paint before? How does it compare, coverage-wise and paint wise to MMS? Great job on the desk, thanks as always for the inspiration and tutorial on how to apply the transfers to a tricky surface.


    1. In my opinion, all of the powdered milk paints are very similar in quality (Miss Mustard Seeds, Sweet Pickens, Homestead House, Real Milk Paint Co). They all work the same way, add water, mix well, etc. The coverage depends more on the color you are using rather than the brand. I’ve never compared the prices, so can’t speak to that. The main difference is in the color options. Miss Mustard Seeds and Sweet Pickens have more updated color choices (and definitely prettier packaging!), while the Homestead House and Real Milk Paint have a more traditional, historical color palate. I do love that Finishing Cream though. I think mainly because it’s thick and doesn’t leave drips. I struggle with drips on the vertical surfaces with the thinner water based top coats.


  2. I think this desk will get snatched up quickly! The styling with the coloring book is perfect for it. Aren’t they fun? So glad you’re feeling better! I’ll have to show you…I’m doing a 12 year old girls’ bedroom right now, and it’s all boho! If I wasn’t doing a built-in desk, this would be just the right style 🙂


  3. The desk is beautiful! I’m sure it will sell quickly once you list it.
    I was looking at the upcoming Prima designs, and this was my favourite! I’m so happy to see it in use… Now I will definitely order it! 😉


    1. You’ll love it. It was very easy to apply too. It comes in 4 pieces, FYI. I may not even bother listing this desk for another week. Our temps are going to be well below zero this coming week, so not exactly conducive to loading up furniture. Brrrr….


  4. I had no idea about these Prima designs. At first I was thinking “Wow, she’s a great free hand artist!” with those two designs, and then thought “that is something I don’t have the talent for.” I’m really excited to learn about this new technique, and thank you for sharing!


  5. Wow…what a difference! I actually love both styles…what a difference is outcome though, just a little paint or transfer and it changes the whole piece.


  6. One can’t help but feel a spark of “Ooooohhh!”. To see the transfer wrapped around the corner is unexpectedly delightful! I applaud that you kind of stepped out of your typical zone and let this transfer take your creativity in a different direction.


  7. It’s the pits to have to redo a piece that doesn’t sell. This turned out lovely and I hope it sells quickly for you! My daughter saw your desk and kner immediately what she wants for hers. Thanks for the inspiration😁


  8. So fresh and fun! I like both looks but this one gave it a little zip! Love how you are able to think outside the box , or shall we say , around the corner, with these beautiful transfers.


  9. What a wonderful update! You gave that little desk just the right amount of color and pizzazz. The transfers, used together, could easily have been overbearing but the way you used them is perfect. I’m sure wrapping the one around the side of the desk and between & over the drawers was tedious work but it paid off. It looks fantastic and will fit into a multitude of styles of rooms. It can grow with a girl from childhood throughout adulthood all depending on the accessories used. I’m sure it will sell quickly. It’s fantastic!


    1. Thanks so much Christie! I’m just waiting for it to warm up a bit before posting it for sale online. We are going to be sub-zero for a good part of this coming week, and nobody wants to load furniture in that!


  10. What a beautiful transformation! I did like the first attempt ❤️ I love the position of the transfers on this desk. The asymmetrical placement is perfect!


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