Hey there, as promised here’s my take on upcycling an old writing desk or if you prefer bureau!

We had this old writing bureau in the back back room as we call it, well…. because it’s a room in the back of the back room! Dont ask! That’s a whole other post!  Let’s get back to it, it  was left abandoned there along with a load of other old crap. Doesn’t everyone have a room like that in their house, that you just dump stuff into?? Please say you do?!

It was a nice piece, but had not been used in many many years.  Eventually when I got around to clearing out, said room, I kinda liked the look of this cabinet.  Big and spacious and loads of space to hide store my craft stash.

So my vision for this cabinet was to paint her a bright colour on the outside but to leave the inside in the wood.  There is a pull down shutter to the front of the cabinet and there is also a pull out leaf so it’s a great craft cabinet! I decided to try out some stencilling on the shutter and on the pull out leaf.  I saw some pretty cool wood stained stencils over at the ambitious procrastinator, she has some great tutorials.  So I thought, this was the perfect project to try it out.

Ok, lets talk supplies, I used the following:

  • Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Antibes Green
  • Annie Sloan Clear & Dark Wax
  • Sugar Soap
  • Sander
  • Sandpaper
  • Stencils
  • White Acrylic Paint
  • Wood Glue
  • Stain, I used Indian Rosewood
  • Soft cloth or brush


  • First off, I cleaned cabinet down with some sugar soap and let it dry
  • I gave it a sand down with my sander, there was a lot of marks and dirt on it.
  • Next up, I used the wood glue to fix back any loose bits, there was a small strip hanging off at the bottom of the drawer.
  • I usually give any pieces I do an undercoat or some kind of primer but this time I decided not to do this step, as first of all its chalk paint and you don’t need to prep.  I don’t necessarily believe this, as I think if you prep your pieces first they will last a lot longer, but anyway I had no primer & no patience so I just brushed on the paint.  I find AS paint to be quiet thick, so I did water it down somewhat and it goes on a lot easier.  So after 3 coats, yes 3 it look in total, it was ready. I decided to leave the lips on the drawers in the wood, I just painted the drawer fronts.
  • After each coat, I gave it a light sand.  I like the look of the paint after you do this.  I distressed the piece in places, harder in some areas and lightly in others.  I like the shabby look.
  • I then used the clear wax all over, I love how the paint looks after you wax it. I decided to age it a bit so I used the dark wax after the clear in places.  Just by dabbing the wax on and rubbing it off again it gives it a nice old look.
  • I decided to try out the wood stain stencil on the pull out drawer.  I positioned the stencil and used a stencil foam thingy (you know what I mean!) with the glue. I let this dry.  It was a nice effect but it wasn’t very obvious to see.  Maybe my stain was too dark ?
  • After that I decided to use white acrylic paint on the stencil for the pull down shutter and try to show off the stencil.  Again, I positioned the stencil and instead of the glue, I used the paint. Left it to dry and yes, this time I was happy with this result.
  • Next up, I needed to stain the pull down shutter over the stencil.  I used Indian Rosewood stain.  Just a small piece on your cloth or brush and rub it into your piece.  Do this in small bits at a time until you are finished.  Let it dry and lightly wipe off any excess.  I lightly sanded where the stencil was to give it a slightly distressed look.
  • I also stained the lips of the drawers and in the end I stained the inside part of the desk too as there was a slight difference between the wood colours.

So here’s the final result!



Sorry about the state of my floor but I did fix it up after this project, to see what I did have a read over here