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Upcycled School Desk Vanity

Americana Decor® Chalky Finish™

Upcycled School Desk Vanity
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Upcycled School Desk Vanity

designed by Margot Potter

With paint and stencil, you can upcycle a school desk into one-of-a-kind vanity with an optional mirror.

See more projects using this product.
Learn more about Americana Decor® Chalky Finish™.


Americana Decor® Chalky Finish™ Paint

  • Delicate (ADC11)
  • Relic (ADC28)
  • Yesteryear (ADC27)

Americana Decor® Crème Waxes

  • Clear (ADM01)

Americana Decor® Specialty Products

  • Crackle Medium (ADM08)

Americana Decor® Stencils

  • The Flower Market (12" x 12") (ADS08)

Other supplies

  • water container
  • palette or plastic plate
  • paper towels
  • 1" flat brush
  • fine-grit sandpaper
  • stencil brush (or cosmetic sponge)
  • electric drill
  • finishing brush
  • school desk
  • vintage dresser mirror
  • stencil tape


  1. Remove the lid from the school desk with an electric drill (or manual screwdriver). Wipe down the surface of the desk with a damp paper towel. Allow to dry.
    Step 0 Example
  2. Using a 1" flat brush, paint an even coat of Delicate over the entire surface of the desk including the legs. Allow to dry. Repeat. Allow to dry.
    Step 1 Example
  3. Using a 1" flat brush, paint a coat of Crackle Medium over the entire surface of the desk including the legs. Allow to dry.
    Step 2 Example
  4. Paint a light coat of Yesteryear over the entire surface of the desk including the legs. Allow to dry.
  5. Use stencil tape to place the Flower Market stencil on the center top of the desk. Use a stencil brush and apply Relic to stencil. Allow to dry.
    Step 4 Example
  6. Cut stencil to make it small enough to be taped to the top left and right corners of the desk top. Use the stencil brush to apply Relic. Allow to dry.
    Step 5 Example
  7. Use a fine-grit sandpaper to sand edges of desk, exposing the Delicate paint under the Yesteryear paint. Wipe off any dust with a damp paper towel.
  8. Mix about 2 tablespoons of Relic into the Clear Crème Wax. Stir thoroughly.
  9. Use a finishing brush to pounce light amounts of tinted wax over the desk, dry-brushing these to create a smoked style finish. Work in small sections. Add more paint as desired until you are happy with the result. Wash and dry finishing brush; allow wax to dry.
    Step 8 Example
  10. Use a finishing brush to apply a thin layer of Clear Crème Wax over the entire surface of the desk. Allow to dry.
  11. Reattach the lid.
  12. Optional: We used a vintage dresser mirror, which we painted to match the desk. This can either be hung on the wall behind the desk or attached to the back of the desk with braces.


After you’ve applied the Crackle Medium and also after applying the final coat of wax, check over all edges of the desk to ensure there are no drips or globs. Remove them with a brush before the wax dries.