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We have been using a filing cabinet as our computer desk for nearly 3 years. We were ready for a desk we could put our feet under. Thankfully, my sister found this one at the Goodwill Outlet for just $10. Yea! I bought it from her. It was just perfect for us. But, not in this color. So, with my sister’s tried and true recommendations for paint choices, I grabbed 2 quarts of Rustoleum oil based paint (1 Cover stain- oil, and 1 semi-gloss black), and began the transformation:

Found this 1×6 board behind my shed, already primed!!! Who knows where it came from, but I thought it would work GREAT as a “back shelf” to hold my monitor higher off the desk. So, out came my husband’s tools during nap time:

 I measured twice, and cut the board into 3 pieces with his circular saw (drawing up some bravery for using this tool for the first time without really knowing what I was doing. But, it went really well, to my surprise).

 Sanded each piece on all sides, rounding all the corners.

 Did a “test fit” where I intended it on the back portion of the desk. Will it fit? Check.

 Selected the right screws and drill bit. Hubs taught me to choose a drill bit that has the same circumference as the screw you intend to use, minus the threads on the shaft. Make sense? Hmm…well, hope so.

I measured/guessed where I wanted the screw holes.

 Pre-drilled down through top board into side bracing board, putting 2 pilot holes into each side of my shelf.

 Secured with 2 deck screws on each end.

 Now I had to chose the right length screw to mount my shelf to my desk.

 Pre-drilled holes again, and hand tightened the screws in.

 All done, except I now realized I should’ve either  added the shelf first, so I wouldn’t have scratched my paint job and have to repaint. Oh, well. We can fix mistakes here. And mistakes usually do happen here, but we like to call them “learning opportunities.” Ha.

And who slept through all Mommy’s power tool usage? This precious little guy!

 Had to end up priming 2 coats of white….Followed by 3 coats black and an additional 4th coat of black on the desk surface. But, it does look real nice, and because I used the oil based paint, no seal coat was required, and I have a very smooth finish all over. Yea!

The next day, after the desk was completely dry, my toddler was VERY helpful and was so THRILLED to get to help Mommy put the hardware back on the desk. Nathan, of course, prefers the “real” tools to his soft toy set. Well, he’s learning early, right?

 Here’s what our filing cabinet desk looked like before.

 And here it is now. We love it. And, I’m thankful for another completed project. And a very useful one at that for around our home.

 Our “computer” area… the shelving above I made last year out of an old bookcase I tore apart. The shelves are the old bookshelves. And the braces were from Walmart. Yea for cheap and useful.

What can I paint black next? Well, actually…there’s 2 chairs and a buffet that I have in mind already that need some re-do….


Joy2Sew is a sewing business specializing in bridal alterations, custom costume creations, sewing lessons, and pdf patterns for children's costumes.

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