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DIY: Distressed Desk For Less

If you've ever been on Pinterest, stepped foot in a rustic style shop, or visited your local vintage/antique store, you've seen the type of desk I'm talking about. It's old, full of character and classic details, but a little frumpy for your upscale apartment or simply your home in general. 
You think "oh, if only I were creative I could make this into something that all my friends would lust over." I'm here today to tell you that YOU CAN DO IT. Trust me, I'm not all that artistic and I accomplished this task very easily. 

Here's what you'll need:
(I bought a flat cream colored chalk paint that was already mixed and returned by someone else. This could be risky but for $12 it was worth it.)
Paint Brushes 
(I bought these from Walmart for $2 each. You can easily pay $20 for a brush but the cheaper one's can get tossed after they are used.)
Drop Cloth, Newspaper, Cardboard, etc
Sand Paper
(100 grain worked best for my piece of furniture)
Screwdriver + Hammer
• Old Towels

• Don't rush the process 
• Don't sweat the mess-ups
• Check for hidden places you may have overlooked
• Make the piece your own
Here's our beauty BEFORE all the madness began. 
*remember, you are painting and distressing this piece; don't feel like you have to spend a ton of money on the furniture. Check Craigslist, local thrift shops, and apps like Offer-Up for deals on furniture that others might not see the beauty in. *

STEP 1: Prepare your area. This is where I put my drop cloth down(save money by using old newspapers), opened my paint, grabbed a couple of old towels, and laid out all of my brushes.

STEP 2: This is where your screwdriver comes into play: hardware time. Trust me when I say, it's much easier to simply remove all the hardware before you paint rather than just taping them off. 

STEP 3: Sand. Take 100 grain sandpaper and sand the entire piece. This gives the paint something to stick to. 

STEP 4: PAINT. This is the part where it differs for everyone but here are somethings to consider:
- How long will this take? 
(depending on the surface and material, this could be a quick or VERY LONG. For me, this was a two day process.)
- What do I want the finished product to look like?
(ask yourself what you want the piece to look like when it's all said and done. Strive for that and make adjustments along the way to accomplish that look.)
- How many coats will I put on?
(I thought I only wanted one coat of paint on the piece but after letting the first coat dry, I decided it didn't look as great as I imagined. Take the time to let the first coat dry and then go from there.)
STEP 5: Let dry. For me, this was about 10 hours. It made more sense for me to start painting later in the afternoon so this allowed the drying process to happen while I slept ;  otherwise, the urge to continue painting would have taken over and I wouldn't have let the paint dry the way it needed to. 
Step 6: Touch up. This step is one that could easily be skipped. My advice is to check your piece of furniture for spots where the paint looks thin or where the base shows through. 
*remember to check the "hidden" places to make sure they got painted. Back of legs, underneath sections, ridges, and the back of pieces tend to get overlooked. My advice is to sit on the floor, stand on a chair, etc and look at your piece from all angles.*

STEP 7: Drying time again. Let the piece sit until you can touch it with your hand and not transfer even the slightest bit of paint from the furniture to your hands. 
STEP 8: Sanding. LOTS of sanding or a LITTLE bit of sanding; this decision is entirely up to your preference. The more places you sand, the more your piece will look aged, rustic, and rough. When thinking about how we envisioned our piece, we decided we wanted a lot of the wood base to show through. This required quite a bit of sanding on my end. 
*focus on the edges, creases, and high traffic locations when sanding + distressing. The places that you bump and rub on a regular basis naturally will look much more rough than the places where you don't. Think about what areas your hands will touch most and sand double in those places*

STEP 9 OPTIONAL: Wax and/or cover with a clear top coat to set the paint. For us, we decided we liked the idea of the paint continuing to chip the longer we used it. After all, we have lots of extra paint so the worst thing is that we would eventually have to touch up places when we decide. 

STEP 10: Screw your hardware back on and enjoy your new work of art!