Thrift Store Makeover: Vintage Student Desk Edition

I keep seeing these vintage student desks popping up all over thrift stores and antique malls these days.  Prices vary, depending on the condition and age of the piece, but we picked up this cute little metal guy for $30.00. 

Vintage Student Desk DIY makeover

I was actually shopping with my parents when my dad spotted the desk.  He started reminiscing about his school days spent studying in a metal desk exactly like this one, so I’m going to guess the age to be a mid century piece, since that is when my dad would have been in school.  The top of the desk was covered in paint, marker and years of kid-filth.  It was pretty disgusting. 

Vintage Student Desk DIY makeover-2

I was worried it would need to be painted, but after I gave it a good scrubbing with a Mr. Clean Magic eraser it came completely clean without any sign of damage.  Thank you, magical Magic eraser.  

The first thing I did was spray paint all of the metal base a bright Kermit green color.  Of course I totally forgot to snap a photo of this step since I was being eaten alive by mosquitos in my driveway.   So, we are just going to skip right to the middle part, where I had completely covered all of the green metal parts of the chair (after letting the paint dry overnight).  Next up came a coat of white spraypaint for the seat and back.  Then I let that coat dry completely.

Vintage Student Desk DIY makeover-3

After that, I whipped out my Frogtape Chevron Shape Tape that we received in our awesome Haven Conference Swag bags.  Everyone was going crazy over this stuff!

Vintage Student Desk DIY makeover-5

I eyeballed the tape and slapped it across the seat and the back all the way around. The curved seat back was a little tricky to keep a straight line, so I cut the tape in the middle and used two pieces to get the angle.  Easy peasy.

Vintage Student Desk DIY makeover-4

Final step was this last coat of light blue spray paint on top of the whole she-bang. I made sure everything was completely coated, then I pulled off the tape before it was able to start drying. Vintage Student Desk DIY makeover-6

And here is the finished result! 

Vintage Student Desk DIY makeover-7

Ready to see the before and after??  Here you go! I’m super happy that the top was able to come clean without a coat of paint.  The maple color looks so great with my other happy lime green, light blue and white spray paint choices!  And check it out! I showcased my vintage student desk makeover over on last week. 

   Vintage Student Desk DIY makeover with chevron frogtape

Afterwards I took the desk to my parent’s house so that the grandkids could have a fun place to sit and work on art projects in Grandma’s beautiful scrapbooking room!  This room deserves an entire blog post unto itself, so be sure to take the full tour of The Most Amazing Scrapbooking Room You Ever Did See. 

Here is a sneak peek:

Vintage Student Desk DIY makeover-8

See? I told you it was awesome! 

If you like more craft room tours, here is mine! Take the full tour here at this post: Organizing and Updating the Craft Room


« »

Speak Your Mind



  1. We have a school desk exactly like this sitting in our living room, minus of course the UnSkinny Boppy redo … now if my kids would just use it more. I think shape tape is such a great idea and it is so cool to see it in action. thanks for sharing. ~jb

  2. Cute! Cute!

  3. This turned out too cool! I love the colors and the touch of chevron – bringing that chair into the 21st century in style.

  4. That is just too cute! They still had those desks when I was in elementary school in the 70’s (I’m a smidge older than you, I think ;)) I love your makeover. It would make a great homework desk, too!

  5. It’s ADORABLE!!! Love, love, love the colors. Two thumbs up. 🙂

  6. What a great find and a fabulous makeover. Great tutorial. I would love for you to link up to Inspire Me this afternoon. Party goes live at 2:30 PT. Hope to see you there. Hugs, Marty

  7. I found this on Pinterest and I must say you sucked me in with your caption “You’ve gotta see the after”. 🙂 Super cute!

  8. cute desk! I love the color combo. I am so jealous of your mom’s room right now. The floors look amazing too!

  9. love this! wow!

    m ^..^

  10. Adorable idea Beth. 🙂

  11. Amazing redo and how insanely awesome is that tape?!

  12. So adorable. It looks right at home there in the awesome scrap booking room. I’s fun to do old-school with a modern twist. I did the same thing with my Haven ShapeTape.

  13. Oh cute! I’ve got a desk exactly like this I’ve been mulling over what to do with. I love the green color you used!

  14. WOW Beth, did that come out nice. I’d have walked by shaking my head, it cant be saved. that thing was outright obnoxious. Now its subtle and soft. GREAT JOB.

  15. move to hawaii with nothing says:

    Its like you read my mind! You seem to know a lot about this, like
    you wrote the book in it or something. I think that you could do with some pics to drive the message home a bit, but
    instead of that, this is wonderful blog. A fantastic read.

    I’ll certainly be back.

  16. Hi, how can i get this product sent to NSW Australia. I paint using ASCP, Would love to purchase but cant find a supplier that will post to me. Can you help!!
    Cheers Nicole. 🙂

  17. Kelly Clark says:

    Love it!!! Awesome job!!

  18. Ron Brown says:

    I just happened upon the amazing looking desk. I have a similar piece but without no desktop. I would love to have an outline of the desktop so that I could refinish the one that I have for my grandchildren. I used a desk similar to this when I was in primary grade and would make a nice conversation piece to share some of my school days with them. Can you help me.

  19. Thank you for sharing this wonderful tip for parents. It’s just a great workplace idea for young students. Soon my son will go to the first class, and it’s just a wonderful idea to make such a table and place it in his room. I think that it will be very convenient for him to do his homework at this table. After all, it is considered that success in doing homework depends on the comfort of the workplace. As an expert in education, I say this. I think that you helped many parents with your advice 🙂



  1. […] brought many exciting projects and experiences for me, including the makeover of this cute vintage student desk that’s been repinned 13,500 times in just a few months. I also showed you my mom’s amazing […]

  2. […] So, I quickly spray painted the existing brass light fixture with some leftover spray paint from the vintage student desk makeover, and when I tried to put it all back together I was missing some important pieces of the light […]

« »