Back in the spring Reid asked me to paint his room which I knew would morph into several more projects before all was said and done. He’s almost twelve now and prefers to study in his room so we decided to go thrift store hunting for a desk.
He decided on this black Ikea desk. It was a good size for him and for his room.
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It was in great shape but the top and sides had been scratched. A little elbow grease and a fresh coat of paint could easily fix that.
The Ikea Desk Makeover with a Neon Green Stripe
Reid loves neon green but we both agreed that an entire neon green desk would be a little overwhelming. So we decided to do a wide black stripe, a white stripe that was half the width of the black stripe and then a big neon green stripe in the middle.
Steps for Painting a Neon Green Striped Desk
Please note: This project was done over several days (probably closer to a week) in order for the paint to dry in between coats.
I sanded the top to fix the deeper scratches and since the paint had a slick finish I did a quick “scuff” sanding on the rest of the desk.
Next, I wiped the desk down with denatured alcohol and a lint free cloth.
2. Primer Coats
Since I expect this desk to get some rough usage from my tween, I decided do a primer coat in hopes of it helping the paint adhere better.
I used a roller for the main areas and cut in with a angled brush for the corners and edges.
I did two coats with the appropriate drying times in between. <===This is important. If you try to rush additional coats without allowing for the appropriate drying times recommended by the manufacturer then you’re paint might not adhere as well as you would have liked.
3. Painting the Body
I used an angled brush to cut in where the roller didn’t cover. It took 3 coats of the black milk paint to get adequate coverage.
4. Measuring and Painting the Set of Black Stripes
Reid and I had agreed on a wide black stripe starting at the edges of the desk top, then a thin white stripe, and finally a large neon green for that big punch of color that he was looking for.
I measured out 4 inches from edge and then taped off like shown below. I went with 4 inches simply because I liked how it looked and not because I had done some crazy math calculation to determine the best width for all of the different stripes.
After I had the tape down, I went back and measured it out once again. I placed the tape measure end on the outside edge of the desk and measured to the edge of the yellow tape line which should have been 4 inches. I started from the left side of the desk and worked my way over to the right side measuring every few inches to make sure my tape line had been measured out and placed correctly.
Tip: Gently apply the painter’s tape. Then measure again and adjust the tape as needed in order to get a straight line. Once you are satisfied with the placement of the tape, firmly press it in place before painting.
Tip: Use painter’s tape that is made for delicate surfaces like shown above. It still pulled my primer up in a few areas but I imagine the blue painter’s tape would have been even worse.
I did three coats of General Finishes Lamp Black Milk Paint using the foam roller and allowing proper dry time in between.
Originally I had planned on taping over the black painted stripes (after a day or two of it drying), but I decided that wouldn’t be the best plan after all since some of the paint pulled off when I removed the painter’s tape.
New plan: I would mark off and paint the center stripe electric green and then I would free hand the white stripe in between the black and green paint.
5. Measuring and Painting The Neon Green Stripe
According to our plan, the white stripe would be half the width of the black stripe so I measured off 2 inches from the black line and marked it with the tape and repeated it for the other side.
Remember to double check your measurements after getting the tape down.
I used Electric Green from Sherwin Williams to match Reid’s new bedding. This was the first time I had painted with any kind of neon paint and I found it to be very thin. I’m not sure if that is the case with all neon paint colors or just the green but as a warning I’ll just say be prepared to do lots and lots of coats to get white primer covered.
Do you see the black “oops” mark that I got on the white paint? That was fun to cover up!
6. Painting the White Stripe
After I removed the paint tape, I free handed the white stripes using an angled brush and some Bright White paint from Home Depot.
Tip: Keep a variety of small craft paint brushes on hand for touch ups–from where paint might have oozed under the tape or in the case you accidentally paint out of the lines.
7. Applying the Top Coat
The following day I used General Finishes High Performance Flat clear coat as my protective top coat. It’s the same top coat I had used on my kitchen cabinets last fall which has held up wonderfully so far.
I applied three coats using a good foam brush like this one.
Tip: Follow the directions on the can for proper dry times and number of coats needed.
And here it is as the final top coat was drying…
And a side view…
Teen Boy’s Ikea Desk Makeover Reveal
And here it is decked out by Reid…
And the final look…