Lavender & Black – updating a vintage desk

working on Stripes and Checkerboards


Paint – Lavender & Black & Gold
(the Lavender colour I used was a custom blend of 2/3 Annie Sloan Pure White and 1/3 Aspire Eminence – only because this is what I had on hand. The Black was DIY Little Black Dress and the Gold was Deco Art Champagne Gold)
Painter’s Tape
Brushes – various sizes
Clear Finishing Wax
Buffing brush/cloth

Notes… I have given you details on the exact paints I used but know I went with what I had on hand.  You can certainly go with a paint of your choice.  For this I used Chalk/Clay paints which required sealing with wax but if you choose a self-sealing paint then know you are able to skip the wax step unless you choose to add it for the `feel` it brings the piece.


  • Clean & Repair – The first step is to always make any necessary repairs (in the case of this desk all of the drawers had separated at the joints which required me to apply wood glue and clamp them together for 24 hours before cleaning and beginning the project)
  • Base Coat – I mixed enough of the Lavender colour to ensure that I had at least 2 full coats of paint.  If you are concerned with bleed through then start with a coat of Shellac to block it, or you can start with a professional base coat paint.  I didn’t do either with this piece – they were unnecessary and I hate ‘extra’ steps!
  • After ensuring full and smooth coverage of my Lavender colour I allowed the piece to fully dry.  This is important before taping to ensure none of the base colour adheres to the tape!
  • Measure the areas you are looking to ‘stripe’ and divide by the width of your tape, determining how well your stripes ‘fit’ into the space.  You don’t want to end up with one over-large stripe so you need to ensure that you are able to adjust the widths accordingly. The taped areas will remain lavender, so determine which stripes are to be black and which lavender and begin taping off accordingly. There is a pic at the end of the instructions showing I striped the outter sides and the inner foot well of the desk.
  • Tip:  I will use small pieces of tape butted up against the edge of the piece, or up against the edge of the taped stripe to guide where my next piece of tape goes, ensuring a nice straight line easily.
  • Ensure that you also tape off the top and bottom areas of your stripes to ensure clean starts and stops.
  • Press all edges of the tape down firmly to help achieve crisp lines. 
  • Tip: Paint over all of the edges of the taped areas in the base colour again (or in a clear top coat).  This is the colour that will bleed through, making any bleed through ‘invisible’.
  • Once dry, apply a couple of coats of your black, working on a smooth coverage.  I allow my paint to dry almost fully so I don’t smudge wet paint, but I do not allow it to fully cure, which might cause issues when removing the tape. And… remove all of the tape.
  • For the checkerboard pattern – I measured the dimensions of the area I wanted finished in the checkerboard, determined the appropriate size of squares that would fit best in the space, and cut heavy cardstock to that width. I used this as my guide to lightly draw lines in the space in pendil. I used these guide-lines to hand paint in the black squares.
  • Don’t expect them to be perfect.  Noone else will!  That said, I did want to add an accent of a small dot of gold paint where each of the square met up.  You could free hand this as well, though I chose a small flat-headed nail, dipped it into the gold paint and pressed it into the appropriate spot.  This left me with dots that were all roughly the same size.
  • For the small stripes along the top desk edge I taped off the top of the desk to ensure a clean edge and then free-handed them, using a flat artist brush that was roughly the width I wanted each stripe to be.  The dots along the Table top (at the top of each stripe) were made with a larger flat headed nail than used on the drawer fronts.
  • The final step is always to apply your sealer.  In this case I used a clear wax, wiping off any excess before it dried and then buffing smooth once it was dry. 
  • Below is the Before and After look so you can see what I started with and where I went with the final look.

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