After, Before, Curbside Finds, DIY after, antique gold, before, desk, diy, general finishes, mermaid desk, rub n buff, trash to treasure

Mermaid Decoupaged Desk

I found this gorgeous desk sitting alongside the curb during big pick up item and could not pass it up!  I’ve been looking for a desk to decoupage on and this one was perfect!

Hobby Lobby had this gorgeous mermaid paper in blues and golds that I could not live without and figured it was perfect for this desk.

   Along with the mermaid paper was this gold and white striped paper that matched perfectly!  I grabbed my Mod Podge, paper and a foam brush before heading home to start my project.

The first step to painting or decoupaging any item is cleaning it well.  I use Krud-Kutter Gloss-Off and a damp rag.  Once it’s all clean pull all of the drawers out, remove the hardware (remember to keep this in a safe spot so not to loose anything) and set the drawers aside.  I chose to use the gold and white striped paper on the drawer fronts and top of the desk and the mermaid paper on the rest of the body of the desk.  Whenever decoupaging I like to start with the drawers first.  I coated the entire drawer front with the mod podge and rolled the paper out over it, smoothing it as I went along the front of the drawer, trimming the extra away.


Once all of the drawers were decoupaged, I started on the body of the desk.  I flipped the desk over onto its top so that it would be easier to work with, plus I could clean off all of the cobwebs from underneath.  Yuck!!  Between the cobwebs and spider eggs, it was disgusting (I’m not a fan of bugs in the least bit).


After getting rid of all the gross stuff from underneath, I started applying the mod podge and mermaid paper to the sides and back of the desk.  Remember, go slowly, smoothing out the wrinkles as you go and pressing the paper down well.  You do not have to trim the excess off perfectly either because you can sand it off once it’s completely dry.


Now that the entire outside of the desk and the front of the drawers were decoupaged let it dry!  Do not touch it until it’s completely dry, mine only took about 20-30 minutes.  Once it is completely dry you can take a sanding sponge (I like to use medium grit) and go along all of the edges to get rid of any excess paper.  I pull off small pieces and sand heavier along the edges/seams to give a more distressed look.  You can sand as much or as little as you want depending on the look you are going for.

     I sanded quite a bit for a more heavily distressed look.

When I was finished sanding I wiped the entire piece down well with a damp rag to get rid of all the dust and prepare it for painting.

Several paint colors were chosen to use on this piece, General Finishes Milk Paint in Coastal Blue, Patina Green and Seagull Gray were my colors of choice.  This is when your creativity can really kick in!  Apply the paint however and wherever you choose.  I dry brushed each color individually working in layers.

Not gonna lie, at this point it pretty much looked like a really bad paint job.  It definitely got ugly before getting pretty!  I’m sure any one that saw it at this point was wondering what I was doing and where I was going with the look.

Once the paint from dry brushing was completely dry, I blended it all together using General Finishes Van Dyke Brown Glaze and Rub’n Buff Antique Gold.  These colors were used to accent certain areas also.


I like to apply the Rub’n Buff using my fingers because I feel like I have more control of it and can blend it in on the edges as I go.  It does dry fast so you have to work fairly quick as your blending it.

When I was pleased with the overall look and it had completely dried, I used General Finishes High Performance Top Coat to seal it.  Two to three coats were applied using a foam brush to help avoid streaking.

To compliment the colors and adorn the desk I used the original hardware.  It was cleaned up and Rub’n Buff Antique Gold was applied to it.

My mermaid desk was now complete!!  What do you think?  Would love to see pictures of your decoupaged pieces in the comments.



Supplies used:

-Mod Podge

-General Finishes Milk Paint in Coastal Blue, Patina Green and Seagull Gray

-General Finishes Glaze in Van Dyke Brown

General Finishes High Performance Top Coat

-chip brushes

-medium grit sanding sponge

-lint free rags

-Rub’n Buff in Antique Gold

-sponge applicator

-paper of choice to decoupage ( I used 2 different papers)

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