DIY Door to Desk Project

7:00 AM

I have been waiting until the room was complete and tidy to get "good" pictures, but firstly the room isn't finished yet, and secondly, as a crafter there are very few days that my room will ever be tidy enough!

So, this project came about because using a trestle table as a craft table, although great as a temporary measure, wouldn't cut it as a long term use. It also didn't fit with the room, nor my personality. I looked at the piece together desks at Ikea and was sold on the look and product, but not cost nor being able to show a bit of personality.

Hubby to the rescue with the suggestion of using a door as the desk top.

The idea was brilliant. So we went shopping.....

A visit to our local building recyclers had a hit with the perfect door. We had plenty of doors to pick from and slowly worked our way through the selection to find what I wanted. It was listed as a 'dunny door' and was one of the longest we could get. The best part of trawling through the selection was being able to see the differences in length, width, design and condition.


I noticed around where the door handle once was that there was a bit of colour showing through. My hope was that some of this colour may be under the cream coat on top. The aim was to sand this back to the raw timber then paint in a desired colour.

The door itself was nothing special and had minimal damage to the base of the door. There was a little water damage but it wasn't going to effect the outcome as it would be on the underside of the desk - easy to cover up. The door cost $50 - a bargain for what I wanted to do with it!

I started sanding back with a small hand held electric sander and a fine pad, making sure to wear a face mask. There was any chance that some of this paint could have been lead based and the health and safety part of me came out - really we should just wear them for tasks like this and not find a reason to have to!

What we found underneath was a fantastic range of colours - cream, brown, dark blue, teal, lime green and yellow. It was a whole history of fashion under there!

 It was just a matter of how far back I wanted to sand as to the colour that was going to be the final product.

It took a bit of time with the sanding process to get the final result, with a decision made to bring a bit of the natural wood into it. The worst cases scenario was that I would have painted the desk top in a desired colour. Some of the existing paint wouldn't budge, so we left it as was, which helped add to the effect.

A clear varnish coat was put over the very top of the desk along with the edges and bottom being painted white with some left over wall paint.

Ikea was our source of legs for the desk. They sell the separately and in different designs. The legs are timber with metal rings where they attached to the table top. We used only 2 of these for one end of the desk. The other end we placed a computer cabinet for extra storage.

There is no reason why you wouldn't be able to buy table legs from a building recycler or even Bunnings/hardware store.

The end result was great with a total cost of under $300 and a whole lot of personality!

Here are the tips:
  • Measure your space before heading to your chosen source of supplier.
  • Look for damage on the door. Some you will be able to work with, other parts you wont.
  • Look for interesting features. In my case it was the paint colours around the removed door handle.
  • Allow yourself a bit of vision. What you see isn't going to be the final look.
  • Use what you have to keep the cost down. I used left over interior wall paint for my white.
  • Set a budget for a DIY project and know the full price of new. DIY may not be the cheapest method but it will be a individual piece.

Let me know if you try this technique with any of your furniture. I would love to hear how it turned out.

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