Hello lovelies!! I’ve been getting ready for some fun things happening around here this weekend (baby shower, Mom’s birthday party), but I told you I would still have a thrifty makeover to share, and so here I am! This vintage secretary makeover turned out so sweet that I knew y’all wouldn’t mind seeing this one once again!
I describe this piece in its before state as ugly, but with beautiful lines:
Am I right?
It is ugly AND beautiful lol. I have a soft spot for anything French provincial, but when I first spied this secretary at the thrift store, it was marked at $49. It had too many issues for that price, so I left it behind.
Luckily, when I returned a week later, it was marked down to $34.95, so I grabbed the tag and claimed it.
It had a few areas that were water damaged:
Clearly, this piece is not solid wood.
It also had this crack across the front piece:
It ended up being intact though and only cracked on the outside veneer. This was the main reason I passed on it the first time.
But guess what is going to save this piece? Decoupage paper!
I’ve included a few affiliate links so you can find the products I love.
But first, I gave it a good cleaning with White Lightning:
I just mix one TBSP of White Lightning with a half a gallon of hot water and then go to town.
Look at all the dirt that came off of this piece…
It was pretty gross! I swapped out my water for clean water to rinse, and this secretary was ready for paint.
I gave the exterior three coats of Cotton:
It’s amazing how paint erases that dated look so easily, right?
Adding Decoupage Paper
Now for the fun part! I found this decoupage paper on Etsy a while back (I no longer see it available but it is called Queen Bee by Roycycled Treasures):
I don’t use decoupage paper that often as I really enjoy the ease of transfers, but decoupage paper is another great option.
This paper is thicker and larger than traditional tissue paper, so it is perfect for adding a special touch to any furniture piece.
WHILE IT WAS STILL WET, I carefully positioned the paper where I wanted it and smoothed it in place:
You could also use Mod Podge if you have that on hand.
I used a razor blade to cut off the excess, and then smoothed out any wrinkles as best I could with this scraper:
Don’t worry about any wrinkles that remain after smoothing the best you can as they will practically disappear as the paper dries.
Then I sealed everything with Clear Coat in Satin:
I sanded and sealed the rest of the secretary as well. You can see more on how I paint furniture, including a video at the end HERE.
Vintage Secretary Makeover After
New hardware and this sweet piece was complete!
It has so much more personality now!
The decoupage paper camouflaged those water damaged areas on the drawers perfectly!
I used two sheets of this decoupage paper for this piece.
The inside had its own issues…
(Wow, it really was ugly before, wasn’t it?)
I decided on sleek Caviar for the inside:
All the hardware needed to be replaced because the original hardware was actually glued in place and not all of it was able to be removed unharmed.
These cup pulls came from Homegoods last year:
And the top drawer is my favorite pull that I use often from Hobby Lobby:
I like how the pulls blend right in and let the pretty paper be the focal point.
You know I had to give the drawers some love too.
I lined them with this fun buffalo check that I actually found at the thrift store:
You can see how I line drawers with fabric in this video:
If you have trouble viewing, find it on YouTube HERE.
This was definitely a trash-to treasure project!
It’s not trash anymore!
If you enjoyed this secretary, you might also enjoy this secretary desk I redid, also with decoupage paper:
Meet me back here on Tuesday where I’ll be sharing what I did with the hutch of that piece:
UPDATE: No need to wait, see what I did with it HERE now!
Have a fantastic weekend!
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