My Found Desk Gets A High Gloss Makeover

by Diane Henkler on 03/05/2012

Remember the desk I found curbside for free that I recently placed in my studioffice?

It was a very pretty desk with great lines, but I didn’t like the color.  I envisioned it in high gloss white and over the past week I transformed it into that vision with paint.  I still have many other projects to do in this room, but I wanted to show you how the desk turned out.


The room is coming together one step at a time. I brought the ottoman I made from my bedroom into the room to see how it looks. It will probably go back up to my bedroom, but I wanted to play and see how some extra seating would look.  I need to make or find something in the same scale as the ottoman that will fit under the desk when not in use.

The desk has one large drawer and I posted about how I lined the desk drawer and made organizers out of small boxes for it.

How to line a desk drawer Furniture makeovers - before and after


This is how the desk looked-


It had a beautiful aged and painted design. Very nice, but not quite my style.  The legs were pretty beaten up and white where the finish had worn in spots

Before and After Furniture transformations


To create the durable super extra high gloss furniture paint finsih I used Glidden Oil Base Trim and Door paint that I bought at The Home Depot. It is $19 a quart, but goes a very long way.

I know, I know… you are saying – “Yuck – no way am I painting with oil”

That used to be me. Once you see how this paint covers and shines, you may change your thinking.  It is incredibly shiny and dries to a super hard finish. I needed two coats. It took 24 hours to dry and did smell, but the wait was worth it – no brush marks at all!  It is as smooth as glass as the paint self levels.

Glidden Trim and Door Extra high Gloss Paint

It is gel paint – thick!  A paint stirring stick stands upright in it.  It only needs to be stirred gently– no shaking.  I used Bright White, but I think it comes in Antique White, Red, Black, and Navy.

Glidden Trim and Door Extra High Gloss Paint


To prep the desk for painting. I lightly sanded the entire desk with medium grit sandpaper, then cleaned it with a tack cloth to remove all the dust.  I used my trusty 2” angled Purdy paint brush and simply brushed the paint on.  Since the paint is thick  – I needed to push the brush into the strokes with a bit more pressure than normal to get it to spread out, but it went on quickly.  I let it dry for 2 days before I added a second coat.

Once it was dry I gave it more of my personality by adding my stuff.

Pretty Desk top ideas


You can see how shiny it is – the glass vase has a reflection.

Desk decorating ideas


I am thrilled with the desk – I am over the moon happy as I have never had my very own desk before. Growing up, I shared a room with my 2 sisters and we shared a desk.  In college I had a desk in my dorm room, but it was dark brown and attached to the wall with built in shelves.  It didn’t feel like a desk and I never used it.  I had a work bench for a while and then I made the Partners Desk that I shared with my family.   This desk is my very own – pretty and what I always imagined a desk should look like.

On one side I have all my pens and pencils, my second brain –my Rolodex, Pottery Barn clock, and flowers.

How to accessorize a desk


On the other end I keep all my colorful markers in a thrift store find, photos of my daughters when they were little, and a few favorite objects.

How to organize magic markers

I still have more to do in the room – area rug, windows, table skirt, new chair cover, a few more furniture transformations, a mini photo studio and craft wall.   I will continue to post about the progress and projects as I complete them.

Home Office Transformation

Home Office Decorating Ideas

I will be busy, but I am enjoying creating a room that will not only look pretty, but be easy to work and create in also.

Home Office Decorating Ideas




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{ 110 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Susan March 5, 2012 at 11:12 pm

It’s positively gorgeous! What a facelift! :)


2 Muzette March 5, 2012 at 11:15 pm


I love your desk makeover! It is a great feeling to redo a room just to suit you! Have fun, it looks awesome!



3 Connie@Connie Nikiforoff Designs March 5, 2012 at 11:34 pm

Wow this is beautiful! I’m working on our home office too. Both my husband and I have home-based businesses. But we don’t have wireless and we don’t have a laptop so there are cords to hide everywhere! And we need two desks, and we use paper files for our customers & clients (I know..old style!) and, and—- :-) Well, needless to say, our office will never look this streamlined. Still…it’s getting better and I worked out a way to more or less corral/hide all the cords. LOVE your desk and office redo…Awaiting further pics of your beautiful space.


4 Diane March 6, 2012 at 8:43 am

Hi Connie – Thanks – I have cord issues, too. My laptop only runs for about 2 hours when not plugged in. I am working out a plan to hide the cords and will post about it soon. I have my file cabinets off to the left side of the desk. My chair has wheels and I can wheel over to it. Right now the cabinets are taupe – not sure what I am going to do with them – paint? -but they are a needed component in the room.

I have been really working on streamlining. Before I used to love having all my inspiration around me – on the wall pin board etc. But I found that my computer has that all for me now – Pinterest, plus I find I think better with less clutter around. It is a work in progress.


5 Coastal Decorating Blog March 6, 2012 at 12:29 am

I would have had a hard time painting over the design on the original desk, but I gotta admit your desk turned out gorgeous! And I can see where the original design doesn’t fit your style.

Lesli @


6 Laura @ Ms Smartie Pants March 6, 2012 at 12:46 am

This desk turned out beautiful! What a beautiful bright room for creating. I can’t wait to see what else you add!


7 Diane March 6, 2012 at 8:35 am

Hi Laura – I am loving the brightness. I love to experiment with wall color, but know I feel best when my walls are white or light colors. Now I can’t wait for Spring to arrive so I can open up the windows.


8 Amanda @ Burlap & Denim March 6, 2012 at 12:47 am

Wow, stunning transformation. Excellent update and so well done! I’d love you to link it up in my first linky party:


9 Bettsi March 6, 2012 at 12:54 am

Oh my goodness, Diane! She’s a beauty! She’s so pretty you might need to give her a name! I saw a very similar table on craigslist yesterday for $463- I almost sent you the link. Enjoy!


10 megan March 6, 2012 at 7:23 am

What a beautiful desk! I love the transformation. Enjoy! Megan


11 Kathy @ Creative Home Expressions March 6, 2012 at 7:52 am

Diane, that turned out so good! Yes, I cringe when I hear oil paint, but I have to say it really looks nice on your desk. I love the reflective quality of it. I love the way you’ve accessorized it; it definitely says it is your desk! : )


12 Debbie {visual eye candy} March 6, 2012 at 7:52 am

What a transformation! It looks so pretty.


13 Holly March 6, 2012 at 8:08 am

Gorgeous Diane! Classic and beautiful with lots of colorful touches in the accessories. Enjoy your office!


14 Diane March 6, 2012 at 8:18 am

Thanks Holly – Did you and Shannon go out on Sat? I am so sad I missed getting to hang out with you two. Did you find anything good?


15 Anne Boykin March 6, 2012 at 8:16 am

Hi, I think your office looks wonderful just as it is! I love your desk and the highgloss look to it. It’s the perfect scale for your room. Enjoy!


16 Jana March 6, 2012 at 8:22 am

Wow, that turned out so beautiful!


17 laurie @ little blue chairs March 6, 2012 at 9:02 am

I love it. It was pretty before, but like you, not really my style.

I am glad you wrote about the Glidden paint. I have been anxious to try it. And now I will.


18 Diane March 6, 2012 at 9:26 am

Hi Laurie-

If you want a high gloss finish you will love the paint. I now have it on the desk and all the trim in the room and plan to paint my front door with it once Spring arrives. The paint does take some time to get use to using since it is so thick. Light coats work best. Seeing how it dries to such a smooth and shiny finish makes having to clean your brushes with paint thinner not seem so bad.


19 Diane March 12, 2012 at 11:16 am

HI Laurie-

I know the classic design on the desk is sought after by some, but it just wasn’t me. If it were a fine antique, I would have left it alone and sold it, but since it was just a reproduction with a good aged finish, I knew I had nothing to lose by painting it to fit into my decorating scheme. It is my favorite piece- I am sitting at it right now. :) It was great meeting you at Blissdom and I look forward to your posts.


20 Sally March 6, 2012 at 9:39 am

Best paint in the world! I’ve used it too, and it looks beautiful. Your office is so fantastic, but then you have such a creative mind, I’ve know it would be. Can hardly wait to see the entire room finished.


21 Kristin@Bring Pretty Back March 6, 2012 at 9:44 am

EXTRA high gloss paint! I need some! Honestly I think this is THE perfect office! I am not only pinning it I am printing it off to put on my dream board.
Heading to the Home Depot for some of this paint this weekend!
Have a PRETTY day!


22 Erin@TheSavvySeeker March 6, 2012 at 9:52 am

It’s amazing what a little paint can do! The lines on your desk are so pretty…and I LOVE your footstool. I recently painted my dining room chairs with Sherwin Williams black enamel with a satin finish and they turned out beautifully. Paint can really update a piece.


23 Sandra March 6, 2012 at 10:00 am

Gorgeous! ‘nough said


24 denise March 6, 2012 at 10:59 am

looks gorgeous Diane! I remember your basement organizing project and the desk in there. It looks so beautiful in it’s new look. I do have one question? Doesn’t oil tend to yellow over time? That’s really the only reason I’ve ever avoided it. Love your room. So fresh and pretty. I’d love to work in there everyday.


25 Diane March 6, 2012 at 11:31 am

Hi Denise – That is a good question. Oil base paint -white especially can yellow over time. It may take 10 years with the quality of this paint, so I am not too worried. I do not usually go for oil, I like the ease of latex, but you could never get the super high gloss finish this paint dries to with a latex paint. I guess it is a trade off- what do you want more of kinda thing. My brother in law is a professional house painter and he told me if whatever you paint is in a sunny spot you may not see any yellowing, but if it was in a basement with little light- yellowing will occur over time. If by the time it does yellow and I still want it white, I will simply have to sand it a bit and give it a fresh coat :)


26 Megan @ Megan Brooke Handmade March 6, 2012 at 11:15 am

I love it!!! Love the shine :)

I also love the wall color in your office! What color is it?


27 Diane March 6, 2012 at 11:48 am

Hi Megan – The wall paint is a white, but it has a slight pink cast to it. It is a Glidden color called Pink Petal White GLC04. I got it at Home Depot. I had it mixed in a Eggshell finish.


28 Holly March 6, 2012 at 11:27 am

What a beautiful desk! I love all the white you’ve used in that bright sunshiny room! It must be wonderful room to hang in… don’t know if I’d get any work done surrounded by such pretties! =)


29 Diane March 6, 2012 at 11:42 am

Hi Holly It is so streamlined now and less cluttered that my mind can now focus on the task at hand, although I do keep looking out the windows and dreaming about Spring :)


30 Sheryll & Critters. March 6, 2012 at 11:55 am

Oh gosh, your desk is so beautiful. Breathtaking is a good descriptive and just gorgeous. I so love everything you do, fix or think up. I could be so happy with my house just half as nice as you have redone yours. And I agree, it is just beautiful against the soft color of the wall and then the trim in this bright white pulls it together so perfectly. It is my dream for my little office someday.


31 Donna McBroom-Theriot March 6, 2012 at 12:48 pm

Love it. I’ve been rearranging and setting up my office too. So exciting! I just got a flat screen (thin) monitor and I just want to stare at it all day long! I now have so much room on my desk.


32 Vicki March 6, 2012 at 2:16 pm

Diane, I appreciate your projects very much and check in on your blog often. Thanks for your hard work to share. The tip on the shiny white paint is fabulous! I have an end table that I painted white but it was never quite right as I wanted it super shiny and it just wasn’t. This stuff will be great. xoxo Vicki


33 C.A. @ How To Be A Heroine March 6, 2012 at 3:22 pm

That is GORGEOUS! I think this is the solution for my husband’s dingy dresser! It’s a dingy brown now, and it is just begging for some lovely, glossy white paint. Do you think white would look good? Here’s what the dresser looks like now:
I was thinking of gold drawer pulls. I would love your opinion. You have such great taste!


34 laurie March 6, 2012 at 4:59 pm

Diane – your office is just beautiful! I’m green with envy!! I’m totally swooning over that gorgeous armoire you have, girl! Wow! I always loved using oil based paint on furniture. It goes on smoother and cleaner looking (no brush strokes left behind). Well worth the little extra clean up duty. Great job!!!!!

xoxo laurie


35 Diane March 12, 2012 at 11:10 am

Hi Laurie- My dad is an oil base painter and so is my brother in law who does it for a living, so I have been told many times the virtues of using oil. This is my first interior use of it and I am extremely happy with how it came out. Like you said -well worth the little extra clean up duty.


36 Anna@MyDesignEthos March 6, 2012 at 7:57 pm

Lucky you to find such a beautiful desk! I have been hunting for something with lines like this for my own office but have yet to find the right piece. It looks stunning in gloss white. (Just came from the My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia blog). :)


37 Diane March 12, 2012 at 11:06 am

Hi Anna – I was truly fortunate that day – to find it along the curb and for FREE! When the stars align like that- I know it was meant to be. I hope one shows up in your life soon. :)


38 Gina March 6, 2012 at 7:59 pm

I love this paint job on the desk. I have a similar one that was my husbands grandmothers. I have had it for years trying to decide what to do with it…now I know. I am glad I found you through pinterest! Keep on dreaming and designing.


39 Jae March 6, 2012 at 9:51 pm

This is a great office! The desk is so pretty, I like the glossiness!


40 Christina Rodriguez | The Diva's Home March 6, 2012 at 10:59 pm



41 Laura Ingalls Gunn March 7, 2012 at 9:49 am

Your desk and office are just gorgeous! Well done.


42 Denise March 7, 2012 at 11:41 am

Your desk is gorgeous! I love the gloss white. Thanks for the great tips on using the oil based trim paint. I’m going to try that trick!


43 Coastal Femme March 7, 2012 at 9:52 pm


I just love how your desk came out….it’s stunning! I’m definitely going to copy your method for lining the desk drawer. Your office is gorgeous!


44 cyndy March 10, 2012 at 8:04 am

Just love your desk. You did a fantastic job! I wish I had my own space for an office, maybe I can find a corner somewhere for a desk.. Thank you so much for sharing with us!


45 Diane March 11, 2012 at 11:18 am

Hi Cyndy – Thanks for the nice note. When I was growing up, I wanted so badly to have a place to call my own. I finally have it with my studioffice. It is my favorite space in my house. I remember reading a wonderful story about when the artist, Mary Englebreit was growing up she wanted her own place and her mother emptied a linen closet for her to set up as her very own. I would have loved that. I have a clipping from a magazine where someone took an old TV Armoire and outfitted as a creative space. It had doors to close it off, one side where the TV went was the desk. They added a bulletin board and lamp. The other side had shelves and drawers for storage. I thought it was a great idea and still have the clipping somewhere. I will add it to an upcoming post.


46 Paula Gale March 11, 2012 at 9:23 pm

Wow Diane – that desk is simply exquisite. It looks so fresh and light and airey. What a wonderful room it looks like to create and be creative in. That desk has turned out stunning too. What a find.

In the UK at the moment – in second hand furniture stores, vendors have become wise to the ‘upcycle revival’ and seem to add either ‘vintage, shabby chic, retro or antique effect’ to everything just so they could charge a premium. Here I think you would have to pay somthing in the region of $115+ to obtain the desk to start with. It must be great to ‘curb’ so many nice things in your neighbourhood. I love reading your transformation stories so with live them through you – no chance of any bargains around here!

Paula (UK) xxx


47 kristin March 12, 2012 at 3:05 pm

Fabulous makeover, it is so pretty but so is the whole room!!! Thanks for linking up! Hope you are doing well, I’ll be featuring it tomorrow.


48 cheryl @ nefotlak. March 13, 2012 at 5:49 am

what a fabulous desk – and such a wonderful study.
love your style.
cheryl xox.


49 Morgan March 13, 2012 at 11:44 am

I couldn’t help but notice that beautiful floor! What type of wood is that?


50 Diane March 13, 2012 at 12:00 pm

Hi Morgan – We put the floor in about 10 years ago. It is Bruce Engineered wide plank in the color – Gunstock.


51 The Single Nester March 13, 2012 at 11:48 am

Looks terrific. I just finished my office makeover and will be posting about it soon. I think I am going to try this paint for my front door. Does it clean well?


52 Diane March 13, 2012 at 11:56 am

Hi Carmie – I have only had it on for about 2 weeks now, but I did wipe off some dust and it came right off. It is a very durable finish and scrubbable, so I think it will clean beautifully.


53 Jen Lossing, The Consigner Designer March 13, 2012 at 10:42 pm

I absolutely love your desk. The high gloss is so chic! Great job!


54 Lynda March 13, 2012 at 11:55 pm

So pretty & girly. I love it


55 March 14, 2012 at 9:06 am

Love the studio/office. Found you through My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia. I am a new follower of your blog and pinterest boards.


56 Ashley March 24, 2012 at 11:54 am

You are my favorite person! This site gives me so much inspiration to get up and give myself the things I love and deserve. What an incredible site. I have even started a whole portfolio for my kitchen makeover on a budget.


57 Diane March 28, 2012 at 10:25 pm

Thanks so much Ashley. I appreciate you taking the time to write and connect with me. XO Enjoy re-doing your kitchen. Keep me posted on your progress.


58 Stephanie@cre8tive March 25, 2012 at 2:04 am

Thanks Diane! I painted my desk white with water based paint and it just didn’t do it for me. Now I am going to go back and re-paint it with the oil based paint, thanks so much for the tip, it looks fantastic.


59 Diane March 28, 2012 at 10:11 pm

Hi Stephanie – I went back and forth about painting with water based paint, because I knew I would not have been happy with it on the desk. I am so happy that I found out about the super high gloss paint. The finish it provided is worth having to deal with the smell and long drying time. I just love how it turned out.


60 angelica laboy March 30, 2012 at 5:23 pm

Hey I was just wondering what type of primer you used? I’m planning on using this paint on my dresser, your desk just looks so amazing


61 Diane March 30, 2012 at 10:34 pm

Hi Angelica

I used 1 light coat of Glidden Gripping Primer. Ben Moore makes one also called Aqua Grip. I like Kilz Original Stain Blocking primer. That would be a good one to use, if you are painting over stained wood. It will block any of the wood tannins from bleeding through the paint. The gripping primer is good to use over a painted piece.


62 Julie April 11, 2012 at 1:34 pm

Beautiful! I wonder how this paint would work on a laminate piece of furniture. Any idea?


63 Diane April 11, 2012 at 4:07 pm

Hi Julie- since it is an oil based paint, I think it would work fine. I would still use 1-2 coats of a good gripping primer over the laminate to ensure that you get great adhesion before applying the paint.


64 Julie April 11, 2012 at 4:11 pm

Thanks for your reply, Diane…..You’re the first person to make oil based paint not sound like a horrible thing to work with!


65 Amanda April 25, 2012 at 8:14 pm

I love all of your projects and this desk is fantastic! I have a similar desk, but it has a laminate top. (any other tips would certainly be welcome!) I’ve been wanting to paint it, but was unsure just what to do with the top. I think the oil paint might be the right solution. Thanks for all your tips and beautiful creations that you share with us! Looking forward to seeing more!


66 Ka'ili May 19, 2012 at 6:43 pm

hi diane! so I’m lovin’ pinterest even more at this moment cuz it opened the door for me to your marvelous blog!! this DIY is amazing and I LOVE that you picked up this beauty of a desk on the side of the road! the whole room is beautiful! thank you for the inspiration and wonderful tutorial!! :) looking forward to reading more of your blog!


67 Moonlake July 3, 2012 at 1:44 pm

Beautiful make overs. Love your ideas.


68 Moonlake July 3, 2012 at 1:45 pm

Sorry about that I mean makeovers. Their all very pretty.


69 Cjay July 9, 2012 at 6:10 pm

Beautiful! Wonder if that paint would work on builders grade kitchen cabinet. They are brown now, but I want white. I’m sure they would have to be primed. Do you think they would be too shiny for kitchen cabinets?



70 Diane July 10, 2012 at 12:19 pm

Thanks Cjay – I am not sure I would use the oil gel gloss on your kitchen cabinets since it is so shiny it will show every imperfection on the cabinets. I think it would be better to use a good primer and a latex enamel,satin, or semi-gloss finish. I painted my kitchen cabinets over 10 years ago using Glidden gripping primer over slightly sanded cabinet surface and then Sherwin Williams latex in semi-gloss. They have held up beautifully. I did a post about the process. You can find the link in my sidebar.


71 Diane July 10, 2012 at 12:50 pm

HI again Cjay – Sorry here is the link – I meant to add it in my first reply to your comment.


72 Valarie August 24, 2012 at 6:11 pm

I tried this paint on a small table and it was a disaster! Because I love the high gloss finish, I am going to strip the table and try again. But, am thinking of adding Penetrol to make the paint flow better. Did you have problems with this paint? I prepped as directed, used the proper brush and sanded after first coat. Or maybe I should give up and return the paint to HD?


73 Libby December 25, 2012 at 2:46 pm

Hi Valarie. I had major issues w/ this paint as well, and like you, I followed her instructions. I had so much trouble with it curing and the clean up process is a MAJOR PITA. I wished I knew how difficult it is to clean oil-based paint prior to repainting my vanity table because I would have tried a different method! It’s been 6 weeks since I finished my vanity table, and I am still experiencing issues. It took about 3.5 weeks for the paint to fully dry in some parts (such as the crevices and joints of the table) and the oil-paint fumes, which are strong and nauseating, are still present. I’m am very disappointed, and will never use this method again because it isn’t worth the hassle.


74 Diane Henkler December 26, 2012 at 7:44 pm

Hi Libby – I saw your reply to Valerie – so sorry to hear that the paint didn’t work for you. Drying time can vary a lot by where you live – temp, humidity, thickness of coat, etc. With Valerie’s question about the thickness – it is made to be that thick. It is a totally different painting experience. Adding a thinner to it would take away its gel properties. It is unlike any other paint on the market and takes some time to get used to painting with. I am not a fan of oil based paints because of the smell, drying time, and clean-up, (this was the first one I have used in 28 years) but this paint does produce one fantastic finish once it is dry and the smell goes away. I used it on the woodwork in the room also. It came out fine, but the vertical areas were hard to do as I had to keep an eye on them as it dried since the paint was thick I was afraid it would sag. Now that it is dry and cured – it looks amazing, but it did take a lot more time and effort to do then if I had just used latex. I love it on my desk and would do it again, but I don’t think I would paint a very large piece or anything with large vertical sections with it.

Thanks for taking the time to comment and tell us about your experience. Happy 2013!


75 Sheryll & Critters. December 26, 2012 at 8:45 pm

I totally trust you Diane…. cause you have always told me the truth. I can attest for the humidity thingy here in Jax, Fla….. cause many, many years ago.. guessing September 95, I painted my parents kitchen…. the whole thing, by myself and I thought the cabinet doors would NEVER dry… I took them out to the garage and the air was constantly icky damp. And I used latex…… except for and thank the good Lord for Kilz Original… saved my sanity.

Now this year if I had the money, it would have been a whole entire different bowl of wax…… dry this year.


76 Sheila October 19, 2012 at 8:25 am

Hi!! I love your high gloss desk… I am interested in doing my armoire similar to yours in the background- is yours bright white? Or an antique white?? Thanks and I love your style:)


77 Candice January 18, 2013 at 1:55 pm

Hi there! I just came across your blog from Pinterest & I love it!
The desk turned out gorgeous and painting furniture is a new thing to me. I was wondering did you have to use a separate protector on your desk? I am wanting to paint mine because right now it’s black, and I’m not a big fan of it (but the desk is perfect!)

I also want to paint my table top white. Any advice on what to use & what to avoid?


78 Lilly January 21, 2013 at 12:25 pm

Hi did u use primer on the desk? How has it held up? Any chipping on the corners or peeling? I want to achieve the same look but I’m skeered :-0


79 Diane Henkler January 21, 2013 at 4:40 pm

Hi Lilly – I did not use primer on the desk since the paint I was using was an oil-based paint. It is a new type of paint – one the uses Gel technology. It is thick paint, really thick and that is the way it is supposed to be. One reader said she thinned it. It is not meant to be thinned or stirred much. It takes 24 hours to dry and smells when you are painting, but I would do it again in a heartbeat to achieve the beautiful finish it has provided. It has not chipped or peeled at all. If you are afraid to dive in to a big project, try it on something smaller first or even a board to get the hang of painting with it. You need a really good brush, not a roller. You need to use long sweeping motions to get the paint on. It self levels so even if you see brush strokes when you are painting – as it dries they will level.


80 Jennifer Choi February 17, 2013 at 12:11 am

Hi Diane,
I’m planning on painting my old coffee table using your instructions but I noticed a discrepancy. You mentioned back in March 2012 to a commenter that you used 1 light coat of Glidden Gripping Primer. But recently you said that you actually didn’t use primer. Just wondering what you actually did, so I can do exactly what you did :)



81 Diane Henkler February 17, 2013 at 1:39 pm

Hi Jennifer –
What finish is on your coffee table now? That will determine if you need to prime or not. I use primer on most wood – except the pieces I have painted with chalk paint. When I used this paint for the first time – working with oil and the gel flow technology formula was new to me. Since my desk’s previous finish was oil paint, I did not use primer. On the can it states that you can use the product as a primer over certain surfaces. With that being said though – It can never hurt to prime with a good primer first. Kilz Original is oil based (dries in 30 minutes) and Gripper(latex)are my favs. If your table has a shiny poly finish on it – you do need to lightly sand the surface first to remove some of the shine – then clean it off with a tack cloth to remove all the dust. Clean and let the surface dry before you paint. Using Kilz Original primer to block any dark stain/poly from seeping through will help keep your paint color from getting an orange cast to it. If your table has a painted finish on it now – I would just use 2 coats of the gel formula paint. If it is dark wood and you are going to use a lighter color paint – you may want to prime also. One light coat of primer – two coats of the paint. Priming will lessen the need for more coats to cover darker colors.

I used this paint on the window and door trim in my studioffice also. I did not prime first since I was painting over an already white painted finish. The finish is amazing – no brush marks at all. Use a good quality brush – Purdy makes them. Do know that working with this gel flow technology oil paint takes getting used to since it is so thick and doesn’t spread as easily. It does self level. I would try a few strokes first on a scrap piece of wood so you can get used to working with it and see how it dries.


82 Jay Harris 4 The Home Depot March 8, 2013 at 10:31 am

Hi there Diane,

Great project! I thought it was a really cool project to take on and I completely agree with your choice of paints on this one as well. I’ve used that particular brand before and had fantastic results. Doesn’t that high gloss finish look amazing once it sets up? And all without primer too! Hope you don’t mind if we re-pin this awesome project on our pinboard.

- Jay


83 Angela March 12, 2013 at 6:40 pm



84 Patty May 15, 2013 at 3:01 pm

I’m wondering, is there a need for a wax finish to protect it?


85 Diane Henkler May 15, 2013 at 7:47 pm

Hi Patty – Since it is highly glossy finish – wax would not penetrate. It would just sit on the top and cake up. It is a super durable finish as is. No need to put a protective coat on it.


86 gummy smile May 30, 2013 at 5:47 pm

Wow, superb weblog structure! How lengthy have you ever been blogging for?

you make blogging look easy. The full look of
your website is magnificent, as well as the content!


87 Renee June 1, 2013 at 8:08 am

Hey Diane, great job on the desk! I’m actually interested in your rolodex though. Did you make it or purchase it? It’s fabulous! Whatever info you can provide would be great. Thanks!


88 Diane Henkler June 1, 2013 at 9:46 am

Hi Renee – I did a post about the Rolodex. It was one of my most popular posts. Here is the link:


89 annie June 10, 2013 at 1:50 am

so great


90 Jodi July 7, 2013 at 9:06 pm

Hi! I’ve been admiring your work on this desk for a while now, and I’m wondering how the finish has held up for you? I’d love to see a pic of the top now….just so I know what to expect when I paint my cabinet like this. Thank you!


91 Diane Henkler July 8, 2013 at 10:36 am

Hi Jodi – The paint finish on the desk is perfect. I would use the paint again in a heartbeat. One of the nice features of it, since it is so shiny and durable – it is easy to clean. I have gotten a few pen ink stains on the top and the area right on the edge where my arms lay when I am typing on my computer. I simply wipe it with a rag and dish detergent and it is gone. For the ink stains I have used Comet and water. Stains gone and the finish stays shiny. A few readers have asked about yellowing. There is none. Yellowing can occur in dark rooms, but since the room the desk is in is quite bright I have not had this happen. You can see a recent photo of the desk in this post:


92 Jodi July 8, 2013 at 2:05 pm

Thanks so much for a great reply!! I’m excited to get started!! :)


93 Terese August 5, 2013 at 12:43 am

The desk looks beautiful! I’m thinking of trying it for my $75 craigslist find dining table. I know you had said we do not need an additional protective finish because it would cake on, but would this table generally be okay as a dining table surface? Easy to clean if food gets on it? Also, do you think buffing with steel wool in between coats would make it glossier?Is it even necessary with this paint? (I saw that tip in a flea market book that shows how to makeover flea market finds). I am going to try it on the dining table leaf first before I try it on the entire table. Thanks!


94 Diane Henkler August 6, 2013 at 8:54 pm

Hi Terese -

You don’t need anything over the paint, it is super shiny and easy to clean. I have even gotten ink on it and used detergent mixed with Comet to remove the stain. As far as using steel wool in between coats. It can’t hurt, but the paint does self-level, you may not need it. Try it out on a scrap piece of wood to get the hang of using it before trying it on the table leaf. It is unique paint, very different and super thick when you spread it, but magically – it comes out smooth and shiny like glass. When dry it does not have that latex look or feel – which gives it a pro look.


95 Anne August 21, 2013 at 9:06 am

How do I do the same thing but with a pink color I found at Benjamin Moore?


96 Diane Henkler August 21, 2013 at 9:54 am

Hi Anne – The high gloss gel paint from Glidden only comes in a handful of colors. If you have the BM paint # for the pink paint, then I would search for the brand with the highest gloss paint finish you can find and get the color mixed using that. If none are glossy enough you could also add a high gloss water based polyurethane finish on top of a satin finish paint to provide the sheen. If you don’t mind using an oil based paint, most oil-base in a gloss finish are also pretty shiny and durable on their own.


97 shelley August 24, 2013 at 2:03 pm

How long did it dry before putting stuff on?do you have and special tips for doing this to a mirror? Looks great!


98 Diane Henkler August 24, 2013 at 5:19 pm

Hi Shelley – I waited about 5 days before I put anything on the desk. If the weather is right, it should dry in 24 hours. It can take up to a week or longer to cure. Do you want to paint a mirror or the frame around the mirror? On the mirror surface, you may want to use a thin coat of gripping primer first, let it dry – then paint. Glidden makes one called Gripper. For the frame – sand it to rough up the surface, clean off the sanding grit and then paint.


99 Gloria September 11, 2013 at 2:08 pm

I have a question–I want to use this on a desk, too. I am so impressed It looks wonderful. But how long did it have to wait before you could actually start using it as a desk–putting your lamp, laptop, etc. on it?


100 Diane Henkler September 21, 2013 at 9:49 pm

Hi Gloria – I waited about 4 days to place things on the desk. It takes at least 24 hours to dry.


101 Kelly October 1, 2013 at 11:20 am

I LOVE your beautiful desk and have been thinking of transforming an old dresser and vanity into this high-gloss look. The pieces were refinished some time ago with a stain/varnish of some type, not sure. Once I do some sanding would I need to apply a matte base primer before applying the oil paint for better adhesion? I have known others to use oil based paint for this type of project only to have it chip. Should I assume they did not sand/prep beforehand??
Thanks for your advice!


102 Diane Henkler October 1, 2013 at 11:44 am

Hi Kelly – When working with older stained pieces, it is always best to sand at least a little bit and seal them before painting. The stain and wood tannins will bleed through the wood if you don’t use a stain blocking primer. I would use Kilz Original primer on the pieces first. It is their oil-based forumla, but dries in 30 minutes. Apply two light coats, let the first dry before applying the second. Sand in between coats to smooth. Then apply the gloss paint.


103 Felicia October 10, 2013 at 9:04 pm

Gorgeous! This is exactly what I was looking for. I want some super shiny white floating 24″ shelves (I know, a little specific) and couldn’t find them anywhere! DIY to the rescue. I am so excited to try this (and a little nervous after reading some of the comments, eek). I have written down all your tips, and will do my best! The worst part is waiting on the drying time to put them up and admire!!


104 Felicia October 11, 2013 at 12:02 pm

So I just finished up my first coat on my shelves. It was pretty easy… only issue I had was that a little bit of fuzzies got in the finish, it seems that they are falling from thin air. Maybe it’s normal but whatever, I think it’ll look fine in the end. Should’ve researched how to clean oil based paint off paintbrushes before hand (now I’m thinking I should’ve just left my paintbrushes dirty and kept them wrapped when I do my second coat tomorrow, hmm) but anyways I used paint thinner (should’ve gotten the gallon like my dad said lol). Lots of lessons learned.

I’m hoping the paint levels itself when it’s not done on a vertical too..?? ie my shelf sides. It’s very thick so I don’t want any “drips.”


105 Beth December 9, 2013 at 12:43 am

Hi Diane, I was wondering if you think with a good oil based primer I could paint laminate with that paint? Thanks, you are one of my favorite bloggers , as we have much in common. Have a good day . Beth


106 Diane Henkler December 9, 2013 at 8:47 am

Thanks Beth – Yes, you will be able to use the paint over an oil primer on laminate. I would sand the surface first – just a bit to rough it up. I would use Kilz Original primer. That is my go to for jobs like this. One light coat – let it dry – sand to smooth out any drips – then add another light coat of primer. After it is dry – check for smoothness – sand areas if necessary and use a tack cloth to clean. Then apply the paint. I would practice on a scrap piece of wood with the paint so you get the hang of using it. This will allow you to see how it goes on and completely self levels.


107 Chris January 9, 2014 at 7:37 pm

Hey there Diane,

I just painted a desk with the black version of this paint. I carefully prepped and did long smooth strokes. It appears that my brush marks are still visible though. They didn’t seem to “self level”. Its definitely glossy and shiny but I see lines horizontally across the desk top where I took every stroke. I haven’t added a second coat yet. I was wondering, can I sand the first coat smooth and then apply a 2nd coat? Or should I not sand?


108 Diane Henkler January 9, 2014 at 7:47 pm

Hi Chris -

Yes – you can sand any brush strokes to smooth. Clean it off and then reocat. What kind of brush are you using? A Purdy or Wooster? They are the best and you will see no or very little brush strokes.


109 Chris January 9, 2014 at 8:16 pm

Thanks for your quick reply!

Yes, I bought a brand new 2″ Wooster for this job. I think I may have needed to apply more pressure than I did to the brush. It’s a smooth finish. It just has light grooves. But I’ll sand down the brush marks and apply a 2nd coat. Hopefully it’ll smooth out. Thanks again!


110 Chris January 13, 2014 at 5:21 pm

Just an update…

I added a second coat to the desk and it’s perfect! Deep black, shiny and smooth. Thanks for the info Diane. It helped so much.


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