6 May 2012

Custom Stenciled Desktop

Custom Stenciled Ikea Desktop in Office

We debated quite a few desk options for our new office space before finally purchasing one.  Our old desk is teeny tiny (32 inches across teeny) and all I knew is that I wanted a bigger one - much bigger. We debated going with a corner desk, but there is something about staring at a corner of the wall in the basement that didn't seem very appealing to me.  After a few marathon trips to Ikea we finally landed on the Vika desk (Ikea is so much harder with a baby then when it was just the two of us!).  It is a mix and match system, so we were able to pick our own desktop and legs to match our space.  We went with the wood desktop in a natural colour to match the grass cloth wallpaper that's already up.

After making the decision about the desk, Mr. Swell surprised me with a special gift.  Most girls get flowers and jewellery.....I got a stencil.  Love him.  He had seen a table with a custom stencil that I had pinned on Pinterest , and he went ahead and ordered us a custom stencil all on his own.  I love that he secretly scours my Pinterest! That's true love.

Mr. Swell made another trip back to Ikea a few days ago (it's great that he's on parental leave and can do errands during the day) and picked up all of the parts for the desk.  Within hours he was out in the garage sanding it down getting it all prepped for the stencil. The desktop had a slight sheen to it and we were worried the glaze wouldn't soak in, so we lightly sanded it with the palm sander.

Sanded Ikea Deskstop 

Then we wiped it all down and applied the vinyl stencil.  The best part about this stencil is that it's super sticky, so we didn't have to worry about holding it down while we painted.  The stencil is from Desiree at The 36th Avenue.  Desiree writes an awesome blog and has a shop where she sells her vinyl stencils.  Mr. Swell also says she has some great customer service!

Desktop with Stencil 

Once the stencil was on nice and secure we started working at peeling off the clear backing. Let me tell you, this was one intricate stencil! It took us almost an hour just to peel every last little sticky piece off.  Definitely not a task for a person with attention deficit!

We decided to go with the glaze that Ikea sells, in black. I am sure we could have used Minwax or another brand, but we went with the Ikea brand thinking it was made for that table, so it should soak in no problem.  We used a foam brush to dab the glaze on, making sure not to have too much paint on the brush at one time.  

Mr. Swell Painting the Desktop

Here's Mr. Swell very gingerly applying the paint.  Do you recognize those super stylin' heart pants? They also made an appearance here.  They used to be full length, but were getting so ratty at the ends that he kept stepping on them. A couple of weeks ago he decided to just fix the problem and took a pair of scissors and cut the bottoms off. Now they are all jagged and come just below his knees. They remind me of pants that a pirate would wear.  I can't believe he still wears them -  now they are his 'work' pants. Do you think the other guys in Home Depot would make fun of him for wearing heart pants while he's doing 'work'? I bought them for him on our very first Valentine's Day together and actually figured he'd never wear them. Was I  ever wrong. They've been in our lives for over 4 years now and don't seem to be going anywhere soon. I've offered to buy a new pair but he says these ones are just way too comfy.  I have enforced a rule though that they don't go out of the house. No grocery shopping in the heart pants, even if it's an emergency. Men....

Yet again, I digress....

After the paint was on, we then had a big debate on whether or not we should take the stencil off right away or let it dry a bit first.  I love how all of our big debates happen in the garage....

Since the stencil was so intricate, we opted to leave it for a while to give the glaze a chance to soak in. Amazingly enough Fin was still sleeping (that doesn't happen too often in the evening) so we were able to go watch a TV show and then headed back out to the garage to remove the stencil.

Painted Custom Stencil.

The removal of the stencil was about as much fun as it was to remove the backing (that would be not much fun at all...).  The pieces were so tiny that we used an X-Acto knife most of the time to lift the corners of the vinyl up.  Here are all our little bits of used stencil:. Doesn't that look fun?

Stencil Scraps

Although the task wasn't much fun, it really was worth it.  Without using the super sticky vinyl, the small details would have bled into one another.  We had our fingers crossed the whole time we were peeling (figuratively obviously since we had to use X-Acto knives), but I don't think we actually needed any luck.  The stencil worked great.

Custom Stencilled Deskstop

We left the desktop to try for 24 hours and then gave it a coat of Minwax Polycrylic using a foam roller.  I had initially thought about using Tunge Oil, but figured this desk was going to see some wear and tear (water glasses, pens, markers) so the more durable finishing product, the better. After the first coat was dry we gave it a light sanding and then applied a second coat.

Custom Stenciled Desktop in Office

I love it! I am actually sad that our ugly computer has to go on top of it. All the better excuse for me to get an iMac don't you think?

Next up in the office is customizing the desk legs and the shelving solution.

Linking up to: Thrifty Decor Chick, {aka}design


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