Painted Secretary Desk in Custom Pale Blue with Victorian Damask Stencil


pale blue secretary desk front

I never thought a painted secretary desk could steal my heart like this one has!  The color and design turned out exactly as I had envisioned.  Don’t you love it when that happens?

I went to get a small table off of a local Facebook group for free stuff, and the person turned out to be related to my son’s football coach.  After we chatted a while, he offered me a few more pieces, including this secretary desk.

custom blue secretary desk before

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If you want tons of information on Dixie Belle paint and products, you can check out this Comprehensive Guide post (freshly updated for 2022), and you can download it free here by clicking the picture:

To prep this piece, I removed all the hardware including the dated escutcheons down the center.  Since I was replacing the pulls with knobs, I filled the outside holes with Plastic Wood. 

Then I cleaned the whole piece with White Lightning and rinsed it with clean water.  I decided to scuff sand in lieu of priming and then dusted it down.

Now for the fun part – time to add some appliques!  The WoodUBend ones are so beautiful and easy to use.  I heat the applique up with my hair dryer, spread wood glue all over the back and stick it down.  I hit it with the hair dryer again while pressing it down, and that’s it – it’s on there!

secretary desk prepped

Painted Secretary Desk

I had an inspiration piece that was a pale blue color.  Using the new Color Lab on Dixie Belle’s website, I was able to upload the inspiration picture and get a formula to match it exactly.

I thought it was close to Vintage Duck Egg, but my formula said otherwise.  70% Sawmill Gravy and 30% Blueberry, something I never would have come up with. 

I’m super excited to try all kinds of custom colors using this tool!  You can try it here.

Dixie Belle color lab

To mix this color, I used a red Solo cup on my food scale.  I added 7 ounces of Sawmill Gravy and 3 ounces of Blueberry, and stirred it well with a plastic spoon.  When I wasn’t using it, I covered the cup with press-n-seal to keep it fresh.

This turned out to be the perfect amount of paint to do 2 coats on the desk.  I even have a small amount leftover for touch-ups.

pale blue secretary desk closeup

Golden Gem Accents

I couldn’t resist accenting those curvy legs and feet with gold.  If you’ve been here a while, you know I love Dixie Belle’s Gemstone Mousse.  Here’s a little trick for you when using the mousse.

If you mix a few drops of the gloss clear coat with the mousse, it retains that brilliant sheen and dries faster.  Plus, it’s already sealed.

I also touched the high points of the appliques with gold using my finger.

pale blue painted secretary desk down the front view down the front

French Linen Glaze

Next I wanted to take that fresh coat of paint and dirty it up a bit.  Make it look old and add some character.

To do this, I mixed French Linen with Whitewash Glaze in about a 50/50 ratio.  You can make whatever paint color you want into a glaze this way.  Using a small brush, I painted it on and wiped it off the edges, corners and accents.

pale blue secretary desk key

Victorian Damask Stencil

To add one last unique and beautiful detail, I used the Victorian Damask Stencil on the sides. 

With French Linen, Sawmill Gravy and my custom blue on a paper plate, I dipped the Best Dang brush into all 3 colors and rubbed in circles over the stencil.

The pattern of the stencil doesn’t really repeat, so I found myself with almost the whole thing hanging over the side at times.  I had my husband help hold it – a second pair of hands was definitely needed!

pale blue secretary desk side
pale blue secretary victorian damask stencil

Of course, I sealed the whole exterior of this painted secretary desk with 2 coats of satin, my go-to clear coat.  I decided to leave the inside original.  This was both because it will hold up over time, and because ain’t nobody got time for painting those cubbies. 

I love that it still has the original key as well.  The gold and glass knobs are from Amazon, and they enhance the feminine look beautifully.

pale blue secretary desk open

If you love how this painted secretary desk turned out, please Pin!

vintage secretary desk pin2

You might enjoy these other desk projects as well:

soft pink desk front


Soft Pink Vintage Desk

brushed metallic desk


Brushed Metallic Desk

trestle desk after


Trestle Desk

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