Paint a Desk with Leather Inlay


desk with leather inlay

I got this solid wood Hekman desk with leather inlay from a friend of the family for free!  A little dark and brown for today’s decorating styles, but I knew with some light bright paint it would be transformed.

I also had that leather inlay to deal with.  For that I decided to try a faux leather paint technique to get rid of the gold border and give it authentic worn leather character.

desk with leather inlay before words

Before we jump into it, here are the supplies I used to transform this desk with leather inlay.

Resource List:

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If you want tons of information on Dixie Belle paint and products, you can check out this Comprehensive Guide post and you can download my free guides by clicking the pictures.

Painting the Base of the Desk with Leather Inlay

I chose Silk Mineral Paint for this project because of the built-in primer and top coat.  I love saving steps!  I wanted to create a blended look, but blending is not really recommended with Silk.

I had heard a brand ambassador say she had no trouble blending Silk, so I thought why not give it a try?  Well, come to find out, Silk doesn’t blend as easily as the Chalk Mineral line.  Who knew?

I guess the moral of the story is the guidelines are the guidelines for a reason.  That said, it was not a disaster or anything.  It was just a little harder than chalk paint would have been, and the result was not as smooth and seamless.

desk with leather inlay close up

The colors here are Wharf (the darker gray) and a 50/50 mixture of Wharf and Salt Water.  I painted on both colors, and then blended them with a clean dry brush and a little mist of water.

I enjoy the color variation, but I would call it more of a cloudy blend.  The back and sides are painted solid light gray (50/50 blend of Wharf and Salt Water).

back of desk with leather inlay

Painting Leather Desktop

Next up was dealing with that leather inlay.  Start by painting it with 2 coats of Slick Stick.

leather 4 steps

This faux leather technique is from Angie at The Painted Feather.

For Step 2, mix up an orange-toned base color, 1 part Chocolate to 3 parts Terracotta.  After the Slick Stick dries overnight, paint 2 coats of the custom orange color.

Then mix about 15% of Van Dyke brown glaze into the custom orange color.  Paint this on and then take a crinkled sheet of tissue paper and smooth it over the wet glaze and pull it off.  This is the key step to creating that leather texture.

Lastly, once the glaze is dry apply a generous amount of Best Dang brown wax (in picture 3 above).  Buff the wax after about 15 minutes.  A terry cloth towel works well for this.

desk with leather inlay top

What do you think about the way the leather turned out?  I’m pretty happy with it.  I forgot to mention I filled the hardware holes and replaced the old-fashioned pulls with these chunky brass finger pulls from Hobby Lobby.  I think they update the desk perfectly.

If you enjoyed this project or want to save this leather painting technique, please Pin!

desk with leather inlay pin

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