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This desk had some years on it before it was given to me a dozen years ago. When we couldn't find something we liked to replace it, we decided to give it an overhaul. The desk is made of pressed particle board and covered with veneer. Click here to enlarge.

Paint wasn't going to be enough to fix this desk, so we had to think of something else. We decided to decoupage the top with pages from We Interrupt This Broadcast, by Joe Garner. The book highlights memorable news events between 1937 and 1998. We started the process by deciding which pages to use and in what order. Next, we stained the pages to give them an aged look. Click here to enlarge.

Because the desk was covered in veneer, we had to sand before painting. However, a slick surface can be beneficial when decoupaging, so we were able to forgo sanding the top. While I was busy painting, Ron was thinking of bigger things. Specifically, he had the idea of applying steel straps around the perimeter. He quickly got to work measuring and cutting.

Perhaps the greatest challenge in deciding to use the straps was the front of the desktop, where the veneer had begun to peel. We wanted the straps to cover both the front and top, which would require making a 90-degree bend in a piece of steel nearly 5 feet long. As always, Ron found a way.

We had photographed the layout of the pictures for the desktop before starting the project, but with the addition of the steel straps, we had to rework the arrangement. While I decoupaged, Ron applied the steel straps on the drawer fronts and sides of the desk and added a support leg to the back center to prevent future sagging. Click here to enlarge.

After applying 4 coats of Modge Podge, we affixed the straps to the top of the desk then applied 3 coats of polyurethane. The last step was adding the hardware to the drawers. The total cost of this project was about $40. The desk was a hand-me-down, the metal straps were trash-bound, the book was $2 at a yard sale, and the paint was left over from a previous project. We spent around $15 on poly and Modge Podge and $25 on drawer pulls. Click here to enlarge.