My home office got a mini makeover and a bit of a tidy up last week. It was long overdue. I’m generally a very neat person who has a place for everything and who likes to ensure that things stay in their correct place, but for some reason, my office has become a little dumping area and I have been meaning to get on top of the situation for some time.
Aside of the clutter that was starting to accumulate, I’ve been wanting to change the finish on my desk top since I got it. When I moved the old Ikea kitchen counter top off and used it to create a breakfast nook in our kitchen, I replaced the top with an MDF board. Unsure of what colour I wanted it to be at the time, I settled on a quick varnish as a (not-too-pretty) temporary solution and planned to finish the job shortly afterwards. That was months ago! Enough said – we all know about those unfinished jobs around the house right mamas?!
I was considering a plain white finish until I came across a DIY using marble adhesive / contact paper and thought I had to try it.
Here’s a shot of what it looked like before.
And this is what it looks like now…
Whilst I’m pretty happy with the overall result, I think that with a little more effort, I could definitely have found a better quality and more subtle looking paper option. Sadly, patience is not my strong point and this was all that was immediately available. That said, the new worktop has provided a substantial aesthetic improvement. The contact paper offers a softer working surface than real marble would but I have my reservations about how well it will wear in my busy workspace. Time will tell.
If you’re a regular at House of Hawkes, you’ll know that I like my DIY projects kept simple, and this one is no exception. It requires very few tools and materials, but let me warn you that working with this adhesive paper demands patience (you see, I knew I had to save mine for later) and precision. Bubbles and creases are not welcome.
I started the process by giving my desk top a good clean. I used a scraper tool to rid the surface of any small bumps and spots of grimy build-up which included, but wasn’t limited to, spots of glue and what looked like the remains of a old, sticky sweet… I sometimes share this space with two smalls so I was better off not dwelling on what some of that gooey stuff might have been. I got one of my over-eager minions involved in this process. Any bumps will be obvious under the adhesive paper so it has to be as sooth as possible.
Once the the cleaning and scraping was done, it was just a matter of getting the paper stuck on in a straight line without any air bubbles. As my desk is wider than the paper, I had to run two strips across the length. I drew a pencil line down the centre as a guide and applied the first piece. This is where you can really benefit from some help. What I found to work best is to have one person working on the front side of the paper (i.e.: sticking it down by smoothing it over with a cloth) while the other person simultaneously manages the pull-away motion of the back paper which peels off as you go. Sticking the paper down as you slowly unravel or peel the back piece off avoids any air bubbles or creases. Once the first half is complete, trim the edges so that you can fold them over in the same manner that you would wrap a gift (with your neatest effort) and repeat the process on the other side. When both sides were complete, I ‘sealed’ the edges underneath with a layer of masking take, just to neaten up and finish it off.
If you like this desk, you can take a look at how I made it from Ikea kitchen components over here. I’ve had it for years and this is not it’s first facelift
Mom of two, Kathryn is a design and interiors blogger at House of Hawkes. Born and bred in South Africa, she has a marketing background that spans South Africa, the UK and the UAE. Before the arrival of her kids, she headed up the marketing and business development team for The Grooming Company, parent company of the region’s leading grooming and beauty concepts, N.Bar, JetSet and 1847.