Trash to Treasure Nautical Theme Desk
Trash to Treasure Nautical Theme Desk was born of necessity but quickly became one of my favorite projects. It was easy, cheap, creative and the finished product looks like a million bucks. My twelve year old son needed a computer desk in his room, but I REALLY didn’t have the money or the desire to spend said money on an expensive piece of furniture. I mean, have you seen the way that boys treat furniture? Tweens can be especially awkward to shop for, whether for clothing, gifts or again, furniture. Finding something that is fun, but not cartoonish, and that he could use into his teen years and beyond added another element of challenge to my search for the perfect desk. I finally stumbled upon a damaged desk at an office product store. Someone had placed a sticker on the corner of the desk and it peeled off the top layer of the desk. Since this wasn’t a solid wood desk, it didn’t look like paint would be a fix. The price was $50. “Sold…I’ll figure out something!”
I spotted some maps on my way out of the store, and immediately got excited. However, the maps were too small to cover the entire surface of the desk. I figured I could easily find something online, but ran into the same issue with sizing. “Wallpaper! There has to be map wallpaper!” Indeed, there is. I ordered a nautical map wallpaper online, but when it arrived I found it to be too glaringly white, and it looked cheap. I really had hoped it would have an off white or older look to it. There was enough wallpaper that I figured that I had nothing to lose by experimenting. I crumpled up the paper into a ball, then smoothed it back out and tea stained the paper. The tea settled into the folds of the paper, and when it dried, the wallpaper looked like an antique treasure map. I could almost envision the pirates unfolding this map and plotting their course!
The paper was affixed to the top of the desk with a thin layer of modge podge. It looked beautiful! So beautiful that I didn’t want my twelve year old boy damaging it (see above reference to boys and furniture!) For $28 our local hardware store cut a piece of plexiglass to fit the top of desk. Problem solved! The finished product is fun, functional, and at less than a hundred dollars, a real treasure!
Are You Ready to Walk the Plank?
- Modge Podge
- Paint Brush
- Wallpaper of your choice
- 4 cups of hot water
- 6 Black Tea bags
- Tarp plastic table cover or other protection for your table/work surface
- Cover table to protect it, and make sure that you are wearing old clothing as tea will stain.
- Measure top of desk and cut wallpaper to size
- Crumple the wallpaper into a ball being careful not to tear it
- Unroll wallpaper ball and smooth with hands gently. It does not have to lay perfectly flat at this point
- Steep tea bags in a large measuring cup full of hot water for 10 minutes
- Remove tea bags using a spoon, and place on wallpaper, using care not to burn your skin as the tea bags will be hot
- When tea bags have cooled press them onto the wallpaper, causing the tea water to leak out onto the paper
- Use paper towels to spread the tea water onto all surfaces
- Allow water to sit on paper 10-15 minutes. Blot a spot gently to see if it is the color you desire. If not, allow more time for tea to stain.
- When satisfied with color, gently wipe all tea water from paper and allow to dry completely
- Apply modge podge to back of paper using a paint brush
- Affix wallpaper to desk and allow to dry completely
- Finish by placing plexi glass on top of the wallpaper.