DIY Mint Chocolate Chip Desk Tutorial

DIY desk tutorial
One of my goals for 2013 that I made for myself in my head was to do more. By January 5th,  exercise quickly went the way of the dinosaurs, as did cooking. Enter Pinterest. (verb: "Pintering" coined by Mike Davis). So I found a great desk on Pinterest via the talented Jenserafini. It's gorgeous. I loved everything about it. And I thought: "I could do that. A trip to Home Depot and we'll have this done in a Saturday." Possibly the most naive statement I've made in my life.

When all was said and done we tallied four trips to Home Depot, three to four weekends, a couple more Monday family nights, one potential emergency room visit, and around $130. So, if you think this description fits you-- Read on!

Park City
We started our adventure by driving up to Park City to pick up some super cheap bookshelves we found on KSL (Utah's craigslist). Yes the gas made the bookshelves probably not worth the drive, but I got an outlet shopping trip out of it, so we'll call it a draw.

Materials to build your own desk
 Here's the haul from our first Home Depot trip. Here are the basics we used: wood (common board), wood glue, wood filler (not stainable-despite what the packaging says), wood stain, polyurethane finish, primer, paint, and lots and lots of sandpaper!

Building a wood desk
After a few measuring difficulties resulting in repeating our purchase of wood 2.5 times, and hours and hours of drying, we were ready to sand. Shout out to... my entire family for helping out. You guys were great employees. I'm sorry I won't be paying you.

Sanding tips
Look how happy they are! (This is obviously fairly early in the process.)

Next step was to stain the table top. We did three to four coats of Minwax's Dark Walnut stain. A little DIY tip for those of you in winter weather: stain, primer, and paint need to be at a fairly high temperature to work well. So, probably don't attempt this project in the middle of a freezing Utah February. Also, outside working conditions during that time of the year are not ideal. Lesson learned. 

Dark Walnut Wood Stain
Once our table was dark chocolate stained, we started working on the bookshelves. I thought the worst was over, but I was, once again, mistaken. DIY really shouldn't be my thing. Oh well.

DIY at your own risk haha
We sanded, primed, and painted each bookshelf. I chose a muted mint color for the shelves that I may regret in a couple years, but for now I love it!

And this is the portion of the post that I debated about whether or not to include. However, I decided that people might get a smile out of it, so hopefully my struggles were worth it. 
Top: I got primer in my eye. And my husband made me sit under the sink for 10 minutes until he was sure that the paint was out. Don't ask me how I did it. Its just one of those things. 
Bottom: Immediately after getting primer in my eye, I spilled half the can of primer all over the floor. I wish I could say that it was because of impaired vision... but I can't. That was all Brittany.

Overall, we did two coats of primer and two coats of paint. FYI - I got my act together after the 2nd coat of primer.

Upcycling cheap bookshelves
Here are the before and after of our $5 bookshelves. Better, right?

After putting a polyurethane top coat on the desktop, we were done! We let the wood sit for around 72 hours just to make sure that the top coat was set and we weren't going to get fingerprints, dents, etc on the desk. Didn't turn out too bad huh? It is like 1,000% better than I was expecting when we started this little endeavor. The desk is definitely not perfect. When I'm showing it off, I'll probably try to do it in dim lighting (and from a distance). We are clearly beginners. But I'm pretty excited with how it turned out.

Make your own desk with old bookshelves

DIY bookshelf desk
Well I hope you enjoyed our little tutorial. Sorry it isn't a perfect step-by-step, but if you have questions on specifics, I'd love to share our experience! We had a lot of fun making it! I'd love to see pictures/links to your DIY projects. I'm ready to put my husband back to work :)


  1. Great job on the desk. It looks great. I really love the contrast of the mint green and the stain on top.

  2. The outcome is really quite something. Looks like the hard work paid off! I could easily see that being on sale in a furniture store.

  3. I'm glad you included the part about the primer mishaps :) I've been working on a sailboat with my husband and I've had a few similar situations myself! New follower, found you through an Etsy Success Team post. I just started blogging as well.

  4. That is a really awesome table!

  5. informative tutorial.Your desk is just awesome from top to bottom.The online Bed Shop


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