{Cabinet Door} Knock-Off Holden Desk

I love everything about baby’s first birthday–baby in the highchair eating fistfuls of cake; mom opening all baby’s gifts and baby playing with the wrappings; family cooing over the birthday baby, who is pretty much oblivious to it all.  I love it the whole thing–and I miss that time with my kids, too.  So, naturally, when we realized that my niece’s first birthday was coming up, we really wanted to do something special.

Pottery Barn Holden Desk

I absolutely fell in love with the idea of a floor desk.  We loved the Holden Desk from Pottery Barn Kids, but we didn’t love the price…  $54 on sale + shipping.  Ouch!  No thanks.  Then inspiration struck.  Remember those cabinet doors I rescued from the curbside trash pick-up?  You know, the one I made into our cute snack tray?

Well, I just happened to have a few more in the garage.  So, armed with some left over wood from the never-ending stash and my trusty Kreg Jig, I made a desk frame for one of those rescued cabinet doors.

I used 2×2′s cut at 18″ for the legs.  Then for the aprons, I used 1×2′s.  I measured the length of each side and subtracted 4″ (to account for a 1/2″ inset on each side and (2) 1.5″ wide legs).  So, for example, my cabinet doors were 22″x27″.  I cut my aprons at 18″ and 23″ respectively.

Then I drilled my pocket holes and used glue and screws to attach everything.  I used leftover wood from another project, so my pieces happened to be cheap pine.  Because I didn’t feel the legs were sturdy enough on their own, I added a brace to the bottom on three of the sides.  I left the front open so my niece could still slide her legs under it if she wanted.  If you used popular or a higher grade wood, you could probably skip this step.

And then, because I knew I wanted to make this a chalkboard desk, I had my husband (yes, I was too scared to do it myself) use the plunge router to make a recess to hold the chalk.

Then I sanded it up, gave it a coat of primer, taped off the center, and gave it a couple of coats of this cute pink color.  I love this spray paint from Rustoleum.  It covers really nicely, and it has a nice wide spray pattern.  Oh!  And it’s cheap!  Gotta love that!

After I painted it, I scuffed it up a bit.  Then I used a paint pen (Minwax Early American) to darken any exposed wood.  The raw wood on the legs was quite a bit lighter than the cabinet door, so this helped to even things out.  Just use a dry rag to wipe off any excess stain.

From here, I finished it the same way I did the snack tray.  I used Ralph Lauren glaze to distress it, and once that was dry, I applied Minwax Finishing Paste to get a nice hard topcoat.

Then I just taped off the pink frame and sprayed it with chalkboard paint.  Once you let the paint dry for 24 hours, you can season your chalkboard and draw away.

Now, I did have some of the white primer show through when I distressed the pink.  The stain pen helped to hide it somewhat, but there was still some white peeking through.  If that’s a problem for you, you may want to consider skipping the primer on the frame only.  The chalkboard will absolutely need to be primed first.

I’m thrilled with how it turned out.  Here’s the breakdown on what it cost me:

Cabinet Door:  Roadside find $0

Lumber:  Leftovers from other projects – $0

Primer:  Zinsser Cover Stain – $6

Paint:  Rustoleum Sweet Pea – $4

Chalboard Paint:  Leftover from other projects – $0

Grand Total:  $10

That’s a far cry from $54+shipping, and we were able to customize it to match Lucy’s room.  And that’s what I love so much about DIY.  I can do it MY way and save a little money while I’m doing it.  It’s like having my cake and eating it, too.  (…and now I’m hungry.  Good thing I know a good place for cake… :-)  )

Linking up to:

Home Stories A2Z | My Uncommon Slice of Suburbia | Not JUST a Housewife | Today’s Creative Blog | Someday Crafts | House of Hepworths | Hubby Made Me | My Repurposed Life | AKA Design | Chic on a Shoestring | Miss Mustard Seed | Tatertots and Jello | Be Different Act Normal | DIY Showoff

296 thoughts on “{Cabinet Door} Knock-Off Holden Desk”

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  1. Love the adorable chalkboard desk for Lucy. I have a little 3 year old great granddaughter that would love one of these little desks. I also have plenty of old cabinet doors. What a great idea for Christmas.

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  2. Cute, cute, CUTE! Love your creativity and adore the concept. My husband is a general contractor, so we always have things like cabinet doors lying around. I’d like to try this. But now the decision….make one for my grandson or my 5 year olds? Thanks so much for sharing your idea and wonderful tutorial!

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  5. - Oh wow. I just love what you have done with yours! I have around 12 or 13 or so now, alhtough I did just see one the other day that I loved, and I bought my in laws one for Christmas that I would have loved to add to my collection. Unfortunately one of mine did fall of the wall and smash a few years back which was a bit heart breaking. But mine are all boxed up at the moment as we are currently building a new house. My mum & sister & I have been collecting them since he first started making them years ago, and we used to get one for our birthday or Christmas. Its amazing how much more expensive they have become over the years! I think when we first started getting they them they were around NZ$70 and now they are NZ$165 each. And they sell on Ebay for crazy prices for the first editions, so they are really good investments I think besides which I just love them! I also love your grouping, and you have given me a great idea for my front entrance, so thank you for that. My husband and i have had a few discussions about where we would put them up! Great idea about hanging them too. A small tip. instead of just hanging them on a screw. You can get a small length of dowling the same width of the holes on the back of the tiles and then cut small pieces off that fit the holes. If you then screw these to the wall with the screws, you can then sit the tiles to the wall on the hooks if you see what I mean. If that doesn’t make any sense what so ever, I could take a picture for you of my sisters. She has about 20 of them and uses this system and it keeps the tiles quite firm on the wall. And after losing my tile, I’m definitely doing it when I put mine back up.MeganMarch 18, 2012 3:54 am

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