Shabby chic: how to paint a black desk

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Shabby Chic, a term first coined by Rachel Ashwell, designer and author of "The Shabby Chic Home," features soft romanticism. Complete with mix-and-match fabrics in soft vintage prints and an array of well-worn furniture, Shabby Chic style is affordable and, ultimately, very personal.

Acceptable furniture colours range from soft white to pale subdued shades of green, blue, gold and pink. A black desk stands out like a sore thumb in these gentle surroundings, but with a little elbow grease, new paint and a crackle coat, your desk will be a standout in your Shabby Chic theme.

Sand off as much of the old paint as you can with 80-grit sandpaper. Dark colours tend to show through new light-coloured paint, so the more you get off, the less paint you'll need.

Fine-sand your desk with 120-grit sandpaper to prepare the surface for the new paint. Wipe off dust debris with a tack cloth.

Brush on an even coat of stain-blocking primer on the desk, starting with the desktop and working your way down to catch any runs. Brush in the direction of the wood grain. Let the primer dry completely and inspect the desk. If you can still see the black paint, add another coat.

Lightly sand the entire desk once the primer is completely dry with 120-grit sandpaper. Just buff the surface of the primer to smooth down imperfections caused by dust. This step will go quickly.

Brush on a thin coat of light-toned enamel, brushing in the direction of the wood grain. Again, work from the top down for the best results.

Add an additional coat of enamel once the first coat is completely dry. Drying times vary by the type of enamel you choose, so read the label to determine the average drying time.

Brush on a coat of crackle glaze in the direction of the wood grain. There are different types of crackle glaze on the market, but generally, you will apply only one coat. The thicker the coat, the more pronounced the cracks in the glaze.

Allow the glaze to dry completely.