Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Strive for Progress..DIY Marble Top Desk - Ikea Hack

Have you fallen in love with all the DIY marble contact paper projects on Pinterest? I totally have. 

After dreaming about it forever, and seriously craving the Design Your Wall marble contact paper, I convinced myself that I needed it. Then right before I checked out of the website, I slapped myself of the wrist. $65 for contact paper, what was I thinking? I quickly looked up some other options, keeping in mind how real the pattern looked, the cost and reliability of the seller. I soon settled on one from DC Fix via Amazon. It clearly says that the roll is 78.7" long. Silly me. I must have thought it said 78.7 feet because I thought I would be marble contact papering everything I owned! I made a mental list of all the things I wanted to use it on. It was a looong list, and my desk was the first thing on it.

Let me tell you the story of my desk. We have a communal spot in my apartment building where people put stuff they don't want anymore. No, not the garbage. More like a giveaway pile. I'm very grateful for it. Right around the time that I decided I really needed to create a home office, this desk appeared one day on our way up the stairs! The timing was uncanny. We snatched that thing up right away. It's not a fancy desk, in fact it's almost uncomfortable, but at the lovely price of free, who cares? It's actually the Leksvik desk from Ikea. It was clean and already assembled. I guess I get to classify this as an Ikea hack. I picked up spray paint one day and painted it another day, well night, when I do most of my crafting, cooking, organizing, exercising and uhh everything? I guess I do everything except sleep at night.

Anyways, I went for it. I didn't sand it, but I should have. I went at it with my one can of spray paint. Guess what? I ran out of paint before I could even get to the little drawer! Actually, some of the legs needed another coat too. proximity to downtown is not forgiving when I need an extra can of spray paint at 2am. Well, I guess I can't really get spray paint anywhere at 2am. You get my point. I had to just let it be.  A few days passed and I then got busy with life, dealing with a number of things and just kind of left this to the wayside.  Decorating went on the backburner for months.  I'm now back on the decorating bandwagon. It's a part of my organization overhaul. 

When I got home from work yesterday, the other half was cooking dinner so I had free time. There were a LOT of rough spots on the top of the desk so I started by first cleaning the desk then sanding it. I sanded and sanded and sanded until I was happy with it. Surprisingly, I got the surface pretty darn smooth without removing a ton of paint.

I cleaned it again with rubbing alcohol then I unrolled the contact paper to guesstimate how much I would have to use. This roll was much shorter than I thought. Bummers. It's also not as wide as I thought but neither is the Design Your Walls version. I did a rough measure, then I used the guides at the back and my trusty piece of construction paper as a ruler. I'm doing a whole reorganization of everything in my home...I'll find my rulers eventually. I also drew a line across the desk where  planned to have the paper line up. I peeled off a little bit of the backing and started to lay the paper. I smoothed as I went along. If I got bubbles, I was able to gently lift and re-position the paper. It didn't lose its stickiness. I have a more in depth review at the end of this post if you are interested.

Here's the tricky part. The seams. Had I really owned a 78.7 foot roll, this would have been a breeze but since the roll was quite short I had to suck it up and accept the fact that there would be a visible seam because I couldn't get the pattern to repeat. Correction, visible seams. Plural. I freaked out for a bit but calmed myself down. It's contact paper, not real marble. I thought it was better to get this done, sort of, and make it look as best as it could, rather than leave it as another incomplete task on my to do list. What was I supposed to do, just leave the top marble paperless?? No thanks.

I did my best to make it work. From far away, it's not bad. You can definitely see the seams close up BUT once I have all my desk accessories on it and it's lit nicely, I think it will work out just fine. And when I spring for the expensive contact paper, I might just redo this desk.

It's painfully and embarrassingly obvious that I need to paint that drawer. I will do it. I'll actually repaint the whole lower portion of this desk. Soon. I swear. I am also going to slowly get my home office together. Oh, I am also going to move my sewing machine and extra rolls of paper in the corner out of my next set of photos. Oops. I'll get it right next time. For anyone else out there who gets stuck mid-projects and feel like failures. Don't. You're not. Trust me.

Strive for progress not perfection. Well, let's be serious, I will still strive for perfection most times. But sometimes, I will settle for progress. Like yesterday. 

Quote found on Pinterest

DC Fix 346-0306 Adhesive Film, Grey Marble Adhesive Vinyl Review:

Dimensions: 17.7" x 78.7" vs. 18" x 49.5' (DYW)

Shipping via Amazon: Fast and cheap. I ordered on Friday, received it on the following Wednesday. I was willing to spend the $5.29 on shipping because I never see this paper in stores.

Cost: $10.99 [$1.04/foot] vs. $65.00 [$1.31/foot] (DYW)

Pattern: It looks great. It looks fairly real unlike some other ones I've seen.

Use: It was easy to use. There were no instructions but I didn't need them. I like that I was able to re-position and also that it has a sheen. It's also really thick so if you need to hide a flaw in something, it should do the trick. It seems like it will be easy to clean as well.  Great product, I just wish the roll was longer.

Would I buy again? Yes, if I know it's for a small project. I plan to splurge for the DYW version so I  can use it for bigger projects.

Has anyone splurged on the DYW version? I would love a review or some tips on alternatives. Please visit again to see how this turned out!



  1. Ok, this is amazing!!! I love marble, and I love doing Ikea hacks. This one is a must! I actually Ikea hacked my Ikea coffee table and spray painted the rims of it gold! :)


    1. That's so nice of you, thanks Hayley! I actually read your post on that recently, it came out great! I like how you showed the difference in the shades of gold paint. I did the same for my Vittsjo shelving unit awhile back. The Vittsjo system is so great to hack. I need to tidy mine up and take a picture of it. :)

      Thanks for stopping in!


  2. Love the transformation! And love that it's about progress, not perfection! Such a great find. :)

    xo Jen
    Skirt The Rules

    1. Thanks Jen! It was a great find, and perfect timing for me. I hope to finish it up soon!

      Thank you for stopping by!


  3. You have such amazing ideas! The marble is timeless and gorgeous. x