DIY Desk – Stenciled Cabinets

by Kelsey Norwood

in For the Home,Reviews,Tutorials

Our new office is a long rectangular room perfect for a long desk and plenty of storage cabinets. I wanted to do a desk the full 15′ length of the room, so we made our own using unfinished oak kitchen cabinets from Home Depot.


unfinished oak base cabinets

We used two 18″ kitchen base drawer cabinets for sewing and art supplies and a drawer/cupboard cabinet to house the computer tower and cords.


We had to cut off the toe kick portion of the cabinet so it would be table instead of counter height, which was no problem.

I’ve always wanted to try out one of these wall stencils, and this small project was the perfect experiment. I got this stencil from Cutting Edge Stencils, and they have so many to choose from – geometric allover, moroccan, damask, flower/vine, nursery, ceiling medallions, classical, border/stripe and holiday stencils.

wall stencils


I chose the Fuji stencil pattern to do the fronts of the cabinets, and I LOVE how they turned out.

I used Benjamin Moore’s Woodlawn Blue (Glidden Duo, semi-gloss) for the base coat and did the stencil with Martha Stewart’s pearl acrylic craft paint in mother of pearl. After I painted and stenciled, I covered the whole thing with a water based polyurethane to make it glossy and stain/scratch resistant. So far so good!

large paint stencils

These cabinets were the perfect first small project to test out the stencil and see how comfortable/successful I was with it, and I am definitely going to try something bigger, maybe our master bathroom walls. I’m thinking maybe Zamira or Marrakech Trellis stencil designs, but I love so many of them it’s hard to choose.

Having all the right tools makes a huge difference – if you’re interested in trying to do your own wall stenciling, get the clip on level to make sure your design goes on the wall straight and the small dense foam roller for the best coverage results. And be sure to watch some instructional videos before you get started!

large all over wall stencils for painting

Just last night we finished them off with some hardware. They look better than I had hoped!

painted wall paper stencil

I stenciled the flat drawer fronts and the one recessed panel door, which was a little trickier and required an extra set of hands, but it turned out great!

The stencils are strong and thick but also flexible, allowing for painting around curves and into corners. They wash easily and can be reused over and over again.

I love how stencils allow DIYers to get a beautiful wall paper, patterned look for so much less using just a stencil and paint, and Cutting Edge Stencils are perfect for the job. Check them out and choose your first stenciling project!

{This post was sponsored by Cutting Edge Stencils. The Fuji stencil was provided to for review purposes.}



1 A.J. Dub (Amy) April 16, 2013 at 2:42 pm

Love these!

2 C April 16, 2013 at 9:37 pm

The stencils look beautiful! What did you do for a counter for the desk? I would love more details and advice…I am looking into doing something similar but have no experience whatsoever with this sort of DIY project.

3 Kelsey Norwood April 16, 2013 at 10:41 pm

We used the Pragel countertop from IKEA, here’s the link:

We had to use two of them and cut a little off both so they meet in the center above one of the cabinets. I’m going to write a more detailed post as soon as I get everything put away! But it’s working out great so far!

4 Mark November 23, 2013 at 8:58 pm

Great idea on the base cabinets. Just how did you go about cutting off the toe kick portion? I would love to try this but I don’t want to ruin a new cabinet.

5 Kelsey Norwood December 6, 2013 at 11:08 am

We put it sideways on a table, drew a line, and used a hand saw to cut it off. Just go for it!

6 Stephanie November 7, 2014 at 1:45 pm

Hello! Love the idea to cut off the toe kick! I’m just curious exactly how high your desk is now? We’re considering something similar, and I want to make sure it’ll work with a regular height dining chair. Thanks!

7 Kelsey Norwood November 17, 2014 at 10:59 pm

It’s about 30″ tall.

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