Vintage Tanker Desk Makeover

I’ve been on the hunt for a desk for my craft room. I found a vintage tanker desk for $30 at a local thrift store and decided to bring it home with me.

It was big and sturdy with very functional drawers, including a filing drawer that I’m going to use to sort my paper scraps. But it screamed government office. So I gave it a makeover. I’m going to write up a separate blog post entitled “How Not To Spray Paint” because wow. I screwed up royally on this desk… not once, but TWICE! Sigh.

I used Rustoleum American Accents 2x Ultra Cover spray paint (affiliate link). It’s got a great gold color and is super shiny.

Would I recommend painting a giant metal desk with metallic gold spray paint? No. It’s a huge pain to get even coverage because of the shiny flakes in the paint. And it shows fingerprints like nobody’s business.


I do love how my desk turned out!

It’s now a golden gem in my craft room! I decided to leave the original faux wood laminate top because I just didn’t think anything else I did would hold up to as much wear and tear as this desk is going to get.

I also painted a vintage metal chair to match. It was a hand-me-down that my mom bought at a yard sale. $8 I think? I loved the chair so much as it was that I was hesitant to paint it. Guess what? I love it even more now that it’s gold!

The cow print pillow… in love! Okay, confession. I haven’t actually sewn it yet. It’s just wrapped around the pillow form for pics. BUT I do love it and once I get my sewing stuff all set up, I’m totally making it official with this cutie pie.

And here are some of the decorative goodies. The stag print is a piece of scrapbook paper from Hobby Lobby. It was $1 and gold. No brainer! I shared a tutorial on how to make the geometric storage dishes a few days ago. So easy and the shape is so chic.

The craft room is coming along! Yay, yay, double yay!

And here’s the before/after shot:

TDC Before and After


  1. I just did my own Tanker redo for my sewing room. I chose Champagne as the color and splurged and bought an air gun and auto paint. That desk will last way past my lifetime and my 3' self healing mat fits on one corner of it! I love the gold with the silver handles! Super beautiful and it's nice to be able to say "I did it"! I did have to have some muscle help since the Tanker weighs literally, A TON! I also love, LOVE the chair. i am on he hunt for one like that now that my desk project is complete.

  2. I love this! My father-in-law has the desk and chair. No one else wanted it. I was stoked! I want to paint it, but my husband wants to leave as is. No way! It is for my art studio. I was thinking rose gold or a purple with some glitter.

  3. hi! Enjoyed your before/after pics of your desk. I, too, found one at a thrift store for $20 and was sooooo in love with it. I painted mine as well, and have it in my craft room. The laminate top was/is in great condition, but has since developed a huge bubble in the middle! sigh. Have you encountered this problem yet? I tried an iron but the bubble is so big, I can’t get it down. I may have to pay someone to fix it or I may have to take it completely off and buy a brand new top for it. idk. Just wondering if you have any suggestions, being a fellow army tank desk owner and all. Aren’t they the BEST!! Heavy yes, great yes.
    thank you

    • I was actually considering replacing the laminate top on mine with a butcher block top if I could find one the right size. I think that would look really beautiful! I don’t have any tips on how to fix the laminate top, though. I’m so sorry!

  4. I have the same desk but the drawer slides for the bottom right drawer are missing and i can’t find the proper replacement slides. Is there anyway you can get me a pic of the slide so i can get the proper replacement?


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