Retro Lap Desk Set

By  Kelly Hoernig 

sizes: lap desk, 13-1/2"x21"; purse, 8-1/4"x10"; journal, 5-3/4"x8-1/2"

  • Retro Lap Desk Set


  • Wooden lap desk, 13-1/2”x21”
  • Papier-mâché purse, 8-1/4”x10”
  • Fabric-covered journal, 5-3/4”x8-1/2”


  • DecoArt Americana Acrylic Paint: Antique White, Arbor Green, Burnt Umber, Green Mist, Khaki Tan, Light Parchment, Mississippi Mud
  • DecoArt: Multi-Purpose Sealer, Matte Finish Spray Varnish
  • Loew-Cornell paintbrushes: Series 3300 Shader #10; Series 3350 Liner #1; Series 3050 Script Liner #1; Series 3550 Wash 1/2”; Series 8550 Mixtique 1”
  • Templates: square, circle
  • Loew-Cornell: Spongit Tool, 1/2”; Berry Maker
  • White charcoal pencil

Basic Supplies

  • foam plate (for palette), ruler, newspaper (to cover work surface), cardstock scraps, sandpaper, soft cloth, painter’s tape
  • 1. Trace three square and circle templates onto cardstock; cut out. To create templates, trace found objects like bowls, books, or other geometric shapes.
  • Lap Desk
  • 1. Sand and wipe dust with cloth. Apply sealer. Sand again. Basecoat Arbor Green.
  • 2. Use pencil to mark 2-1/8"-wide stripe, 2-3/8" from left. Apply tape to outer edge. Use stencil sponge to apply two coats Mississippi Mud. Remove left tape and use for 1/2"-wide stripe; paint Khaki Tan. Remove tape. Use ruler and pencil to apply two lines, 2" and 5" from left. Use script liner to paint left line Khaki Tan and right line mix of equal parts Green Mist with Antique White (light green). (Note: Thin paint with water if needed.)
  • 3. Use Spongit to apply Antique White dots and Berry Maker to apply light green mix dots. Use chisel edge of #10 flat to paint Burnt Umber squares.
  • Purse
  • 1. Use Mixtique to basecoat purse Mississippi Mud. Use pencil and three square templates to mark desired placement. Continue patterns to all sides and bottom of purse. Use shader to paint three narrow box sides and wash brush for remaining side. Vary widths for added interest. Paint inside traced box line. For square shapes, use one coat Arbor Green, Burnt Umber, and Antique White. Apply second coat if desired. Erase pencil lines. Use script liner to outline inside and outside line Khaki Tan. Angle lines for added interest.
  • 2. Use Spongit to apply Khaki Tan dots and Berry Maker to apply Green Mist dots.
  • Journal
  • 1. Use Mixtique to basecoat journal Antique White, sanding lightly between coats. Use pencil and circle template to mark desired pattern.
  • 2. Paint circles Arbor Green, Mississippi Mud, and Burnt Umber. To paint circles, use script liner to outline circle. Erase pencil lines. Using shader, start on chisel edge even with circle, then pull around, letting paint run out. Repeat from opposite side, meeting first side in middle. Clean up edges and smooth chisel edge points into outlines with script liner.
  • 3. Use Spongit to apply coordinating dot inside each circle. Use script liner to outline dot Light Parchment. Use shader to paint small Khaki Tan squares and wash brush to paint large Light Parchment squares.
  • 4. Erase pencil lines. Apply varnish.
  • Tip
  • 1. Use painter's tape instead of masking tape so paint edges are crisp and paint doesn't seep through marked areas.