DIY Desk Organizer Using Thibra

This DIY Project by Lori Craig uses Tommy Art, Thibra Thermoplastic and Better Glue to create an elegant tone-on-tone desk organizer.

This quick and simple DIY project that uses several products and is perfect for a short class.

This quick and simple DIY project that uses several products and is perfect for a short class.

Materials sourced from Imagination International: 

Materials for Desk Organizer by Imagination International.png
  • Tommy Art Petroleum Mineral Paint

  • Tommy Art Neutral Coating

  • Tommy Art Silver Metallic Mineral Paint

  • Tommy Art Gray Coating

  • Tommy Antiquing Wax

  • Thibra Thermoplastic

  • Better Adhesive

Raw Materials

  • Wooden desk organizer - IKEA

  • 1.5” round wooden knobs - Michaels

  • Vintage Labels 1 Molds - Iron Orchid Designs

  • Stencil - manufacturer unknown - (make your own with Mask-It)

  • ½” stipple paint brush

  • 1 ½” soft bristle paint brush

  • ½” soft bristle paint brush

  • Heat tool

  • Small hex nut

  • Small gemstone accent

Instructions for Vintage Label

1. Get supplies

Create the label with Thibra, heat tool and vintage label silicon mold.  

2. Heat Thibra


On a teflon mat or heat safe surface, heat Thibra with a heat tool until it is putty-like, then press into the detailed crevices of the mold. Then flatten the back smooth.

Check out the TIPS Section to learn about various methods for heating Thibra.

Heat Thibra in the Mold.png
Thibra Label Cooling.png

3. Allow to cool

Allow Thibra to cool and harden for 2-3 minutes and gently pop design from silicone mold.

TIP: If you have any thin pieces of Thibra overfilling the mold, they may be gently cut or sanded from design. This may leave a white finish to the Thibra which will not show when you paint your finished piece. Remember to save all of your tiny scraps, they can be re-used.


4. Initial coating

Use smaller soft bristle brush and paint label with Tommy Art Gray Coating. Coating is lightweight and will cover the label color without puddling in the creviced detail. Allow to dry. 

5. Metallic Paint

Using dry stipple brush, lightly dab into Tommy Art Silver Metallic Mineral Paint and tap off excess on a paper towel. Use light sweeping movements to dry brush metallic color to raised areas of the labels surface. Wash brush and allow to dry. 

6. Antiquing Wax

Apply light amount of Antiquing Wax into crevices of Thibra hardware to accent the detail and buff with a soft cloth. 

Apply the Hex Nut.png

7. Apply Hex Nut

Apply hex nut, then gemstone to center front of the label with non-toxic Better adhesive. Set aside to cure. 

Instructions for painting desk organizer

Unpainted desk organizer.png

1. No prep needed

Painting is easy with Tommy Art DIY Paint System. Your clean wooden piece requires no pre-sanding or surface prep. 

2. Apply color

Using 1 ½” soft bristle brush, apply Petroleum color to all visible surfaces of desk organizer - one side at a time with long sweeping strokes. 

TIP: Elevate object to easily cover the bottom edges of desk organizer without pooling or puddles. 

3. Second coat, or not

Most pieces can be painting with one-coat coverage using the Tommy Art DIY Paint System. If your piece requires a second coat of paint, allow to dry between coats. 

TIP: This is a light wood base, I painted all of the interior pieces of the organizer to eliminate any light colored reflections to my finished painted surfaces. 

4. Pattern with Coating

For tone-on-tone pattern, mix 2 parts Tommy Art Neutral Coating and 1 part Tommy Art Petroleum Mineral Paint in a disposable cup. You only need a small amount of each for this technique. This piece measures 13” x 7” x 6”, I used approximately 2 teaspoons of coating and 1 tsp of paint.

TIP: If your stencil is smaller than the surface you wish to cover, eyeball starting point to center design and to get a feel for how the entire image will look at the edges or finish point. For this project, I started with a 7” stencil in the front center, and then worked my way to the front left and right sides. I did the interior layers that show the same way, and finally each outer side. 

5. Dry, cure then wax

Paint will be dry to touch in 20-30 minutes, after paint has cured for 24-48 hours, use a soft cloth to apply Neutral Wax over painted organizer. Allow wax to rest for a few minutes and buff with a clean soft cloth. This will protect the paint finish of your piece.

Metallic Silver paint on DIY Desk Organizer.png

6. Apply Silver Metallic Paint

Use a soft bristle dry brush, apply Silver Metallic Mineral Paint to round wooden knobs. I used a BBQ skewer to hold the knobs steady and worked in small sections at one time. Allow to dry.

7. Antiquing Wax

Use Silver Metallic to paint round feet. Allow to dry and apply thin coat of Antiquing Wax and allow to rest for a few minutes. Use a soft cloth to buff the feet.

8. Glue it all together with Better

Following instructions on Better Adhesive, turning the organizer over, glue the feet to the bottom. Allow adhesive to cure.

Follow instructions on Better packaging and glue hardware plate and knob to the front and allow to cure.

TIP: Clamps may be helpful in the first few minutes while glue sets.

There you have it!

If you enjoyed this project share it on Pinterest.