The desks took a while to clean - forty or fifty years of grime and gum takes a bit of of elbow grease to scape off. Once they were sanded down the entire surface area (including the inside) had to be given a base coat (or gessoed which is my preference). Then it's a simple matter of drawing on your design and painting it. I ALWAYS use Stevenson's acrylics for my projects (over thirty years now), they're very good quality and the price is competitive. A final coat of matt Diamond Finish is always necessary.