This is how the shelf looked when I bought it at the thrift store. I really thought it was unique with the clip board clips on it and thought it could be more attractive with a little spray paint.
I removed the clip things, then spray painted the whole thing in a black matte paint that I had in the basement. After it dried I took some sand paper to all of the edges and rubbed until I could see some of the natural wood show through the paint. I rubbed until it looked as "aged" as I thought looked good. I wiped off the dust and then sprayed on some matte clear coat to finish it off.
As you can see in the photo on the right it looks shiny. I had a can of shiny clear coat that I was going to use and it ran out after about 3 squirts. So I had to buy a new can, which I just sprayed over the shiny stuff & I think it still looks great. It is hard to mess this up.
Now I just have to find the perfect place to hang it. In the craft room? To display my favorite projects, or maybe the things that are inspiring me. Maybe in my daughter's room to display the latest master pieces from school. I will post photos after I figure it out.