May 14, 2014

refinished tables

Do you know what I love? Furniture projects. Do you know what I love more? Completed furniture projects! I'm going to be completely transparent right now & tell you that these tables have been sitting in their various production stages in my house for over a month now. Maybe it's laziness, or the daunting idea of stripping paint, but either way I took my sweet time completing this project. 

But now they're done & I couldn't be happier with the results. & paint stripping isn't all that difficult after all! Plus the transformation on these is pretty drastic, so that's always a treat. Is it just me or are before & afters just the best? This project is part of the redo on my mother's living room that I've been talking about. Hopefully I'll be posting the big reveal soon!
The original tables were so… "special." The legs had been spray painted black, & the tops were done in a variety of crackle pastels. Not only that, but they were covered in stains! They were the display tables at the wood furniture store, so they were purchased for a steal of a deal.
But jeez, they were so… okay, I'll say it. Ugly. Who decided it was a good idea to paint them black & pastel??
No more! Now, not only do they now match my mother's living room decor, but they're pretty!  

For this furniture refinish project, I used:
First the tables came apart, & the legs & sides were painted. It took three (!) coats to cover that awful spray-paint job. 
Then I applied the paint stripper to the tops of the tables, & let them sit for 15 minutes. I wanted to stain the tops of the tables, so it was important that all traces of paint were removed, leaving nothing but the natural wood. After the 15 minutes was up, I used the plastic paint scraper to remove the paint that the stripper had pulled up. Since the tables were spray-painted first & then painted with the crackle paint, it took a few rounds of stripping to get the job done (that's what she said). 
Just a heads up, paint stripper is awesome, but it is also dangerous. Definitely use those chemical-resistant gloves, & make sure to cover your face & eyes. I used sunglasses & a bandana. I also covered my arms & legs. Yes I look ridiculous, but I am also not writing this post from a hospital bed, so who's the real winner (p.s. it's me). You also want to parcel your paint stripper out in a metal container when you're using it, & return any unused stripper back to the bottle. Don't store your paint stripper in the heat, & don't reuse any of your tools except for future paint stripping. Don't let the chemical danger deter you! I would definitely use paint stripper again - it's way better than sanding paint away for hours upon hours.
The paint stripper pulled up most of the paint, & the rest was removed with a sander. After all the paint was removed, the tables were put back together & touched up with the off-white paint. 
Staining time! I taped off the parts of the table I wanted stained, I applied the finish with a regular brush. Normally I'd let the stain sit for a few minutes to deepen the color, but this stain was darker than I'd expected, so I wiped it away almost immediately. 
After the stain dried, I applied three coats of water-based polyurethane to the tops of the tables, letting each coat dry in between applications. The directions said to let each coat dry for one hour in between applications, but honestly I was impatient & waited all of 30 minutes. Fortunately my impatience didn't backfire, & the tables turned out just fine. On a more humid day I might have waited a bit longer, but I just couldn't wait to get these babies finished!
All three tables now spend their days in my mom's living room, where they live happily ever after. 
DIY tables, now home to DIY flowers! Can you see the color scheme that's coming together at my mom's place? Hint - it involves off-white!
Happy DIYing!


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  1. Awesome upcycle! What color stain did you use?

    1. I used a color called Gunstock. It's so red & rich! Thanks for checking out the blog!

  2. Great job! Brings back memories of many projects. Can't wait to start on my dining room table. Have used a lot of Minwax with very good results. Thanks.