When our family moved into a new house a couple of summers ago, we needed several pieces of furniture. So we decided that our current kitchen table would have to suffice in our new breakfast room. It was a lovely solid oak round table with a leaf, circa mid-1980’s! Very dated, in other words. And the finish was pretty worn as well… desperately in need of a redo! The next photo shows the peeling finish! (I was working on a drawing when this was taken, so I’ll spare you the clutter!)
The above photo is the best ‘before’ shot I could find. At this point, let me say that when this project was done I’m not sure I even knew what a blog was, much less dreamed of writing my own! So, I don’t have the photos to show all the steps, but maybe with the tutorial and the pics I do have, you can see the transformation!
Working as an interior designer at a high-end furniture store, I had seen many finishes come and go through our doors. I found one I particularly liked… a distressed off-white, and decided to try a DIY replication. I’ll be doing the tabletop only, leaving the original finish on the pedestal. This sample shows the color I tried to replicate.
One important note before we begin: if your table has a leaf, be sure you work with the leaf in, so the finish will match up!
Here is the tutorial of my kitchen table redo…
Tools you’ll need:
- Drop cloth
- Finish Remover
- Steel wool
- Sander or Sandpaper
- Regular Screwdriver
- Latex Paint
- Wood Stain
- Polysatin Sealer
Before you begin any refinishing project, you want to protect your floors and surrounding surfaces using drop cloths. Then your first step will be to strip the old finish off the top of the table (I didn’t strip the apron or the pedestal). Since I’m not a pro at refinishing, I will refer you to 2 excellent how-to websites on removing old finishes:
Excuse the mess in this room! This is the former house, and we were getting ready to move. The flooring was replaced, thus I am working in the kitchen!
Ok, now that the old finish is off the tabletop, it’s time to replicate that gorgeous painted finish! Lightly sand the table with fine grade sandpaper. Wipe down with cheesecloth to remove dust. The base of my new finish was white. I chose ‘cottage white’, applying 2 light coats to the table top.
**Here’s a money saving tip: when you need a small amount of paint, use a trial size! **
After a drying time of 12-24 hours, I had fun distressing the surface! With a screwdriver I dug small ‘troughs’ and used a hammer and the edge of the screwdriver to make small ‘wormholes’. Then I sanded down to the wood randomly on the top, and lightly around the edges. I’m sure you can get creative and discover other fun ways to ‘distress’ your project!
After I was satisfied with the level of distressing, it was time to apply walnut stain -sparingly- using a soft cloth. Dragging the cloth in the same direction from one side to the other, with the grain, I lightly covered the top with stain. The beauty of this method is that it accomplishes 2 goals at once: it makes the paint color less white, and all of the sanded spots ‘take’ the stain beautifully. Allow to dry fully.
A word about the ‘apron’ (that’s the piece of wood that hangs 3″-5″ around and below the table top). The apron on my table had a carved design. Rather than try to get white paint into all the crevices, I just dry-brushed with my white paint, then drug my stain rag across to give it the same aged patina as the top.
Make sure your surface is smooth before applying the polysatin to seal your finish. Using a very fine grade of sandpaper, I lightly sanded the table top until I no longer felt any rough spots or major ‘snags’ on the surface. Again, wipe down with cheesecloth. Hang in there… you’re almost finished!
Apply 2-3 thin coats of Polysatin.
Admire and enjoy! I am so pleased with how the table turned out! The finish replication was ‘spot on’!!
We enjoy our ‘old’ table and it is used daily… for meals, projects, computers, etc.
Have you started a refinishing project lately? Share your tips with me!