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Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Refinishing My Dining Room Table - Staining and Painting

Welcome to a bonus Wednesday Post! There was just too much good stuff to cram it all in on Sunday.

Before we get started, I just want to share with you a little exciting feature this blog o' mine had.  Last month I linked up to a Before and After party over at Thrifty Decor Chick and this month our kitchen was featured! (It was also featured on Oak and Oats last month) How cool is that!? So to all of you who are new, welcome (confetti and balloons for you)!!  And to all of you who have been with us in this process from the very beginning, a ginormous Thank You (Banner Reading: "Most Valuable Readers" to all of you)!!!! As much as I write this blog for my own enjoyment and to keep track of our renovation, I also write it for all of you.  And receiving your encouraging words and hearing about how much you enjoy reading this blog, well, it means so much to me.  You'll probably never understand how much.  So, love to you all - old and new!

On Sunday I posted about the weekend I got to spend with my beautiful friend Kelly.  We crafted an American flag out of a pallet.  And it was super easy and super cute - check it out here.  But that day, I started on a craft of my own.  But it wasn't so much a craft, as it was a large project that took me two weeks to finish.  And, finally, I have my dining room back and it is looking better than ever.

Do you remember my inspiration?

Man, I just love it! I love the wood and paint combination.  I love the green color that looks like it's been used for decades.  I love the farmhouse-y feel.

Here is our dining room table before:
Not a bad looking table from this angle. The table's lines are really lovely and the sides fold down which is kind of a fun feature that adds to its character.  My mom and I bought it at an auction of a coffee shop that was going out of business.  Isn't that fantastic? - not the going out of business part, the fact that I got it from an old coffee shop. Think of all the wonderful conversations that have happened, gathered around this table.  I'm glad we get to add to it AND give it some new life aesthetically.

The overall shape was nice but the table top had to be dealt with. It was looking a little rough - like this:
The finish had worn off in a bunch of spots and it was pretty scratched up.

At first, the plan was going to be to paint the whole thing.  But, of course, my better half had his doubts.  He was a bit reluctant to paint the entire dining room table green.  And honestly, the more I thought about it, the more I agreed with him. He's a pretty smart guy.

Plus, there is something about gathering around a wood-stained table and sharing a meal that just seems right! Not sure if you know what I mean....maybe its just me. 

So here was the plan:
1. Paint the bottom with chalk paint and antique it. 
2. Sand down the top, re-stain it, and reseal it.

Painting with Chalk Paint

I have wanted to experiment with chalk paint for a while and figured, why not? Let me just use my dining room table as my guinea pig!
The awesome thing about chalk paint is that the prep work before painting is kept to a minimum.  All you have to do is make sure the surface you are painting is clean and dry.  I used a sample pot of the Benjamin Moore Lehigh Green that I had purchased for this very reason.  There are tons of different recipes that you can use to make your own chalk paint, I got mine here -she also has a really helpful tutorial.  
Note: This is not the same as Chalkboard Paint.  Chalk Paint is a great option for furniture because of the lack of prep work needed before you paint (no sanding or priming required ahead of time) and the fact that, once painted, it sands really nicely if you want to antique or distress your piece.
So I starting painting the legs. I did two coats, but I waited a day in-between coats.  
I let the 2nd coat of paint dry for at least 24hrs before I felt like I could start antiquing.  

In order to antique the chalk paint, I used a 150 grit sandpaper and focused the distressing on places that may naturally get more of a beating (e.g. where a chair might hit it, where the sides fold down, where your feet might knock against it)... and also areas that I wanted to accentuate. 

Once I was done distressing the painted area, I swept it off with my sweeper and used a tack cloth to make sure all the sanding dust was off the legs.

Then it was time to seal the paint.  I used Minwax Finishing Wax to cover all the painted areas and seal it.  I used the Minwax Finishing Wax in Special Dark to give it more dimension and age. I read a lot of people's recommendation to put a coat of the natural wax on first and then add the dark wax after 4ish hours - It makes it easier to wipe up waxed areas, in case you got a little wax happy with the darker wax.  

Apply with cheese cloth or any lint free cloth.

That's that for the bottom half of the table!

The top half is a whole other story.




For starters, I had to get the old finish off the top of the table and I did that by using our electric sander with 80 grit sandpaper. Oh and please don't forget to use the proper safety equipment and take a scary picture of yourself.  Its very important.

See the difference?  The sander took the old finish off pretty easily and then I went back over everything again with a 120 grit sandpaper just to smooth it all out - paying close attention to see if there were areas where you could see the sander marks.

I swept the dust off of the table with a shop vac and then dusted it off again with a tack cloth - to get the fine dust. 

Then it was time to stain it.  I just used the left over wood conditioner, stain, and polyurethane that we used to stain our mantel so it was nice to have everything on hand.  I used wood conditioner to allow the wood to absorb the stain more readily and evenly.  I have read that this step is especially important for non-hardwoods. Since I didn't know what kind of wood I was dealing with, I figured it couldn't hurt.  
The directions say to wait until all wood conditioner is dry about 15min before applying the stain.  When applying stain, you'll want to wear gloves to protect your hands from getting stained - I used dish-washing gloves.  I used some old rags, dipped into the stain and wiped with the grain.  I waited several minutes to let the stain sink in and then I wiped it away with another rag.  I wanted the table to be fairly dark so I did three rounds of stain application. Throughout this process, keep the windows open or do this in a well-ventilated area to decrease fume inhalation. 

I waited 24 hours and then applied my first coat of polyurethane.  I like to use foam brushes because they are cheap and I can easily throw them away after each coat.  I'm sure a bristled brush would give a better finish but this worked well enough for me.

I applied a thin coat, being careful to smooth out any drips or heavily applied areas.
Allow to dry 24hrs.
Sand with 220 grit sanding block or sand paper - I like sanding blocks because they are easier to hold and control for this type of job.
Clean off sanding dust -again I swept it off and then wiped it down with a tack cloth.  Sanding between coats is an important step.  If you want a smooth table top, don't skip this step!

Repeat x2. I wanted the table to have 3 coats of polyurethane since, after all, it is our dining room table and it needs to be able to take a beating.

Ok... What do ya think?

 A Close up of the table top.

And the legs.

 Here is the finished product compared to the inspiration.

All done and ready to be gathered around.  Come on over for some homemade pizza! Or maybe some pulled pork BBQ and sweet potato fries. - It's our house favorite. 

Thanks again for all your super generous support! I always post on Facebook when I have a new post out. But if you would like to subscribe, you can do so Via Email (sidebar or below) or via Bloglovin (click on the + sign on the sidebar or below).

Both ways to subscribe are great for keeping up with the blog.  I personally subscribe to all the blogs I follow via Bloglovin because it keeps them nicely organized and together.  I use the Bloglovin App and check it daily to see if my favorite blogs have posted.  Bloglovin will also suggest blogs that are similar to the ones you are currently following - nothing better than finding a new blog.   

Here's a list of all the blogs I follow if you are interested:

Young House Love / Young House Life (The first blog I ever followed)
Oak & Oats
Thrifty Decor Chick
Bower Power
Emily Henderson
Shauna Niequist 
Putting Me Together
Hooked on Houses
Nesting Place
Let Me Tell You..
Uncharted Territory
Again We Say Rejoice
House of Hepworth
Polka Dotted Blue Jay
True Life of KMK
Flower Patch Farmgirl

That DIY Party link party at
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