Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Distressed Dining Room Table

Folks, as I have said before, most of the furniture we own has been "preloved". Some of it has lived with several families before it came to be with us!

One of those things was our ancient dining room table, a decrepit bistro table that's older than I am. When I got splinters from it for the bazillionth time, we dragged it upstairs to our patio and ate on the coffee table until we could figure out what we were going to do (Dining room tables, as you know, don't come cheap).

Then it hit us. Why couldn't we MAKE one?

We {very loosely} followed The Lettered Cottage's tutorial, and couldn't have been happier with the results: 
That runner was an Post-Christmas-Sale score from World Market. Love that store :) We made the centerpiece with some scrap wood and leftover table stain. 

Anyway. This was a kind of spur of the moment DIY; we saw the table on the side of the road on our way out of town and fought a few locals for it... We saw potential in it right away:

Scratches, pockmarks, and holes, oh my!
It had lived with a bunch of college students, and looked like it had been used as a cutting board...? Not sure what that was all about. Also there were only three chairs. BUT since the price was right, we figured we had nothing to lose.

We stripped it with stripping goop (the technical name for it, of course), which totally didn't work at ALL, so we had to sand the WHOLE DANG THING DOWN by hand. Reason #1 that this project took so long.
Before we took the legs off to sand them, too... 
Seriously we spent like a month getting this all back to a paintable surface. Sheesh. 

This was the first place where we deviated from the tutorial we were following. Since our table was a really light-colored wood (pine, maybe?), we didn't think that the whitewash effect would be as dramatic as we wanted. So, we made another trip to the hardware store and picked up a tube of this bad boy:

This stuff was so great, because we could just squirt it onto the table or on a paper towel and just rub it until we got the effect we wanted. Both seemed to work well, although personally I thought putting it on the towel gave me a little more control with the color. This was what it looked like after one coat:

The parts that were really damaged soaked in LOTS more of the stain than the rest of the table, but it gave the whole piece a distressed look that we absolutely loved.

Since we would be whitewashing over the stain, we wanted the dark color to really punch through, so we gave it a second coat once the stain had completely dried. If you don't wait until it dries, you start to wipe the first coat off a little bit.

MUCH better. We had refined our technique by then, as you can see, and the application was a lot more even the second time around.

I wish I had been smart enough to snap a picture of the whitewashing process, but we had to do it fast since the mixture dried so quickly.  I've heard that whitewash should be fifty-fifty water and paint (WATER-BASED!!!), but it wasn't as thin as we wanted, so we ended up using a two-part water to one-part paint ratio. We actually mixed it in a pyrex measuring cup: poured in a third cup of paint and then filled with water until we had a cup, making sure to mix it really well. That would have been enough for three or four tables, so keep that in mind ;)

We did two quick coats of whitewash, making sure to apply it evenly but thinly enough to allow the stain to peek through.  Here it is after the final application.

We just painted the legs with unmixed paint (i.e. not whitewash) since we didn't think it mattered all that much, and we really didn't want to have to stain those suckers. They were a pain to sand, and staining them would have made me cry in frustration ;)

By the time we had finished whitewashing the table, we had been working on the project ENTIRELY too long, so the last thing we wanted to do was seal the dang thing. So we cheated and only sealed the top, using an aerosol:

Since it wasn't polyurethane, we knew it wouldn't yellow over time, and so far it has proven pretty durable (it's been five months so far, and no rings!) 

I love it.

Have you ever done a DIY spur of the moment? How did it turn out?

1 comment:

  1. Wow, I'm impressed! It looks great -- sanding down a huge table like that sounds like torture to me, but you did an awesome job.

    By the way, I got your comment about including my Happy Blogging post in your blog, and I'm flattered! Of course you can use it -- I'm excited to see your piece when it's done!


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