Saturday, May 3, 2014

Painting an Old Table

It is useful to have a table to eat at. Of course it isn’t necessary, and many people around the world eat on the floor.  I’ve tried this many times, especially when I lived in Asia, but now I am in Canada and there is the social pressure to act a little more “Canadian” and eat at a table (although I currently eat wherever I feel like – hush hush).
I found a dining table on an online classified site called Kijiji, which is like Craigslist but is more popular in this part of Canada.  Best of all, it was FREE.  

So I went to a nice lady’s apartment where she kept this old table on her balcony; she said had been there for some time. Unsurprisingly, it was scratched and faded. Perfect.  She did not say, however that this table weighed a million kilos. Wasn’t I in for a surprise.?  With the help of a friend, we took the thing apart and moved it into the car and drove off into the greyest hue of suburbia. 

After we moved it back to the house, I had to prepare the surface for painting.  I recently purchased a power sander, and was excited to use it on the table’s hideous cherry wood finish.  
I was not able to remove all of the stain, but enough came off, and the surface was rough enough for painting.  *Always sand a varnished table before painting. Paint needs a rough surface or it can scratch off.  Especially on work surfaces like tables, counter tops and desks. 

After the table, legs and leaves were sanded and dusted, I painted them with 5 coats of latex primer.  Why so much? Because this will be a functional work surface with high usage.  Nobody wants a peely table! 

I had a hard time choosing a colour. I thought about it for a week, and was looking at a lot of colour chords.  I settled on turquoise and white. A simple and elegant choice.
I already had a quart of turquoise latex paint from a side table project but needed to lighten it a few shades.   This is easy to do by combining one part turquoise (or base colour) to two parts white latex paint into an empty yogurt container. 
And then I ate it.  I mean mixed it. 
I painted three layers of turquoise on the trim and legs. 

Finally, after two days of drying (paint takes a while to FULLY dry) I applied 6 layers of *polychrylic varnish over two days.  Again, since this is a work surface I really went nuts with this. The can recommends two coats, but I have seen varnish peel and want to avoid this. 
*Polychrilic is a water-based urethane that I only just found out about!  It is fast drying, and cleans up with water instead of mineral spirits. Best of all, it doesn’t yellow over time! 

We love our new table, it is functional, FREE, and fantastique! 
I also found these white metal chairs for $5 each at a bathroom store and thought that they looked fun, and would compliment the table.  They are surprisingly comfy for metal! Who knew? 


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  2. I love what you have done here, not only is it cheap but you can mix it up and do everything exactly how you want. Visit for a variety of furniture.


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