I have been waiting on this reveal for quite a while! It involved a table we have owned for more than a decade, months of churning ideas in my head and a happy accident (or two).
Since I am so excited, let’s start with the before and after:
A long time ago we had a coffee table from Pottery Barn. It was white and had lovely brown baskets that went in the bottom of the table. It was well built and had nice, clean lines.
Although it was a fine coffee table, we grew to appreciate an ottoman instead of a coffee table in front of the sofa in the living room. Not willing to just get rid of the somewhat expensive (at least to us) coffee table, we hung on to it. Over the years it served mostly as a play table, with toys in the baskets. The table lived in Chandler’s room when he was upstairs, the playroom when we had one and for the past few years it has been in the living room, near the bookcase that stores most of the toys.
It is a great height for Max and Will – they can stand and play at it or kneel. It usually sports Legos or Playmobile spread out in all manner of goings on. The baskets on the bottom hold the smaller Nerf guns and accessories. Even though we no longer use the table as a coffee table, it still has earned a place in my heart. I mean, look at that thing before – it was in great shape for being so used for so long.
I can’t pinpoint exactly how it happened, but at some point I was inspired to redo the table. The area is lives in could use something special (even if it is a toy area) and we can see that spot from most rooms on the main level, so I wanted the table to be fun and interesting.
For a while I entertained the idea of making the top a Lego table, but in the end I decided that would be too limiting and that doing that would prevent the table from continuing to grow with us. I was reluctant to paint the top, though, as I did not think it would be durable enough to handle all of the play on top of it.
On a whim, I bought a can of Annie Sloan Duck Egg Blue and just sort of sat on it. After seeing a few furniture makeovers that I really like, I realized that they all were painted pieces with stained tops. That was it! The table puzzle was finally solved – a painted table with a new, stained top.
Just before our spring break trip, I painted the table with two coats of the Duck Egg Blue. It went on really well, which is the beauty of chalk paint – it adheres to most surfaces without sanding first. I was surprised how much I liked the color on its own; it is a beautiful blue.
My plan had always been to finish it with dark wax, so I marched onward. I intended to completely finish the piece and let it harden while we were away on our spring break vacation, but I ran out of time. I ended up only getting one coat of the wax on the table. At that point I really did not know what I was doing with the wax, so I just worked it on and basically left it for over a week. The picture below is how it sat for that whole time. I was hoping this was the ‘it gets worse before it gets better’ part.
Here is where the happy accident comes in. I did not realize that the proper way to use the wax is to apply a CLEAR layer of wax, then do the dark wax layer. So I started with the dark wax. It was dark, alright. Deciding there was not much to do but try to see it through, I lightly sanded it with sand paper. Then life happened for about a day. I kept walking by it, thinking about it. I grew to really like it as is. So I finished it off with another coat of clear wax – the proper way this time. After I applied the dark wax, I found this tutorial very helpful, I highly recommend it if you are new to chalk paint and wax. Just watch it before you start (unlike me).
To make the table top, Steve and I started with this idea from Young House Love. We don’t have a Kreg Jig, so we glued five boards together (two different widths) to get a top that was the correct size. Unfortunately, the glue was visible between the boards and the boards were not completely even with each other. I tried sanding it down, but I was getting no where fast. We finally called a local woodworking company to see if we could run it through their planer (we needed one that was about 25″ wide, like this). They were SO sweet and let us drop it off. Once they had the planer running for another project, they just passed our top through. They did not even charge us – isn’t that so kind?!
Lucky for us the planer did the trick and the top was as flat as could be. We used a router to shape the edges and sanded everything smooth.
After 1 coat of wood conditioner, 2 coats of Minwax Dark Walnut stain and 4 coats of Minwax Polycrylic in Satin, we had our finished table top. We nailed the top to the table because the top of the table has a smooth, painted surface and we were worried that wood glue would not adhere well. You can see the small nail holes if you look closely, but we filled them with wood putty and honestly, this table is covered in toys 90% of the time, so it is not a big issue for this piece.
I wanted to make the top a bit bigger because (1) it made sense for the structure of the table and (2) it gives the kids a little more play surface. When dragons are chasing your hero, it is nice to be able to take one more step before falling off into the hot lava, you know what I mean? We purchased a long trim piece that I stained and sealed at the same time I finished the table top and we nailed that around the table, up next to the new top. This helps the transition between the new top and the original table.
- wood boards (we were able to use two 8′ board to make the top – one 1×6″and another 1×8″) $22.98
- pine molding base shoe trim 12′ long went around the table $3.44
- Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Duck Egg Blue $35 (with lots left over for other projects)
- we already had the wood conditioner, stain, polycrylic, brushes, rags and wood glue on hand
- we also had the Dark Wax and Clear Wax (these cost about $25 each, but will last you a long time if you use it correctly)
Not too shabby on price, and I feel like an old friend has a new look and gets to stay with us for a good while longer.