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From Trash to Table

Updated: Jan 31, 2020

While I love the history that comes with antique furniture, it isn't always my style. I furnished my house with furniture I found in my Grandmother's barn, but after 23 years I thought it was time to update my look and have some furniture that more reflects my taste.

I was hoping to do it rather inexpensively. I love yard sales and online auctions but my new favorite vice is My family used this company when my mother was downsizing, and it's a great way to clean out your house. They use online auctions to sell your house contents and it can be exciting to find interesting items for use or repurposing, usually at a good price.

Recently I bought a very simple table that I wanted to try to refinish with a creative flair.

cherry dining table

It turned out to be a quality cherry dining table that had surface damage. It was perfect for what I had in my mind.

My husband did some of the prep work and sanded the table to remove the finish on the top, then I got to add some fun!

I bought a wall stencil and stenciled the top with white paint carefully matching the connector points on the stencil so it looked like a continuous pattern.

Stencil Table

After the paint dried, I stained the table top which added a nice complementary brown color to the stencil paint.

Next, I added 3 layers of varnish and lightly sanded and added more layers of varnish.

For the body and leg of the table, I used black chalk paint since it can paint right over existing finishes without prepping. I purchased my chalk paint from Michaels to for the base of the table.

I added a few coats of varnish and sanded.

Viola - a new look!!

The Plus - I love table & learned what to do differently next time

Cherry Dining Table - $10

Repeat Stencil - $18 (bought a few years ago $24 and used a coupon)

Chalk Paint - $5.50 ($11 and used a 50% coupon)

Varnish & Stain - about $15

**Here's a few learning lessons from this project.

After sanding the table surface, it was smooth and clean but when I stained the table top two dark spots appeared that weren't originally visible. While prepping the table, it sanded clean but I probably should instead have stripped the varnish and bleached the wood. Since this was my first try, I decided not to worry about the spots and "chalked" it up to a learning lesson; I accepted the spots and continued.

The second learning lesson was when I was sanding the layers of varnish on the table top. I noticed I sanded off a bit of stain from my stencil revealing the original white paint I used with the stencil, so I added more layers of varnish before I sanded again, and I sanded very lightly this time. In hindsight, I could have stained the table top and then stenciled with a tan paint, it would have had the same effect and sanding wouldn't have removed the color.

My last learning lesson was the finish on the chalk paint. Since I already had the varnish and it wasn't a focal point, I figured I'd use the varnish to seal the black chalk paint. It just seemed convenient to use the varnish, knowing perfectly well that wax is the usual way protect chalk paint. While the varnish put on a protective layer, it also pulled up some of the chalk paint but it isn't too noticeable so I think my finished table is perfect for a first time refinishing project.

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