Here is my starting point - a $30 Craigslist coffee table, in all his gingery glory!
This was definitely a well used table - and it had the rings and stains and scuff marks to prove it. Some were just on the surface and others were deeper ridges and nicks in the wood.
There was only one thing for it - invest in a sander! (hmmm, he was looking extra orange in this shot. Lovely!).
I sanded and sanded and sanded. You can tell how long it took me by the fact the table was in complete sunshine when I started and complete shade by the time I had finished. It was totally worth it as I was left with a nice smooth clean surface to work with.
I knew I wanted to paint the legs white. I gave them a rough sanding by hand and then caked on 2 coats of white paint.
Next up was the table top. I was really torn between painting or staining. In the end I went for stain. Mainly because I've never stained anything before and thought, at only $30, this was the piece to experiment on. And also because I wanted a more muted/subtle finish.
Now for how to tackle the staining process. I could have gone with an allover dark finish - but where's the fun in that! Since I had decided on stain, I thought I might as well go all out and try something different. I considered a chevron pattern, but the idea of trying to tape all those zigzags really didn't appeal. In the end I came up with a Union Jack. The table had the perfect dimensions (44" x 26"), and being from the UK I figured I should own at least 1 Union Jack based piece of furniture!
A quick stop a Lowes and I had picked up 2 tins of Minwax Wood Finish (Golden Pecan and Dark Walnut), a roll of painters tape and some foam brushes.
I started by applying an allover coat of the lighter pecan colour - this would represent the white in the flag. I used a foam brush to apply the stain and rubbed any excess off with an old rag.
Next up was taping off the white areas to build up the darker colours that would represent the red and blue. I used 1" painters tape. There was a lot more measuring involved than I had bargained for (the chevron wasn't looking like such a bad option at this point!), but I wanted to make sure it was as to scale as possible and not off center or wonky. For anyone interested, I used a 1" outline round the larger middle cross, and 1.5" and 0.5" on the smaller diagonal cross. The large cross is 6" wide (including tape) and the diagonal cross is 3" wide (including tape).
I Googled to see how the painters tape would hold up with stain instead of paint, but I couldn't really find any info on leakage/bleeding/tips etc In the end, I just went for it. For this stage I used Minwax Dark Walnut. I would be lying if I said I wasn't at least a little alarmed when I began to sponge on the wax. It was much runnier than I thought it was going to be and looked like oil, and I felt certain it was seeping right under the tape. I powered on regardless, following the directions on the tin. I didn't let it sit for very long as I was paranoid it was going to be a blotchy mess.
But unbelievably, after wiping away all the excess, I peeled of the tape to reveal crisp clean lines. There were a couple of spots where I hadn't sealed the edges properly (mainly around the outside lip of the table) where the wax had gathered, but with a bit of elbow grease it was easy to blend in.
Next up was the second layer of Walnut to make the blue area of the flag a little darker than the red. This was much easier than the initial taping as all of the measuring was done. I simply ran the painters tape around the existing triangles, trying to stick to the lines as I went.
I was a little more confident this time around when applying the stain.
Between each stage I allowed the stain to dry for 24 hours, and I sealed it all with 2 coats of Minwax Fast Drying Polyurethane. The new knob was a $2 Hobby Lobby find.
I'm so pleased (and surprised!) with how well it turned out.
Now for a good old before and after shot. No more ginger coffee table for me!
More pics to come when I get it off the ugly driveway and into the living room!