Look at almost any DIY blog and you’ll find a post about transforming an old piece of furniture with chalk paint. Do you know why it’s so popular? Because it’s awesome! In a world full of waste, it feels so nice to find a way to modify an outdated piece of furniture, creating something new and beautiful. Chalk paint has a way of breathing new life into something old. I definitely gave my kitchen table new life! Read on to learn all the steps for this kitchen table makeover using chalk paint!
My Kitchen Table Makeover / Labor of Love
My in-laws got this pretty kitchen table for my husband and me as a wedding gift almost 15 years ago. After two kids and everyday daily living, it was beat up and needed some love. I researched lots of potential options and quickly knew chalk paint would be part of the solution.
As much as I loved the table, the color no longer matched anything in my home. Plus, the old stain was not holding up well any longer. Here is a close up image of the original finish.
My family was not thrilled with the process required to re-do this kitchen table and chairs. My house was in disarray for about a week.
Fortunately, they are all used to my “projects” and go about their life while I do my thing. In the end, everyone is typically happy with the outcome.
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SUPPLIES For Kitchen Table Update:
- drop cloths
- Putty knife
- Plastic dish scrubbie
- Mineral Spirits
- Lint-free cloth
- Painter’s tape
- Glad Press and Seal
- Minwax Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner
- Paint Brush (Purdy is my favorite)
- Wood Stain in color of choice (If I were to do this over, I would select Minwax Dark Walnut)
- Paint for table and chair bottoms: Amy Howard Chalk Paint in Linen is what I used. This is rarely available on Amazon. Another chalk paint option is Annie Sloan Old White. OR, If you prefer to avoid chalk paint, consider Benjamin Moore Advance paint. This is a paint that was recommended to me by a local painter that insists it has amazing durability for cabinets (and kitchen tables). If you use this paint, you would NOT need a top coat over the painted portion of your table, ONLY the stained portion.
- Top Coat: A couple of options are Minwax Polycrylic or General Finishes High Performance Top Coat. Some have suggested the Polycrylic can yellow over time when applied over white paint. I have NOT had that issue, but it’s something to consider. The General Finishes top coat is something I’ve heard good things about, but have not personally tried.
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The Kitchen Table Transformation:
1. Strip off the old stain:
I stripped the stain from the table top as well as the seat portion of the chairs. I used Citristrip to assist with taking off the old stain. This stuff is fantastic.
Citristrip doing it’s thing:
A plastic (metal could damage your wood!) putty knife is a great tool to scrape off the goopy stain, scraping with the grain. This was SO messy!
In retrospect, I should have done this entire project outside. But, know it can be done indoors, just be prepared to do a LOT of clean up. Also, make sure you open windows and create a well ventilated area.
After you have scraped off everything you can with your plastic putty scraper, use a plastic dish scrubbie with water to wash the wood surface.
Be forewarned, this entire process is tedious and time consuming! Then, let your wood surface dry completely. After it has dried, lightly sand to smooth out your surface. This will sand off any remaining Citristrip as well.
Consider using mineral spirits on a lint-free cloth to assist with any further cleaning of the table.
2. The staining process:
Wipe the surface well with a clean, dry cloth to get rid of all remaining debris from the sanding process. Next, I applied Minwax Pre-Stain Wood Conditioner prior to staining.
Once you complete this step, you don’t have a huge window of opportunity to complete the staining as this needs to be applied within two hours of application of the pre-stain wood conditioner.
Now, it’s time for a confession. I panicked a bit during the staining process. I stained the chairs using my favorite staining method of tea and oxidized vinegar/steel wool.
RELATED: Check out Getting the Restoration Hardware Look for details regarding making that stain!
But, soon after I completed the application on the chairs, I thought it looked uneven. So, I impulsively dove into the kitchen table top with a different method. I used a combination of different stains.
My Wood Stains:
I wish I could tell you exactly what I did. But, I couldn’t duplicate it if I tried.
Although I do like how the stained portion of the kitchen table turned out, I definitely am not thrilled that it isn’t exactly the same as the chairs. Plus, after the chairs had an opportunity to dry, they looked fantastic.
If I were to completely do it over, I would have just used Minwax Dark Walnut stain on the chair seats and table top and called it a day!
The difference between the kitchen table top color and chair seat:
The table is a bit too blue-toned for my liking. I really wanted to like the Rustoleum wood stain in Driftwood, but it’s just not for me. I get a lot of natural light in my kitchen so you can barely notice the difference in color unless you are looking for it.
BUT, I know it’s there! It just hasn’t made it to the top of my lists of priorities to re-do the table top again. It’s a lot of work!
After allowing the stain to thoroughly dry, I was ready to complete the painting portion. Compared to the staining, this was a breeze! I chose Amy Howard One Step Paint in Linen.
Before painting, I cleaned the base of the table and legs/back of the chair with soap and water. There were a few places with unidentifiable dried food that required sandpaper to remove…yuck!
After it dried, I taped off around the chair spindles so my new stain wouldn’t get ruined. I definitely didn’t want to repeat that process! I also used Glad Press and Seal on the seat to avoid paint splatters.
3. Painting with Chalk paint:
Preparation before painting chair:
I painted two light coats of the Amy Howard One Step paint in Linen (chalk paint), allowing time to dry between coats. I did complete a final (third) touch up coat in only the places that needed it.
What a mess!
For the final step, I applied three coats of Minwax Polycrylic protective finish in matte, allowing drying time between coats. The smell is very strong, so as I stated earlier, only complete in a well ventilated space.
I didn’t allow my family to use the table for a couple days after it was finished as I wanted the polycrylic to fully cure. It has been fairly durable considering all of the use it gets. It’s not perfect, but good enough;)
Kitchen Table Before:
Kitchen Table Makeover Using Chalk Paint After:
What do you think? This is certainly not a project for the faint of heart.
It takes a LOT of time and hard work. But, if you love the bones of your kitchen table or another piece of furniture and are motivated to make a change, this might be for you.
If you don’t have the time to complete the staining process, perhaps you could use chalk paint on the entire piece.
I truly am so glad I did this. I love the change it has made in my kitchen and it’s so special to keep the gift that my husband’s parents gave to us so many years ago.
Some time soon, I’ll post a full before and after of my kitchen. It is so different from when we first moved in 11 years ago.
An Unfortunate mishap that happened after my DIY Table Makeover.
After the ENTIRE project was complete and I was finished with nearly all of the cleanup, I stacked all of my wood stains (a bit precariously) in my arms to carry to my basement.
The stack toppled onto the carpet and left this:
My husband suggested I just stain the rest of the carpet to match. Instead, we just replaced it. It was time anyway (11 year old carpet +2 kids +60 pound dog).
Please leave a comment below and tell me about your kitchen table transformation.
Have you painted and/or stained your kitchen table? If so, I’d love to hear how it turned out for you. Hopefully you didn’t spill the stain on your carpet;-)
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Want to see how the table is holding up two years later? Read Kitchen Table Makeover // How It’s Holding Up 2 Years Later!
If you love DIY Furniture Makeovers, take a look at some of my other projects!
- Piano Makeover with Chalk Paint
- Painting Cabinets without Priming: The Ultimate Amateur’s Guide
- Painted Furniture: A Before and After
- Painted Furniture: A Before and After Part II