Thursday, March 21, 2013

Thrift Store Dining Table Upcycle

As I mentioned before, Chris and I moved to California with absolutely no furniture, literally none at all (unless you count the dogs' beds), so we had to furnish an entire house upon arrival. Starting from scratch with brand new furniture would be excessively expensive so we decided to hit thrift stores and scour Craigslist for second hand items instead. The only pieces we bought brand new were a mattress, a couch set, and a bed frame. Since January I've slowly begun to refinish several pieces of the used furniture we've acquired, notably a dresser and a tall bookshelf .

The house needed a dining table but we weren't too stressed about it at first because we had stools and a kitchen counter where we could sit and eat for the time being. But when we decided to have a Super Bowl/House Warming party we knew it was time to look for a dining table. We found a solid wooden rectangular one at a thrift store in Oceanside that was covered in stains and water rings for $60.00. I was drawn to it because of it's sleek and sturdy trestle base and I knew that a firm sanding on the top would get rid of the stains and rings.

*Trestle Base

*We found all the chairs (there are nine, three not pictured) on Craigslist for $85.00. I plan to reupholster them in the (near?) future.

After detaching the base from the top we loaded it into the truck and brought it home to begin it's makeover. It was a Friday night so we had wine while we worked, which always helps. Chris did the majority of the sanding and when he was done the table looked as though a fine layer of snow had fallen on it.

After the sanding we gave it a light distressing with a few tools we had at hand. This part of the process turned out to be the most fun and the easiest, especially after a couple of glasses of wine. Then the next morning I gave  the table top a two-toned stain.

After the staining and a few coats of polycrylic we patiently waited another day for the table to fully dry and then moved it inside to it's new home.

*I constantly move the decor around so neither of these pieces of pottery are on the table anymore.

*The Instagram photo collage wall was made using the PostalPix app and more wine.

Thus far our recycled dining table has received the most compliments from any other piece in the house and, honestly, it was the most fun and the easiest DIY project yet.

5 Easy Steps to Refinishing a Dining Table:

1. For the first round of sanding use coarse or medium sandpaper (40 - 120) to strip the table of stains and rings. Use a cloth to wipe off the dust and then sand a second time with fine grade sandpaper (150-180) to smooth the surface and then wipe off excess dust again. Make sure that the floor under the table is protected by a plastic tarp or something because the sanding will kick up a lot of dust.

2. To distress the table top fill a bag (preferably cloth because plastic will tear) with a bunch of nails and simply bang the bag all over whichever parts of the table you want distressed. The deeper the indentation, the darker the coat of stain will show through. You can also hit the table with a hammer, drag screws across, etc. The sky's the limit when it comes to distressing furniture depending on how intense you want it to be.

3. To create the illusion that the table top is made of several pieces of wooden boards you'll need at least two different colors of stain. I used one 8oz can each of Minwax Special Walnut and Minwax Jacobean. Using a cheap paint brush, apply a thin coat of the lighter color of stain onto the top of the table. Let it marinate for 10-15 minutes and then wipe off as much of the stain as you can with a cloth. Make sure you are wearing gloves  and crappy clothes for this, it's called stain for a reason. After the first coat reapply a second coat of the same color and let it sit for another 10-15 minutes before you wipe it off. Wait 1-2 hours before applying the darker coat of stain.

*An optional step that I skipped is going over the top of the table with a very fine grade of sandpaper between coats of stain. Next time I'll probably include this step.

4. After the first color of stain has dried apply the darker stain in 8-10 inch vertical stripes, leaving the same width of space in between each dark stripe (like I'm doing a few photos back). I didn't measure anything, I just eyeballed it. The longer you leave the stain on the wood, the darker it will appear. I left it on about 15 minutes and then wiped it off with a cloth. Then reapply a second coat of the dark stain over the first coat of dark stain, wait another 15 minutes, and wipe it off. Wait another 1-2 hours before moving on to the next step.

5. Once all the stain has dried, use a roller to apply several coats of polycrylic to finish the table and give it protection and shine. Since it's a table it'll be used fairly often so apply at least three coats of the polycrylic, waiting about one hour between coat applications. Let the table sit untouched 24-48 hours before being used.

PS - Sorry there's no real "before" picture but I completely spaced out and forgot to snap a photo before we started sanding it. Just trust that it was not pretty.

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