The Little Table That Could: A Chalk Paint Table

end table before

Tell me I’m not the only one that goes gah-gah for beautiful wood grain.  Ryan Gosling, eh, give me some wood grain to gawk at instead any day. I found this little table an estate sale for $2.  As you can see, he has seen better days.  There are gaps between the pieces and all over the entire table whatever coating was used has turned into this hideous bubbly mess.  Alas, my friend, look deep below that ugly pimply coating and there is some stunning wood.  If you can see past this little guy’s mysterious bubble disease, the craftsmanship is beautiful.  The legs are delicate and you can see the hardwood trying to show through. I knew I wanted this one to be the chalk paint table I had in my mind.

chalk paint table

Let’s bring in the big guns.  Before we jump to painting and staining, we had to cure this table of its bubble sickness. Repeat after me:

This is not a home fragrance.  This is not a home fragrance.

This stripping gel smells amazing.  I had to keep reminding myself not to sniff it in like a candle and that it is a chemical and you do need to be careful by wearing gloves, protecting your eyes, and ventilating the area. I used the disposable foam brush so I can get a nice thick coat all over the table since we had quite the built up varnish on there and then toss it without ruining a quality brush.  I used a metal scraping blade at first since I already had it, but you have to be very careful not to let the corners scratch the wood so I ended up getting a plastic putty scraper to finish it up.

stripping gelThis starts working around 30 minutes and, in fact, I was able to sneak a peek at the top of the table before the rest was done (the grain!!!). No surprise, the legs needed some more time. Since the legs are so delicate with tiny grooves, I found it worked best to use toothpicks to drag them down and really clean out the gel.  Once all the gel was scraped off there was some residue left so I used a damp cloth with soap to wash it down and let it dry thoroughly before staining or painting.

stripping gel

For the top and bottom level I used my tried and true old favorite – Minwax Dark Walnut stain.  I should try being more exciting sometimes but I’m just so in love with this stain.  Depending on the type and age of wood it always comes out slightly different and I adore it every time. Once the stain set I used a clear semi-gloss polyurethane to seal it.  I wanted to flatter the wood but didn’t want too much shine, this is the perfect balance.

minwax clear semi-gloss polyurethane

Finally, I knew from the beginning I wanted to use chalk paint on this to contrast the wood.  I used the Martha Stewart Vintage Decor Paint in Ivory.  I chose Ivory as a warmer shade to flatter the wood tones more than just a pure white would be able to do.

martha stewart vintage decor paint ivory

chalk paint table legs

The contrast between the dark walnut stain and the ivory chalk paint turned out even better than I had pictured.  I can’t wait to try this again on another piece.

What other paint and/or stain combinations have you tried and loved?



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