Friday, August 3, 2012

Strippin' off the Paint (and keeping it off)

Have you entered the Christmas in July giveaway yet?

As I was baking in the sweltering garage, applying water–based Citristrip paint stripper to anything that didn't move, my "Puttin' on the Paint" project quickly became "Strippin' off the Paint." I did not prime the table originally, so the green paint soaked into the pine, giving me a beautiful green wood grain. I was planning to do a blue and white rosemaling pattern, but how could I cover up free wood graining?

green wood wash pine grain

Leaving the wood naked meant I had to creatively cover the dog gnawing damage on the table's trestle. I could have used wood putty, but I didn't have any. Instead, I mixed up pink wall spackle with a touch of honey colored paint to give the mixture a base wood tone. I globbed it on the damage with a paste spreader.

paint spackle wood repair

The spackle mixture sanded beautifully after it dried. Since I had mixed the honey color into the spackle, I didn't have annoying white patches to deal with.

wood repair paint spackling spackle

I found a fairly close match to the original paint in my acrylic paint stash: Sage by Apple Barrel. I used several washes of the sage paint to give the patch a grained look.

faux grain wood repair spackle spackling paint

After all the whining about stripping the wax on the original table, I went ahead and rewaxed the wood grain with Johnson's paste wax. I really do like the soft sheen wax gives to paint.

For the tabletop, I gave it light sand and touched up the dings with the same water–based stain I had originally used. I then gave it three coats of water–based Minwax Polycrylic in satin. I had originally used these products, so I thought I had better be consistent to avoid the heartache of incompatible products.

I also painted the benches with a creamy Valspar oops paint called Candle Wax in gloss. I really wasn't looking forward to prepping the benches, so I tried wiping the wood with Krud Kutter Gloss–Off followed by at least two coats of water–based Bulls Eye primer. I waited 12 hours and did the scratch test to see if the primer was sticking before I painted on my top coats. I painted on two coats of the Candle Wax. I even bought myself a quality paint brush to complete the job. It was a great experience NOT to pick brush hairs out of the finish.

Krud Kutter gloss-off remover Bulls Eye primer water based valspar oops paint bench
I like to live dangerously. Drop cloths are for wimps.
So how did my fast and furious table revamp turn out? Here's the before:

wooden pine table painted stained benches

And here's the after:

Revamp refinish table benches paint stain wood grain cream

While not a huge change, the table set looks more modern. I really like the texture of the green pine wood grain.

green wood grained trestle table wood wash

I always thought the heavy brown benches were dated looking and made my little dinette area look crowded. Now the table is the centerpiece of the room. I may paint the big oak TV stand in the background with the same oops paint.

paint bench cream refinish

I didn't strip the table top down to bare wood because I like the history the little dings show. My kids and I homeschooled at this table for seven years. I can see the ghostly impressions of math figures and essays in the soft pine top. I gave the old finish enough of a sanding just to remove the paint splatters from many art projects. The tabletop looks like I completely refinished it.

refinish table top tabletop stain water-based polycrylic

Since the whole purpose of this project was to reclaim my dining room table, here is the table set up for it's new purpose. My husband telecommutes to his software company, so he mainly needs a place for his laptop.  He likes the idea that I can sit across from him on my laptop while he works.

dinette table home office refinished paint

The dog will probably hang out in her little cubby underneath the printer with a bone. No more table legs for you, Suzy Q.!


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  1. Love how you left your history showing on the tabletop. The green woodgrain is a beautiful outcome, and I'll copy it. Great idea to paint the other oak to solidify this lovely look. I hope you and DH spend many happy hours together there.
    Do you know if the painting book is still available?
    Thanks so much for sharing, and for your boundless energy.

    1. Thank you, Anne! I'm so much happier with the table (I'm sitting at it now). I think you can get the book for under $5 from an Amazon reseller. I'd still like to paint the rosemaling pattern from the book onto some piece of furniture.


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