Drab to Fab – The Process of Refurbishing

A few days ago my boyfriend’s sweet as pie mother and I decided to check out a local flea market for some booth fillers.  We happened to run across a few cheap side tables, which are big refurbished sellers.  One table in particular was solid wood, basic block style, very square in every sense.  Not to mention it was a boring cream color.  I wasn’t quite for sure the plan I had in mind for the piece, but Momma D mentioned that black was a really hot color lately and I decided to try out Valspar chalk paint instead of Annie Sloan.  A few reasons were location (nearest Annie Sloan vendor is an hour away) and price.  I took off to the nearest Lowe’s and picked up a quart of Boot Black.

Tonight I had the gumption to work on this piece.  I was initially just going to paint it straight black, but felt that would be no more interesting than the plain cream color it already was.  I took it out back and used an electric sander to see what was underneath the paint.  Lo and behold the most beautiful wood grain began to appear.

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This brought some inspiration.  I could clearly see a branch in the wood grain and wanted to emphasize the natural design.  Once I completed sanding an entire strip across the table I sketched out a branch and bird and began my painting process.

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I always begin painting furniture upside down to ensure I do not miss a spot I can’t see when it’s sitting upright.  After several coats with the piece upside down, I then flip it upright and only have to worry about painting the top of the table and any touch ups I can see.  After doodling the design on the top, I first “cut in” with the paint around the details and then used my big brush for the majority of the table top.

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After painting all the black I took a small detail brush and painted the bird with a cream color that matched the original piece.  After that I took a sanding block and hit all the edges and corners on the legs to give it a distressed look and bring out the original cream color to tie into the bird.  I left the original wood grain to give accent to the branch and make it look natural.  After allowing the chalk paint to dry I went over it with sealing wax to keep the chalk paint from scratching.  And voila!  A beautiful, unique, hand painted one-of-a-kind piece that no one will find anywhere else.

This piece will be for sale at West Main Gallery in Russellville, AR as of May 1st.  Priced at $80.00.

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