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.


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.



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.


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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