Monday, April 4, 2011

End Table Makeover

I am soooo excited to show you guys this end table makeover!  It is turning out even better than I expected, so I thought I would share with you my step by step process and what I've learned along the way.

Yesterday, I told you about my plans for our California thrift shop end tables.  They were looking pretty sad and worn.  Plus the light colored wood didn't match anything else in my house since we're into the dark wood look.

After learning today that the process really isn't as involved and as super hard as I thought it would be, I'm wondering why in the world I didn't do this sooner.  I've been living almost two years with mismatched furniture for no reason!  Aggghhhh!!  Well, no more!

Here's one of the mismatch offenders of the week.

Yeah... "Ewww" is right.  It looks pretty terrible, but it's been serving
its purpose, so instead of dumping it, I thought it deserved another chance.

I started the makeover this morning by sanding the whole thing.  It's super duper important to get all of the previous finish off before you stain.  Anything glossy or colored will either effect whether the stain sticks or effect the color, and you don't want that.

Since the veneer on top is pretty thin, I decided hand sanding was the best route to take.

You want to be sure not to sand any more than you have to with wood veneer because if you go through it you'll hit particle board, and it's not so pretty when it's stained.

I used a sanding block with 60 grit sand paper for this part so I could quickly and efficiently strip the wood.  I also kept an old rag handy just to dust off the area I was working on so I could see if any of the glossy color was still there.  (In the photo above, you can see the difference between the bare veneer and the glossy veneer.  You want it all to look bare.)

I continued sanding the whole thing, including all the little nooks and crannies.
This is what it looked like all stripped and just the bare naked wood.
(Hand sanding was a bit of a pain in the rear on this one because of all the little 
rounded edges and the decorative indented part, but it was worth it.)

Next I dusted off all of the saw dust.  You can use an old paint brush, an old rag, or even your vacuum... whatever works.   When it's all nice and dust-free, it's time to stain the little sucker!  Yahoo!!!! It's the fun part!

Kent was busy on another project he's been working on, so I couldn't get photos of the process because my hands were so dirty, but it's pretty simple to explain.  

I used a stain by Minwax and just followed the directions on the can.  I took a nice clean brush and applied the stain all over, going with the grain and trying to cover it as evenly as possible.  Once it was covered, I simply waited the recommended time.  For me, I could wait 5-15 minutes depending on how dark I wanted the stain to be.  I wanted mine a little darker, so I waited close to the maximum time.  Then, I took an old clean cloth and wiped off the excess stain.  Simple as that. 

 I think I like the color, so I'm probably not going to apply another coat, but if I wanted to darken it, I could wait about 4 hours and add a second coat.  

This is what my little end table looks like all made over with stain.
I thought I would let him show off from every angle.
 The little guy can no longer be considered a mismatch offender!  Hooray!
His transformation isn't 100% complete just yet, though.  Since I have to wait about 8 hours, it will probably be tomorrow before he's "officially" made over.  I still have to put a few coats of semi-gloss polyurethane on to protect the stain and the wood.  (Plus, I have to sand, stain, and polyurethane the matching end table... I would have done it today, but I thought I would just do one to make sure I figured out what I was doing first.)  When that's all done, I'll give everyone an update and show my little previously mismatched end tables in action as matching pieces of living room furniture.  :)

What do you guys think so far?  Anyone else think they might give their little old veneer pieces a second chance with some stain?


  1. This looks is great! I am going to keep this advice handy. David and I are currently looking for a larger home which means more furniture. However thanks to you I can always get mismatched end tables and make them work!

  2. Thanks Brittany! I'm so glad that at least someone reads these and can take a little something away. I'm a huge fan of thrift store finds that I can redo, personalize, and give a new life to. It seems to make things in your home that much more personal. :)

  3. Nice job. Did you do the painting on the wall behind you and your pup? I think that would look fun on furniture...


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