What to do with an unattractive piece of furniture? I can help you out:)
I hate tossing away a piece of furniture, unless it’s broken. If it’s just ugly, I usually feel the need to give it a makeover 🙂 One of my weaknesses. Also, I wanted to do a furniture makeover project with a pretty plain and inexpensive piece of furniture. I feel like sometimes you see painted and up cycled furniture done on really fabulous pieces of furniture. And hey, don’t get me wrong, I love those beautiful, vintage detailed old pieces getting a face lift. But, it’s not always easy or cheap to find that right piece to makeover. This is a a fun and fabulous makeover that you can do on a boring little piece of particle board furniture .
If you prefer to watch this tutorial on youtube click here to see my youtube video.
Background on my End Table Makeover
If you feel like maybe you’ve seen this little table here before, it’s because you have 🙂 They used to be Greg’s old bedside tables and they originally looked like this
Then I replaced them with these tables, and tucked them in my garage, to use in a future project. And now is the time for that project. These are inexpensive little tables, that don’t have any really redeeming features. So, what a great learning opportunity for a new technique or to try something different. Are you excited? I’m excited.
After the silver spray paint, I had primed these using Gray spray primer and then I put a coat of Modern Masters Warm Silver on the top of it, and then I let them sit. So here is my starting point for this project.
I decoupaged the top using tissue paper. But before I did that I needed to make sure that the top had a good solid coat of white, since the tissue paper can be see through. I gave the table two coats of white chalk paint. I love chalk paint fora lot of reasons. One of the things that I love about it is that it dries so fast!! Not like working with latex paint. You can re-coat it in about 10 minutes. Quicker if you are painting outside.
Do you know how as you get older, you start to “get” things that you didn’t get when you were younger. Sanding between coats of paint, is like that. I never used to sand between coats. Why would I sand the paint off that I just put on??? Well, it doesn’t really work like that. What light sanding between coats does do is get rid of all those little imperfections, like brush strokes, little dust specs and drips. So the moral of the story is that you want to sand between coats. I use a 220 sanding block to do this.
Polycrylic or Top Coat
For the iron-on decoupage technique you need to paint the top with a couple of coats of top coat. For this one I used Minwax Polycrylic in gloss. Originally I was going to do the top in gloss, but changed my mind later. You can probably use any top coat for this. I have personally used Minwax, and General Finishes. The reason that you want 2 coats is because if you happened to miss a spot, even a tiny spot, your tissue will NOT STICK it there is nothing to stick to. Trust me, I speak from experience.
If you are new to this technique of decoupage, you are in for a treat!! Especially if you are from the old school of mod podge decoupage. Not that I don’t like Mod Podge because I do. But for flat application on furniture this technique works really AMAZINGLY. I bought this tissue paper, which is from Roycycled. I placed my tissue paper where I wanted it and held it in place with a tiny piece of painter’s tape on the corners. Then you need to cover the tissue paper with parchment paper
This will act as a barrier between your hot iron and your tissue paper. Do not iron the tissue while the painter’s tape is still on the paper, or you will probably not be able to get it off. I just used the tape to hold it in place while I was placing my parchment paper, and then I removed it prior to ironing.
Iron it on
Some people use smaller Craft Iron or Hangar 9 Sealing Iron, for this. I just used my regular iron. Honestly, I don’t really use it for anything else! Seriously – Do people still iron clothes? You do not want any water in your iron – NO STEAM. you want it dry on the highest setting. The poly or top coat that you used to coat the piece with acts as a glue once it is re-heated. You will need a layer of parchment paper between your iron and tissue paper. NOT wax paper, parchment paper. If you are not familiar with it, it’s like wax paper, but without the wax. Don’t let your iron sit in one spot for too long, as it can scorch your tissue, particularly if it is white. So keep your iron moving, and make sure you get the edges well as that is where it will peel if not properly adhered.
Sand the Edges
If you have any overhang or rough edges, just use a sanding block or emery board to sand the edge. The sanding tool will cut the tissue perfectly. Don’t rip it, just keep sanding until the tissue separates.
More Top Coat
So here is what I consider to be there “hard part” Because now your tissue will be looking fabulous. Super flat. And now you have to re-coat it with another coat of polycrylic or top coat. I used General Finishes high performance satin top coat here. Just brush it on, not too thick, just enough to cover the tissue paper. This really is the scary or stressful part, because you tissue paper will bubble up once you apply your top coat. You can see the bubbles inside the red circle below. DON”T PANIC!!! It’s fine, trust me. Just let it dry. And then –
Iron It AGAIN
Once the tissue has completely dried, repeat the ironing process again. Just like before with no steam and using the parchment paper on top of the tissue and poly. All those nasty little wrinkles will iron right out. When you are all done you can breathe a sigh of relief because it will now be perfectly flat. It really is an impressive process isn’t it? I’m going to be using it again on some upcoming projects.
When I did mine, I did the legs after the top. But you could do the legs first, and the top last. For the legs I used General Finishes Milk Paint inLamp Black. it really is one of my favourite shades of black. It has such a beautiful finish. I also used it on this project
I consider the stripes to be the fun part. But that was not the case before I knew how to make PERFECT STRIPES!!! For this piece I went with stripes around the skirt section of the table top. The first thing I did was to measure to the middle of the section and mark the center. Then I applied my first piece of tape to this middle spot, making sure it was perfectly centred (measure, measure, measure). Make sure this is straight, or your edges will look crooked. Then apply a piece of tape directly next to that piece and work your way across the piece until it is all taped off. Then you can remove all of the alternate pieces, keeping in mind where you want your contrast colour to start. For this end table I want the first stripe next to the black leg to be white. So, take a double check before you start painting.
First make sure all of the remaining pieces of tape are completley stuck down and that where it bends around the edge that there are NO GAPS. This is where you will get bleeding and leaking. Yes, it is as unpleasant as it sounds. Then when you are sure everything is tight give all of the edges a coat of the base colour. This will seal up any little opening in the tape. Then when it’s dry, apply your contrast colour. I did 3 coats of the lamp black, because it goes on quite thin. After your final coat, you want to take the tape off when the paint is still tacky. You will have perfect stripes!!
I did the stripes on the ends in lamp black, and the ones on the side of the table I did in an undercoat of pink, with a coat of rose gold on top. You want to do a solid colour under your metallics as they tend to be a bit translucent. Here is what the pink side looks like. Same process as the black stripes. I only did one coat of pink, I used Zuzu’s petal’s by Fat paint. Isn’t that the best paint colour name? And then one coat of rose gold metallic by Fusion mineral paint.
Then I decided after I had done everything else to add just a hint of gold on the edge to the table top. I used Gold Decor Paste
Prima decor wax in eternal. I cannot tell you how much I LOVE this wax. Not only is it beautiful, but it’s super easy to apply and it smells AMAZING!!!! And most importantly it’ a really fabulous shade of gold. I have a thing about stuff that smells nice. And for now, that is the final step. Though truth be told, I am considering adding a tiny bit more gold here and there. If I do, I will definitely update you with a new photo.
The final step is to give the whole piece a coat of protection using top coat. I went with General Finishes High Performance Topcoat in Satin for the whole piece. Also, I find that you get a much smoother finish with a sponge brush instead of a bristle brush. And that’s it, you are done
As I said at the beginning of this post, part of my motivation for this project was to illustrate that you can take a pretty cheap and even crappy piece of furniture and make it into something pretty awesome. So now you have NO excuses to try out some painting and decoupage on furniture. As a matter of fact, I have a matching table, that I am going to use to try out a new technique.
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