Coffee Table Makeover Mess-up (and then save!)

You ever have one of those makeovers that is just really annoying, mostly because of stupid things you've done, well this was it. I was going to name this post 101 things not to do when flipping furniture but that seemed a little pessimistic! I'm going with total honesty here so please be gentle with me!

I found this coffee table for €30 at a used furniture store and I liked the little details around the edges and legs, I also thought a stencil or two would look cute on the top of that. I also kind of bought it because I really wanted a chest of drawers at the same store that wouldn't fit in my car so I was paying for that to be delivered anyway - wanted to get my delivery money's worth! I chose a darkish grey chalk paint from Amelie Prager called Pietra and I knew I wanted to paint the edges and legs with that and use some dark wax over the top, but if I could I wanted to keep the top wooden.

It was quite hard to tell what this was made of - the legs are solid and the top was super lacquered and layered. I gave a top corner a little sand to see what was underneath: wood for staining, great! However the rest was going to take a stupid amount of time to sand off so I applied some paint stripper which did nothing which told me that this was a super buffed veneer - not coming off after all! So anyway, time wasted aside, I gave the top a light sand so the chalk paint had a better surface to adhere to. I know this isn't strictly necessary but this was such a smooth surface on what would be a high traffic piece of furniture.

I used a brush to apply the paint to the legs which are all round and annoying as they are particularly susceptible to drips or 'legs and tears' as I call them (wine drinking term!). Now Italy is pretty hot even at the end of September which means quick drying paint, and chalk paint isn't very forgiving when it come to a smooth finish!

So I'm having a nightmare trying to get a nice even coverage - my whole mantra when doing any DIY is PATIENCE! Which I have very little of, light thin coats are the way to go and wait until it's super dry before you do the next one, not just touch dry. I did end up doing some sanding of the legs to get a smoother finish but this is not easy if you don't want to distress the piece as it's easy to go though to the original surface. I used a roller for the top to avoid the dreaded brush strokes and honestly this was just maybe the lesser of two evils, the roller still left a slightly mottled look which you might like or not, this can also be sanded for a smoother finish obviously... But for some reason I chose not to and went straight for the stencil!!

Just to mention I used one of the fluffier mini rollers because I found the foam roller left lots of tiny air bubbles in the finished paint.

After stencilling I waxed the whole table with clear wax and my waxing brush - I tend to work quickly when doing this to get a nice even coverage. I think followed this with some dark wax; when I apply this I go for the wax on wax off approach. I apply the dark wax with a rag and then buff off with a clean rag, and if I feel I've applied too much, I'll add a little more clear wax which helps remove and blend the dark wax. Now here I wanted some of the dark wax to pool into the details and crevices to help them stand out. So the waxing of the legs and edges was fine, but...

I had some marks made by I can't even remember what which I tried to touch up with the chalk paint then waxed over it all to blend it all together, but no! Somehow the touch up paint dried a different shade (?!?!) and it was really bugging me but I didn't want to redo my stencil so I redid the parts of the table without the can see in the photo above the line by the keys where the new paint joins the old.

Oh I should also add I was in a hurry to go out for dinner after I did the first round of painting and waxing on this, so I left this piece drying outside - huge mistake! Although it didn't rain the dew that forms over night at this time of year settled on top of the table where I'd left the stencil sitting creating a strange stencil shaped watermark - did I say I did some really silly things when doing this piece! Anyway never leave a newly waxed piece anywhere it might get even the tiniest bit damp!

OK so now my biggest lesson learnt here was don't try to repair a paint job on a big surface like a table - you'll never get it to match! Cover it with a stencil or transfer of whatever but don't try to touch up the paint! Anyway long story short - just redo it all! It would have taken far less time to repaint the top, let it dry, stencil and wax again. Now there's lots of info on the Googleweb telling me I should wait for the wax to cure before repainting, but did I mention I'm IMPATIENT! Especially when I've bug**red something up! So I read this useful info and went for an experiment instead - I buffed the top good and proper and then gave it sand, this was the next day I should say so I did wait at least 12 hours. Did 3 new coats of chalk paint with the roller making sure they were dry in between, new stencil, followed by two coats of wax.


Here's a little video of me doing some clear waxing:

Now this has all seemed to go OK, no problems with chalk paint adhering or rubbing off or moving when waxing so now I'll wait a few weeks to see if any problems arise and keep this post updated.

Initial thoughts are you really shouldn't paint over newly waxed furniture but if you buff as much off as possible then it will probably be OK. I'm just being careful with this coffee table for now until it's fully ever helpful assistant feels it needs more buffing!

Once totally hard I may add a coat of poly sealant... there's plenty of advice about doing that online too...

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