When we moved into this house last summer, my Mom gave us their old oak farmhouse table that they had DIY’d about 20 years ago. I’m the oldest of 5 kids, and I have many fond memories of eating and playing at this table with my big, loving family. My parents had made this table with some antique table legs, oak trim, and an oak top. I love the lines of it, but I wasn’t a big fan of the red oak finish – with the “go ahead” from my mom, I knew it needed to be updated!
To be honest, this table update project was a long and rather annoying one. First, I wanted to sand and stain the top a dark ebony (because I knew how dirty a white top could get) and then paint the legs white.
Here’s the “before”:
Hello, early 90’s!
It turned out that after I sanded the table down…
… any kind of stain I tried to apply to it was horribly blotchy. It was hideous looking (so hideous, in fact, that I could not bring myself to take a photo of the stain swatches)!
So, I came to the conclusion that I needed to paint the entire thing. My new vision for this table was a very shabby chic, white painted finish with lots of distressing to add some farmhouse-y charm!
I decided I wanted to try chalk paint on this baby. I’ve read so much about it and I’ve seen so many beautiful, distressed pieces refinished with it that I knew it would be the perfect medium for my table.
Being on a budget, I decided that I needed to make a DIY version of chalk paint, and I did a ton of research on the best recipe.
My research concluded that DIY chalk paint made from latex paint and plaster of paris was my best bet for a great consistency made with easy-to-find and inexpensive materials.
Here’s how I made my DIY chalk paint:
I purchased a quart of flat latex paint and a carton of plaster of paris. I used tools I had on hand: a measuring cup, a plastic container, a stir stick and a paint brush.
I used the ratio of 1 part plaster of paris to 3 parts latex paint, and first mixed the plaster of paris with enough water to give it a smooth, liquid consistency.
Then, I added the plaster of paris & water mixture to my 3 parts of latex paint and stirred both vigorously with a paint stick.
The paint should be stirred periodically throughout the painting process to keep it smooth.
My mom helped me paint 2 coats of a medium, warm grey DIY chalk paint onto the table. We were thrilled with the consistency and look of the paint – it’s think and a little bit brush-strokey – just how I wanted it to look! We used a brush to paint everything to give it that vintage, worn effect.
When that was dry, I mixed up some warm white DIY chalk paint and painted 2 coats of it over the gray paint layer (and three coats on the table top).
After that layer was dry, it was the fun part – distressing the table! I used a very rough grit sandpaper (80) with a medium to light touch, and went to work sanding off the white chalk paint layer on the parts of the table I thought would wear naturally with age (like the corners of the legs and top). On some spots, I even sanded right through to the oak, but I absolutely loved the antique, chippy look!
This step took me quite some time, and then once I was finished (it was REALLY hard to know when to stop – I didn’t want to overdo it), I sealed the top of the table.
I usually seal my painted pieces with a polyurethane, but my friend Amanda of Natural Mommie and my friend Cheryl of Bella’s Boudoir of Jewelry both suggested to use a finishing wax instead with chalk paint. While I’d love to try Annie Sloan’s Soft Wax one day, I decided to grab a can of Minwax Paste Finishing Wax instead from my local home improvement store (for the convenience and the price).
I applied it in a circular motion on a cheesecloth to my table top, and then buffed it about 10 minutes later. I applied two coats for extra protection.
I’m so happy with the finish! It’s smooth with a very slight sheen, and it showcases the worn look of the table so perfectly.
It makes me so happy to think that many more family memories will be created around my family’s now reinvented DIY farmhouse table. What an honour it is to have such a special piece in my home to share with my own little family!
(Plus, I got to make a darling little table runner out of leftover drop cloth fabric from Baby A’s teepee to adorn my new-old table. I’ll share that tutorial next week!)
Do you have any special antiques or heirlooms in your home that you’ve updated?