Have you ever sanded a piece of furniture down to bare wood? I’ve seen all sorts of projects online where people either sand or strip a finish off, but this was the first time I’d attempted it. You can’t really tell from this picture, but there were tons of scratches all over the top of this coffee table that I snagged for $25 on Craigslist.
I sanded for what felt like forever, and it looked like this. I had the best luck sanding from the outside in instead of just going over the entire piece.
Sanded forever again and it only looked like this, haha. At this point I decided that I’d never sand down to bare wood again, but I probably will when the right piece comes along. (I sanded the entire base to, but just enough to scuff it up).
Eventually all of the finish did come off and I flipped the table over and primed the base, then followed that up with 2 coats of Rustoleum Heirloom White in Satin, which is my new FAVORITE white paint for furniture. It has a really nice sheen to it and is so pretty.
For the top, I used 3 coats of Minwax Dark Walnut. You can see the first coat on the left in the pic below, and the 2nd coat on the right. My favorite way to apply stain is by folding up a piece of an old t-shirt and wiping it on.
Every time I’ve stained a piece of furniture it always comes out differently, depending on what type of wood was used to build the piece. Staining furniture is very different than staining bare wood. On this piece, two sections came out darker than the other two, which I actually liked. Keep in mind that the stain will look different on each piece of furniture. Add more coats to darken or mix multiple stains until you like the finished product.
I taped a $3 stencil I found at Wal-mart to the middle of the table.
Dip the tip of your stencil brush in your paint, then dab it off on a paper plate or paper towel.
Use up and down motions to tap the brush on the stencil. Don’t paint side to side or else paint will get under the stencil. Stenciling takes patience because you have to reload your brush fairly often…don’t try to rush it by putting a lot of paint, thinking you’ll save time or you’ll probably end up messing up the stenciling.
Do 2-3 coats of this depending on how stark you want the stencil to look. Wait a few minutes until dry and remove the taped stencil.
You can mix the dark stain with finishing wax if you don’t have dark wax and use it to completely cover the white base. This minimizes the contrast of the dark brown and light white and ties the whole piece together.
You could wax the entire piece to protect it, but I wanted a little more protection than that because of the stencil, so I used General Finishes Top Coat to cover the whole thing.
Looking at the finished product, I’m actually really glad that I put in the effort to sand the original finish off the top because I love how the wood looks with this stain, and paint would have covered that up. This table ended up being one of my quickest Craigslist sales, too, so I think I went the right direction with this project.
There are so many variations of paint color, stain color, stencil types, and levels of distressing that you can do with this project. It’s a really great beginner project too if you’re thinking of painting or staining for the first time. If you’ve never used stain before, don’t be intimidated! It’s actually really simple to do.