I have been really missing painting lately. Winter is a really slow time for me, when the going temperature is no more than a top of 12 – 14 if you are lucky then painting for me is a no go as my undercover paint area is NOT heated and no paint is at its best in those kind of conditions nor is it fun painting while your fingers are ready to drop off or if you can’t feel your limbs.
I must’ve been feeling brave because depsite the chill, I decided to dig out and paint an extending dining table. This dining table was pretty sad. She had a very dark maroon mahogany finish and was a definite ugly duckling sort. I knew that the best way to with this one would be to give her a sand down, 3 coats of primer (YUCK!) and then give her some makeup (paint) to make her lovely again. So bright eyed-bushy tailed lil ol’ me put my coat on grabbed my brush and ventured out to take on this challenging table.
Now of course murphys law dictates that on the day you decide to paint the top temperature will be 8 degrees (if you are lucky) with arctic blasts straight from the south pole. This alone nearly had me putting the brush away, but truth be told I had awoken my inner paint monster and was really itching to give this table a makeover.
Normally with tables I love to give them a fresh stained top and contrasting base. This however was not an option for this piece which really threw my whole plan out and my vision for this piece. I decided to go with a similar plan to a lovely desk I had painted last year.
This desk was a very similar kettle of fish to the table. Similar colour, similar finish, similar proceedure right!? WRONG.
Being so cold the primer took FOREVER to dry. What normally would take 2 hrs took a WHOLE day and I was frozen stiff and frustrated. The primer and cold are not friends, drying was painfully slow and painting in the chill was fiddly and to top it off I accidentally painted a skunk stripe onto my head whilst getting all up and under the table.
Here she is when I had finally gotten the primer on a finished.
So the next day I rugged up and marched back out into the chill for round 2. Seeing as staining wasn’t an option, I decided to paint the top in a lovely rich brown milk paint colour, the same that I’d used on the above desk. Again the cold really slows the drying process making it tough on the time management side of things. I dug out my brown milk paint, mixed it up and managed to get 2 coats on and then ran out of brown paint. So rather than drive out to get some more, I scrounged up another bag of brown paint from a different mob and applied a coat of that… I should have taken the drive because this coat changed the colour and I hated it. The picture doesn’t look so bad but in the flesh she wasn’t pretty!!
I definitely was not prepared to sand and start again, especially after all that priming, painting and drying. I decided to try a technique I had seen online and brush some dark stain over the brown paint, hoping it would enrich it and transform the finish. Deep down I knew it was wishful thinking but I was definitely in the ‘bury my head in the sand’ stage of denial. Well the stain made it worse, if it wasn’t already poo’s before it was utterly horrid now, the colour was a ‘you know what’ brown and the stain made it look smeary and uneven.
In my mind I decided that if I white washed it and dry brushed it with some white it would end up looking like drift wood and all would be fine… Right? WRONG AGAIN!! The stain hadn’t dried fully because of the chill and although it felt dry it wasn’t. This meant that the white wash turned a sickly creamy brown and not even dry brushing could fix the monster I had created.
At this point I realised that I had set out to give this poor table a makeover and all I had done was give her some really bad make-up, but the thought of my hubby coming home and seeing 2 days of work to create the crapola creation was too much for my painters pride to bear. So I went crazy on it.. and when I say crazy I mean proper cray cray!! I had no idea what I should do to fix it and so I threw the rule book out the window and attacked the table with some very weird and wonderful techniques.
Rummaging through my painters stash I came across some really watered down olive green paint in a bottle from some past projects. Now picture this, here I am, rugged up like a sausage, with purple fingers, a red nose from the cold and flushed cheeks from sheer desperation, pouring liquid over my table, yes that’s right, I poured khaki coloured water all over it. Now what? Well of course, what else is there to do now but to grab some scrunched up old news paper and rub it around! Or why not grab a dirty rag and sponge it?…. And I may or may not have grabbed one of my paint brushes that was soaking in some water from a previous project still caked in blue paint, and wave it around in the air above the table flicking and splashing spatters and spots of blue paint all over the place. And in this moment of crazed paint madness something amazing happened.
The table was transformed, the top ended up looking something like polished stone and was sealed with 4 coats of satin polly-urethane, it had all sorts of interesting patina and detail and actually looked pretty amazing, it actually blew my socks off that out of all that frustration and madness came a masterpiece.
For the body of the table I used 3 colours, 2 shades of grey and 1 light green and just dipped my brush in whatever colour I felt like randomly, stippling the paint here and there to create texture and patina. I used some of the left over milk paint to create a brown ‘wash’ of sorts and use it to age areas on the legs and feet on the table. I did flick some of the brown paint on in spots to age it and then I sealed and finished the legs of with heavy use of dark wax for that intense aged patina.
How great is that!! So the moral of the story .. don’t give up and don’t be afraid to try some new techniques and experiment because out of the madness might just come a masterpiece. And the best part, the hubby came home and said ‘hey that table looks really cool, I love the top!’ and I had the biggest cheesiest grin that you ever saw 😀
This table is for sale in-store and online, so why not pop in and check her out!!