You guys! I did it! I refinished my kitchen table and chairs for my summer project and it is finally complete with three weeks to spare 😉 Let me share with you a little about how I did it.
We bought this kitchen table about 4 years ago at a yard sale. With three young kids I loved the bench and sturdiness of the table. Although I wasn’t crazy about the color, I figured one day I could change it. Here is the before…
First of all, I couldn’t completely neglect my children all summer while I tackled this project so I decided to dedicate an hour every morning to work on it. To be completely honest, an hour of sanding is about all my hands could take! The electric sander left my fingers tingling for at least an hour afterwards. Every now and then I would spend an hour in the evenings if my husband was home or if one of my mini deadlines was approaching.
I started with the bench. I had about a week to do it before we had company coming so that gave me a deadline and an opportunity to practice before moving onto the bigger table. Sanding of course was the hardest part. I used an electric sander and had to completely strip the top of the bench since I was doing a stain. The bottom of the bench I did not have to sand as thoroughly since I was painting it. I used a paint sprayer to spray the bottom of the bench Valspar’s Soft Wool. I really like this shade of white and used it on my kitchen cabinets and built ins. It is important to do a light sand (just by hand) after each coat of paint to get out any rough spots and keep it as even as possible. I did two coats of paint and a very light sand after the second coat. The next step is Polycrylic finish to protect that beautiful coat of pain. WARNING! White paint will yellow very easily so it is important to use a water based poly and to keep it pretty light and even. I learned this the hard way. When we bought this house I painted the upper cabinets in my kitchen and sprayed a nice thick layer of poly to protect the nearly finished cabinets doors. I was so frustrated when I noticed the white was yellowing as it dried! I had to sand, repaint, re-sand, and then lightly re-poly but now they are holding up great! This is the brand I use.
Next it was time for the top of the bench. I liked a more natural wood look but leaving the top without any stain was just too light for my house. So I mixed a Miniwax Dark Walnut with the Miniwax Classic Gray for the stain. I wanted this as light as possible so I put on some gloves and wiped small amounts of the stain at a time with a rag. really rubbing it as hard as I could to spread it and keep it light. I love the finish! To protect the stain I needed to do a polycrylic coat again. This time I could do a heavier coat but I still wanted to keep it smooth. I used a sponge brush and made sure I did long smooth strokes to prevent any stroke lines. Again, I did a light sand between the two coats and a super light sand at the end.
A couple weeks went by and it was time to start on the table. I went through the same steps as I did with the bench but everything just took so much longer because there was more to do! It took me about three weeks to finish the table but I got it done just in time for more company to come 😉 I feel like I did a better job on the table after practicing on the bench. I did four coats of poly on the the table to really give it a protective coat. I love how smooth it is.
Finally, the chairs. I went with my sister’s counsel and painted them white and I’m so glad I did. Sanding all the little nooks and crannies took forever even though I didn’t have to be thorough. I sprayed them the same color as the bottom of the bench and table but had a harder time not getting drips because I had to spray from so many angles to get everything. After a couple of coats of paint and some sanding, I decided to brush on the poly as well to avoid spraying too much poly and yellowing. Again, I used a foam brush and kept my strokes even. The chairs are not perfect, but they look so much better so I am satisfied.
The other little project I did was spray the outside of my fireplace. This honestly took 20 minutes and I really think I made a big difference. I bought some heat resistant black spray paint at Home Depot, taped off the the fireplace, and with one spray it was done! No more gold or scratches. It makes the fireplace work for now 🙂
I sometimes wonder why I start these kinds of projects but when they are finished, I feel so happy! I am not a natural DIYer so if you are unsure of your capabilities just go for it! Do some research, ask friends and family for tips who are good at these things, and then just do it. It’s ok if it takes some time. Just pace yourself. There is something so gratifying about finishing and being proud of something you worked so hard on. Now to the next item on my list….