I was so tired of our boring, large coffee table in our living room that around six months ago I stashed it away in the basement. There it has sat collecting dust and housing cans of paint and random DIY project leftovers. I wasn’t sure what to do with it so did what I often do best—nothing. I am happy to say that inspiration finally struck, and today I’m sharing with you how to refinish and stain a table.
This poor second-hand table has had a few makeovers in its stay with me. I painted the legs and restained the top back in 2009. Wow, it is fun to see how much my house has changed over the years :). Then in 2011 I decided to paint the top without priming first. You can read all about that disaster in my post entitled, Do I Really Have to Prime. In case you are wondering, uh…yes, you do. After peeling off all that paint, I lost interest in the table and just let it be.
So here’s the low down on how I refinished and stained my table. When I “restained” the top of this table in 2009, I had no idea what I was doing. I didn’t want to sand anything so just used a very dark stain/poly mix as a paint so to speak. It worked great at the time, but I knew it was going to be no fun to sand off. Therefore, I chose to use a chemical stripper to take off all of the old stain. Be sure to follow the label’s directions and wear approved chemical gloves, eye protection, and a respirator while using the acid. This stuff is powerful and WILL burn your skin.
You can see in the picture below that the chemical stripper took off most of the stain and gave me a good starting place to sand.
A quality orbital sander is a must for furniture refinishing. I currently own THREE palm sanders. I tried to go cheap when I first started out DIY’ing, and it’s just not worth it. Orbital sanders aren’t that expensive to begin with, so do yourself a favor and buy a good one from the start. You will end up saving yourself some money in the long run.
When sanding wood you want to start with a low grit sandpaper and work your way up to a high grit. Low grit is coarser and will take off the finish quickly and rough up the wood. Higher grit sand paper smooths out the wood. I started with a 60 grit, followed by 120, and then finished with 220. Be sure to wear a respirator and eye protection when you sand.
Isn’t it looking much better already? The hard part is over and now comes the fun part—stain! I chose to try out Cabot Premium Wood Finish in the following colors shown below: 1. Mussel Shell 2. Stormy Teal 3. Riverbed 4. Coffeehouse.
These stains are fun to work with and come in some great colors. They also have a quick dry time and no need for extra steps like a pre-conditioner or top coat. But what I loved most about them is their “H2Oil component” which means clean-up is easy- just use soap and water! Woohoo!
After sanding, use a tack cloth to wipe down your table to collect all of the dust. Tack cloths can be found in the same aisle as the staining supplies. If you’ve never used one before, it is just a super sticky cheesecloth which grabs all of the dust and gets the wood surface nice and clean. Since I was staining my table with various colors I chose to tape it off to make things easier. Once you’re ready to stain, use a foam brush to paint on your stain, allow it to sit for a few minutes, and then use a clean cheesecloth to remove the stain. With some of the lighter colors, I used a fresh foam brush to wipe off the stain instead of a cloth. I found I had more control this way and it allowed me to leave more stain on my table and achieve a richer color.
And here she is all pretty and finished! The Stormy Teal ended up being a little brighter than I wanted, so I top-coated it with the Mussel Shell. Don’t be scared to mix your stains together in a separate container to achieve the color that is perfect for you!
And here is what it looks like styled for fall :).
I hope this post inspires you to grab a sander and some colored Cabot stain and go crazy :).
This post is sponsored by Cabot Stain. Thanks Cabot for allowing me to try out your stains and share my tutorial! My opinions on products are always my own.