Vintage Table Makeover

retro magazine tableThis adorable table caught my eye a few months ago in the sad part of my favorite thrift store. The Veteran’s thrift store in Chula Vista has a section outside that you get to through the back of the store. The first section is still indoors and they keep bigger items, crappy glassware, furniture and hardware in big bins. If you push through that you end up outside and this is where the sad stuff is. I say it’s sad because the store puts pieces there when they’ve given up on them. They let them weather the rain and the sun and dust accumulation. It’s sad, but luckily this stuff is also marked down to real cheap. This is where this table was, in the sad zone.

vintage magazine tableSo this is the state it was in when I put it in my car. Pretty good shape, really. Some scratches, but no real dings or damage. The top was practically perfect. One of the reasons I picked it up is that I could see that you could unscrew the legs, top and post from the magazine rack portion, making it easier to paint. To start the paint process I  took it all apart.

Let me start by saying that, although this blog was created to document my using up my paint stash until it disappears, I did end up spray painting the primer and base coat. Yes, I bought spray paint. Here’s the thing…..when I started painting pieces like this years ago I did everything by hand, with tiny brushes. It took f*#king forever and it never looked good. Pieces with spindles need to be spray painted. That’s just my opinion, but I’m pretty sure most painters would agree with me. Except tole painters……I’m almost positive that they get some sort of sick pleasure in painting with brushes with 3 hairs in them and spending 6 months on a serving tray. Not judging, just saying.

prepping a wood table

When you spray paint an item it’s important to set the pieces up in a way that you can get at all angles, that you don’t have to touch them, and that they won’t stick to anything. In this photo I have them set up to do the undersides first. When they dried I turned them over and placed something small (in this case several pebbles) between the freshly painted underside and the work surface. You’ll also notice that I have screwed the legs into shoe boxes. This is so I can move them around with out touching them, and spray from all sides. The shoe boxes can go in the recycling bin when you’re done.

spray primer stepThis shows the pieces after they’ve been sprayed with primer. I used a Valspar primer. I tend to buy primers that claim they will work on everything, including plastic. If it can stick to plastic it will stick to anything.

When you buy vintage pieces you never know what kind of products were used on it before it got to you. Back in the day, they didn’t have the EPA, so all kinds of nasty stuff was used. Basic water-base primer doesn’t stick to everything, especially not nasty oil-based stuff. You also don’t know if wax has been used which is really hard to paint over. So I always go for hard core products to prevent my getting all the way to the last layer, pulling the tape, and the whole finish coming off (That happens and it’s ugly). When that happens my husband comes home and I’ve been drinking since noon (It’s 5 o’clock somewhere, people!) and he says things like, “You can just paint it again!” ……..and then I stab him in his sleep. Let’s just say it’s better to use hard core primers, OK?

green paint layerSo here are the pieces painted a nice green apple color. The thing is, I went in to Lowe’s with every intention of coming home with a nice cream color. I got to the spray paint cage and after they figured out I wasn’t a tagger, they opened the cage for me to grab my paint. I really did try to grab a can of white or vanilla or ivory but I ended up grabbing this green instead. It’s a problem. I’m addicted to this color. I’m sorry, but I love it.

stenciled tableI decided to stick with the era it was created in and went with a retro green, yellow and orange palette. The stencil I used on the top is from Royal Design Studio. I think it fits the style of the table perfectly. This stencil comes in a set with a bunch of different sizes and patterns and I’ve used them a thousand times. Totally worth it.

vintage side tableI hand painted the rest of the details with a steady hand and a small brush. I top coated it, again with a spray product because I wanted to make sure it got in all the crevices.

It’s an adorable piece and it’s for sale in my Etsy shop now, all ready to go to a new, loving home.

Inventory used: acrylic craft paints


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