Repurposing Trash

chalk paint tableOkay, so I’m kinda cheating by showing the ‘After’ picture first…..just trying to get you to stay on my blog for more than 12 seconds. What’s the rush?! Okay, okay, I’ll move on…..

My friend was looking for a piece of furniture to use in a photo shoot and I found this sewing table in my neighborhood on trash day. It had great mid-century modern style, and no rats living inside, so I threw it in the back of my car.

Annie Sloan's chalk paintI painted it with Annie Sloan’s Chalk Paint and it looked great in the photo. The thing was, I painted it in what I call “Photo Lazy Style.” Meaning, it was painted so that it looks good in a photo, but not good enough to be used in real life. The inside and back side weren’t painted, because they aren’t seen in the photo.

damaged tableThis piece is actually a sewing table, so the top opens up and it has a hole for a sewing machine to be stored in (I know that seems obvious, but I’m just trying to keep everyone in the loop). The wood had a heavy varnish on it that was damaged and chipping away. I used Annie Sloan’s Chalk Paint in Barcelona Orange to make it photo ready, but the inside was left for me to do later.

planter liningI sanded the wood with an 80 grit sandpaper and then stapled a plastic liner around the edge of the hole. (This ended up being a bad idea… stay tuned)

trim moldingBecause I thought the black plastic around the edge looked tacky, I quickly cut a few pieces of trim to cover them and nailed them down. I had also hoped that they would help keep the plastic attached (totally didn’t work…….keep staying tuned).

Chalk Paint supplies


I used Annie Sloan’s Chalk Paint in Provence for the inside. Annie Sloan’s Chalk paint is popular for many reasons, but mostly because it will stick to nearly anything without need for a primer. Typically she does it with brushes without smoothing out the brush marks. I wanted this to be smoother so I rolled it………okay, okay, I did it with a roller cuz it’s faster……sheesh!

blue chalk paintThis is the piece done with two coats.

failure to use primerWhen working with questionable topcoats or veneers they recommend always priming it with shellac. When I did the orange on the outside I did it right and sprayed a layer of  shellac before I painted and it kept all the old nasty stuff from seeping through the orange paint. This piece is destined for the outside and I want it to look weathered pretty quickly so I painted it without a primer. I bumped up the contrast on the photo so you can see the discoloration coming through the paint. Just wanted you to know why you prime if your goal is to have a pristine piece of furniture.

potted tableHere it is after I put the plants in and placed random objects on it to make the photo prettier. (Cuz people regularly wrap books in burlap, leave adorable tea cups out and place their gardening trowels just so………whatever, leave me alone)

chalk paint tableSo here’s the story behind the story (thanks for staying tuned): The plastic lining started to tear when I got the plants and soil in. I had a bad feeling that would happen. I had initially planned on using chicken wire first, but that seemed like overkill, turns out that would have been the right amount of kill. When the plastic started to tear I grabbed a piece of muslin and laid down underneath the table and stapled it to the underside of the table as a reinforcement. I have a feeling that will rot away in a few months and I’ll come out in the morning to an empty table and a pile of dead flowers on my porch. Whatever, at least I got a good photo today, and I think it’s adorable.

I did a lot of things with this piece that I wouldn’t have done if I had planned on using it inside or if I was going to sell it. Please keep that in mind when you read through the process. Since it was rescued from the trash, and being used as a planter, I skipped a lot of steps. Please don’t judge my painting ability by this post. I’m way more anal with stuff that matters….ask anyone that lives with me.


7 thoughts on “Repurposing Trash

  1. Ha! I’m in the middle of painting my own vintage sewing table which was also a dumpster diving find (seriously, my neighbor called me to let me know it was sitting on the curb a few doors down from his house). And I, too, plan to give it a two toned look. Great minds think alike! I love the orange!

  2. Pingback: My Bench is Way Better Than Your Bench! | destashio

  3. Pingback: Haunted Halloween Porch 2013 | destashio

  4. Hi … the best TIPS are the ones telling “woulda-coulda-shoulda” so our hair-brain ideas have company ! I was given an old Singer cabinet and will use on our 3-season porch starting soon with CHRISTMAS greens . Going to try 2 plastic shoe containers cut to fit & overlap — OR in the Thanksgiving, a throw-away turkey baking pan . We’ll see !
    Have not touched the original wood (Traditionalist that I am) … but thinking a winter project will be to paint it — RED — maybe !

All thoughts are welcome!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s