This is the second of two tables my mom gave me to paint for her (see the Driftwood Gray bedside table here), and I love how it turned out!
It started as a piece that showed no style; it came originally painted a dark brown and a bearing a few chips on the tabletop, this table needed a major face-lift.
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We chose a creamy off-white color from General Finishes milk paint in the color Linen. Mom also pictured roughing the piece up to give it a chic, worn antique appearance. I’ve done distressing on costumes for historical films, but this was a first for furniture, so I was intrigued to try it.
As milk paint requires no sanding or priming prep work, I was able to immediately start painting. However, because it was previously painted I started with a small test strip on the back of the piece before going further. I’m so glad I did, for as soon as the paint dried it showed lots of streaks and some bubbling.
This told me one important fact: that brown paint was oil-based.
Milk paint is water-based…
…oil and water don’t mix.
A scenario like this doesn’t happen very often for me when dealing with other previously oil-based painted furniture – most of the time you can still paint right over such a piece with no problem. I’d say needing to actually sand happens on 5% of pieces I’ve ever done – very rare.
Thus…a little fyi gold nugget for y’all, and a ton of sanding for me. (silver lining: arm muscles?)
A few hours and a pair of arthritic hands later, I had worked a majority of the paint off and down to the original wood.
At last able to get to the fun part of painting, in a short while later it looked like this:
Letting it dry completely overnight, the next day I took a sponge sanding block and went over the edges of the table to give it more detail and “history”. The process is to simply find the areas that you imagine getting worn or bumped most over the years, and go over them with the sander. Edges, feet, and small leg scuffs are good places. The key is to not overdo it – you don’t want to end up with it looking like the scuffing was purposely done such as a big and random surface area being scuffed out. Little strokes here and there does the trick.
Once I got it looking how I wanted, I used several coats of General Finishes Top Coat in Satin to seal and protect the finish.
Here’s the finished look! My favorite part is how the darker bits of the wood shows through around the border of the top edge on the tabletop:
Amazing difference from its humble beginnings! The power of paint, y’all. Now that you know how to distress furniture, I’d love to see your completed projects! Tag me on Instagram at dravenlivinginafixerupper and I’ll be sure to see it and possibly share it!
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