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I get a lot of questions about painting furniture but when my niece called and asked, “Aunt Donna, can you give me some advice on painting a farm table and chairs?” It knew it would be a huge undertaking for her. I was like… can you send me a pic? Well, the picture she sent showed a small table with four chairs. Right off the bat, I noticed that it had been painted before. Let’s just say I knew I needed to do this one. How hard can a table and four chairs be, right?
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Farm Table Makeover
Below is a list of the products I used for this makeover.
Refinishing The Table Top
- Plastic Wrap
- Chip Brush
- Plastic Scrapper
- Odorless Mineral Spirits
- Steel Wool (superfine)
- Paper Towels
- Orbital Sander
- 220 Grit Sandpaper
- Gator Hide
- Blue Sponge (Gator Hide applicator)
Painting The Base Of The Farm Table Base & Chairs
- White Lightning Furniture Cleaner
- Spray Bottle (for white lightning)
- White Wax
- Black Wax
- Wax Brush
- Driftwood (Chalk Mineral Paint)
Removing The Varnish From The Farm Table Top & Chairs
The first project at hand would be to strip the old varnish off of the farm table top and the seats of the chairs. For this, I used a product called Citri-Strip. I applied a thick layer of the orange-scented gel (that’s safe for indoor use) with a chip brush. While the orange gel was still wet, I added a plastic wrap over the gel to keep it from drying out. This helps with the breaking down of the old varnish. The longer you can keep it wet, the better it works.
Scrapping The Old Varnish Off
After about 30 minutes, I lifted the plastic wrap to check the process. With a plastic scraper (caution, using a metal scraper can cause damage to the wood), I carefully removed the melted varnish by scraping gently over the wood. This is a very messy process and you will need a huge trash can and lots of paper towels. Once the old varnished was removed, I used odorless mineral spirits and fine steel wool to loosen any remaining varnish and wiped the wood clean with a paper towel. The farm tabletop was pretty saturated and needed to dry overnight. The next morning I lightly sanded the wood with a 220 grit sandpaper to remove any leftover dried varnish. After a quick dusting with a lint-free cloth, it was ready for the next step. The WAX!
How To Add Colored Wax For A Stained Wood Look
Now for the fun part! I used Dixie Belle’s white and black wax to add color to the raw wood.
With a paintbrush, I applied the black wax over the wood farm table and chair tops. After the application, I wiped the remaining wax away with a soft cloth to create a dark wood tone. Allow the wax to fully dry (24 hours) before applying the second color.
Customizing Colored Wax
The look I was going for on this tabletop was a bit of a weather gray look. Using the black wax and the white wax, I mixed the two in a plastic bowl to create a beautiful gray wax. I applied the gray wax in the same fashion over the whole top. This created just a hint of gray.
Sealing The Wax Finish On The Farm Table Top
To seal the tops of the farm table and chairs, I allowed the wax to fully cure before applying the topcoat. Because Dixie Belle’s waxes are water-based, they can be used in fashion with a water-based topcoat. The one thing you must remember is that you need to allow the wax to fully cure before applying the topcoat. Applying the top coat before the wax is fully cured and dry will result in the color being pulled away.
Preparation Before Painting
Before painting any surface you will need to clean it thoroughly. The table had been painted prior, so the prep work is a bit different. The table had been painted with chalk-based paint and had a wax finish which is fine. The trick would be to remove as much of the wax as possible to make sure to get proper adhesion. You can paint over some waxes after they have fully cured, but I didn’t want to take that chance. The surface was first cleaned with White Lighting and rinsed with water. A light sanding over the painted surface removed most of the wax. One coat of the Driftwood covered the base of the chairs and farm table like a champ! One coat coverage is unheard of and most of my projects require two. I’m super happy about this! Especially because I strongly dislike painting chairs.
Adding Shadowing With Colored Wax
Dixie Belle waxes are water-based, they can be used with their chalk mineral paint. The black wax was applied in the insets of the legs and buffed with a soft cloth to create a shadowed effect. I blended the Drift Wood chalk mineral paint over the wax to create a blended look. Oh, this was too cool and I couldn’t wait to share my discovery.
How about that cow art? I’m in L O V E with her! Get one too by CLICK HERE to purchase!
This was a huge project but the results were so worth the effort. Even all the whaling and gnashing of teeth on those chairs! Ugh! There were so many of them! Ha! This was my big project for the year. Hmmm… a nightstand is sounding pretty good right about now.
*update on this post… Since this makeover, I have a new table and I can’t wait to show you. It’s all about whitewashed wood. OMG, I almost died refinishing it but it was worth it! CLICK HERE to see it now.
Until the next project… xo, Do