Trash to Treasure: How to Chalk Paint an End Table
If you have an ugly old piece of furniture that you’re considering getting rid of, you might wanna reconsider! Check out what a little chalk paint magic can do with this DIY chalk painted end table.
For the last 2 years I’ve had a monster living in my garage. An old, ugly, brown monster….
We got this end table for free, and I always knew one day I’d repaint it and make it decent enough to put in our house. But sadly, that day never came and it’s been in our garage ever since.
The Magic of Chalk Paint
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Once we moved, I knew now was the perfect time to fix it up with some chalk paint and use it as an end table in our living room!
Plus, I had a fun little bet with my husband going.
He absolutely hates this thing, and would have loved nothing more than to throw it in the trash. He hates the way it looks; he hates the way it takes up space in the garage, he hates moving it around in the garage to make room….you get it.
He was less than thrilled when I told him I wanted to paint it and bring the monstrosity into our new home. So I told him: “If I fix it up, put it in our living room, and you still hate it….then I’ll get rid of it. No questions asked.”
Yep. That’s how confident I am in chalk paint. It’s never let me down!
And the best part? This chalk painted end table took ONE afternoon, from start to finish. You can’t beat that!
Chalk Painted End Table Supplies
- Waverly Inspirations Chalk Paint in white
- I love using Waverly Inspirations for my small-medium sized chalk paint projects. You can find it in the craft aisle at Walmart and it is so inexpensive! An 8oz bottle is about $6.
- Waverly Inspirations Clear Wax
- You can find this right next to the WI chalk paint at Walmart. It’s super easy to apply, and a little bit goes a long way! $6 for an 8 oz bottle.
- Paint brushYou can buy paint brushes specifically for chalk paint and waxing, but just a cheapo chip brush will get the job done. Plus, you can just toss it when you’re done since it’s so cheap.
- Staining padsI like to use staining pads to wax instead of a wax brush because it’s much faster, and you get much better coverage.
- Sanding sponge (optional)
- I wanted to distress the side table a little bit after I painted, so I used a sanding sponge. Love these!
- Tack cloth (optional)
- These are great for removing any dust particles left over from sanding.
Get the Stuff:
Make Me Beautiful!
1.Since I was painting this inside, I used a shower curtain from the dollar store to set the end table on. Plus, since it’s only $1 I can just toss it at the end! I also used small pieces of wood to set the corners on so I could easily paint all the way to the bottom. Pieces of cardboard work well too.
2. Then I removed the hardware that I didn’t want to be painted, which in this case was the door handles.
3. Although some tutorials will tell you to do some light sanding before you chalk paint, I usually skip this step. But I do always wipe it down with a wet, soapy rag to remove any oils and dirt.
4. Next, I applied my first coat of Waverly Inspirations chalk paint (white) with my cheapo paintbrush, which took me about 20 minutes.
One of my favorite shortcuts that I learned from the chalk paint guru herself (Annie Sloan) is your first coat of chalk paint can be pretty sloppy. You don’t necessarily have to worry about brush stroke direction on your first coat since it’ll be covered by a second or even third coat. Plus, she says it gives the piece more texture, and I have to agree. Just make sure your paint is even, and it doesn’t run. I talk about this and other useful hacks in “How to Chalk Paint: The Easy and FAST Way”
5. Chalk paint dries very fast, so I applied my second coat pretty quickly. Different brands of chalk paint will give a suggested dry time between coats, but I usually go for it as soon as I notice it’s dry…which can be anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour. If you’re doing this outside, it dries even faster! Even though I painted this inside, it was dry after about 45 minutes.
6. When I applied my second coat of paint, I paid more attention to my brush strokes and the direction I was painting. But even then, the 2nd coat only took about 10 minutes to apply.
7. After my second coat dried, that’s when I got my sanding sponge and started distressing. You can actually distress before or after waxing, but I prefer waxing to be my last step. Plus, I’ve seen no real difference in waxing before or after.
When distressing, you want to give it that “worn” look so start with places that would get natural wear and tear. I always have a hard time knowing exactly where those places are, but you can’t go wrong with the corners and the edges. Use your 220 or 150 grit sandpaper or sanding sponge and sand the paint in places until it shows the original wood.
8. After distressing, I made sure to wipe off all the dust particles with tack cloth. This stuff is amazing and works so much better than a rag or a towel!
9. Ugh, I got so excited to be near the finish line that I forgot to take any pictures of the waxing process! But don’t worry, I go into way more detail on waxing in this post when I chalk painted an old dresser and turned it into our TV console.
Even if you’ve never waxed before, it is not difficult. I used my Waverly Inspirations clear wax and applied it with a staining sponge. This took about 15 minutes.
Now you’re supposed to wait 24 hours between coats of wax, but if you’re super impatient (like me) a few hours will do. I’ve rarely waited 24 hours on any of my chalk painted pieces, and they’re still looking fab!
I only applied 2 coats of wax on this end table since it’s gonna just be sitting there, but the more use or wear your item is going to get, the more coats of wax you want to put on.
10. Reattach the hardware. Instead of buying new handles for the table like I had planned, I just spray painted them black before putting them back on and I love how it turned out! And then, bam! A beautiful trash-to-treasure chalk painted end table.
The Finished Product!
Can we do a little before and after just so we never forget where we came from? 😆
It’s currently being a rockstar between our couch and our living room wall and has been the perfect addition to our modern farmhouse living room.
Which means, yes. I won the bet. 😉
Are You More of a Visual Learner?
I actually talked through this whole process and posted it on my Instagram stories. I then saved it to my story highlights! So if you’d like to see me talk about it and kind of show you what I did, then head over here and take a peek under “Chalk Paint”. I’d love for you to follow along while you’re there. 😉
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