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Refinishing the coffee table – my lesson in trial and error

Our coffee table. It was one of our first non-Ikea furniture purchases, but by no means high-end. But I really expected it to hold up better against scratches to things like…dust. Then there was the time Colin cut something and gouged the new table top. Or the time I put a hot dish on it and created a heat mark. Or the fact that we out our feet up on the table and the finish on the edge chipped off. This is why I can’t have nice things!
I was sick of the ugly top. One of my friends made fun of me for making her use a coaster for her glass when the table was clearly already done for. The thing is, I hated to chuck a table that had the general shape I wanted, a nice sized drawer, and space for baskets underneath. It needed help. So I gave it a quick refinish.
To be honest, this is a pretty quick and dirty refinish. Not a lot of picky work, only one surface to refinish. This is a project any of you can tackle!
So the first step was the design. I just did a simple taping off of a design.

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Then a quick coat of primer to make sure it would stick around. Then a couple of coats of paint! I went with a stark white, which in hindsight was a little bright, but I calmed it down later.

After 2-3 coats of paint, I took off the tape before it dried. And then I puked in my mouth. Like an idiot, I had cheaped out on the painter’s tape. The first rule of refinishing is to buy quality supplies. Why work your butt off only to end up with PAINT BLEED??? It also caused lifting in some areas. Spend the extra $3 on the good tape, it will save you a lot of hassle!

So here it was, painted, blurred lines (Miley twerked all over my coffee table), and not at all what I wanted.

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But my original plan was to age it. I thought I could save it. Insert sanding. This isn’t the time to be gentle. Make sure to get the little block marked “paint stripping” or you will be at this all day. So I sanded. I sanded the top, I sanded the edges, I sanded the top some more, especially around the edges that blurred or peeled.
Sanding is a messy business. My husband asked me to please do it outside, so I sanded in the corner of the kitchen. Basically the same thing, right? He was away for the weekend, so not listening doesn’t count.

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After all the wiping, it was time to age it a little further – remember that stark white? A light wipe with dark stain…and more sanding…really made all the difference. Since I didn’t want to lose any of this work, I sealed it with 3 coats of verathane. If you want extra protection, an extra couple coats might be a good idea. Just be sure to follow the drying instructions in between coats so that you don’t have a gloopy mess. Also make sure to really let it cure before putting anything on top.

And here we are – a newly finished coffee table! Let me know how your project goes.

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