I picked up this double pedestal oak table and chairs back in the Fall. It is huge and very heavy. I seriously thought this was going to be an easy makeover. If you’re looking to do a makeover on your own table and chairs, I say definitely go for it. It will be worth all the work in the end, and it doesn’t get any better than customizing a look that you want.
You can see this is before I got my new truck—this is the truck I always had to borrow when I had a large load.
This oak dining table only had five chairs with it, but they were all in really good shape—very heavy and sturdy. I know some of you may think it was wrong to paint this set, but the table top was in very rough shape. I can’t believe I didn’t get a picture of it.
You can get a glimpse of the table top in this picture. Note the damage on the rung of the chair. I did some sanding on it to lessen the damage. I also sanded the table top quite a bit to remove scratches.
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A good furniture makeover begins with cleaning
Whenever you work on anything that’s been in a kitchen I think it’s best to give it a really good cleaning with some TSP to make sure there are no signs of grease and grime. Paint will not stick to greasy wood. In addition, you don’t know if someone may have waxed the table base and chairs with some furniture wax such as Pledge. I know back in the day, there were cans and cans of it used around this place—but not by me. I’ve never been a huge fan.
For the cleaning, I sprayed the TSP on with a bottle, then wiped everything down really well with an old rag. I prefer to wear latex gloves when I use a lot of cleaning products.
A Finish Max Paint Sprayer makes furniture makeovers easy
As always, I mixed up a batch of my DIY chalky paint primer using some Plaster of Paris for my Homeright Finish Max. I mix it in a cup, then strain that mixture with a mesh paint strainer –then add a little more water to thin the paint.
The chairs got their first light coat of paint while being rested upside down on tarps. Then I turned each of them upright. Can you imagine painting all of these chairs by hand with a brush?
Even the table would have been challenging to paint with a brush. This is after a couple of light coats of the DIY chalky paint primer. I love using my own homemade primer in the same color that I’m going to use because it covers so much better. I intended to leave the set this light gray.
How to paint dining chairs
Even after trying my best to cover every bit of the chairs, I found that resting them upside down like this on a makeshift table worked the best for getting in all the nooks and crannies.
You can either stand on your head, or turn your furniture upside down. I prefer to shift the furniture.
You can see it's best to paint horizontal surfaces such as table tops vertically. I find it gives much better coverage.
Now, this is where it gets a little crazy.
I posted this picture on Facebook, to get opinions on which finish I should use. The chair on the left is straight diy primer in Stargazer (Behr). Then in the middle, the chair is waxed with Heirloom Traditions Paint black wax. The chair on the right has a black “wash” on it. That means I watered down some black paint, brushed it on and wiped it back.
But here’s the honest truth—you may remember I have a bad shoulder. It’s been bad for years, and most days it’s manageable. But the thought of waxing and buffing five chairs was more than I wanted to think about. In the end, the brushing on and wiping off the black paint wasn’t much easier. I had to spread this job out over many days to allow my shoulder to recover.
When you don't have furniture glaze
This is me doing the wash on the table base. I used a cheap chip brush to paint the wash on, working on small sections at a time. Small sections such as half of the pedestal, wipe, the other half of the pedestal, wipe. This picture gives a good view of the before and after of the black wash.
When the rag got so saturated with black paint, I had to switch to a clean rag. But using the saturated rag on parts of the chairs worked really well.
Do I need to seal my dining table after I paint it?
Here is the oak dining table and chairs after I finished painting it.
Of course I wasn’t about to carry this huge thing inside to stage it, so this is the best I could do. I listed it on craigslist.
A very nice couple from another town came to pick it up and Paula was so nice to send me pictures of it in her dining room. I love her style, don’t you? heheeh did you see the level in the corner by the hutch? LOVE it! 🙂
So, as I said at the top of this post, don’t put off your diy projects. Yes, they are a lot of work, but you will be so happy you did it.
Gail Wilson is the author and mastermind behind My Repurposed Life. She is obsessed with finding potential in unexpected places and believes that with a little hard work and imagination, any old thing can be made useful again, including herself!
Gail reinvented herself during a midlife crisis and has found purpose again. She hopes you will find new ideas for old things and pick up a few tools along the way.