end table before and after…finally!


Hello! I hope everyone had a wonderful Labor Day weekend!!!  So, I finally completed a project that I have been wanting to finish for YEARS.  Life and indecisiveness got in the way I guess.  Also, I don’t have a covered outdoor area to use for fume-y paint projects, so every time the weather is rainy (or looks like it might be), or is too hold or too cold, I can’t paint outside.  You’d be surprised how rare it is to have a definite nice/mild/paint-friendly day to do projects outdoors in Ohio!

Enough excuses for that – the project is a re-paint of an end table my parents bought when they first got married.  This end table was part of a set with another end table and a coffee table, but unfortunately this one table is all that is left at this point. They got the tables at a Sears furniture outlet way back in 1970 – I do not know if there’s a particular style or pattern name associated with it, but I do love the diamond pattern on the drawer.  When they got them, they were missing the tops – glass, marble, whatever they were supposed to be – and so my parents made do with a couple of ill-fitting scraps of too-tall, unattractive marble.

I don’t think these tables survived the 70’s, because as long as I can remember, they sat in the back of our basement, dusty and unused.  When I moved out in 2006, I took the one remaining table with me and resolved to salvage it. Forgive the crappy before picture – it’s all I got.

The top of the table was pretty worn, and the real wood frame and plastic drawer didn’t look the best together.  The brass hardware is cool, too, although it was very tarnished and dirty.  After a whole lot of scrubbing, I decided it would be best to paint the table and the hardware, and figure out something for the tabletop.  I used Rustoleum oil-base enamel in high-gloss black.  I did one coat, sanded with a very find sanding block, and did one more coat.  I can only recommend a very good paint brush for this paint – the foam brush made bubbles, and the cheap brush left bristles in the paint.  Not good! After that, I coated it with one coat of Min-Wax Wipe-On Poly(urethane) and it was good to go!

I also spent a very long time scrubbing the hardware, and while it did get 90% clean, it just wasn’t quite as bright and shiny as I wanted it to be.  I used a spray can of Rustoleum  metal primer and one coat of Rustoleum metallic gold paint on the handles and that seemed to work pretty well.

My biggest problem was figuring out what to do with the tabletop.  I knew I could get another piece of more attractive marble cut, but at 2′ by 2′ I didn’t want to pay that much.  Then I thought about glass, but that didn’t solve what I would do about the fact that you could see into the drawer.  I thought about doing a frosted glass, but that didn’t really fit the style of my living room or the table.  Finally, I decided it would be best to get some sort of patterned paper or fabric to put underneath the glass.  I searched far and wide on fabric and wallpaper websites for a good pattern.  A did see a lot of wallpaper patterns that fit the bill, but they were all sold by the roll, and at at least $80 a roll or higher, that wouldn’t work for my cheap table re-do.  Finally I found a pattern at Premier Prints.

The pattern I decided on is Barber in Black and Gypsy Blue.  I wanted a high contrast pattern at a scale that fit with the table and the room (many fabrics patterns I liked were too small in scale).  This pattern was perfect.  It had the high contrast black and white, and the grey-blue on the parrot matched perfectly with the blue in my living room.  I am also a huge fan of birds (I have two), so it really sold me.

I needed a way to attach the fabric, and that was the toughest thing to figure out.  I got a piece of glass from the local glass shop for $24, and had a remaining 1/2″ or so in depth so that the glass would be flush with the table top rim.  I couldn’t find a piece of plywood at the hardware store – every piece was either just a little too thin or too thick.  I thought about using foam core board (I could since the glass itself was appropriate for holding the weight of whatever was on the table by itself), but I was worried that the foam core might sag over time.  Before I could give that a try, my boyfriend suggested using alumalite.  We got a scrap piece from his dad’s sign shop – it is like foamcore – except instead of two posterboards and foam, its two thin pieces of aluminum with corrugated plastic in the middle.  The right thickness and very sturdy.

I trimmed the fabric and attached it to the alumalite with Krylon Easy-Tack Repositionable Spray Adhesive.  Since I needed just enough tack to keep the fabric smooth on the panel, I went with the lowest-tack adhesive I could find.  I want to be able to pull this fabric off in the future and change things up should my decor change.

So that’s that! It took me over a year to do what should have been MAYBE two days’ worth of work.  The paint and poly for everything was less than $30 total (and I have used it on some other projects too), the fabric was $10 for one yard, and the glass was $25.  So, the table cost me no more than $65 total.
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