Thursday, October 17, 2013

Side Table Revamps, A Cautionary Tale...

Ok, so I can be a bit of a go-getter (not always in a good way).  Once I get an idea in my head I have a hard time not just going for it.  So this is a cautionary tale...sometimes it is far better to stop yourself and do your research, think things through, before you jump in!
The story begins with 3 side tables (2 bedside tables and 1 in our living room), that were all a little too dark.  So, after re-doing our dresser, I decided they needed some lightening up.  Here's what I started with...

For the the bedroom side tables I wanted to go for a distressed look with hints of the same green I used for the top of the dresser (here).  So my original plan was to do a typical two-tone distress painting.  To do this, you first paint the pieces with the color you want to peek through.

This paint job doesn't have to be great, since you'll be painting over it anyway.
Mistake #1:  The smaller side table wasn't solid wood, but it wasn't veneer either.  The larger side table is veneer.  If I would have done my research I would have found out that you should definitely always use a primer for veneer because otherwise the paint doesn't stick to the furniture.

So once the green layer dried, I painted over it with the same white (Benjamin Moore: Gray Mist).  This layer needs to be done well--make sure things look nice and are covered, it took me about 3 coats.

Once the white dried, then I used sand paper to sand through the white paint and show through the green paint.  You want to use the sand paper in places where furniture would rub naturally (corners, tops, legs, etc).  The smaller side table turned out ok--little bits of green popping through.

This is the point where mistake #2 comes in:  I took sand paper to the veneer piece.  All the paint just started peeling off--and not in a good-chippy kind of way.  The bad kind of way...the ruin the paint job kind of way.  I should have taken a picture of this...but I was so embarrassed of my stupid move that I just went to try to fix it.

Mistake #3:  I decided to use a dry brush method to paint the green over the top of the white to create a faux distressing.  Now, before I go on, there are good ways to do dry brush.  This was not one of them.

How to dry brush:  Make sure the paint brush you use is very dry, dip just the tip of the brush into the paint (using the lid paint is best).  Then take a paper towel to brush off most of the paint.  Lightly brush over the areas that you want to look distressed.  Start small, you can't go back.

Here's what the side table ended up looking like... I think the main problem is that the color is all wrong to use this distressing technique.  I believe that if I had painted the piece green and then used the white to dry brush over, it would have turned out a lot better.
I haven't decided how to fix it, so for now it stays this way.  I want to make sure I get it right the second time.
Morale of the story:  Do your research before you just jump into a project--especially when you're not dealing with just simple, solid wood!

However, the upside, I do love the way it lightens up our bedroom.  I think it makes the bed more of a statement and I'm hoping to fix the one side table and bring some more pops of color soon!!

As for the living room side table?  I just wanted it to be a simple table, so I just did a couple of coats of the Gray Mist.

Do any of you have projects that you felt didn't go too well?  How did you fix them?


  1. What?! They all turned out great!! (But yes, I've had plenty of projects that I don't think went well...) Thanks for linking up to The DIY'ers!

  2. Do I have stories of disasters? Too many to even blog about. At least you were able to salvage and correct. When this happens to me, I repeat "Through failure comes success!"

  3. We all learn by doing,...don't get discouraged, painting is fun! You might want to try chalk, mineral paint it works wonders! Covers everything even veneer, metal, even fabric! no pre sanding or priming required, no harsh chemicals or VOC's I love the stuff! A few brands to try, CeCeCaldwell, American Paint, with these you can distress with no sanding, a wet cloth takes off the layers. Another great brand Annie Sloan leaves a wonderful finish! These types of paints are much easier to work with when layering and distressing. Try them, you will love the results! Hope this helps

    1. Thanks for the suggestions--I'll definitely have to try out mineral paint when I get the courage to try again! haha