How to Chalk Paint a Table

Below are the Before and After pictures.

A few years ago, my mother and I traded a piece of furniture. She wanted a bigger piece I no longer needed and I just loved this little antique table.  I really like its unique shape and functionality (having a place for books). Below are more before pictures.

Notice that someone did not use a coaster!  😩  My family (including me) is still a work in progress!

Step 1: Gluing

Because of its age, this needed to be glued and tightened up. Neal helped me with this part. We used Elmer’s wood glue and Neal is the king of clamps. He has every size and shape to get the job done!

The most frustrating part of a project is waiting to glue to dry when I am ready to transform something. 😩

Step 2: Sanding

I used fine sandpaper to remove any bumps or “burrs” and to give it a smooth painting surface.

Step 3: Chalk Painting

This is my favorite color of chalk paint. I  have used it to transform several pieces of furniture. It is sort of an oatmeal color and goes with everything. It also looks good over black or brown.

A few painting tips . . .

When you paint, be sure to paint in the direction of the grain of the wood. Try to paint using long, even strokes. When you paint the edges, make sure your last paint stroke ends at the edge of the table – – sort of let your paintbrush finish this stroke going off (or away) from the table.

Also, check for drips. If you have a drip, go over this again with your paintbrush.

Because chalk paint dries so fast, I try to chalk paint inside (shop, basement, garage, etc.), especially on a warm, breezy day. I usually paint small items on my kitchen island. I put wax paper down and if I get any paint on the countertop, it is easy to wipe off. I have learned this the hard way in that my paint was actually drying before I finished painting a section and this led to brush marks. 😩

I painted two coats of chalk paint, being sure to get all the crevices. I usually start with the table upside down to get the underside.  Just knowing that the underside was not painted would bug me. Once I paint the underside, including the feet, I flipped it over and finished painting the remainder of the table.

Below are pictures showing the table AFTER it is chalk painted. Up close, you can see the grainy texture, which is characteristic of chalk paint. The purpose of using chalk paint is the ease of sanding the paint off easily to expose the under color.

Step 4:Sanding

The purpose of sanding it to sand off some (but not all) of the chalk paint in strategic spots to reveal the paint color underneath and give it an aged/worn look.

You want to sand off some (but not all) of the chalk paint in strategic spots. I use finer sandpaper (320) initially and sometimes use more coarse sandpaper (120) if the chalk paint is not sanding off easy enough or not revealing enough. I suggest starting off with fine sandpaper (320) and then transitioning to more coarse sandpaper if needed. It is really a matter of taste.

I do all the like areas first (end pieces, inside and then outside, both feet, the bar across the bottom, the shelves) and then the top for last. This helps me to double-check myself for consistency (so they all the sections blend/match), but at the same time wanting it to look random as if natural worn spots. Even though I try to be consistent, I am also inconsistent to give it a naturally worn appearance.

Rounded areas are fun to do because you can give them a real worn look.

I constantly look over the piece until I am happy with its appearance. You can sand more or less depending on your preference.

The edges are easiest, but I don’t overdo it. Then I work on all the flat pieces.

Step 5: Now we are ready for poly.

I don’t use wax, but instead, use Minwax wipe-on poly (clear satin). I use rubber gloves so I don’t have to clean my hands with paint thinner. I take the gloves off and reuse them for each coat. I use a cotton rag (usually from an old t-shirt).

I don’t want the furniture to have a shiny look, but just to have protection. (My sweet family has ruined several tabletops by not using a coaster. 😩) I put two coats on the entire piece of furniture. I start the same way that I did the chalk paint, with the furniture upside down. I put at least three coats on the top for extra protection. (People still need to use coasters!)

Tip: Be sure to apply the poly in the same direction of the grain of the wood. In a large area such as the top of a table which is very visible, use long even strokes in a very uniform way so that it has a smooth and consistent finish. If you are not consistent, you might see smudges. If that happens, don’t sweat it, just learn from it. Over time, you will not even notice this.

Make sure that you read the directions and give plenty of time to dry between coats — overnight is best. I have made the mistake of not letting it dry sufficiently between coats and it took a LONG time to dry, but it finally did!

The poly tints the color a little – – sort of an antique/aged look, but I actually really like the look of this. Even though this is the first time I have used this color, because I use this poly so much, I know what to expect each time.

Drumroll 🥁 . . .  the final result!

It is perfect to hold my Cricut at the end of my desk (outside of my craft room).

It is also nice to have a place to put some of my favorite books!

Check out some of my other chalk painting blog posts:

 

Get some chalk paint and a brush and transform something from trash to treasure!

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Author: Suzanne

Blogger and DIYer with my talented husband Neal. I share about our projects and life lessons following Christ.

11 thoughts on “How to Chalk Paint a Table”

    1. It is sort of a taupe color – – in between tan and gray. I call it an oatmeal color. I just love this color because it goes with everything. Happy Chalk Painting!
      Suzanne

    1. Camilla,
      That is a great question! I use finer sandpaper (320) initially and sometimes use more coarse sandpaper (120) if the chalk paint is not sanding off easy enough or not revealing enough. I suggest starting off with fine sandpaper (320) and then transitioning to more coarse sandpaper if needed. It is really a matter of taste.
      Happy Chalk Painting!
      Suzanne

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