Here at Kensington, we get a lot of furniture that comes to us already damaged or eventually becomes damaged one way or another. Instead of throwing these pieces away, we recently decided to attempt to turn them into something completely new.
Take this table top, for example (we may have forgotten to take some "before" pictures, so believe me when I say that this was nothing more than a semi-rustic square table top). I've seen this piece sit in our outlet for longer than I can even remember. Rather than chucking this really beautiful top piece, Alicia and I thought we'd try to upcycle it. Our store has been lacking some new, creative signage around it lately, so instead of spending hundreds or even thousands of dollars on a single, generic sign that you might see at every other furniture store, we decided to make a one of a kind piece.
After making a not-so-quick stop at A.C. Moore, we picked up all of the supplies we needed. With the leftover Rustoleum chalk paint from our last DIY project, we spent around $28 on everything. For this project, all we used was a Liquitex BASICS acrylic paint in black and blue, brushes, wooden letters, and Chartpak letter stencils.
Unlike last time, we thought we'd try to get away with not sanding down the table top, not only to save time, but since we wanted this piece to look a little more pristine instead of rustic. If you decide to follow our lead on this one, make sure you buy a really good sealer to spray or paint over your end result. If you don't, it may end up chipping a lot sooner than you may expect!
We opted to do this project on the smallest budget possible, so we chose to make our own stencils rather than purchasing them. We found a few styles of graphics we liked online, so we printed them, cut them out, and then taped them back together onto our table top. As awful as this was to do, the end result was well worth the struggle. After we outlined our homemade stencils, we had a breathtaking outline of a vintage store sign.
We filled in the chain links in with the black paint. In just one coat, we couldn't see any signs of the the original wood, which was a huge plus! Less time we had to spend on adding layers and layers of extra paint. When dry, the brush strokes were still visible and it even had a shiny film on top which gave it a lot of added texture and effect.
While the black paint dried, we began to paint in the actual sign with our leftover white chalk paint. Even though we were painting inside on a rainy this time around, the chalk paint was still drying extremely quickly. As we finished painting on half of the sign and moved onto the other, the first half was already dry. We did the first coat with vertical brush strokes but realized that it looked awkward compared to the horizontal strokes we did around its border.
Since it did dry so quickly, we were able to paint another coat (this time with horizontal brush strokes) going over the first coat and border. Our result was a texture that reminded me of a wicker basket—very cool!
While the second coat was drying, we decided to paint the little wooden letters to give it a little pop. Since the dark wooden letters wouldn't really stand out much on top of the brownish-grey table, painting these mismatched letters white and blue would give it an effect subtle enough that it wouldn't distract from the actual sign.
By the time we finished painting the letters, the chalk painted sign was dry again! So, it was time to stencil out another design. We chose a very simplistic set of swirls that would add just a little bit of something without looking like a whole lot of nothing. Just as we did for the sign, we printed the design, cut it out, and then glued and traced it onto the table.
(If you're not good at puzzles, you'll probably never want to do this—it was equal to the world's most difficult and demeaning adult puzzle.)
Next came tracing the letters to go on top of the sign. Thank goodness we bought a small pack of letter stencils otherwise I would have been sobbing by the time we got to this point. The only hard part about tracing these was that it was hard to tell if each letter was at the same exact height or not. I'm still pretty sure that the "E" at the end of "PROMISE" is a little off (and arguably every letter after that, too).
While I painted in the letters with our black paint, Alicia mixed together the blue acrylic paint with mostly white chalk paint to make this sky blue color. Since it was made up of mostly chalk paint, it dried extremely quickly, so it was hard for her to work with. Also, since we didn't have great brushes, it made painting the edges much more difficult than it should have been. Please take my advice and splurge on brushes. It will be well worth it!
Just like the regular chalk paint, the blue swirls needed another coat. As frustrating as it was (since I really just wanted to be done at this point), it was worth it since the edges needed some touch ups. The biggest downside to working with chalk paint is that you can't just touch up the edges. If you add a little more paint to one area, those little strokes will completely stand out; so you'll have to paint the entire thing over again to do ANY form of touch ups.
The last thing we did was glue on the freshly-painted wooden letters! Since this table definitely had some kind of lacquer on top, we weren't sure if regular glue or even hot glue would keep them on there. We decided to make sure they would stay forever by using Gorilla Glue. With just a few little dabs, those letters won't be falling off for years to come.
The next day, we came back and the glue and paint were both completely dry! But this isn't where our project ends. Sit tight and keep an eye out for next week's blog post to see what else we're up to :)