How To: Paint a Wooden Coffee Table

Once upon a time, my husband bought a boring wooden coffee table on Craigslist for $30.  Said coffee table lived a boring life, holding our boring remotes, and being a fat cat’s boring hangout place while we watch TV. BUT THEN THINGS GOT WAY LESS BORING. I was recently inspired by a photo I saw on Door Sixteen, about Barb Blair’s Furniture Makeovers book. (This book is on my reading wishlist! Gotta get it.) I literally ran to the other room and yelled “HUSBAND, is it ok with you if I paint our coffee table 8 different colors?! And luckily, he said yes. Buh-bye boring coffee table. Hellooooo new and exciting favorite piece of furniture!

Here’s what we were working with before:

table before with cat

See what I mean about the cat?

And now with it’s brand new paint job:

how to paint a wooden coffee table

Our living room is so much cheerier now.

Here’s how I did it:

1) Go to your favorite hardware store and pick out 8 colors that you like.  Grab an 8oz sample pot of each, which are about $3 apiece.

coffee table colors

These are all Behr Premium Plus – paint and primer in one. I still have a bunch left over, too! I also used a random white paint that I already had on hand.

2) Sand the surface of your table. The goal is to smooth any rough areas and get it ready for the paint. Paint adheres better to a freshly sanded surface. Use a damp rag to clean the surface of any sanding dust.

sanding the table

I took this picture and realized the mistake I was making – sand WITH THE GRAIN of the wood! I finished the rest of the table correctly and it turned out fine.

3) Use a tape measure to find the middle points of all 4 sides. Mark with a pencil, then use painter’s tape to tape off the first triangle you will paint. I painted each section with 2 coats, let it dry (it didn’t take too long, maybe 20 minutes?), then taped off the next section. The part you have to be most careful with is your tape placement. You want it to be exactly lined up when you do each section, so they all meet in a clean point in the middle.

taping the table

4) Once all the triangles were painted, it was time for a clear coat to seal it all in. First, I tried the spray sealant I used on this table I painted. Uhhh, that was a mistake. You can see in the picture below the lines the spray makes.

See those spray lines? Not good!

See those spray lines? Not good!

5) I took to the internet and found this post by All Things Thrifty. Thanks, Brooke! So I went back to the hardware store, and grabbed some Minwax Water-Based Polycrilic. I got it in Satin, but I think Semi-Gloss would look great too. 3 coats later, the lines are gone, and the coffee table is all finished!

table with clear coat

Happy new table. Happy old dog.

painted coffee table

This was seriously so fun and easy (and cheap!). I can’t stop thinking about all the other stuff I want to paint – I’m looking at you, kitchen table.


Making a Quilt Sandwich

I think you guys deserve an update on the quilt, don’t you think?

If you need to catch up, you can read more about my beginner quilting process here:

Part One – Deciding on a design and buying fabric
Part Two – Cutting the triangles
Part Three – Piecing the Top

So we left off last time with a finished quilt top. Next step: Make a quilt sandwich!

No, not a grilled cheese.  A quilt sandwich = the back of the quilt + the front of the quilt + the batting sandwiched in between. Delicious.

I kept the back pretty simple, using one of my favorite color fabrics from the front, along with some scraps of the other colors, sewn together to make 2 stripes across.  Since I didn’t have one continuous piece of fabric for the back, I cut 3 panels and threw some stripes in there to make it look neat.  The back and the batting are a both a few inches bigger than the quilt top.  After the back was ready, I cleaned the living room floor, and got started. I don’t know about you, but 2 cats and a dog make for pet hairs EVERYWHERE.

The back goes face down on the floor. Tape it down so it’s nice and smooth:
Then batting goes on top:
Then the front:
Then the beagle goes in the batting:
batting and a beagle
Wait…you can skip that step if you don’t have a beagle.

Then pin! Use curved basting pins, and make sure you’re grabbing all the layers.  Pin every 1/2 foot or so. Once you’ve got all the layers secured together, you can untape from the floor, and your sandwich is ready to eat! I mean, ready to quilt!


Next post will be about the quilting process itself.

4 Hours, 352 Triangles

My fabric arrived!  Read here about my process of picking out and ordering fabric for my broken dishes quilt.

I’m really happy with how the fabrics look in person – sometimes it’s hard to tell on a computer screen how bright or vivid the colors will actually be.  Here’s the lot of them:

I could hardly wait to get started once I got these lovelies in the mail.  I want to make sure that the fabric won’t shrink or colors run after I’m done, so I pre-washed everything….in my bathtub!  It was kinda fun, smooshing everything around.  Cold water, a little laundry soap – first the light fabrics, then darks.

I threw everything in the dryer for about 10 minutes, and ironed.

Measure, cut, measure, cut…get the drift? Here’s my cutting process:

1.  Cut fabric into 7 inch squares, and cut in half diagonally – forming two right triangles.
2.  Then cut those triangles in half down the middle.
3.  Now you’ve got 4 right triangles. Geometry!
4.  Admire your triangles, and resist the urge to throw them in the air, 52-pickup style.

Then have a glass of wine, ’cause you deserve it, friend.  A post on piecing the triangles to come soon!

How to: Give your Table a Neon Makeover

I’ve had two plain jane brown wooden side tables for oh, about 15 years.  I went through an obsessive purple phase when growing up, so my mom helped me cover them in lilac-colored satin tablecloths.  Classy!  In my teenage years I decided that the lilac color obsession was weird, the tablecloths came off, and they’ve been naked ever since.  Thus, time for a modern makeover!

Continue reading

New pattern + A visit to The Quilt Store

Now that I’ve got my quilt inspiration,  it’s pattern time!  I’ve decided my next quilt will be similar to the broken dishes quilt on The Purl Bee.  It’s a simple design, which should be relatively easy for a beginner like myself.  Triangles aren’t so scary, right?

broken dishes pattern
I drew out my pattern.

Now, time to think about fabric!  I headed to The Quilt Store here in Austin.  It’s tucked away in a little shopping center on Anderson Lane.

UPDATE: The Quilt Store has sadly closed up shop after 30 years in business.

Continue reading

How To: Sew and Stuff a pillow

Have you been putting up with terrible, horrible, pillows?  Do you have issues with these pillows poking you in the face with their evil feathers right in the middle of your Breaking Bad marathon?   One day in a fit of rage, did you grab those pokey pillows, march yourself outside, and violently throw those pillows in the dumpster?

Well I did. And then we needed replacements.

I went and picked up some materials and got started making my own new, soft, non-pokey pillows.  Here’s how you can make your own.

Continue reading