July 03, 2017
When we renovated our kitchen, I decided to give our old kitchen table and chairs a makeover. I don't have a photo of what it looked like before, but the table top was a stained darkish color that was badly worn and the legs and chairs were cream that were also in need of some TLC.
I wanted to do the table top in a layered, gray/brown color. It's sort of a Restoration Hardware type finish that I've seen a lot in their stores. Here's how I did it:
I took the old stain off the table top with a stripping gel like this one:
I was really surprised with how easily the old stain came off with scraping. The edges were a little more tricky because of the details. I used the stripping gel as well as a sander. I finished the sanding with a high grit sandpaper so that the wood was very smooth. The key to a great finish is to get as much of the old stain off as possible.
After the old stain was removed and the raw wood was exposed, this is the process I used:
1. One coat of Minwax Special Walnut stain applied with a rag. Let dry.
2. One coat of Minwax Classic Gray on top of the Special Walnut. Let dry.
3. Mix some white latex paint with a little bit of water, then brush it lightly onto the stained wood. You don't want it to be too solid or too thick. Wipe some of it off if it looks too solid. Let dry.
4. Apply another coat of Special Walnut and use a clean, dry cloth and wipe off some of the stain so that the gray and white underneath still shows through. As you go through the entire staining process, you want it to look layered and not too solid.
5. To finish, apply three coats of Minwax Indoor/Outdoor Spar Urethane semi-gloss finish with a brush. Let dry thoroughly between coats.
For the table legs and chairs, I used a primer spray paint, then did two coats of a satin spray paint. My absolutely favorite brand of spray paint is Rust-Oleum Painter's Touch 2x coverage in Blossom White.
I was so pleased with how it turned out! I've never tried staining anything this large before, so it was a learning process, but it really wasn't that difficult. I'm not very patient, so it was hard for me to wait between coats, but that is key in creating a really smooth finish.
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