Tag Archives: furniture makeover

Color Blocked Patio Table Tutorial

Even though I live in North Texas, I love being outside.  Ninety degree springs, 105 degree summers or 95 degree falls.  Doesn’t matter… I’m there.

My apartment’s patio is on the smaller side, but that doesn’t stop me from spending time on it, so I’m set on making the most of it!

Color Blocked Patio Table Tutorial

The last thing I posted about my patio was the colander that I turned into a planter.  This project is considerably more substantial.

I got this little wood table at my local Goodwill for $5.  That was four years ago.

Color Blocked Patio Table Tutorial

When I bought it, my plan was to give it a face-lift in the coming weeks but, you know, life happens.  For a while it served as a nightstand:

Before Adding New Nightstands

But then I made my own nightstands and I didn’t need it there anymore. So it sat in storage for about a year.

I finally got my tail in gear and color blocked it. It was actually pretty easy, just a bit time consuming. Here’s how I did it.

Color Blocked Patio Table Tutorial

Step 1 – remove existing finish.

I tried using citrustrip but there were too many heavy layers of black paint for it to do any good. It looked pretty gross.

Color Blocked Patio Table Tutorial Color Blocked Patio Table Tutorial Color Blocked Patio Table Tutorial

I ended up sanding the large surfaces with my power sander and the smaller surfaces, like the slats, by hand. With as thick as the paint was, the sanding actually went by very quickly. I went from 80 grit to 150 grit to 220 to get a nice smooth finish on the wood.

Color Blocked Patio Table Tutorial Color Blocked Patio Table Tutorial Color Blocked Patio Table Tutorial

Step 2 – clean.

This part was easy! I just hosed it down and let it sit in the hot afternoon sun for a couple of hours.

Color Blocked Patio Table Tutorial Color Blocked Patio Table Tutorial

Step 3 – beautification.

I wanted a two-tone table, and after some deliberation, the council at jhbhq determined that the underside would be a bright color and the outer surfaces would be stained.

Step 3a – stain.

I mixed Varathane American Walnut with Varathane Sunbleached and it came out a velvety, milky, muted walnut color. I love it!

Color Blocked Patio Table Tutorial

I always apply stain to wood wearing plastic gloves and most of the time I use an old cotton athletic sock that I can trash later to apply the stain to the wood. Clean of course. Please don’t use a dirty sock to apply wood stain. I’ll judge you.

I let the stain sit on the wood for a couple of minutes and then used a clean portion of the sock to wipe the excess stain off the table.

Step 3b – paint.

I ended up going with a vibrant pink to paint the underside of the table. This was a Valspar half-pint sample that I picked up on a trip to Lowe’s one day. The color is called Sonora Rose; Lowe’s featured it in their Color Studio 2013 Spring Palette.

Color Blocked Patio Table Tutorial

Before I could paint, though, I had to tape off all of the stained surfaces that I didn’t want to get paint on. I used frog tape but any painters tape will do.

Color Blocked Patio Table Tutorial

I primed with one coat of Zinsser Bullseye 1-2-3, and then applied two coats of the Sonora Rose.

Color Blocked Patio Table Tutorial

Color Blocked Patio Table Tutorial

Color Blocked Patio Table Tutorial

Step 4 – error correction.

Clearly I didn’t apply the tape as well as I should have. I had some bleed through with both the paint and the primer.

Color Blocked Patio Table Tutorial

I grabbed a piece of 220 grit sandpaper and carefully sanded off my mistakes.

Color Blocked Patio Table Tutorial

Step 5 – touch up.

The stain needed a bit o’ touch up after my error correction. Same as step 3a here – just less stain.

Color Blocked Patio Table Tutorial

Color Blocked Patio Table Tutorial

Step 6 – protect.

I finished the table off with two coats of polyurethane to protect it from the elements. I usually prefer to use spar urethane for outdoor pieces because of its superior waterproofness, but this table is under a covered patio so polyurethane works just fine.

Color Blocked Patio Table Tutorial

Step 7 – relax and enjoy!

I absolutely love how the pink pops through the slats and peeks out from the underside of this table. It turned out exactly how I saw it in my head!

Color Blocked Patio Table Tutorial

Besides adding the table to the patio, I also added an outdoor rug so I don’t have to look at boring concrete while I’m hanging outside.

The rug situation is strange, actually… Back when I posted about my colander planter, I included a crudely drawn rendering of how I wanted the patio to look.

upcycle a colander into a planter

Then I go to Lowe’s one day and see this guy.

Color Blocked Patio Table Tutorial

Whoa. Seriously. Exactly what I drew. I’m some sort of rug prophet, guys. Serendipitous fo sho. I snagged it for just $30!

The patio has definitely improved!

Lets look at one more before and after, because we all love those, don’t we?

upcycle a colander into a planter

Color Blocked Patio Table Tutorial

I still want to spray paint my hurricane lanterns a fun color…

Color Blocked Patio Table Tutorial

But for now, the folks at jhbhq are quite happy with the outdoor living space here!

Do you have a tiny outdoor space like mine? What do you do to make the best of it?


A First Date With Chalk Paint

I’ve seen almost exactly 257 pins and blog posts about different chalk paints and the various projects that folks do with them.  Last Sunday morning I decided I wanted in on the chalk paint game.  This is how that went…

diy chalk paint stool makeover

If you remember (and thanks if you do), I bought a little sample of chalk paint during my visit to Fort Worth Vintage Market Days.  The brand is Oh Lola! Vintage Paint and the color I got was “Antique Egg Blue”.  I really wanted “Marseille”, a delightfully buttery yellow, but Yadi (the owner) said she sold out of that early.  I wasn’t surprised.  That yellow was hot.

Fort Worth Vintage Market Days

Anyway, when I bought the sample, I was already pretty much set on using it to update this pathetic little stool I had sitting around.

chalk paint stool makeover

You know the one.  Most of us have had or even still have one of these.  That sad little $10 blonde stool sold by that one huge retailer.  I actually got mine from the same warehouse sale where I bought my file cabinet that I painted.  It was maybe two bucks or something.  It seemed to have a checkered past, judging by the nicks and paint spills.

chalk paint stool makeover

Chalk paint was the perfect match for this stool.  If you didn’t already know, you don’t need to prep your surface when using chalk paint.  No sanding, no priming.  Just a wipe down to remove dust and dirt.  Also known as a lazy Sunday project dream.

So I broke out my tiny Blue Hawk brush and got to work.

chalk paint stool makeover

The first coat provided awesome coverage.  It was thick but not gloppy, and a tiny bit went a LONG way.

chalk paint stool makeover chalk paint stool makeover

I went ahead and did a second coat (after an hour long nap) since there were still bits of blonde wood poking through.

chalk paint stool makeover

This next part was a random idea that popped into my head after my nap.  I let the second coat dry for a couple of hours and then broke out my hot glue gun and a ball of polished hemp rope.  I marked the middle of the seat, glued the rope down and started working in a spiral from the center, gluing as I went.

chalk paint stool makeover chalk paint stool makeover

Always be careful with your glue gun, kids.  I’m currently sporting a less than sexy blister on my wrist.  Sometimes my arms get flail-y.

The final step was to pad the feet of the stool.  I was going to use some felt from my craft stash, but since I was already in the rope-spiraling mood, I went ahead and made cute little spiraled hemp foot pads.  I really did that part just for me, unless you want to come over and turn my stool upside down and take a look.  In that case, I did it for us.

chalk paint stool makeover

The stool ended up being a little more “farmhouse” than I expected, which isn’t really my style, but I kind of like it’s simplicity.

chalk paint stool makeover

I’m still not sure whether it has a permanent spot in my home, but I did enjoy making it!  The chalk paint was a lot of fun to use, and I’m excited to have another go at it.  I’ve got more than half of my 8oz sample left (I only needed about 3oz for this project) and I’m sure I’ll find a good use for it.

If you decide to try this yourself, you’ll need less than one ball of polished hemp rope (you can get it pretty much anywhere – even the dreaded W), a glue gun and about 20 glue sticks, chalk paint, a paintbrush and a smidge and half of patience.  Definitely doable for the novice and experienced DIYer alike!

What do you guys think about chalk paint?  Love it, hate it?  Do tell…

Fancy File Cabinet

Folks, just about everything at our place gets a paint job if it holds still long enough.  And that includes a dinged up old metal file cabinet!  The fella and I found this baby on Craigslist for a cool $25.  MUCH cheaper than buying brand new.  And of course I gave it a little style and sass with color-blocking!

File Cabinet Before Makeover

The seller actually has a huge warehouse full of school and office surplus in used condition.  There were tons of neat items that filled me with nostalgia and memories, but the only item that was a practical purchase was the file cabinet. We could have used it as is, but I couldn’t stand to look at its sad, drab face. So I gave it a face lift!  Before I started, I put the cabinet on risers, which are actually just leftover table legs from my LACK Hack project…  This way the cabinet wont stick to the trash bag plastic drop cloth once its painted.


Before painting, I took the hardware off. I’m not an expert in file cabinet assembly, only organizing the files in it. So before I removed the handles, latches and label holders, I used the highly scientific method of taking a picture of the latch mechanism, so I’d know how to put it back on when the time came. I’m a genius.

HON File Cabinet Latch Mechanism

I applied a couple of small strips of Frog Tape over the holes from the hardware to protect the inside of the cabinet from paint drips.  I also covered the lock with Frog Tape to prevent rogue paint swipes from messing it up.  I didn’t want to remove it, for fear I’d mess it up and render it useless.

File Cabinet Painting Precautions

If you’ve read any of my other posts (thanks!) you’ll know that Zinsser B-I-N is my go-to primer. For Pete’s sake, that stuff sticks to air. No kidding. So this file cabinet got a coat of the ol’ B-I-N.

Priming a File Cabinet

And then there was the boring wait for the primer to dry. I have this habit of adding more dry time to whatever the manufacturer’s instructions state. I live in North Texas and the humidity here is pretty much a year-round thing. Better safe than sorry I say.

After the longer than usual wait is the fun part… Painting! This file cabinet sits in our guest room / office. It lives with a gold shelf (can’t wait to share that project on here) a white writing desk and a guest bed with green and white bedding. The room is no where near where I want it to be. Baby steps. But I am a tiny bit closer with this little project!  I’ll pause while you enjoy the schematic I sent to the fella to give him an idea of what I wanted the cabinet to look like.

Schematic for File Cabinet Makeover

To achieve the diagonal line, I used a yardstick and pencil to trace a line from the top right-hand corner to the bottom left-hand corner.


The paint I used was some that I actually already had on hand. It was part of the Lowe’s Color Studio 2013 Spring Palette.

Valspar Polar White and Sweet Mint

Polar White / Sweet Mint

I just happened to be at Lowe’s shortly after they were released and bought samples of a few of the colors. Same thing happened when the 2013 Summer Palette came out… I can’t help it! The samples are inexpensive and go such a long way!

So the “bottom half” got two coats of Polar White, then I taped over my pencil line, and the “top half” got two coats of Sweet Mint.  There were about 24 hours worth of dry time between each coat, since this was done on weeknights after work.

Progress on Painting a File Cabinet

And what about the hardware? Well they got the gold spray paint treatment!  No progress pics of that but the gist is that I cleaned ’em, spray primed ’em and gave ’em several light coats of gold spray paint.  I gave the whole thing two coats of polyurethane (I use Minwax) and let it dry for… You guessed it… a couple of days longer than the manufacturer’s instructions suggested. Then I popped the hardware back in (thanks to my handy photo that showed me how to reconnect the drawer latches).

Voila! A pretty, pretty color-blocked file cabinet!!

File Cabinet Redo After

I thought the fella would hate it, I mean it is a bit feminine, but I think he’s just happy to have a place to organize his paperwork (those Air Force guys, they have a LOT of paperwork).  I love how pretty it turned out.  And I still have about half of each paint sample left over for future projects!  I’m tellin’ ya, those things go a LONG WAY.  Here’s a side by side so you can see how glorious it looks after a little TLC.

Before and After File Cabinet

I’ll admit, I’m a bit nervous about the paint chipping, since the metal surface of the cabinet is zero percent porous, but I have faith that my trusty B-I-N is up to the challenge of keeping the paint in place. I’ll definitely post an update if the paint starts to come up.

In the meantime – anyone else taking steps to a more organized life or visiting giant warehouses full of cafeteria tables and science lab equipment? Do tell…