Take your boring, like-everyone-else table...and make it a one-of-a-kind, show-stopping, conversation-inducing masterpiece! Here's how...
Step 1: Sand Your Table
That's right...the elbow grease begins. :) Take some sandpaper and sand the entire table top to bottom. Anywhere that will be painted, sand it! The grit I used was 80 grit to cut through the clear coat and varnish, and get it back to a "raw wood"-esque beginning so I have a blank slate to work with.
Step 2: Create the Divots & Place Them
I wanted my table to thoroughly resemble a metal base (though it is wood), so I racked my brain and finally came up with this brilliant idea: Use styrofoam balls to create the look of metal divots! BRILLIANT!
I happened to already have these on hand, but if you don't, you can go to your local Dollar Store and pick up a few bags of these (usually 4 in a bag) for about $1.00 per bag! The size you go with will depend on your table and the look you're going for with them. Mine were roughly 1.5" in diameter.
TO PLACE THEM:
1. Mark where you want your divots to go. I used two per flat side on my base's base. Then 1 per flat side on my base's top. And by "flat side" I mean anywhere that has a flat surface to glue these to (where the legs aren't in the way).
2. Use chalk to accurately measure the centers of where each ball will go. [To find the middles: Measure horizontally in one section and find the middle. Mark here. Then measure vertically and find the middle. Mark there. Now find the two middles (if doing two on one section like I did here) from the center to the top and the center to the bottom. Mark both of these spots with a horizontal line that intersects your other middle marks. You should now have two crosses in the exact locations your styrofoam needs to go. Take these measurements and use them directly to work all the way around the base so you don't have to re-find the centers of each side.]
3. Get your hot glue gun plugged in and warming. While that's heating, cut the styrofoam balls in half. I found that each ball had a seam right down the middle (convenient, isn't it?), so I used a pair of scissors right on this line and gently cut the seam by cutting only part of the way in, then rotating around the seam and cutting partly in, etc until the cut could go all the way through. NOTE: cutting it by blunt force to the first place your scissors land with give you a lopsided and ruined ball and not a nice, clean cut. So do it gently and you'll get better results :)
4. Hot glue those bad boys onto each cross you made and hold for a few seconds until the hot glue dries.
TIP: Upon holding the styrofoam half-balls while the glue dried, I discovered my fingers would press into the styrofoam and leave little dents. I LOVED this because it looks more like metal that has been hand-hammered into shape! So I did this all over each half-ball as I pressed them onto the base.
Step 3: Paint the Table
This step is in two parts...The top of the table and the base.
1. TABLE TOP: To paint the top of the table, I used a white paint I already had on hand. I applied two coats and let it sit for 24-48 hours to dry and cure.
2. TABLE BASE: I used a dark, hammered metal spray paint to paint the base of my table. **IMPORTANT NOTE: spray paint will destroy your styrofoam unless you do this simple trick: use Elmer's Glue and directly paint it over each ball with a paintbrush. Let this dry. You can do a couple coats if you feel it necessary. This provides a wonderful shield of protection between the foam and your spray paint. Also, spray your paint at the recommended 12" distance and all will be perfect. :) Let this paint set 24-48 hours as well.
Step 4: Beat It Up and Add "Wood Grains"
My desire for the table top was to look like distressed wood planks...but first I had to create wood plank "grains" on the table (since my original table was boring and flat). I also needed to beat the table top up a bit so it wasn't so perfect. My kids and I hit the table top with all different kinds of things like a hammer (both the hammer side and the prying side), nails, screw drivers of various kinds, chain, eating utensils, etc. Anything and everything that could leave unique dent marks in the table top and make it FEEL more convincing.
At this point, my husband TOTALLY freaked out! He said, "It's one thing to paint the table, it's another to completely destroy it!" I told him to just relax and that there was a method for my madness....welp, that didn't convince him hahaha. I wonder why???
Next, after wiping away the wood debris from the table, I added in some wood grains. To add them in I needed to draw with a pencil my wood plank locations. They were separated about 4" apart. I started at the center of my table (where there was a dividing line where a table leaf would go into) and measured 4" to the end in each direction. Then, using 60-80 grit sandpaper (my paint was an interior paint so it was way harder to sand--improvising, gotta love it!) I hand sanded in each and every little knot, line, and wavy line to create wood grains. And I distressed the edges of each "plank" to bring in that factor too.
Step 5: Stain!
Finally....we are almost done! All our hard work is about to pay off :)
I used Minwax Dark Walnut stain to antique-ify my stark white table and to help my "wood grains" show up better. This is basically a "wax on, wax off" mantra. I could cover roughly half the tabletop in ooey-gooey, messy (did I mention...WEAR GLOVES!? Unlike what I did lol) stain and that gave it just the right amount of time to soak in before wiping off and leaving a great antiqued wood look!
Step 6: Darken the Plank Lines
Now, to make those planks really show up (but not too strongly)! I originally used a straight black on the lines (not thinking, I know) and it was--what a surprise--way too dark. So I added some white and made it a nice, slightly darker grey and it looked perfect :)
To paint the skinny plank lines (so they didn't LOOK painted), I used two pieces of painter's tape pretty close together and painted within these lines. I mean, I made these lines just about a Sharpie Fine Point Marker thickness.
BONUS: For whatever reason, my plank line paint dried as a slightly risen hump. So when you run your hand over the "planks," you can feel not only the dents and "grains," but also the plank lines :) Super cool effect!
Step 7: The Final Touches
Now to add the final touches...HOORAY! You made it to the end!
I painted on a clock face with only the 12, 6, 3, and 9 Roman Numerals on them. I originally was going to paint them with a stencil (too much money to buy the stencils!), or by using painter's tape to strategically--and ridiculously meticulously--create spaces for the number lines to go (much like I did for the plank lines). But, not only was I ready to be done by this point, but I realized that I didn't want my table to be perfect in the first place (remember the beating?), so I just free-handed the numbers on, as well as the center clock hands.
When it was just the way I envisioned it, I sealed it top and bottom with a crystal clear (non-yellowing) sealant spray and WE....ARE.....DONE!!!
Time to enjoy our new dining room table--and to show my hubby I'm not crazy after all ;)