{Working with the dirt!} – before & after

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I finished up this table a quite a while ago but just found some pics of it while going through some stuff.  I really loved the way this table turned out and have always love the finish and the color.  I meant to post about it so long ago…but you know how it goes :)

One of the reasons that i loved the table so much was how the finished texture was.  It looked like the table had been painted for years and had a very authentic worn look to it.

To achieve the finish, i just left on all the old build up dirt(i think this table must have been stored in a garage or barn for sometime, thats why so much dirt) and flaking lacquer while i painted.  Yup, thats right, left the dirt right on it!  No cleaning or prepping here!  Dont scrape, sand, flake off or touch that old dirt and peeling paint :)

But dont worry, after you paint and then distress all that dirt and build up will come right off.

I started out with a boring brown table but with awesome lines – those legs are killer.

sweet pickins furniture

You can see in the pic below just how worn out and flaky the old finish was.  I didnt touch anything, i just left it as it was and painted right over it, i sprayed the new paint on (very thinly and just one coat), but you can just as easily brush it on, but keep it light.   By leaving all the dirt and old flaking paint on, this caused the fresh paint that was put on not to stick.  Normally thats not a good thing, but this time it will work to our advantage.

sweet pickins furniture

Because the paint didnt stick to all the wood, it was very easy to distress.  I just used a combo of steel wool, sanding blocks and sand paper – i used all 3 just because there were so many different surfaces to the table and steel wool was easier for the curved parts, sanding block for the flat parts, etc.

**By the way, because i was going for the super distressed worn look, i DID NOT prime the table**

sweet pickins furniture (2)

After i gave everything a good sanding to remove all the old dirt and flaky lacquer, i just took some minwax stain on a rag and wiped it all over the table.  This set into all the cracks as well as staining the thirsty dry wood a darker color.  In person you could see it better, but the dark stain set into all the tiny cracks where the paint didnt stick and created an awesome look, almost like a crackled finish in some spots.

sweet pickins furniture

sweet pickins furniture

After the table was all distressed and wiped down with stain, the table was clear coated.  I personally like a heavily distressed piece with a shiny clear coat so thats what i did here.  It doesnt work with all furniture, but i thought it worked well on this one.

The top was also sanded down and re stained with Minwax in Provincial.

sweet pickins furniture (4)

Oh man, look how purdy that finish is!  I just love it :)

sweet pickins furniture (5)

sweet pickins furniture (8)

sweet pickins furniture (7)


Paint – Sherwin Williams Intense Teal

Glaze – Minwax Provincial

Clear coat – Varathane in Gloss

Stain for top – Minwax Provincial

26 replies
  1. Ann
    Ann says:

    Hi, love the table. I have a question. I have a very old butterfly table/chairs that was used when I was 2…I’m 60 and proud I might say…hehe…you talk about not taking off the paint. I was told by a furniture refinisher in my town she wouldn’t work on my table b/c it had lead paint on it. Could I do your technique to my table?



  2. camilla s
    camilla s says:

    I LOVE MY TABLE!! Thanks so much for selling it to me :)
    I have it down in my basement in a bedroom and my mom is always telling me to bring it out so people can see it.

  3. Suzette Feinstein
    Suzette Feinstein says:

    I have an old secretary that was painted with white enamel oil paint years ago. Its a bit chipped and yellowed. Can I distress it and glaze directly over it w/o a fresh base coat?

    Thank you.

  4. Melissa Neveu
    Melissa Neveu says:

    I was wondering what sheen you use for your paint??? I am refinishing my bedroom set ad don’t want to get the wrong thing. :) Thanks!

  5. Nicole
    Nicole says:

    This piece is so beautiful! Teal is my favorite color. I enjoy reading your blogs. They are very helpful and informative!


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