For starters, the legs are not wood. They are wood-colored plastic. The top was pressed board—and something terrible had happened to it.
My guess is the table was used as a plant stand and those ugly bumps are water damage from the plant not being removed from the table when watering and/or draining. Here’s a close-up:
You guys know I like a challenge! I just felt so sorry for this ugly table that I had to take it home and try to make it pretty again.
Here’s what I did:
I started with those wood-colored plastic legs.
I painted them with American Paint Company’s Fireworks Red. I did not sand or prime the legs first—I just painted them. American Paint Company’s all-natural clay chalk and mineral paints STICK TO PLASTIC! If you have ever painted with latex paint before, you know how amazing this news is.
It did take two coats of Fireworks Red to completely cover the plastic, but still … IT STICKS TO PLASTIC!
My vision was to paint a soft creamy yellow color called Heaven’s Light over the legs, then wet distress to reveal some of the red coming through the yellow. The layer of Top Coat in between the two colors protected the red from distressing all the way down to the original finish.
I did NOT want any of that wood-colored plastic showing!
The Top Coat did the trick. Here’s what the legs looked like after I distressed them:
But what in the world was I going to do with the tabletop?
There are a lot of tricks out there for fixing messed-up tabletops. I could have tried sanding down those weird bubbles if this table had been made of wood. I could have tried scraping or steaming off a piece of damaged veneer. But this wasn’t wood. It wasn’t even veneer.
It was basically really thick cardboard.
Sanding, scraping and steaming weren’t going to work.
I decided to camouflage the damage instead by building layers of texture with my paint. This technique is called “stippling” and is easy to do. I demonstrate the stippling technique in our new DIY Paint Video: How to Create Texture With Paint. Check it out:
My dad calls stippling the “glop and drop” technique. I started by scooping up a big glop of Fireworks Red onto my brush and dropping it onto the tabletop in a little puddle. Then I pounced my brush up and down in the puddle to create little waves of paint.
I kept glopping and dropping paint then pouncing up and down until the tabletop—and those awful bumps—were completely covered. While the red paint was still wet, I came back and stippled the yellow Heaven’s Light over it. I pounced harder in some areas to blend the two colors together and went lighter in others to leave it mostly yellow. I went back and forth between the two colors stippling away until I liked the overall look.
Then I ran into a PAINT MOJO PROBLEM: I didn’t like the overall look.
I also don’t have a photo of it to show you because I have a huge IPHONE MOJO PROBLEM. The day after we shot the video, I dropped my iPhone and had to tape the screen back together to keep the jagged little shards of glass from cutting me. The phone part still works, but the camera is busted. On the video, you can see the texture created by the stippling technique. You can also see the weird pink color created by the mixture of the Fireworks Red and yellow Heaven’s Light. I just didn’t like it.
Here’s another tabletop I did with the same stipple technique. I used American Paint Company’s black Lincoln’s Hat for the base. While the black was still wet, I added another soft yellow called Parchment from APC’s Ellis Collection. The two colors blended together into a pretty swirl of grays. My PAINT MOJO was ROCKING the day I painted this table. I really like the look.
Stippling is a simple way to cover up damage on tabletops or drawer fronts—or anywhere you want to create texture to add pizazz to a piece. Try it with one color or add two or more for even more visual interest. Just be sure to give the stippled areas lots of extra drying time because the paint is so thick. It’s a fun technique to experiment with and delivers stunning results—another great tool to have in your painter’s bag of tricks!
Back to my ugly little table … I tried to tone down the pink color with a wash of Heaven’s Light. It looked nice. Woo hoo! My PAINT MOJO was BACK! (But my phone was still busted so, again, I don’t have a photo.)
Then I went and ruined it by experimenting with a new technique for applying American Paint Company’s Gold Mica. I usually mix the mica into Clear Wax or Top Coat as directed to add subtle shimmer to my work. This time I tried brushing the mica powder directly onto the tabletop while the Top Coat was still wet. There was nothing subtle going on here. It was GOLD! … and splotchy… and way too harsh.
My PAINT MOJO was OFF again.
At this point, I almost gave up on this little table, but I decided to give it—and my PAINT MOJO—one more try. I did another wash of Heaven’s Light on the tabletop. When it dried, I rubbed a damp towel all over to bring out bits of the gold and the red underneath, accentuating the texture created by the stippling technique. I FINALLY liked the look and sealed the table with three coats of Top Coat, which provides more durability than wax in case somebody wants to use this table as a plant stand again.
(Just BE CAREFUL and take the plant OFF the table when watering it!)
This table was a challenge, but I’m happy that it looks prettier than it did when I found it. (Heck, ANYTHING would look prettier than water-damaged cardboard and wood-colored plastic!)
Mostly, I’m happy my PAINT MOJO is BACK!