I learned a few Important Painting Lessons this week—and some Very Important Life Lessons too—thanks to my 2-year-old son, Joey.

Joey and Me
Joey and Me

Joey is a helper.

He follows my husband around our yard with his little Fisher-Price bubble mower every time G cuts the grass. He stands at the dishwasher and hands me plate after plate when it is time to unload. And he gets really mad if I forget and pour the laundry soap into the washing machine without him. (Really mad!)

The other day I got really mad at Joey.

I was working on this table that belonged to my grandmother.

grandmas table_before

A while back, I painted it a basecoat of American Paint Company’s Bordello, a scandalous shade of hot pink. Now I was finally finishing the project, painting over the pink with dark blue Born on the 4th.

grandmas table_bordello

I painted my Mom’s old 1970’s plastic faux fireplace Born on the 4th over Bordello last Christmas. I love this color combo so much, I want to add a few more pieces like this into our living room and dining room starting with this table.

Now American Paint Company’s paints are 100% all-natural clay chalk and mineral paints. This paint is T-H-I-C-K! It is so thick that I usually water it down by spooning a few scoops of paint into a rinsed-out yogurt container then giving it several good sprays with a water bottle. This stretches the paint so I get more out of each can while still providing excellent coverage.

Sometimes, I swipe a bit of paint onto my table and then spray water directly onto it as I’m painting to thin out the paint even more and give my project a nice smooth finish.

That’s what I did with the Born on the 4th on this table. Then I set down my water bottle and paint brush and went to answer the phone.

* * *

Here’s where my little helper enters the story.

When I came back into the kitchen, Joey was standing on his Lightning McQueen step stool vigorously spraying water with two hands—onto the table I just finished painting.

There was a huge puddle of midnight blue water on the bottom shelf and a waterfall dripping down one of the legs.

Here’s where I got really mad.

I yelled. Joey looked at me like I was crazy.

Then he started crying. He was just trying to help, after all.

I felt like a huge jerk as I tried to clean up the mess and salvage my table.

* * *

Painting Lesson #1:

The table was fine. I brushed out the drips, soaked up the puddle with a paper towel and let it dry. The next day, I put on another coat of blue. No big deal. The whole thing dried beautifully and I realized I can add even more water than I usually do (although not quite as much as Joey did) and still get a nice finish.

-I distressed the table as planned with a damp cloth and sealed it with clear wax. I am really happy with the finished look—even in this lousy cell phone photo.

(I’m sorry, but I ran out of time this week and will have to shoot better photos of both finished projects for you next week.)


* * *

Life Lesson #1:

It’s just a table. It isn’t worth yelling at my awesome little boy and making him cry and feeling like a jerk all afternoon because I was a jerk to my awesome little boy.

It. Just. Isn’t. Worth. It.

Another Life Lesson I have learned along the way is that Life Lessons are great, but applying them to your life the next time a similar situation arises is what’s important.

* * *

Here’s how I applied Life Lesson #1 to my next painting project, this little table I picked up on a treasure hunt on Saturday.


I started by randomly dry-brushing Born on the 4th (my favorite color!) onto the legs and bottom shelf. The tabletop had ring on it from a beverage glass and a few other issues so I applied American Paint Company’s Top Coat mixed with a little bit of a taupe color called Crushed Tea as my first layer to form a barrier between the issues and the rest of my paint job.


The next day I painted over the legs with a watered-down scoop of Crushed Tea. As the legs were drying, I came back and dry brushed Born on the 4th over the tabletop too so the blue would show through the entire table when I distressed it later.

* * *

Here’s where my little helper enters the story again … carrying a paintbrush in one hand and his Lightning McQueen step stool in the other.

“I paint!” Joey declared and smiled that smooshy-faced smile that melts my heart every time.

I was going to say no, but then I said …

OK! I opened the can, he dipped his brush in and went to town.

I helped him. We had a lot of fun.

“More blue!” he said.

OK! I opened a can of turquoise Surfboard and we painted some more. I wasn’t planning on adding turquoise to this mix, but Joey seemed to have a clear artistic vision and I was chilling out and going with the flow this time.

I’m glad I did.

* * *

Painting Lesson #2:

Surfboard and Born on the 4th mix together to make a really pretty blue!

The tabletop looked all crazy. And so did the legs because we got a little carried away, but hey, we were having fun.

Joey painting

Painting Lesson #3:

There is no painting mess that my 2-year-old can make that can’t be fixed with a little water, a little more paint or a little sanding.

(And guess what? There’s no painting mistake that YOU can make that can’t be fixed either!)

Life Lesson #2:

Let your kids help you. Even if they are little. Even if they make a mess and whatever you are doing takes three times longer than if you had just done it yourself.

Overlook the mess and enjoy the moment.

I don’t want Joey to grow up and say, “My Mom used to yell at me all the time whenever I tried to help her paint.”

I want him to grow up and say, “I used to help my mom paint all the time and we always had a lot of fun!”

Life Lesson #3:

Enjoy the moment, but don’t turn your back on the little guy … not even for a second …

IMG_2231 Painting Lesson #4:

American Paint Company paints clean up very nicely with a wet sponge and a little elbow grease!

~ Courtney

P.S.—I didn’t yell when I saw Joey’s mural on the side of my kitchen island. (I didn’t! Really!)

But I did let him help me clean it up. 🙂




One thought on “A Tale of Two Tables—And How My 2-Year-Old Taught Me to Chill Out and Have Fun Painting Furniture With Him

  1. Awww enjoy his lil fun, it goes so fast. Miss all of you, maybe see you soon !!

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