I Painted the Painting Table

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A couple years ago, we happened upon this table at Target, which was ultimately dubbed the painting table – the just-our-size replacement for the bare wall that once housed Scott’s fish tank. (More on why we bid farewell to the fishes right here.) Not only did it come in handy as a useful counter top addition and (sometimes) dining table, but it served as my work-from-home zone, too. We ultimately bought an appropriate drafting chair and added casters for extra height – and until very recently, this is where I painted your pets – in the kitchen!

Then early this year, Operation Studio came along, and as of this week, I’ve been working out of the new space in our second bedroom / guest room / office / studio (!!). As if sexy T-Rexy wasn’t enough, let’s just say it’s been an exciting few days.

As you can imagine, we needed to move the painting table, drafting chair (and eventually, my grandma’s chair) into the appropriate room.  And in an effort to keep the teeny 8’x10′ room feeling the opposite of heavy (because, remember, the fauxdenza and Skar were already jutting off the walls by 1′ – a big deal in small quarters), the all black table needed a facelift.

In my continued effort of making everything that much harder, I refused to let the black just be, and I insisted we needed to paint it white. While Scott agreed it would certainly help to “lighten” the room, this revelation came during the fiasco that was the crown molding, and he made it very clear that he wanted nothing to do with the table transformation. And considering he’d spent every weekend for the last few months painting the walls pink, helping me hang gilded gold frames and installing pipes for my pretty paper, I thought it was only fair.

This one was all me.

Before getting started, I took to my pinboards. Yes, I wanted white, but I didn’t want boring. I had pinned this image a few months ago and ran the idea of dipped legs past Scott. He agreed, we discussed colors (deciding on gold) and varying heights of, uh, dippage, and I got to work.

I must admit, I was a little scared. The black finish was smooth and satin-like, and I had suspicions that Scott didn’t want to help in case something went awry. I pressed forward regardless, which turned out to be (spoiler alert!) a good move in the end.

My painting supplies, left to right: Zinsser Bullseye 1-2-3 Water Based Primer, Glidden interior paint in semi-gloss, Liquid Leaf in Classic and Minwax Water Based Polycrylic in semi-gloss. The same Zinsser primer and Minwax poly was used for our media wall, and there are no scratches or yellowing – even a year later.

Although the primer claims no sanding required!, I still used a super fine 140 grit sandpaper on the surface of the table. After a quick wipe down with a damp cloth, I applied two coats of Zinsser with a 2″ angled brush, waiting the appropriate length of time between coats according to the can’s instructions.

While one coat probably would have been enough, here’s how it looked. Since I wanted a perfectly opaque white finish, I figured another application of primer could only help.

Next, I applied two thin coats of Glidden white (using the same 2″ angled brush), allowing a minimum of 3 hours drying time between each one:

It looked good enough, but once it was completely dry, I went back and touched up the top and creases.

To this point, the sanding, priming and painting took a 12 hour day. The next morning, I flipped the table over, laid it in a soft, clean drop cloth and prepped the legs with Frog Tape for the glossy gold Liquid Leaf. Using a throwaway foam brush, I painted on two thin coats.

After everything had dried (I think I waited another half day!), I applied my first coat of Polycrylic. There’s no secret to my method other than following the can’s instructions exactly. In total, I applied three coats overall and an additional fourth coat on the top surface. A light sanding using 140 grit sandpaper was done between each layer, and I waited the full 2 hours between each one.

The painting table spent a few more days in the kitchen to fully cure, and after piecing together the Flor, it made its debut in the studio:

Nothing was laid on the table top for a full 72 hours, which felt like the impossible task. All I wanted to do was lay down my drop cloth and paint some puppies! It actually looks like it belongs in the room, but the only problem now is my too-black task chair. Perhaps a throw or pillow could cozy that up, since there is no way I’m painting that.

As I mentioned earlier, I’m officially working off of the pretty table in my pretty studio! It feels incredibly durable thus far, but I’ve also been treating it like a baby. I’ll keep you updated if something changes; fingers crossed that won’t be the case.

With that said, the room is not complete, but the original honey-do list might make it seem so:

Prime the walls, trim and doors
Paint the walls, trim and doors
Install crown molding and chair rail (screw it, we’re hiring a professional)
Paint the painting table for the new room (yes, really)
Sell and/or donate the unnecessary furniture
Design, build and install a storage wall (similar to our media wall)
Decide on artwork for the room
Clean, paint and prep thrifty frames
Frame, mat and hang inspirational artwork (using this technique)
Decide on lighting
Decide on textiles: rug, curtains and upholstery for seating
Buy the decided upon things. Budget. Install them.
Re-stock painting, shipping and packaging supplies
• Pull it together like we own it
Return to normalcy (we can only hope)

Oddly enough, the last item on the checklist has happened – we’re no longer living with halls that look like this, thank goodness – but with so many things checked off, there were a few more things to add:

• Reupholster grandma’s chair (it’s with the pros as we speak!)
• Make a pillowcase for said chair (reupholster the chair I won’t, but a case I can do)
• Make window shades (since no one seems to make what I have in mind for our bitty budget)
• Finish putting away the things on the upper shelving already!

We’re thisclose to completion, but even though I’m not ready to stick a fork in it, I can fully vouch for it’s awesomeness. When Scott comes home from work, I’m no longer splayed all over the kitchen counter, painting table and sofa. I have my own door to close. I’ve been wearing red lipstick every day to go to “the office.” And perhaps the most important of all, Jack fits right in.

See more of our studio ideas on our Pinterest board, right here.

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