DIY Kitchen table re-finish project (important lessons learned)

I have been working on this table for what seems like FOREVER, I took it out to the garage about 4 months ago (I know what was I thinking) I had this great idea to re-finish it because it didn’t match my new house and it was the last big thing that needed painted so naturally I had to finish it, I took it out to the garage and started sanding it and was quickly reminded I have 8 kids and a little baby who nurses and needs me all the time, plus I am not good at making fast decisions so I had no idea what color to paint it or exactly how I wanted to finish it so I know, I know, what was I thinking?? I shed a few tears over the issue and then remembered I didn’t have to do it all in one day, so a day turned into a week and a week a month and a month another month and blah blah blah you get the picture. While I was working on the table I imagined the post I would write when I was finished, telling you all the cool stuff I had learned and good tips I would share since I and my husband had spent hours on it. While I do have a couple of those things to share I learned a bigger lesson and decided those tips should be shared first as they are the most important, and can all help us remember some perspective when going about our daily tasks or while working on projects like these. My most important tips:
  1. My kids are my favorite (no thing is more important than any one of them).
  2. Learn to forgive like a child (they know what it means to truly forgive, they understand real kindness and never hold grudges) why can’t we be more like this?

I know kind of weird things to share when posting about a table DIY project but those were the greater lessons learned. Here’s the story… I finally finished the table last Friday and Sunday (just 2 days later) I was working on something for my church calling, I rarely take the time during the day when my kids are awake to focus in on something that takes a significant amount of time (because my house usually falls apart when I do along with the kids) but this Sunday I wanted so badly to work on this hand out  and get a good portion of it done, so I started in on it and it was taking a lot of time, and slowly the chaos around me as I was working on the computer got a little crazier by the minute, I wasn’t paying much attention because I was working so intently to get the project finished. Things were getting a little crazy and I noticed my 4 year old climb up and sit on the table and start to brush my hair (I have extremely long hair so brushing it is not an easy task for anyone much less a 4 year old) but I knew if I let her brush it, it would bide me some time so I let her. She was using a large comb that was extremely painful so I told her to go get a brush, she left and came back and continued brushing (with the same comb), I wasn’t paying a whole lot of attention because I was focused on what I was working on but about a minute later I heard my 10 year old gasp and say Emree what are you doing, I quickly turn around and realize she had taken the comb she was using to comb my hair and used it to gauge the table, she was experimenting with the brush and made some nice dented lines with the teeth. Of course I turn around quickly and realize aaahhh she has dented my brand newly re-finished table and all these flooding thoughts about all the many many hours I had put into finishing this table came flooding in. Because this had taken me so long and I had invested so much time into it I seriously got so frustrated so fast and I pretty much threw a mommy fit. She got sent to time out while I said a few things to her I shouldn’t have. It takes quite a bit to get me super mad or frustrated quickly but this made me so frustrated so fast. Well while she was on time out I cooled down quickly and the thought came to me, I’ll take Emree to Heaven with me but the table stays here and the thought came to me that someday when she has left home I’ll be so grateful for her scratches and dents. When I let her off timeout she told me how sorry she was and I told her how sorry I was too and that I loved her so much. And in that quick moment I was reminded that THINGS aren’t really that important (even if they require lots and lots of time or $) but my children are the most important and I was ever so grateful that she forgave me so quickly and didn’t hold one bit of a grudge. She taught me some very important lessons that day and I was again reminded my children are often my teachers.


And for those of you that want details on how I re-finished the table my favorite tip was use this for the top finish coats, it will save your life, I tried an oil based finish first and it was a nightmare, I had to strip it off and then I found  the water based coat and it looks awesome on the table with out giving it a lot of sheen and still protecting it well.

If you want to re-finish a table I suggest:

  1. Use liquid sand paper or stripper to prep the table.
  2. Chose your paint or stain, if you stain it you have to strip all of the past residue off including paint and polyurethane and get the surface down to the natural wood so it can absorb the stain.
  3. Use a roller like the one I talk about in this post to paint (if you stain the table you should use a rag or a brush not the roller).
  4. Distress using sand paper or a sander if desired
  5. Finish with this water based finish coat and apply a few times with a sponge brush like the ones I talk about in this post.