Sunday, February 9, 2014

“Cooking” in My Living Room
Since the Allrecipes Allstar program has been going through a bit of a transition during the last two months, we had no assignments to complete.  Bummer.  So, as a result, I decided to do a little "cooking" in my living room. 

My coffee table and end tables are 10 years old, and were really showing their age.  And how.  They're great tables, though...solid oak and heavy.  The top of the coffee table had years of wear from foot-propping and just generally sliding things around.  When we purchased them, I thought it was a really good idea that they had a factory-distressed top.  Ha!  After hundreds of polishings and cleanings, those distress marks were filling in with dust and "stuff".  Short of taking a toothpick to clean out all those areas, I was at a loss.  Until I discovered brown paper table tops.  Yup.  Honestly.  Brown paper.

I made my trusty shopping list and off to Lowe's I went.  $30 and 30 minutes later I had my supplies.  Here they are......

A roll of brown paper found in the paint department
A small bucket to mix the paste
Two bottles of Elmer's All-Purpose glue
Plastic drop cloths
Throw-away brushes (NOT foam) in 2" and 1-1/2" sizes
Painter's tape (which I ended up not using)
MinWax OIL-BASED wood stain (I used Golden Pecan)
MinWax WATER-BASED Polycrylic (I used Semi-Gloss)
Now, here's a true picture of what this nasty table looked like up close and personal:
It was either trash it or fix it, so here goes.  I started by mixing a bottle of glue with 3 bottles of water.  If you decide to purchase a gallon-size bottle of glue, just mix what you need at a 3:1 ratio....3 parts water to one part glue.
Start ripping the brown paper into the size pieces you want.  There's really no right or wrong in this step.  I used mainly 12" x 12" irregular shaped pieces.  If you have any straight edges to cover, use the edges of the paper for those areas.  I know many tutorials instruct to crumple up the paper and spread glue on it.  Well, I ignored that.  It was much easier for me to dunk the pieces in the glue mixture and squeeze it out with my hands.  (Take off any rings first!)
I started on the edges, wrapping the glue-covered paper around the edge of the table and adhering it underneath, then extending it over the top.  First I did all four edges and then filled in the center. Use one of the brushes to smooth out any bubbles or wrinkles.  My 4' x 2' table took about 45 minutes to cover.  Here's what it looked like after all the pieces were in place:
You can see the glue mixture is still very wet and white, but it does dry clear.  The hardest part is waiting 24 hours until it's completely dry to proceed to the next step.  Also, you can notice some bubbly wrinkles in the paper.  That worried me a little, but I left it alone, and when it was dry they were gone and the paper was stuck tight to the table.
The next day I used the oil-based stain on the paper.  Very, very easy and took me about 15 minutes.  Seriously.  I brushed it on in an even, light coat and smoothed it out with the brush.  Here's the table after the stain was applied:
You can see that the stain is darker where the paper was wrinkled as it was squeezed out during the glue phase.  I love the darker "veins" it makes.  Now wait another 24 hours for it to dry completely.  Once it's dry, it may still look a little "oily", but if you can touch it and it's not tacky, you're good to go to the next step.
I applied SIX very thin coats of the Polycrylic.  Make certain each coat is thinly applied, and allow it to dry thoroughly between coats.  The instructions on the can says two hours between coats, but since I did this in winter, the heat was on, the humidity in the house was very low, and I had the ceiling fan on, each coat was dry for me in about an hour.  I did apply one coat of the Polycrylic to the legs of the table to brighten them up and give a little shine.
So.....the finished product:

I couldn't be happier with the results.  I have three new tables for $30 and three days of my time!  Now I'm hooked.  Mmmmmaybe the next project will be the wall beneath my kitchen island.
So if you have a table that's seen better days, don't hesitate to try this rejuvenating project.  Or if you see a beat-up table at a flea it and try this project.  Betcha you'll get hooked just like I did!!
Happy living room cooking!!!