My buffet table has been a long ongoing project. I initially purchased this buffet table from Craigslist for $100. I was originally looking for a china cabinet to put in my dining room but I couldn’t find anything I liked. When I found this little gem on Craigslist I had to have it. I picked it up and brought it home with the intention of giving it a make-over. I wanted to put it in the garage so that I could start working on it right away but my husband had some projects going on at the time so I placed it in the dining room and there it stayed….for a YEAR! I am not making any excuses for the long delay I just got busy with my kids, work, school, you know that little thing called life. So instead of getting a much deserved make-over, my buffet table sat in my dining room collecting papers, mail, the drawers were filled with school supplies and the doors on the side housed an unopened food tier and a label printer.
Finally, I just had enough. I told my husband that I had to get this project done. When I stood back and looked at the buffet table I noticed that the space it was sitting in was missing something. Since I wanted shelves to display my Pampered Chef serving tiers and my cake stands, I got on Pinterest and started looking for different floating shelf options. I then found some floating shelves I liked from Shanty-2-Chic and I set off with my project. My husband built the shelves and I got to work on the buffet table. I started the project with the intention of working on it during my Christmas break from school. I got the stripping chemicals, sander, brushes, drop cloth and paint all ready to go.
I must say that I had no idea just how big of a project I had just taken on but I was so excited to finally be working on my table. I applied the stripping chemical to the table and waited the appropriate amount of time as recommended on the bottle and let me tell you something, the original paint & glaze did not want to budge! Oh my gosh that paint was embedded in the wood! I scraped off as much as I could with the first coat of chemical stripper. I waited a day and applied a second coat and I had the same problem. I was so frustrated. I went back to Lowe’s and purchased a stronger stripping chemical thinking that the first one just wasn’t working. NOPE! Even the second stripper couldn’t get the paint from hell off. I think I got at least the first coat of paint off the buffet table but red paint still remained. After three days I finally just gave up on the stripper getting anymore of the paint off and decided that the only way that paint was going to be removed was by pure FORCE!
I got out the sander and 80 grit paper and got ready to work on getting the paint off. Before I did that though, I removed all the hardware from the drawers and took the doors off as well. I had to work around the hinges because they were screwed into the jam so tight I couldn’t get them out and didn’t want to break the table. I also noticed that on the inside of the doors, the table was painted Orange! Really, the previous owner did a horrible job at painting this piece. On top of the questionable paint choices, the bottom of the drawers and inside the door nooks were lined with an unappealing grayish paper that would not peel off! At one point I did my best Nicole Curtis impression and screamed, “Oh My God!! Why in the hell would they cover this up!!” My 8 year old laughed at me and said mommy use nice words. I could have used some other choice words but she was present so I kept it as G rated as possible. Since I could not get the paper up (even my husband tried and he couldn’t get it to budge) I actually applied chemical stripper to it to try and loosen it up. I let it sit over night and the next morning I was able to get 99% of the paper off. The rest I sanded off.
I put a lot of elbow grease into getting the red paint off the of the table. I did learn a lesson though, ALWAYS, ALWAYS sand outside of the garage! Holy moly I had red dust everywhere in my garage. At one point I would sneeze and red dust would come out (TMI I know, so sorry but it’s true) and I did wear a dust mask while sanding. Oh well, you live and learn. I also live in a state that can have all four seasons in one day and because of this, I had to work on this table off and on for a long while.
During the Christmas break there were days that the weather was really nice and there were days that it rained constantly. I could not sand with a closed garage door or it would have looked like a sand storm in there. After about two weeks I finally got the table top red paint free. The body of the table was a different story. I was trying so hard to get this paint off and it seemed like I was wasting my time sanding because it didn’t appear to be budging. I can’t even begin to tell you how much sand paper I went through. I even used liquid sand paper and it only got some of the paint off. I am not joking when I say this was the paint from hell. After a lot of sweat and tears, I finally started to see some progress at the paint removal.
Once I got a good majority of the paint off, I noticed that the wood had a funny orange tint to it. No matter how much I sanded I could not totally get rid of the tint. So I did what any other new DIY’er would do, I sought advise from another DIY’er. I love to follow Karen over at Dogs Don’t Eat Pizza so I sent her a message on Facebook and asked for her advise. She was great!! After I sent her a picture of my table she gave me some great advise as to how to proceed with the project. Seriously, if you don’t follow her or never heard of her, check her out she is awesome!
So, with some helpful advise, I proceeded with making my table new again. However, by this time, school had started again so I was working on the table in between study sessions, homework due dates and waiting on mother nature to cooperate. I was able to get all the paint off and stained the top of the table. This was a project too because I needed to try and cover the orange-ish wood. I stained and sanded in between a few times. The top came out quite a bit darker than I had anticipated but with the wood being so stained from the red paint I really didn’t have a choice but to stain it darker.
I found a really pretty paint color from Lowe’s called Cream Delight (7002-14). It is a Valspar paint and I got it in a Satin Finish. This is what I used to paint the body of the table. It killed me to have to paint it after I just spent all this time getting the other paint off but I just knew I would have a hard time getting the stain to take since the wood on the body of the table was so orange. I did try to stain it in a small test area but the stain would not adhere to the wood so the best thing to do for the table was give it a fresh coat of paint. I also found that the drawers and the doors had the same orange tint so I gave them a quick coat of Killz Primer. I really should have used the kind in a can but I wanted it to dry faster so I used the spray can. Another live and learn lesson: Never stain before you prime! I did that with the drawers and I ended up having to sand and stain the sides of the drawers again. Even though I taped off the drawer, I didn’t take into account the overspray. Oops!
The paint I chose after it was applied looked too white still. So to give it some depth, I stained over the paint. I simply took a an old hand towel and dipped it into the Minwax stain and rubbed it on to the table. As I applied it, I wiped it off with another towel. It gave the paint an antique-ish color and I really liked it. I didn’t leave the wax on very long because I didn’t want it too dark.
I finished up the entire table with a few coats of Polycrylic. I sanded in between coats with a 200 grit paper so that the finish would be smooth. Next I set out to find new hardware for the table. I really did not care for the hardware it came with so off to Lowe’s I went. I found some really nice knobs for the doors and I found some pulls for the drawers. However, when I got them home, I noticed that the existing holes did not match up with the hardware. I had to return them and get new pulls, only this time the color didn’t match. As I didn’t want to wait for custom pulls to arrive (another 6-8 weeks) I took the new ones and spray painted them. They may not be perfect but they work.
So what I initially thought was going to take a few weeks took a few months! Sometimes projects just don’t go according to plan. In this case, weather played a major role in the delays. You can’t paint or stain in weather that is 30 degrees and raining. Although it took a long time, the end result is great. The table turned out better than I thought and I am so happy with it. I do not claim to be a great DIY’er but I think I am pretty good for a newbie. Again, it helps that I had some awesome feedback from a really great blogger/DIY’er and that made a difference. Another lesson that I learned: If you ever get stuck on a project, never be afraid to reach out to another blogger for help. That person could offer you advise and suggestions that you never thought of or weren’t sure would work.
Now my buffet table is in place and I am waiting for the end of my spring semester before I start on my next project – my dining room table is going to get a make-over this summer.
Crown Stripping Chemical
Minwax Dark Walnut Stain
Valspar Cream Delight Paint (Satin Finish)
80 & 200 Grit Sand Paper