The Road To Furniture Refinishing is Paved with Good Intentions

This could actually be called "How To Drive Your Significant Other Insane In 3 Easy Steps"......The table? That's actually going to take 9 steps, but your loved one will already be nuts by Step 3. Don't worry. If it's early in your courtship, they'll think it's kind of cute. If it's late enough, they won't look up from their iPad. (And if they dump you over this??? Well then between you and me Buddy, things weren't going well anyway.) SPOUSAL ANNOYANCE be damned....let's do this, baby! 

My house is filled with beautiful handmade wood furniture. I'm crazy lucky. My dude's family is literally generations of master skilled craftsman, mechanics and engineers. And I swear he inherited every single one of their super powers. honey-do list was like...."Hey Hon.......can you build a food truck and commercial kitchen? Thanks, Babe." A year later. BOOM. Done. It's inspirational.  

So this being a fairly new thing for me I chose something "easy". Notice the quotation marks. That's because no one has created a sarcasm font yet. I chose a nice tall side table with great bones. It was made by my dream man's great grandfather but it had seen better days. The beautiful inlay had warped and curled off beyond repair and I had always liked the table but had to put a big plant on it to hide the damage. I figured...."Dude....I'll just scrape off the inlay and paint it."

"JUST".....she said.

The wrong way . Don't be stubborn like me. Skip the scraper and wet towel method. Now let us never speak of this again.

The wrong way. Don't be stubborn like me. Skip the scraper and wet towel method. Now let us never speak of this again.


  • a small table in need of some razzle dazzle
  • sandpaper- medium grit....much like what your teeth will be doing during this "fun" project
  • chisel and hammer- patience - NOT included
  • patience
  • paint- I like semi-gloss but I would also dip myself in glitter if I could.
  • any card stock you like, old maps, or cut outs of any design you please- I chose a "folk floral" because my living room looks like a gypsy's trailer. But like a classy gypsy.       Don't hate.
  • tears
  • a glass of wine- after this whole mess is over.
  • an orbital sander
  • Mod Podge- sealer, glue, and finish ALL in one. Triple threat of the crafting world.
  • square sponge brush 
Get chiseled.  If you're removing inlay, does it become outlay?

Get chiseled. If you're removing inlay, does it become outlay?


  1. Prepare your table. Tell it you think it's beautiful just the way it is. Gently bring up that it's started to show signs of age and promise it will be so happy when it's all over and looking fresh and modern. You could also take this time to sand its surface so it will be ready for paint.
  2. If there's any inlay on the top of the table, use your chisel and hammer to pry off. It can be a long and tedious process. The faster you try to do it.....the more you will ruin your table. If you do it like me, the top of that sucker is going to end up looking like the before picture in a ProActive commercial. You have to stay at a shallow angle and slightly tap the back of the chisel to lift the wood layers. So slow and steady wins the race.                                  So does not doing it.
  3. Get your Player 2. Tell them you need instructions on how to use a chisel. They love to give instructions! Show them how terrible you are at chiseling until they've demonstrated the right way on about 3/4 of it. Thank them, smooch them, and tell them you've finally got it. Try again and immediately quit. Notice how they pretend not to see you this time. You're on your own now.
  4. Go have lunch. You need a break. And you have enough Subway points for a sub.
  5. Come back 600 calories stronger with a renewed sense of purpose and then chisel the rest of that garbage wood right off. GRRRRRR! Like an animal, you are! 
  6. Use your orbital sander to gently remove any leftover adhesive used on the table top inlay. Ignore the chisel gouges. I'm going to.
  7. Paint, paint, paint.....paint, paint, paint.......paint your table. Paint your table......(Yeah. I may be weird, but you definitely just sang that.) So I'm going shabby chic on the finish. I just slopped it on making sure to get in all the nooks and crannies of the table and then let it dry completely. Finally, I beat it up a little with the orbital sander. Man, if you play your cards right this baby's going to look like it came right from The Christmas Tree Shop.
  8. Arrange your design on top of the table until you freaking love it. Using a sponge brush apply the Mod Podge to the back of your design and glue it to the table top. Let it dry for 20 minutes. Apply a thin, even coat to seal the table top design on.

    ****PODGE CAREFULLY**** if you are attempting to Mod Podge anything less water resistant than thick magazines, a glossy photo, or aluminum siding, it's going to start to soak up moisture. The trick here is to try not to double back over any of it too much. Start from the center and lightly work your way out to avoid any ink bleeding. Took me 3 tries to figure out that little nugget of information.
    AND DON'T FREAK OUT. It will dry clear. That's how you know it's dry. Promise. Do at least two coats, allowing each one to completely dry in between. Takes about 20 minutes give or take.
  9. FREAK OUT....not because I lied.....but because your table is awesome! It's uniquely yours, and you appreciate it, flaws and all! Much like your Player 2 appreciates that zany way you get in over your head sometimes. You should probably make them dinner tonight as a thank you.....because you also saved cleaning the paint brushes for them.  And they freaking HATE that. 

You are now the proud owner of a table you need to hide whenever your mother-in -aw comes over. Bask in it's DIY glory.

So pretty.  The plant goes on the bottom now.

So pretty. The plant goes on the bottom now.

:) Brooke