Sunday, March 18, 2012

"White" Washed Shabby Chic End Table

Okay, so I just "white" washed my first piece of furniture! I have been looking for one of these electrical spools for awhile and then it dawned on me, my DMIL works for an electrical company! SO, they have oodles of them and I was lucky enough to get an old one from their mountain. I am trying to create a beachy/country style in my home so I wanted something a little rustic. Well, here's my attempt at white washing...Enjoy!

Here's the original product. I had to wipe it down and get some paper out, which was stuck in the center.

The bolts were pretty rusty, so I saw a trick online to use the shiny side of aluminum foil dipped in water to scrub off the rust. It worked pretty well. Got the crusty stuff off. Then I used the electric sander to get the rest. It worked great!

Next, I used my new electric sander which is perfect for my small hands and is great for furniture because it has a point for hard to reach areas. It's called The Mouse and was recommended by an interior designer friend. :) It also came with a few attachments. Can't beat that for thirty bucks! There was some red spray paint on the top of the wheel so I sanded it off as best I could. Then I sanded down the entire piece. Used coarse grit sand paper.  I didn't make it perfect because I was going for the rustic-ness. I just made sure to sand the edges because I don't want my princesses to get splinters when I'm finished.

Next I wiped down the entire spool with a damp rag to removed the sawdust and debris. I had to let it dry before I painted.

So I say that I "white" washed the table because actually I found this super light green paint (not white) in the clearance section at the Home Depot. It was $7 for the can so now I have a whole gallon. I am sure I will find another use for it some day. It was actually cheaper than buying a quart of white. This particular paint is a semi-gloss although in the directions I found for white washing on some sites they recommended using flat paint. But a couple sites said it didn't matter since it is going to be mixed with water. So what I did was mix 1 part water in an old coffee can and two parts paint and stirred it up.

Next I painted the entire thing and wiped off the paint with an old towel as I went along. The recommended directions I found was to paint the entire piece and THEN wipe it off before it was dry but...NOTE TO NOT paint things in direct sunlight if you don't want it to dry fast! What's good about white washing, though, is that it doesn't have to be perfect. When it's dry you can sand it down if you didn't get enough paint off with the towel until you get your desired look.
The sun was awfully bright that day so I don't know if you can tell but the wood at the center of the spool was in pretty good shape unlike the ends. It was fairly yellow (looked like newer wood) and I didn't like how much it showed through the paint so I went over the center a second time wiping with an old towel as I went to have better coverage.

Finally, I applied 2 coats of semi-gloss polyurethane to the entire piece sanding with ultra fine grit paper and wiping down in between coats. I applied a third coat to the top only because it's the place that will get the most use. You can use a satin polyurethane if you prefer it to be less shiny. The semi-gloss, for me, turned out very nice. 

So here's the final piece in my living room. I am in need of finding some better accessories but in the meantime these'll do. Hope you like it!


  1. Great Job. Looks nice. Maybe an old lamp from a thrift shop. Just a suggestion. A wide lamp base that you can wrap rope around. Saw it done on one of the home DIY shows. Gives a beach effect.

  2. Thanks, Janet! I was thinking the same thing :) I just haven't made it thrifting lately. I know exactly what you are talking about :)

  3. Really good job Jess. I wonder you have created such a useful thing from that ugly looking table. Try multicolors in different parts of that table will bring more good looks to it.


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