Refinishing A Dining Room Table With Paint and Wood Stain

I recently refinished a junky and beat up work table into a gorgeous dining room table for my home.
This is the table before. It was pretty beat up and not in great shape cosmetically but it was solid wood and heavy.
Stripped the whole thing down using a paint stripper compound.
After sanding it down first with a 100 grit paper and then with a finer 220 grit paper, I applied the minwax dark walnut stain. Be sure to give the stain about 5 minutes to soak in and then come in behind it with a clean cloth to wipe away any excess. If you don't wipe it up, you'll end up with a sticky table top.
After staining I applied 3 good solid layers of Minwax Polycrylic in Satin. This will give me a good hard and durable finish that should stand up to my kids abuse.
For the legs and side of the table I mixed together a batch of my home made chalk paint (recipe: and painted them a lovely light sage green. After that dried I applied a layer of clear soft furniture wax and then buffed it with a clean cloth.
The finished table turned out beautiful and is well protected. You can see the entire project on my site

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Have a question about this project?

3 questions
  • Nancy Harrell
    on Apr 3, 2017

    What's the purpose of using chalk paint for the legs if you are putting a wax coat over it? Isn't the purpose of 'chalk' paint is that it leaves a chalky finish?

    • Patti
      on Nov 2, 2017

      Not an experience DIYer, but from all I have read recently while looking into doing a project like this the wax is needed to protect the chalk paint and make it last. Otherwise I guess it wears off or chips. Again just based on what I have read.
    • Lynn Goins
      on Jun 10, 2018

      Yes. The wax protects the paint and gives it a slight sheen. You could also use a non-yellowing polyurethane. If you don't, the first time you have to wipe a smudge, off comes the paint. The actual advantage to chalk paint is you don't have to sand the area before you paint.

    • Carly
      on Jul 8, 2018

      They have chalk spray paint and a chalk finish spray paint. Complete game changer for projects and looks amazing. The finish leaves it matte.

  • Susan
    on May 26, 2017

    Yes except my table top is painted over formica? Chalk paint on top of this?
    • Npetric1
      on Jan 22, 2018

      Susan, I had a dresser that had a formic top. I tried to to sand it, and even to refinish it. It does NOT work. So, I decided to add a nice wood top on top of the formic and trimmed it out on the sides too. It turned out beautiful and the formica does not show!
  • Valerie jones
    on Oct 23, 2017

    Love this—great job!! I have such a problem applying poly- do you have any tips on this? How/what did you apply the poly with?
    • Brooke
      on Mar 18, 2018


      If you use polycrylic on a cool day (65-70) and work in the shade it will give you a bit more time to work with. If you use it in the sun it will dry almost instantly to a tacky finish, leaving brush strokes and a big mess behind if you go over an area more than once. If it’s warmer than 70 when you want to use it adding a small amount of water will extend your dry time, I use about 2-3 Tbls per quart can, more if it’s hot (over 90*). It’s made to dry to a tacky finish in under 10 mins, so no matter what you need to move quickly. Thick coats will also make it milky, I find if I add a little water this isn’t a problem either, as it goes on thinner. The key to getting a smooth finish is not going over it more than once! That’s super important. I recently found that applying it with foam roller will leave it smoother than any other method. The trick is slowing the drying (by working when it’s cooler, out if the sun and adding water) so the tiny little bubbles that may come along have time to pop. It never fails though, there are always a couple of them. Using a 220 sand paper very lightly between very 1-2 coats will also help.

      Personally I prefer using a spray can of oil based polyurethan, even if it’s more expensive. It can turn an amber color over time, for most woods this is actually good as it deepens and enhances the woods natural beauty, but it’s not recommended for painted surfaces. Oil based sealers also tends to be more durable, just my experience. I’ve had an in home child’s care for years and the furniture that has an oil based sealer isn’t as beat up as the water based polycryilc stuff. The down side is the need for paint thinner to remove it from brushes, that’s why I go with spray and cover everything with paper before I use it.

      hope this helps some

    • Valerie jones
      on Mar 22, 2018

      Very helpful thanks so much

    • Margie Ellison
      on Jun 19, 2018

      Thanks Valerie, you gave me the info I needed to complete my table!

    • Barbara
      on Aug 16, 2018

      Thank very much for giving such great tips and will help made doing this job much productive.

    • Darlene Ernst
      on Sep 12, 2019

      I understand about trying to apply poly in one swipe but what if it's a long the desk I'm doing?

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