From Trash to Treasure - Nautical Table Makeover

7 Materials
4 Hours

My husband took this old side table off the side of the road which was meant for the garbage trucks and brought it home for me. Normally I might be annoyed but this was in pretty good shape, so I was happy he did that! You know what they say..."One man's trash is another man's treasure." My mind started thinking of ideas immediately on how I could bring this Side Table From Trash to Treasure. Here is what I came up with and a tutorial and how I did it.
Step 1: The first thing I did was to strip the paint using a paint striper. I had experience revamping our old, dark wood dining room table and rather than just sanding the top layer off, I found this paint stripper to be helpful before sanding. To use, you apply a thick coat using a regular paint brush, then you wait about 15-20 minutes before you attempt any scraping. (Please make sure to wear gloves and eye protection. This stuff is pretty toxic.) I was working in my very hot garage so the stripper was drying quicker than the recommended time. I was only waiting about 10 minutes. After the stipper soaks in, you use a scraper tool to remove the paint/stain and an empty can to discard it in. I used about 3 coats which seamed to do the trick. 

Once done you need to apply some Paint Stripper After Wash which essentially gets rid of any paint stripper from the table.
Step 2, Sanding...
I sanded the rest of any remaining stain using my hand sander. 

Once done sanding, make sure to clean up really well to get rid of any dust remnants. I used a damp rag but they sell tack cloths that work wonders too.
Step 3 Adding a Stencil...
I went back and forth trying to decide what to do with the top. I figured this was a free piece of furniture that would have ended up in the landfill, so I was gonna try to make it something fun. If I screwed it up, oh well, right? The wood grain is really pretty but I thought a stencil of a compass rose on the top would look cool, so I decided to go for it. I found one from amazon and thought it was the perfect size (12 inches) as you can still see the pretty wood grain underneath it. I painted the legs white, rather than deal with stripping them too.

I made sure to line up the stencil evenly using the circle in the middle of the table as a guide. Then I taped it to the top using painters tape and used a foam brush to paint on the stencil. I used about 4 coats of paint and let it dry before carefully taking the stencil off. I was happy to see that it came out really nice. Whew! I hadn't screwed it up after all. Ya me!
Step 4, Polyurethane...
Once the stencil and legs were all painted and dried, I used 4 coats of polyurethane on the top, and the legs, to protect and seal it. I chose a semi-gloss.

And here is the final result. I love the way it came out. Not to shabby for someone else's trash, and all it took was some elbow grease and some creativity! What do ya think?
If you like this project, please visit my blog for lots more DIY ideas.
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The House house

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Have a question about this project?

3 of 8 questions
  • Ing25770091
    on Aug 10, 2018

    This is absolutely gorgeous! I have a desk that needs this.

    do you think the decoupage is a necessary step? You can’t really see it. Why not some random splashes of artist acrylic paint for the color underlay?

    Thank you!


    • The House house
      on Aug 10, 2018

      Are you referring to the stencil? If so that is totally optional. The wood grain on this piece is so pretty but I thought a small stencil wouldn’t take away to much of the pretty wood grain.

  • Mabel Maxim
    on Aug 22, 2018

    How mu h bigger is the fabric then the board?

  • Carolyn
    on Jul 10, 2019

    Where do you find stencils?

    • Lynn
      on Jul 13, 2019

      I found that same stencil at Home Depot online, had it sent to my nearby Home Depot and picked it up at the service counter, it was $14.99.

Join the conversation

3 of 118 comments
  • Laura Diego
    on Jul 9, 2019

    You got so lucky getting a table with such BEAUTIFUL wood grain, and what you did to bring that out is absolutely gorgeous!!! Love this idea!!!

  • Belinda
    on Jul 10, 2019

    I absolutely LOVE your table! I have got to do this to one of mine. My hubby is a painter so getting stripper will be easy... Lol I will "borrow" some of his. I love crafting especially with paints and your idea is AWSOME. Thank you for sharing!!!❤❤❤

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