Singer Sewing Table Makeover

2 Materials
3 Days

When we found this vintage Singer sewing table at a local thrift shop (missing the treadle and band wheel), I couldn’t resist the challenge to repair the veneer and breathe new life into it! I had two very distinct visions for it – so we’ve upcycled it twice! We’ll have one reveal for you today and another – more unique one – next time.

Water damage and age were not kind to the table but the metal base was

singer sewing table makeover

After blowing off the table with an air gun attached to a compressor, Hubs taped it up and turned the table upside down so he could remove the legs and blow them off too.

singer sewing table makeover

We carried the legs and table down to my craft studio in the basement as-is so I could methodically take the rest of the table apart and document it with pictures. The legs didn’t stay in my studio for long; once I decided on the paint colour, they were back outside to be painted with a metal paint.

As you’ll see later, we didn’t tape off the Singer name, but in retrospect I wish we had. In the finished product you can still see it, but it’s very subtle.

Document with Pictures

As I disassembled the table down to the sum of its parts, I placed all the hardware into labeled ziplocks so we wouldn’t lose any pieces.

singer sewing table makeover

We used a variety of screw drivers to get everything apart, but they all have something in common: a ratcheting feature and magnetic end. These features prevent wrist fatigue and hold onto the screws so they can’t accidentally fall and roll away.

singer sewing table makeover

The long screwdriver shown above is essential for taking off the drawer surround. It’s perfect for those difficult, hard to reach areas.

When there’s two similar pieces, mark each with a piece of green tape and mark them left (L) and right (R) respectively. Here are the drawer surrounds separated from the table and marked:

singer sewing table makeover

Murphy's Law of Furniture

Here is my own personal Murphy’s Law of furniture disassembly. Whenever I get down to the last piece, there’s always ONE screw that I absolutely can’t budge on my own. It’s like furniture builders of yore turn that one screw extra tight so they can look down and laugh at me contorting myself to will it out of the hole. I always have to call Hubs to use this brute strength to remove that stubborn screw! What would I ever do without him?

Once everything was apart we took one last picture and put the hardware away for safe keeping.

singer sewing table makeover

At this point, as you saw in our last post, we repaired the loose and missing veneer on each individual piece. 

Primer and Paint Prep

With the intention of painting the table, after sanding we tested two different primers. We placed our samples on the back of one of the pieces.

The primer on the left is Fresh Start from Benjamin Moore (K046). On the right is a product appropriately called INSL-X Stix. Both primers have excellent adhesion. I don’t honestly recall which one Hubs ended up spraying the pieces with, but for some reason we got a lot a weird colour bleed right through the primer (sorry there’s no pictures). Hubs changed gears and went out to purchase a different product – still in the INSL-X family called Seal Lock Plus. Seal Lock Plus is an alchohol based product that is phenomenal at blocking stains. It’s an alternative to shellac and dries in 15 minutes.

singer sewing table makeover

Hubs sprayed everything with the new primer again (except the few pieces we kept natural wood, which you’ll see later). To our relief, it did the trick and once dry he painted sprayed on the top coat. In our next post, we’ll show you how we spray all our painted pieces using a cup gun.

Protect Drawers

For the drawers, apply tape to the inside where you don’t want paint to bleed and burnish it down well. Head to our blog to see our favourite brand of tape and the special paper we use to prevent overspray on the inside of the drawers!

singer sewing table makeover

Clean Hardware

As Hubs was taking care of painting, I cleaned up the hardware. I didn’t want to affect the patina at all – just clean off years of grime. The bottom hinge is cleaned; it’s just enough of a difference to shine it up a bit. I used Method All Purpose Cleaner; it didn’t even require rinsing. If you have a tried and true method of cleaning metal, let us know in the comments!

singer sewing table makeover

Seal Raw Wood

I don't know the proper name of the piece you see below so I'll call it the under belly. As I mentioned, I wanted to keep some of the natural wood so I applied hemp oil to protect it.

You can use a brush or wipe it on with a cotton rag as shown. Apply hemp oil generously. Let the wood tell you if it needs more. If it soaks in and still looks dry, apply more. You can’t really over apply it; just make sure to wipe away the excess within 12 hours. I wiped off the excess oil with a clean, dry cloth.

This was my first time using it; the hemp oil brought out the depth of the wood and grain nicely. Further ahead, you'll see how it looks now in comparison.

singer sewing table makeover

Hubs sprayed the metal stand with an off white metal paint that he custom mixed. For the rest of the wood he use a paint by PPG called Break-Through. He sprayed a few light coats of an icicle blue colour; I just love the combination of cream and blue!

Get Organized

Work close to the area where you plan on putting your finished piece. We worked on the floor on top of a piece of cardboard to re-assemble the piece. I transferred all our pictures onto an iPad so we could see exactly how everything should go back together.

This is where you’ll be happy you took lots of pictures and marked the hardware! Without the pictures to guide us, we would have been stumped about which hardware goes where!

singer sewing table makeover


We didn’t paint the end caps on either side of the swing drawer. I’d like to say we did that on purpose, but honestly they went into a Ziploc with the rest of the hardware and we forgot to paint them. It’s one of those ‘happy accidents’ that worked out better than planned!

singer sewing table makeover

After the middle drawer was replaced, the underbelly went back on. The wood was so drab before, but looks so rich and lustrous now after the application of hemp oil! It slips in place via dowel and should sit underneath a metal catch (which we put on prematurely and had to undo to get it properly back in place later).

singer sewing table makeover

To see how the rest of the table comes together, watch our quick video at the top of our post - or visit our blog for more pictures, tips and tricks!

As great as it looks now, wait ’til you see what else we’ve done with this vintage sewing table! We took it one step further and I think you’ll get a kick out of the wow factor (and functionality) of the next reveal. Stay tuned, because it’s coming up next week.

singer sewing table makeover

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Suggested materials:

  • Paint  (Paint store)
  • Hemp oil  (Homestead House:
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