Antique Side Table Gets a $15 Make-over!

10 Materials
$15
6 Weeks
Easy

After watching videos about ‘acrylic dirty pours’ I really wanted to try it on a piece of furniture! I wanted something with a lip to avoid the big mess of letting the paint roll off the edges. So I went online and found an adorable little antique side table with a strange little framed glass piece that sat on top of the table -- for $10. Perfect piece for my project!

antique side table gets a 15 make over
antique side table gets a 15 make over

Step 1: Pouring medium


There are tons of videos online about acrylic dirty pour – but this is how I did mine. I mixed several colours, individually, in dollar store shot glass cups. 


THE RECIPE FOR EACH COLOUR WAS:


  • ½ floetrol
  • ½ clear glossy polyurethane (I used a turkey baster to transport it from the can to the cups)
  • Enough Unicorn spit or mineral paint to add the colour (it doesn’t require much paint)
  • A few sprays of distilled water
  • Stir all ingredients together (in their individual cups)


THE PAINT & SPIT COLOURS I USED:


  • Fusion mineral paints - Azure blue, Liberty blue & Metallic Pale Gold
  • Unicorn Spit – white, purple & black


Once I had all my individual colours set up – I poured them all into a larger cup, trying to keep them layered as much as possible (do not stir).  

antique side table gets a 15 make over

Step 2: The pour


I did the pour on the bottom side of the glass topper, so I wouldn’t need to worry about sealers or scratches in the paint during regular daily use. 


I taped the wooden edges and cleaned the glass with rubbing alcohol.


Then the moment of truth, I flipped the cup over on the glass to create a big pool of paint. Then tilted the glass from side to side to spread it out.  Once I had full coverage I went over it quickly with a small torch to ensure there were no bubbles from the polyurethane.


After it dried I excitedly flipped the glass over to see how it looked. Whomp whomp whaaaa. It looked terrible on the other side. The darker colours had pooled at the bottom and had a big dark spot. And the whites and golds didn’t make it down that far at all.  

antique side table gets a 15 make over
antique side table gets a 15 make over

Step 3: Change of plans


Because life is all about revising plans – I was now going to use the bottom of the glass as the top: So the next thing I did was seal the ‘pretty side’ of the glass with high gloss poly. I did 3 coats, with 24 hours drying time in between. I felt 3 coats may be over-doing it, but assuming that topper was fairly brittle given its age, I decided it was worth a few extra coats. After each application I went over it with a heat gun, on medium setting, to ensure no bubbles in the finish.  


Turns out this was a happy accident – because the poly sealer made the colours pop!! It looked so much more vibrant! And it brought out the metallic shimmer in the gold.  

antique side table gets a 15 make over
antique side table gets a 15 make over

Step 4: The glass trim


Now that I was using the bottom of the glass I had an additional step of filling gaps and chips. And at some point the top was attached to the table using double-sided tape, so there were glue marks to get off as well. So I used wood filler and sandpaper to smooth everything out.

antique side table gets a 15 make over

Step 5: Table base


Sanding: I used an orbital sander and then a final once-over by hand using 330 grit sandpaper.   


Cleaning: TSP.


Stain: I used gel stain – the colour is named Kona. I had never used gel stain before. And after reading the label I became a little nervous, because it repeatedly said “meant for bare wood only” and that “all previous finish must be removed.” But I persevered and tried it anyway. I used a lint free cloth and applied it by hand. To say I was impressed is an understatement! It glided on like butter! And the colour was so rich! I only did one coat of stain! And no harsh chemical smell!! 


Sealer: varathane clear finish, semi-gloss, 2 coats.

antique side table gets a 15 make over

Step 6: Painting a portion of the legs


I wanted to add a little colour to the base and accentuate some of the wood details. After painting I placed the glass topper on it to decide if I wanted to darken the paint colour a little. I decided to do a colour wash using the same Liberty blue as the topper. I mixed 1 tsp of paint and 1 tsp of water and brushed it on, immediately wiping it off with a damp cloth afterwards so the original colour was still visible. 


I lifted the table slightly to ensure I got the feet all the way covered. CRASH! Yes, that’s right! I forgot the topper was still sitting on the top. My glass masterpiece had just fallen three feet onto our ugly builder-grade ceramic tiles…

antique side table gets a 15 make over

Step 7: Re-group!


So after a few minutes of trying not to cry, it occurred to me that the glass didn’t appear to have cracked?! Upon closer inspection I was stunned to see that while the wood trim splintered and cracked apart…the glass was still perfectly intact!!! Must have been all that poly?!


So I fixed the trim using wood glue, filled the cracks with wood filler, re-stained and re-sealed. Then I hot glued the glass into the table base.


I’m so happy to have this piece behind me. Factoring in the holidays and drying times, etc this project took 6 weeks! I’m ready to move on. But I am very happy with the way it turned out.  The top has a really cool texture that gives it a little extra visual interest.


Note: I had most of these products on hand so I based my make-over cost on the quantity of each product used.  

antique side table gets a 15 make over
antique side table gets a 15 make over
antique side table gets a 15 make over

Note: I practiced with dollar store paints/art boxes first and those paints worked great too!

antique side table gets a 15 make over
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Have a question about this project?

3 of 6 questions
  • Sandra Bock
    on Jan 20, 2019

    I just might try this summer outside play. Is their a lot of fumes?

    • Valerie Burge
      on Jan 20, 2019

      The only product that had a strong smell was the polyurethane. And you can do this technique without adding that. I added it because I like the glossy look - and because I was using as a table top. I applied the poly in the garage and brought it inside immediately to dry (too cold to leave in our unheated garage to dry). Good luck with your project! :)

  • Fay34273850
    on Feb 1, 2019

    I love the whole project especially the legs. They put your individual stamp on the project. I do not have a heat gun and I was wondering if I could use a hair dryer?

    • Valerie Burge
      on Feb 1, 2019

      Thank you! :) I have not tried with a hair dryer but I expect it would do the same, as I only used medium setting on my heat gun. Those little hand torches that you can refill with butane work great too.

  • Lisa
    7 days ago

    Can I use something other than "Unicorn Spit" its just too expensive :(

    • Valerie Burge
      7 days ago

      Yes, absolutely! I've even done it with dollar store paints. I used spit because I have it on hand, but it's certainly not essential to doing a paint pour. From my point of view, the only thing that is essential is something to help the paint flow and not dry too fast while you're working with it, like floetrol.

Join the conversation

4 of 87 comments
  • Lajuana Longoria
    on Feb 1, 2019

    That looks badass! I tried on this wooden chair. Only the seat part. When I tell you I did the pouring technique 4 times and each time scraped it off I'm not exaggerating. So I just threw it outside on the burn pile! After a couple of days feeling bad Everytime I glanced it's way, I relented and took it in and decopaged it. Looks not so unique but I'm going to try this pouring again following your instructions. My chair is probably screaming "nooooo, curse you for experimenting with me...Again!"

    • Valerie Burge
      on Feb 2, 2019

      Thank you! Was yours runny enough? Needs to be able to flow freely. And if you don't like the outcome you can always add more on top and keep working with it until you like it. Or blow through a straw to mix colours into each other. You go this!! And I want to see your chair when it's done. :)

  • Lajuana Longoria
    on Feb 2, 2019

    I do believe that was the problem because I didn't add anything. I didn't think it would make a difference but I'm thinking it must. Thanks for the tip. I will put a pic when I'm done. Good or bad!

    • Valerie Burge
      on Feb 2, 2019

      I think you need something to thin out the paint. Floetrol is great and inexpensive. But I've also seen people post pouring videos using children's glue instead of floetrol. Seemed to work great! Polyurethane is not essential from my ingredients list. I just added that because I wanted a glossy look. Good luck! Look forward to seeing your results!

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