Upcycled Sewing Base Coffee Table

2 Materials
4 Hours

This is the second time in a month I get to refinish a coffee table! Years ago on a trip to the States, Hubs and I picked up a cute little coffee table that was originally a vintage sewing table. We’ve done several vintage sewing machine table makeovers now and they always get me thinking creatively. Surprisingly, we’ve never come across such a short base before!

Hubs did not take a liking to the table top and always joked about tossing it out and starting over. As if! Save for the cherry stain, I really like it! So I start thinking about cool ways to paint a coffee table that will sway him back over to my side.

Our starting point is to sand the finish down to bare wood. For areas like the trim part around the fly wheel, Hubs has to hand sand.

If you want to see how your table top will look with a clear coat, use Hub’s lacquer thinner trick (watch the video below).

After seeing the red tones come up again I made a decision to wax it in the end :).

Watch the Video

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Metal BaseThe metal base is pretty grungy. For that we use warm soapy water for everything we can reach.

We use a combination of small and jumbo cotton swabs to get into the finer detail like this ornate foot petal. Hubs uses a comfort grip to spray on a few light coats of Tremclad Clear to prevent further rust and protect.

After, Hubs sets the leg wheels onto some popsicle sticks so they don't stick to the cardboard!

Stencil Time!

Now it’s time to add some personality with two stencils from  Old Sign Stencils.

First up is the Antiques stencil. A little research shows that this vintage sewing table is circa 1910. With the Antiques stencil, I can easily customize the date. The numbers that come with the set make it a breeze.

The second stencil I’m using is this Argyle pattern. This stencil is going around the table skirt.

First, I remove the skirt. Luckily the skirt is held on with pocket screws, which are easily removable.

For the first stencil, I use a large natural bristle stencil brush with a soft black paint.

Once everything else is complete, I was just about to finish stencilling the date.

Then I realize, I don’t even need the companion number stencil for this part! That’s because I was able to transpose 1901 to 1910 using the main stencil! I’m sure those accessory numbers will come in handy for other projects down the road though.

The argyle pattern is done in three steps.

One. Apply one coat of black paint to every other diamond. Cover up the diamond that you don't want paint on with a piece of acetate. The clamps you see below help hold everything in place!

Two. Cover up the black diamonds and paint every other remaining diamond white.

Three. Last, but not least, is the diagonal pinstripes. For this part, I use a brighter white so you’ll be able to see the contrast between the two whites. At this point, I change to a 1/2″ stencil brush.

After the argyle is complete, and it dries for 24 hours, I can reassemble the skirt with the table top.

I don’t want to bring out the orangey/red tones in the wood that Hubs disliked so much with the original top. Instead of a clear coat, I use Fusion Mineral Paint’s clear Furniture Wax on the wood to protect it. That’s because it won’t yellow over time and gives the wood a soft sheen.

Hubs and I both agree that we love the new look of our refinished coffee table now!

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You'll find many more tips and tricks to complete this project on our blog. So visit our site (link below where you see our logo).

Suggested materials:

  • Old Sign Stencils  (https://bit.ly/3iGNd2t)
  • Sewing machine base  (Antique market)

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Have a question about this project?

1 question
  • Dl.5660408
    on Dec 16, 2020

    Beautiful! And I happen to have an old sewing machine base❤️ I was wondering if you knew what kind of wood the table top was made of? My base is just a base and I would need to make a top

    • Mary Russell
      Mary Russell
      on Dec 16, 2020

      I would say it's more likely hard maple,probably a good furniture grade.That's what it looks like in the photo and what a lot of furniture was made of because of the relative cheap price /availability/durability.

Join the conversation

4 of 13 comments
  • Sissy
    on Dec 16, 2020

    my sewing stand with new hand painted top and it opens on the top excuse the mess around it as I am in the process of doing all new floors and moldings myself and I am 67 years old .new floors are over half done in 2440 sq ft house .Took up laminate flloors that were installed wrong and buckled and put in vinyl plank floors 4 bathrooms done and livingroom and mater bedroom done

    • Birdz of a Feather
      Birdz of a Feather
      on Dec 16, 2020

      Wow Sissy! You are so talented! And I'm so impressed with all the work you're doing in your home.

  • Leslie
    on Dec 18, 2020

    I have my Grandmothers Singer pedal sewing machine and it is still intact and I still use it. The top of the lid needs to be redone because the veneer is damaged from age, but I have to research first to see if I SHOULD refinish the lid and how to do it if I can. These machines are rare and to find one in good working order AND complete is a gem of a find. I also have my Aunts antique portable Singer ( which I use ) which was given to her and is in its original wooden carrying case. I was told by the man who services these machines ( the portable ones ) that in original good working condition they are worth anywhere from $400.00 on up. I so dislike the destruction and "upcycling" of these Heritage pieces and furniture unless as this one was, redone before purchase or if they are so far gone their worth has been lessened big time.

    • Birdz of a Feather
      Birdz of a Feather
      on Dec 19, 2020

      My husband has taught himself how to service and get these old machines running again so we don't destroy anything that's still intact and worth saving. Each one is a piece of art; they don't make 'em like they used to. I wish we could display them all. The only problem is that we don't have room for all those machines and tables!

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