Friday, June 14, 2013

I have a dream...about a table.

Several months ago I had a dream that I spray painted my dining room table with chalkboard paint.  I totally loved it in the dream and I woke up thinking I should do it in real life.  Months passed and I never did anything.  Then, a while back I pinned a couple of pictures of multi-colored dining room chairs, and I thought that might be fun someday.  I remembered then, about the chalkboard table, so I did a little Pinterest research on that.  I didn't find much, but I did find pictures of a little cafe somewhere that have chalkboard tables.  I've been a little worried about how durable/washable a chalkboard surface would be.  Spills, grease, etc.  But I figured if it can hold up at a restaurant, it'll probably do ok at my house...maybe...hopefully.  Because I finally did it!
First off, let me tell you, I'm not a tutorial blogger.  I'm terrible at step by step pictures, and I'm not great at laying out all the details.  But here's a list of the colors I used, and a couple things you may find helpful if you decide to do the same.

There's no before or after pictures.  Sorry.  And I scanned through a couple months of pictures, and this is the only one I could find of at least a tiny part of what the table used to look like.  And as you can tell, I wasn't careful about protecting it from paint, glue, kids, etc.  My parents bought it for me in Germany 13 years ago at IKEA.
 Here is one of the four chairs that we've also been using for years.  (Two are painted now.)  I got these from my Grandma's house several years ago when she passed away, and who knows how long she had them.
I knew I wanted different/mismatched chairs, so I started watching for them.  I found one at a thrift store in Dana Point for $7.00 a couple of months ago.  Then, two weeks ago I went hunting at garage sales.  I found 3 sales that were selling just one dining room chair!  Who only has one chair to sell??  A lot of people I guess, so get up early on a Saturday and get hunting. And you can get them for cheap, because who only wants one dining chair?! I wasn't willing to pay more than $5.00 a chair.  The chair on the left, was going for $5, I offered $2 and got it.  The other two had a big FREE sign on them on someones curb.  I grabbed them!  I only used one in my set (so far).  I may paint the other a different color, just to have a back up.  So $9.00 for four chairs.
I also had a random IKEA chair that I've had for ages that I threw in the mix.

On to sanding/priming.  I hate sanding.  Hate.  So on all the chairs I just lightly sanded the seats.  That's all.  And while, as you see in the picture below, I used up lots of primers I had on hand, and they all go on just fine.  I will say, all primers are not created equally.  Zinsser COVER STAIN (far right) is the best primer I've used.  Especially if you're painting over another finish.  I got it at Home Depot for $5.96 a can.  I think I used four cans of primer for six chairs, a booster seat, and the table.

The seven colors I used are as follows (six chairs and the booster):
Oh, and I've used several brands of spray paint.  Rust-Oleum is hands-down my favorite.

-Sun Yellow
-Colonial Red
-Fire Orange

On probably three of the seven chairs, I just used one can of paint.  Different colors, and different sizes/details on the chairs changed it a bit.  One tip though, I painted all my chairs outside and I know the wind contributed to some of my paint quantity needs.  I did the (final coat of the) table in a garage and it went on so smooth and easy.  So do them in a (well ventilated) garage.  I'm sure I lost a lot of paint to the wind, and would have been able to do each with just one can.

I sealed the chairs and table legs with Rust-Oleum clear glossy sealer.  I've also used lots of sealers.  This one is just as good as any in my opinion, and is one of the least expensive.

I took the legs off the table and primed and painted them plain white.  I really sanded the table top well.  It had a lot of dents and scratches that I hoped to smooth out a bit, and for the chalkboard paint, I really wanted as much of the finish off as possible.  Then I filled in all the holes.  There were just a few (haha).
I just used nail hole fill putty stuff.  Let it dry for a couple hours, then sanded again.  Such helpful kids.

I used black Krylon chalkboard paint.  I have a leaf for this table that I painted too.  It's about a third of the size of the table top, and I used 2.5 cans total.
My chalkboard advise, and it depends on the feel of your table, the thickness of your primer, etc.  But, get your table top sanded, puttied, sanded and ready.  Then: Prime. Lightly sand the primer. One coat of chalk paint.  Second coat of chalk paint.  Let dry a couple hours. Lightly sand.  Then finish with another coat of chalk paint.  I skipped all the sanding and the third coat of chalk paint the first time around.  Then the next day I took the blasted table apart AGAIN, and sanded the rough spots of primer and (hard to control) thicker spots of paint, and put another coat of paint on. I did the primer and first coats of chalk paint outside.  I think it may have got a little dust on it, and the wind made even distribution challenging.  The final coat, that I did in a garage, went on so nice and smooth.  A world of difference I tell you.

Here is my first "finished" picture.  Those white splotches aren't chalk.  They just appeared after I prepped it and wiped it down.  I tried to pretend like I didn't mind, but the next day I knew I needed to re-do it if I was going to be happy.
And here's the re-done picture.
Tons better!  I can't resist the cheap fresh flowers when I go to Trader Joe's.  My plan is to keep the table junk free and if I buy myself flowers once in a while, I'll probably do better at that.
And I also have a jar of chalk to leave on the table for dinner-time doodles, drawing fake dinner place mats etc.
And my kids think I'm pretty cool, for letting them draw on the table.
I hope this helps anyone who is going for a fun, bright change!

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