Craigslist Dining Table: Before and After – The Art Experts

Since we moved in our house we used the same dining table we had in the townhouse: a counter height square table with 4 stools.

We needed a bigger table: it had to be round and have that grey-brown color I like so much.

I found a round table on Craigslist. I bought it right away(for $20, yeah!!!). What I like most about it are the clawfoot shaped legs; they give the table personality and a little bit of a vintage style!
I was lucky with my purchase: the table is sturdy and it doesn’t need any repairs.
All I needed to do is to change the color from orangey to weathered grey-brown, and give the wood some texture.

This is table before:

Materials used:

TSP liquid to clean the table


cheap foam brushes

Gesso white

regular brush

Circa 1850 – Antique Paste Varnish

“Faux Effects Stain and Seal” in Walnut

Well, I wanted the look of chalk paint on my table, and the Gesso I use as primer for my paintings has chalk in it. I decided to go for a quick trip to Opus( the art store where I buy my art supplies) and ask some questions. It turned out they knew what I was inquiring about.

Final advise to me? Buy the Stevenson Gesso for my furniture re-finish project(it has more”tooth”). And that’s what I did:

But enough for now about gesso and chalk paint; promise I will get back with more in a future post!

For easier handling I disassembled the table: top and pedestal. I cleaned both parts with some liquid TSP and let them dry.

Then I painted them with grey gesso( white gesso mixed with few blobs of acrylic black from my art supplies), getting the texture I was looking for and the time-worn look:

And that’s the table top in the process of being gessoed( please disregard the round shadow in the photo, is my ceiling light( as I worked the whole project at nights and in the house):

You don’t need to strip or sand the furniture before gesso-ing. Gesso is a primer so it sticks really well to furniture and dries quickly.

Then I applied my “Faux Effects Stain and Seal” in Walnut, using foam brushes; I wiped off the excess with rags. The number of coats will determine how dark or light the table will look. Let the table dry after each coat!
If you want to read more about the stain I used, you can click here.

This is the photo of the pedestal after being stained. I couldn’t use the table top pic – the photo got blurry!

Last step was to varnish it. Knowing the kitchen table will be used few times a day and get lots of abuse I decided to try “Circa 1850 – Antique Paste Varnish” for the final coat. This antique paste has a hand-rubbed look and a soft sheen to it. I did 3 thin coats( just in case!).

It is recommended for varnishing kitchen cabinets and it protects against heat and spills. So far so good! I don’t know if it can be bought in States, as this is a Canadian brand.

And the finished table:

Another “BEFORE and AFTER: 

I love how it turned out, with the grey-brown worn-out color. And I know it will look so much better after our vinyl floor will get replaced!!
What do you think?