Before & After: Run-Down End Table

My latest piece for A Slap of Paint was a doozy. It should have been an easy flip, but I botched it big time. Luckily I was able to fix my mistake.

I started with this end table that I picked up from Habitat Restore. I can’t tell you how much I love that place.

Navy Side Table_Before


To fix this piece up, I removed the table top and sanded the heck out of it.

Table Top

Then I stained it using a black Varathane stain. I coated the top in poly and set it aside.

I painted the bottom of the piece in navy chalk paint. I mixed the paint myself using Paint Minerals. It turns any flat paint into chalk paint. The best part — you can paint your pieces without sanding them down first. Awesome!!

Painting in PRogress

Two coats later and my piece was painted and beautiful. I wanted to do a layer of protective coating on the piece, and I should have used wax, but I didn’t. I coated the entire piece in polycrylic, effectively ruining the beautiful paint job. See, the polycrylic dried and bubbled and made the whole piece a hot mess.


Once everything was completely dry, I sanded the paint job so I could start fresh.

Thankfully, the second round of navy paint covered beautifully. I didn’t totally mess the whole thing up after all. Phew.

The second time around I waxed the painted portion of the end table down. Right choice.

Even though this was more work than I anticipated, it turned out beautifully.

Navy End Table

The knobs were also from restore for $1 a piece. Woo!


Home Improvement

Entertainment Center

The biggest most awesome totally fabulous outstanding project I did during my Christmas vacation was our entertainment center. Our entertainment center. Sigh. I never hated our entertainment center, but I never loved it haha. Which is hard to say, since Brian and our contractor/lifetime friend designed it themselves. BUT (sorry men), it was man designed! They made the shelves too tall so you can see straight past the equipment to all of the jumbled up wires. And They did a hugely weird angle.

Unfinished Entertainment Center

When we redid our basement I had to call my dad because I was so upset about it. It did not fit in with my “vision,” but it was Brian’s total vision. So, per dad’s wise advice, I sucked it up. I made it almost two years of sucking it up, but I didn’t want to suck it up anymore. So I put my tweak on the piece.

I did something crazy.

Dirty Hands

As you can see from my hands, I stained it! That might not sound so crazy, except that the entertainment center was built out of MDF! CRAZY!

Stained Entertainment Center

Our house stink, stank, stunk of stain for days after I was finished. I ended up doing two coats of the black stain, following up with two coats of poly. But, the end result and the temporary stench (and high) were worth it!

Entertainment Center_Shelves

I picked up new baskets from Michaels that were made of fabric because our old baskets scratched the soft MDF — that’s the biggest downside of using stain instead of paint. It’s easy to scratch. But I love the baskets and I eventually want to make fun labels for each.

Entertainment Center_2

The top of the entertainment needs some accessorizing, especially at the corners. But the black stain makes a world of a difference.

Entertainment Center_1

And the baskets just complete the whole thing perfectly. Can you see cords? Me either 🙂


And in case you were wondering, I chose black because our bar is black. The colors tie in together nicely.

Entertainment Center_3

Glad to have this one crossed off of my list. My head hurts just thinking about that stinky stain.






Craft Projects

Pallet Bar Sign

Remember this sweet pallet I scored from work? I got a lot of use out of this bad boy, making two different jewelry holders, one with knobs and one with spoon hooks.

But, what I’m about to show you is the pièce de résistance from my first-ever pallet — a BAR sign for, yes, our bar!

To make my sign, I had to demolish the pallet. I got out my handy-dandy jigsaw and cut out the middle planks to use. I decided to make my sign with four planks, and an additional plank as support along the back.

Once my pieces were cut (I cut one of the planks in half for the back), I lined them up outside and nailed them together using my nail gun. I didn’t want the edges to be perfectly even, so instead I lined up the four planks by the nail holes down the middle. This gave it a nice look.

First, I nailed the wood into the back supports from the front of the sign. Then, for added support and more nail gun fun, I flipped it over and added nails down the supports in the back.

Then, I got out my sander and sanded the edges down and the front and back down. I picked pieces with holes and knots on purpose, so I made sure to leave those spots alone.

With the sign all smoothed out, I brought it inside to begin taping out my letters. Using painters tape, I blocked out the letters “B,” “A,” and “R” at varying heights along the sign. I did this all by eye (no tracing, no stencils), which took a long time (about an hour) and a ton of patience, but was worth it in the end.

Then, I got out some of my remaining paint samples and started to fill in my letters. For the “B” I used Behr Smoky Slate, for the “A” I used Behr Contemplation, and for the “R” I used Behr Lime Light. I’ve gotten so much use out of these samples, it’s crazy! Anyway, I chose these colors so the letters would have a subtle ombre effect to them.

Once the letters were painted, I removed the tape — the paint was still wet, so the tape came off perfectly! Then, I set the sign aside to dry.

Afterward, I got out some leftover gray stain from my coffee table project and stained the entire sign. Yes, I did go over the paint. I let the stain sit for about five minutes, then wiped it off and let it dry. I came back a few hours later and gave the sign two coats of poly. I also attached heavy-duty picture hangers to the back before letting the sign dry overnight.

We hung up the sign last night right behind our bar and it fits perfectly! I’d pretend that I did that on purpose, but it was just dumb luck! Still, I’ll take it 🙂

{A Smith of All Trades} Pallet Bar Sign

Um yeah, I ❤ my sign. So does the hubby. Total win!

And, best part, it was totally free to make!