(Alternate Title) Learning From My Mistakes

First, let me start by saying my pictures will get better…promise. The first picture of the table was taken with my phone. It’s not even a great phone.

Second, let me say the projects will get better too. I’m learning as I go along and I’ve been scouring the internet (and Pinterest…I love that site!) for ideas, tips and techniques. I think I’ve already learned a lot.

My first project was an old piano bench that I use as a nightstand next to my bed. I’ve always loved the look of stained wood but this thing desperately needed a re-do and I needed the practice.


When I really started looking at it, I noticed that while the base was wood, the top was particle board. Not only particle board, but damaged particle board so you knew it was particle board. I thought about replacing the top with real wood, but decided against it (at least for now) because:

1) I have no patience and wanted to get started. I’m an instant gratification kind of girl, but I’m working on it.

2) I had an idea what I wanted to do with the top, but having never attempted it before, I was sure I would mess it up so I decided the particle board was going to be my “rough draft”.

3) I was keeping it for myself, so I didn’t worry about it too much. If I was going to try to flip it, then I would have replaced the top. I still may down the road if I run out of projects and need to feel a paintbrush in my hand.

To get started, I smoothed out the exposed particle board with wood filler. It was Elmers and it was in a tube. It worked great, but I didn’t like the tube. It’s also a little difficult to get wood filler on particle board. It likes to roll right off it, so it took some smearing and wood filler-ed fingers to get it to stay.

After that was dry, I lightly sanded down the whole piece enough to get the paint to have something to  grab on to.

In the future, I’m going to prime it. I hear Zinsser is awesome.

After I painted it in two coats of Antique White, I lightly distressed it. I was going for a French Country / Shabby Chic look, but I’m not a fan of extremely chippy, distressed pieces. Unless it’s authentic, and even then not so much. So just a little distressing on the edges.

Then I found a graphic I liked to help give it a French-ier feel. I transferred it to the wood by rubbing the back of the paper that the graphic was printed on in a pastel stick stolen borrowed from my son’s art box, then tracing the top of the graphic with a pencil. It transferred the pastel image to the wood, then I hand painted it.

Don’t look too close. Seriously. My hand is not a steady one.

After that dried, I sanded that down to make it look older and distressed, like I found an old sign laying around and slapped that baby on the bench for character.

After two coats of polycrylic (to keep it from yellowing), I was done…


So there is my first attempt of a furniture makeover. I’m happy with it. Not in an overly excited, woo-boy-I’m-a-natural-at-this kind of way, but happy. I still have a lot to learn…and that I’m excited about. I can’t wait!

tablebefore tableafter

Thanks for stopping by!

Come back for my next post…it was my first attempt at chalk paint.

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