Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links, which means I will make a small commission if you buy any products that have been linked to. Note that these links are meant to show you what I’m talking about, and are not a way of tricking you into buying something. Remember to always shop around and read product reviews before making any purchase, in order to be a more informed consumer. Please read my Disclosure Statement to learn more about my affiliations.
So our landlady has agreed to put a washer/dryer set in our apartment! We’re so excited! However, it has to go where the pantry is. Instead of getting rid of the pantry, she’s going to move it to the other side of the kitchen, where my set of metal shelves (holding appliances) was. So Zach and I had to do a little rearranging. I’ll save the organizing process for another day. Long story short, the metal shelves were moved into the office. The bed was moved against the wall adjacent to the one it was against, which left it without a nightstand for guests. But no worries! I had a TV dinner tray that I never use. I have two, actually. One I use for painting and the other just sat in Zach’s closet. So I decided to make use of it!
Apparently I forgot to take a “Before” picture. I could swear I did that…. Oh well. Here’s what I do have.
Those are the TV trays. Ignore the mess on the metal shelves…I’m in the process of organizing it.
I really wasn’t feeling the boring, cherry stain they had. So I decided to paint the one that I was using as a nightstand.
I love it. I know the pattern and colors aren’t for everyone, and they usually wouldn’t be for me, either. But this office/guest room needed some color. And the nightstand was the perfect solution. Here’s what I did!
What you’ll need:
- paint (4 colors)
- paint brushes of many different sizes
- clear acrylic coating (I used Krylon)
Step 01: First, I cleaned the table. I didn’t bother sanding or priming it, which turned out to be kind of a mistake. The wood was fine to just clean and paint…but what I didn’t realize was that it wasn’t all solid wood. The legs, as it turns out, are made of laminated particleboard. Before you start painting, take a good look at your whole table. If any part of it is laminate, get some primer. If you’re using an oil-based paint, I would suggest Zinsser’s Primer and Sealer. It lets you paint without worrying about sanding.
After I cleaned my table, I turned on Robin Hood (because I have to watch something while I paint…it’s just a thing I do) and I began painting. (FYI, it was a good show, but Season 3 was obviously suffering and they were doing some not-so-subtle things to get the ratings to go back up. The ending was bittersweet, though, and made me wonder why so many people were shocked that the rumored Fourth Season was cancelled. Seriously?)
By the way, I used acrylic paint for this. I used 2.5 tubes of Apple Barrel’s Key West (that’s the blue), half a tube of Pale Daffodil (also Apple Barrel), Grey from Craft Smart, and Coral from Craft Smart. (Craft Smart isn’t as creative with their names as Apple Barrel is.) The only colors I bought for this project were the blue and yellow–I already had Grey and Coral, so I spent $2.00 on paint.
Step 02: I put about 5-6 coats of paint on the table before I felt it was perfect and then I let the whole thing dry overnight. Also, the secret to such a smooth paint job: very thin, even layers.
Step 03: Once it was dry, I picked a stencil (I got a set of 50 stencils from Wal-Mart for $3.00) and randomly set it down and traced it. For some reason, I decided at the beginning of this project that I didn’t want there to be any rhyme or reason to the placement of the stencils. Don’t ask why because I can’t answer.
Step 04: I knew I would paint the inside of the stencil yellow, but I wanted another color to outline it. So I did a freehand sketch around each stencil.
It’s not perfect, but it’s going to be painted over. So whatever.
Step 05: I then traced the interior stencil in yellow paint with the thinnest brush I had. Once the outline was done, I completely painted the inside with yellow.
Step 06: It took me forever to pick a color to outline. Coral or Grey? I also have some lilac color and a nice pale green, but I’m really feeling the Coral or Grey. Zach suggested that I go with Coral and stop nagging him while he’s trying to work.
Step 07: I was very happy with just the three colors, but I felt like it could use a little more definition. So I added a grey outline in between the yellow and Coral. Again, I did this with the thinnest brush I had.
Before you see the next picture, let me explain…this picture that you see above is what the colors actually look like. For some reason, I couldn’t get the next picture not to look like neon. But it does. Weird.
Step 08: I let all of the paint dry for about an hour and then I ran sandpaper over the stenciled areas to make it look worn.
Step 09: In a well-ventilated area (and with the cats locked in the bedroom), I sprayed four coats of Krylon UV-Resistant Clear Acrylic Coating in Gloss over the entire table. This required spraying four coats on the top, waiting for it to dry, and then flipping it over and sprayed the rest of it. Note: No, there is no reason that I picked “UV-Resistant.” It was the only clear acrylic coating I could find at Michael’s, so I went with it. If I had thought to look online first, I would have gone with the Low Odor Clear Finish.
According to the directions, it will dry within ten minutes, but you should not handle it until two hours have passed. Screw that. I set it up in the office as soon as it felt dry. 😛 (It’s been two days and I have not had a problem.)
I also stacked a vase of fake flowers on top of the manga Zach and I have here (because I am currently obsessed with putting things on top of stacks of books and calling it “decor”)–Kingdom Hearts and Scott Pilgrim. We have more, but it’s in my mother’s attic.
I’m very happy with it. It gives the office a nice, spring-ish pop of color. And it makes use of some junk that was taking up space in my apartment. Score!
(And, yes, I got the idea from Simple Home Life. Though hers is a table, not a TV tray.)