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How To Turn a Table from Trash Into Treasure

A $10 flea-market find became an heirloom with a bit of glazing and stenciling.

More in Decorating

flea market end table finds new look with glaze
  • Time

    Two Days

  • Price Range

    $100 - $250

  • Difficulty

    Easy to Moderate


Step 1: Experiment First

Before priming and painting the table, start out with a "demo board," which is just trade talk for an experimental paint job that allows you to make mistakes on a sample board, not the furniture. Paint half of it with latex primer and the other half with a Scandinavian-look Wedgewood blue. Once it's dry, it's ready for glazing.

Step 2: Mix the Glaze

Mix some glazing compound, available at a craft store, with some paint. Decide what ratio of compound to paint to use. Play around with the ratios, keeping in mind that the more compound used, the more translucent the glaze will be. Use a three-to-one ratio for the Wedgewood blue to shine through the compound and look watery. Buy a half-gallon of glazing compound at the paint store if glazing a large piece -- it's cheaper.

Mix the color with a wide brush that's precisely the width of the table's trim. Then scrape the bristles against the side of the compound dish to remove most of the compound mixture, afterward dabbing more color off on a paper towel.

applying the glaze

Step 3: Apply the Glaze

Apply the glaze to the surface with long brushstrokes, all in one direction. Start by brushing away from you, then bring the brush all the way back and so on until the entire surface is completed. The glaze should look streaked.

apply glaze to surface with long brushstrokes

Step 4: Add the Stenciling

To finish off the table, spray a stencil with stencil adhesive, and fasten it to the top of the table, in this case at the corner. Use a darker shade of blue paint, and stencil the pattern by dabbing. Use a couple of coats needed, rather than glopping on too much paint. Repeat the stencil in all the corners.

Dip a brush into gold paint and paint the edges. For an added touch, make a few dots to accent the stencils by dipping the handle of a tiny brush into the paint.