This circa-1970s side table cost just a few dollars at a garage sale. While not much to look at, it’s sturdy and solid. With a little bit of paint, though, it’s going to look great.
Tools and Materials
- White paint and primer in one, satin finish
- Black paint sample, satin finish
- Clear water-based polyurethane, satin finish
- Sander and 120-grit sandpaper
- Small roller
- Paintbrushes in various sizes
- Sea sponge
- Soft blending brush
- Disposable bowls
- Disposable rags
Sand the Surface
Sand the table to remove the old finish and smooth out any imperfections in the wood. Wipe off the dust with a damp cloth.
Apply at least two even coats of white paint and primer in one. I used Behr Premium Ultra Paint & Primer in One in the color Polar Bear. Let the white base dry completely.
Mix Paint Colors
In separate containers, mix white and black paint to create two different shades of gray. Also, keep a small container of the white nearby. Add a couple of teaspoons of water to all colors to thin them out.
The following steps can be completed in one sitting; no need to let the paint dry between layers.
Sponge on White
Use a slightly damp sea sponge to apply a light layer of white all over the table.
Brush on Large Gray Veins
Next, use a medium-size paintbrush to place the lightest gray color in various large areas.
Sponge Over Gray
Sponge over the gray to create a smoky look. Then sponge white randomly on top of the gray.
Blend Out Gray
Use a dry blending brush to smooth out the sponged colors. Repeat this process once more.
Create Fine Veins
Use a very small paintbrush and the darker shade of gray to create more precise veins.
Sponge Over Fine Veins
Immediately after placing the paint, go over each vein with the sponge (add a little white with the sponge, if you desire).
Blend Out Fine Veins
Use a dry blending brush to smooth out the fine veins. Repeat this step at least two times, and add in some white veins to create highlighted areas. When you’re satisfied, allow the paint to dry for several hours.
Tip: Sponging white back into the marble pattern is a secret weapon! You can easily fix mistakes, highlight curves and break up veins that are too dark. Remember to dry-brush any areas that you sponge to blur the colors.
Apply Coats of Poly
Finally, apply two coats of clear, water-based polyurethane with a satin finish. Allow a full 24 hours for the table to completely dry before using it.