It happens to everyone, and it has even happened to me before but this has been my biggest DIY flop to date. It all started because I was bored with our Ikea dining room table, and I wanted to give it a new look. We bought it when we lived in Atlanta in the discount department of Ikea. It was in perfect condition, but since the box was a mess, I guess they had to mark it down – way down. My husband, who was then my fiance, was thrilled with the price.
This is what I was working with for my before. It wasn’t bad at all, but I was getting tired of the light colored wood. I had a grand plan to paint the chairs and bottom of the table white. Then I would sand down the top and stain it a dark color to have a somewhat farm house table look. Plus, it would better go with our dining room hutch.
Last week I decided it was finally time to give the table an update. The finish (it had a sealer on top of the natural wood) was getting worn down in places as you can see in the picture, so, I thought it was a good time to start.
I moved the two sections of the top of the table outside to sand down before I started the staining step. Inside, I broke out some Annie Sloan chalk paint and painted the chairs and the base of the table.
I spoke to some company reps of a wood finishing product at Haven, and they told me exactly how to stain the table and were very helpful. They told me I needed to use a wood conditioner before adding the stain. After sanding I used the conditioner. The table top is birch wood, so I knew this step was a must. After it dried for 24 hours as directed, I started my staining application. In this photo, the stain is wet, and I was just about to wipe off the excess. The weird color is from the reflection of our kayaks.
After I wiped off the stain, I thought “oh no.” It looked so streaky and was horrible. I texted a quick photo to my mom to show her the results.
Silly me thought another coat of stain would fix the whole problem. After the second coat I realized the stain was not the issue. Apparently, I did not do an even sanding job the first time around. Hmmm….. Maybe it would be okay and have an aged look. I had my neighbor come over to get her reaction. I asked her opinion, and she was silent. That was it. I had officially ruined our table. I went inside and started looking online to buy a new table. I forgot to tell you that we eat all of our meals in our dining room, and having a table is important to us. Meanwhile, this was all happening last Friday, and Mr. Spring had been out of town on business all week. The weather in the Adirondacks for camping was not looking good, so, instead of going away for the week-end, we decided to have a dinner party. Oh my what was I thinking? I had a little over 24 hours to come up with a solution.
Friday night after Mr. Spring came home he said all I would have to do is sand it down and we could start from there. I got out the belt sander and started sanding and sanding and sanding. One and a half hours later I was getting back to the original wood. I have never been happier to see bare wood. The next day after another one and a half hours later of sanding, I had one section of the table back to where I started. The clouds started to get dark, and I knew I wouldn’t be able to start the sanding until another sunny day. I emptied the bag of sawdust five times because it was dusty.
Mr. Spring helped me bring in the tops of the table, and this is what we currently have in our dining room. (We used a table cloth for the dinner party). It is not exactly Pinterest ready!!! I know…. Just look and laugh. Once the weather improves, I plan to go outside and brace myself for another three hours of sanding the other section. After that happens I might just add a protective sealer and leave it the original color. It is not the look I was going for, but I am nervous to try the stain again. Do you blame me?
Any suggestion on what to do with the top?