Painting a Kitchen Table

March 1, 2012

Hello everyone, I’m so excited to share today’s DIY project with you, it’s all about how to paint a kitchen table. Y’all know I’ve been painting furniture and cabinets for years, but this time I tackled the painting of a kitchen table. A kitchen table is the one surface that will get the most traffic of any piece of furniture in your home, and since it gets the most abuse it must be extremely durable.

To paint an old wood table with success you need three things working together – a primer that blocks stains and also sticks like super glue, an extremely durable paint with a hard finish that can withstand the banging of bowls and plates, and finally, a layer of protectant.

how to paint a kitchen table cg


Let’s get started.

First, take a look at this pedestal table before the paint treatment – worn out oak coated with plenty of ick and yuck.  Not pretty.

table before 2

Where did I find this thing?  I’ll give you four choices:  A) thrift store B) thrift store C) thrift store D) Craigslist.  If you guessed A, B or C you were right, oooh you’re smart!  It was $45 for this solid wood classically shaped pedestal.  My friend needed a table for her new home’s breakfast nook so I spotted this one and then decided to refinish it for her.

What you’ll need to paint your own wood kitchen table: orbital sander, medium grit sanding discs, foam roller, high quality angled paintbrush, medium grade sanding wedge, respirator, bonding/stain blocking primer, enamel based paint, cotton rags, clear paste wax.

First things first, you want to sand off any debris and some of the varnish and that’s why an orbital comes in very handy – use medium grit discs.  Doing it by hand is possible, but better to let this tool do most of the work for you.

You don’t need to get rid of all the varnish, the primer (next step) will cling to the surface, varnish or not. You simply want it to be smoooooooooth. Use your hand and closed eyes as your guide, if you can run your hand over the surface and it feels smooth to the touch, you’re good.

sand tabletop

Next, wipe it all down and start the priming phase.  There are several kinds of primers on the market and a lot of them state they work on glossy surfaces.  Not all of them are stain blockers though so carefully read the label.  The one that has always worked best for me is Zinsser – I’ve used it for years – their Cover Stain sticks like super glue and blocks any wood stain from coming through, and also dries in an hour. It’s oil based, and not available in some States, but in my opinion it’s the best.

zinsser cover stain

On most furniture the spray version is just fine, but on high traffic horizontal surfaces like tabletops, coffee tables, or bookshelves, I recommend the roll on/brush on formula – it’s thicker and more durable for that reason.  Roll on two yes two coats for the tabletop (allowing to fully dry in between coats).

roll on primer

Roll on one coat to the remaining surfaces, wherever the roller can easily reach.

priming pedestal table

Follow up with the spray version to quickly fill in the crevices.

spray in crevices

Allow the primer to fully dry for a full day.  Next, use the medium grit sanding wedge to knock down any unevenness from the roller on the primed surface.  (The orbital is a little too strong even with a fine grit disc for this phase and doing this by hand doesn’t take long.)

sanding wedge

But be sure to wear one of these while you do it.


Once you’ve wiped down your primed tabletop, again run your hand over it to make sure you have a completely smooth surface.  Now it’s time to paint!  This is where it’s important to buy the right paint – over the past several months I’ve used enamel paints by Benjamin Moore and Sherwin Williams (Pro Classic) for furniture and both have really fantastic water based enamel alkyd formulas – they will give you a very hard finish like you’d get with oil based paints.

For this table, I’m using the Ben Moore Advance water based enamel alkyd in ‘Swiss Coffee’.  Also a Purdy brush, they’re the best!

ben moore advance formula

I prefer to work with paint in temperatures between 55 and 70 degrees, not too hot or too cold, I find it helps with the open time, giving you sufficient time to apply the paint without any drag.  Apply two thin coats, just enough to cover, allowing to dry between coats (usually 24 hours).  If you choose a dark colored paint (say black, navy, or dark gray) you’ll likely need three thin coats of the enamel paint.

Now here’s the hard part – it takes 3 to 5 days for the paint to cure so that it’s sufficiently hard, so after your final coat of paint do what it says and wait wait wait!  This is a tabletop and you need it to be fully cured before you use it to prevent damage to all of your hard work.

After a few days it’s time to protect it and you have several options.  I like the Brush on and Wipe On water based Varathane, and you can also use Minwax Polycrylic  (I mention that method here) but for white painted furniture, I’m really loving waxes.  They will give you a soft hand rubbed finish and won’t change the color of your white paint.

There are various paste waxes on the market, you want one that’s clear, here are three I commonly use but you can also use Fiddes & Sons, Minwax, and Hannant’s as well.  With this table, I used the clear Briwax.

various paste waxes

Apply a small amount and rub in circles with a clean soft cotton cloth for a thin even coating and allow it to dry for at least an hour.  Buff (wipe repeatedly with clean cotton cloth in circles) to a shine, then repeat this step two more times over the course of a day.  Make sure to buff it completely so your wax isn’t sticky, and you get a nice matte finish.

wax on

You want your surface to repel liquids and stains, so a few layers of wax will help do that. After you’ve buffed your final coat, your table is safe for use.  Still I advise you to take it easy for the first few days using it, the paint and wax are mostly cured but will be much more solid after another week has passed.

Here’s the tabletop up close before and after the makeover.  From dirty and spotty to fresh and fabulous!

tabletop before and after

So those are the steps to take to get a beautiful result that will last for years to come.

painted white surface of table


Before:  table before 2


painted kitchen table how to

It looks so  fantastic!  Amazing what paint can do, right?



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314 Responses to “Painting a Kitchen Table”

  1. CentsationalGirl says:

    A little furniture wax buffed to a shine will take away that tackiness Karen!

  2. Kim Rimmer says:

    Hi Kate,
    I just found your site and I love your work and your very detailed tutorials! I need all the vital details I can get…which other sites can sometimes leave out of the equation causing me a lot of hassle. I am a novice at painting furniture and need to be aware of a lot of the little details (like how many coats of primer and paint, & how long to wait in between). THANK YOU SO MUCH for this:) Okay, I am very confused by the primer and paint that you used to paint the kitchen table. From what I gather, the primer is oil based, the paint you used is a water based enamel alkyd paint. My husband is adament that I cannot use a water based paint over and oil base primer. Does the BJ Moore Advance paint you used operated like an oil based paint???? Can you please explain to me what primer(s) to use with what paint(s) (plural). I’m dealing with a husband and some men from the paint store who are from the old school…and they tell me I’m headed for trouble painting like this. Can you please give me some clarification on primers and paints. Thank you so much!

  3. Karen says:

    Thanks so much for getting back to me

  4. CentsationalGirl says:

    Hi Kim, yes you can use either latex or enamel or oil based paints over oil based primers, I’ve been doing it for years. If you use water based primer, you should stick with water based latex and enamel paints. Yes the BM paint feels more like an oil based paint, it’s really great to work with for furniture and cabinets. Bottom line, follow the steps I mention, they’re the ones I use time and again: a good bonding primer, my favorite is Cover Stain (oil based) followed up by enamel paints in your color of choice. I find I’m using clear furniture waxes more and more for the protective coat, but you also have the option of Polycrylic or Varathane.

  5. Lindsey says:

    I love your site! Thanks! I am getting ready (tomorrow) to refinish a kitchen table we found that was for sale on the side of the road. I am going to be staining the top of the table and painting the legs and decorative edge white. Do you still recommend the wax on the white paint even though it will not technically be in the high traffic area?

  6. CentsationalGirl says:

    Hi Lindsay, if you use enamel paint, you should be okay, no wax!

  7. jil says:

    I bought an old oak pedestal table that I planned on painting white. Thankfully I found your site with these awesome instructions! I’ve gotten to the point where I’m ready to paint it, but I’m having a hard time finding Benjamin Moore Advance. I tried my local Ace and they don’t have it. Is there another brand that you would recommend? Thanks!

  8. CentsationalGirl says:

    Hi Jil, I like other enamel paints too, I know Glidden has an oil based one but Sherwin Williams also sells ProClassic enamel paint that is water based. Both would work!

  9. jil says:

    Thank you!! I’ll try the Sherwin Williams!

  10. Vanessa says:

    Hello, I absolutely love this table and am trying to copy it. It says you sand the table down till smooth. Do you sand everything edges, legs etc or just the top?

  11. CentsationalGirl says:

    HI Vanessa, I just sanded the top, not the pedestal. The primer doesn’t require sanding but for the tabletop I did want it as smooth as possible.

  12. Vanessa says:

    I was wondering if you can use the roller brush for the top and the brush for the legs?

  13. Brenda says:

    I too am following your tips as closely as possible. I have just put on the first coat of paint. After allowing it to dry, do I sand lightly or only after priming? Thanks so much for sharing your wisdom!!

  14. Gelria says:

    This looks amazing! Can’t wait to tackle this with my children for our next homeschool project.

  15. Madeleine says:

    Thank you so much for posting this detailed how to. I just completed my first kitchen table and coffee table and they turned out perfect! I used every item you suggested, and lucky or me Zissner is available for purchase in my state. It was a perfect primer. I went with Behr satin finish paint. I used Swiss Coffee for my kitchen table and sealed it with the SC Johnson Paste Wax. I have received so many compliments, therefore, had to take the time to thank you.

  16. CentsationalGirl says:

    Wow that’s so great Madeleine! Thank you for sharing! I was just at my friend’s house the other day, the one I painted the table for, and hers still looks great!

  17. Hi there! I just followed your step by step instructions for our kitchen table and I’m a little disappointed with the turnout. I had LOTS of drag (painted at 68 degrees) and so my tabletop is just a mess of brush strokes. Any way to get those out? I hate spending so much on paint and then having it turn out poorly. :( Any suggestions you can offer would be greatly appreciated.

  18. CentsationalGirl says:

    Oh no Heather! You used a good brush and enamel paint? I’m so sorry! You can always sand away those brush strokes, and then wax the top once they’re gone, feel free to send me a picture and I’ll try to walk you through it.

  19. Lori says:

    Hi Kate
    I love your blog it is awesome! I am getting so many wonderful ideas from you. Thank you so much! I have just painted a table identical to yours before I found your tutorial. i decided to use Krylon spray paint and primer in one, white in the satin finish.( I would not recommend this product for this type of project) I wanted a smooth finish. I also used 2 or 3 coats of bulls eye water based primer and sanded between coats to get a smooth finish. I ended up using 6 cans of spray paint ( there was also a leaf) I did not expect to use so much. The problem is I could not get the top of the table to have a nice even finish. Some spots are nice, and some are rough and some are powdery, like the paint was drying coming out of the can. I have spray painted in the past on large dressers and armoires and have never experienced this before ( this is one of the reasons I would never use this paint again) My question is with all your experience do you know if I can use Varathane Diamond Finish WATER BASED roll on, not spray, over this Krylon Paint which I am almost certan is not water based? Or would you suggest using the wax on the top, would this even out the finish? Any advice would be helpful. Thank you in advance

  20. CentsationalGirl says:

    Hi Lori, I’ve had that happen with spray paint before, you get even color but an uneven finish. If you give the table a coat of Polycrylic that will fix it. You may be able to do it with wax too with several coats.

  21. Tammy says:

    Hi Kate – I am normally not a DIY kind of person, but your painted kitchen table project was so beautiful, I decided to take it on. I followed your exact instructions on an old oak pedestal table that I got at a thrift store and I just applied the final coat of paint this morning, and so far it looks great! I now will let the paint cure for a week, and then apply the wax coats. Now that I have a lull in the action, I want to turn my attention to the 4 wood chairs that came with the set. I plan to prime them with the same stuff used on the table (Zissners), but not sure how to paint? I would much prefer to use a spray paint since the chairs have a lot of detail and I am not sure how well I’d be able to paint them with a brush. But Benjamin Moore does not sell spray paint anymore, and I want to use the same color for the chairs that I did with the table (Swiss Coffee). I tried a tool call Crown Spray Gun – which did not work out for me. Any other suggestions?

  22. CentsationalGirl says:

    Hi Tammy, you can certainly use any kind of spray paint on the chairs if you’ve primed, I’ve done that many times. Pick a color you like and go for it!
    Congrats on the table too, thanks so much for sharing!

  23. Laura says:

    I can’t wait to get started. I have a 22 year old small kitchen table that I bought for my very first apt. and want to redo it in white for my daughter’s room. I have one question. It has grooves on the top, and I want to know what you would recommend for those. Should I fill them with caulk, and if so, when in the process should I do this? I always hated them.
    thank you! Laura

  24. CentsationalGirl says:

    Hi Laura, you can try wood filler, that may help but be sure to do it first before you prime and allow it to fully dry, sometimes you need to apply a few times and sand in between to get it smooth. No guarantee they’ll be gone completely but certainly minimized. :)

  25. Whitney says:

    I followed your instructions from the green dresser you did for a nursery. I was able to get all of the products you recommend and had no problem until I got to the poly coat. I let it dry for almost a week before attempting poly today. I cannot find the wax formula here in Virginia so I got the polycrylic and tried to brush it on. It acted like it was caking up or maybe even peeling up the paint underneath. This is my first piece. What am I doing wrong with the poly?

  26. Starr says:

    Thank you for this awesome tutorial, Kate! I am refinishing a piece of pottery barn furniture that is fairly shiny. I have sanded it by hand with medium grit sandpaper black because I don’t have an orbital sander and would prefer not to spend the money on that right now if I can do it by hand. I haven’t primed it yet (but I am going to). I just wasn’t sure if I sanded it enough. I gave it one good hand sand, but since the piece started out pretty shiny and is still fairly shiny and very smooth and I’m painting it from navy to white, I wasn’t sure if it’d be necessary to buy an orbital sander. I was hoping you could shed some light! :) Thanks so much!

  27. CentsationalGirl says:

    Hi Starr, you should be fine, the bonding primer will work on even those shiny surfaces.

  28. CentsationalGirl says:

    Oh no Whitney that’s terrible! Sounds like the Polycrylic is not reacting well to the paint… not sure why, could be temperature related… Try a clear furniture wax instead, you should be able to find some if you hunt around, Johnson’s clear wax, briwax, etc.

  29. carol says:

    I was totally disappointed I followed your instructions to the letter and my table turned out streaked the top is sticky to the touch

  30. CentsationalGirl says:

    I’m so sorry Carol! What products did you use? Did you wax the top? It shouldn’t be sticky at all if you did.

  31. Richelle says:

    Hi Kate, I just wanted to tell you how much I enjoy reading your blog every day – your house is decorated beautifully! I was just reading through the comments on this post again after you linked to it in the yearly roundup and don’t see the answer I’m looking for so I was hoping you could help. I painted a coffee table earlier this year following these instructions and I’ve been unhappy with the wax on the top. My husband always has his laptop on the coffee table and the little rubber feet leave marks on my table constantly. They will buff out, but it only stays pretty for the 5 minutes before the laptop ends up back on the table again. I’m thinking I would have been better off on using the polycrylic in my situation, can I just use that over the top now or should I do something to make sure all the wax is off the table first?

  32. CentsationalGirl says:

    Hi Richelle, that’s such a great question. I’ve never used Polycrylic directly over wax so truth is, I don’t know! You can test in an inconspicuous spot I suppose. Any chance your hub would be willing to replace the offending feet with clear ones? I see them all the time and craft and home improvement stores!

  33. Richelle says:

    Well they already are the clear feet, the marks are still noticable! I’ll give the poly a try and let you know. Thanks for answering.

  34. Ashleigh says:

    Wow a painted finish that isn’t sticky! Just the tutorial I’ve been looking for! Two questions for you:
    1. I’m trying to paint kitchen cabinets. Would you recommend this menhod?
    2. Do dark paints work just as well?

  35. CentsationalGirl says:

    Hi Ashliegh, I like the enamel paints by Sherwin Williams and Benjamin Moore, they are water based but feel pretty close to oil based when dry. Darks work just as well, the paint store will use a different base but they perform beautifully too.

  36. Lauren says:

    Absolutely amazing work with this table! Makes me want to redo all the furniture in my apartment :)

  37. kim says:

    I would like to do this with my black kitchen table. The question is: do they only have white primer or do you need a dark one? Also I like the shiny look, will that be the case if I use the enamel paint and wax method?

  38. CentsationalGirl says:

    Hi Kim, you’ll be fine using a white primer, but you’ll likely need three thin coats of black – I’d go with enamel in semi or high gloss and consider skipping the wax, but the table will need two weeks to cure before it can be used.

  39. maria says:

    Can I use the Briwax to seal/protect painted white kitchen cabinets ? I painted them a very dark color in the past but over time they always start to chip on the doors that are used the most- now I’m painting them a white color and don’t want that to happen again- thanks- I love the painted pedestal table !

  40. hi kate, have followed your blog and its been so helpful in furnishing my new home. I want to paint my pier 1 imports pedestal table (currently in the antique white color that it came in) a bright white, to match my new walls, trim, etc. Do I need to sand it first or can I just do primer and paint if I’m going from an antique white to a bright white?

  41. CentsationalGirl says:

    Hi Erin, I’d give it a light sanding just to scuff it up, I find that helps both primer and paint “stick” better, but no need to sand heavily.

  42. CentsationalGirl says:

    Yes Maria, I’ve used it many times!

  43. Nicole says:

    Hi Kate,
    I’ve followed your steps to refinish a table that was given to me. I’ve sanded, primed and put two coats of oil base enamel in a light turquoise. I’m in my 3-5 day waiting period before I poly it. First question, I put my paint in a sprayer and sprayed 2 light coats. The finish is “uneven”. I see some spots from the sprayer. Will this go way when I poly it? Secondly, I bought a spray can polyurethane. Will this work instead of the wax or poly acrylic? Thanks so much for your time and wonderful blog.


  44. Elizabeth says:

    I published a question almost a month ago and my post still hasn’t appeared on the website… My question is whether a table that has a polyurethane coat over a coat of paint should be stripped before following your instructions or if sanding is enough to take care of it.

  45. CentsationalGirl says:

    Hi Elizabeth, generally I’ve found is that even if the piece has varnish or poly on it, you can get away with a light sanding before you prime just as long as your primer is a bonding primer designed for glossy surfaces.

  46. Nicole says:

    Hey, I posted a question last week and it says still awaiting moderation? Not sure if you’ve seen it or not.

  47. CentsationalGirl says:

    Hi Nicole, poly will certainly help if the paint sheen is uneven, but not if the color is uneven. I used a brush on water based poly on this endtable and it helped make the sheen even, but I used a foam brush.
    I don’t care for the spray polys, they are always spotty when I use them – if you do spray I recommend going over it with those cheapo foam brushes, they work for me but make sure you do it in temperatures between 55 and 70 degrees, if it’s too hot it will dry way too fast and you can end up with bad streaks. Hope this helps!

  48. CentsationalGirl says:

    I replied Nicole!

  49. Nicole says:

    Thanks so much! I used the spray poly :/ and am not happy. It is spotty just like you said and I used a satin finish which just looks kind of dull. Should I go get a high gloss poly and brush on another coat to even it out and give it some gloss?

  50. Nicole says:

    Ok so I don’t see my last post. Not sure if it sent. Everything that you said the spray poly would do, it did. The finish is spotty and uneven. On top of that I used a satin finish and it just looks dull. I love the finish on the peacock blue redo. Can I get that same finish if I lightly sand and reapply a high gloss poly with a foam brush? Could I use varathane or poly acrylic on top of the polyurethane?

  51. CentsationalGirl says:

    Don’t sand, that will make the surface rough and matte, try a high gloss water based poly like Minwax.

  52. Georgina says:

    Lovely table. My husband painted the railing on our staircase and he keeps having to do touch ups. Should we use wax?

  53. Ellen says:

    You are saying not to use the orbital sander? Or just not to sand after painting?

  54. CentsationalGirl says:

    Hi Georgina, what color did you paint it? If you painted it a dark color, I’d use a water based polycrylic or Varathane for greater protection, the only caveat is white, and in that case, those products can amber slightly over time, so I suppose you could use wax, but you’ll have to buff it out really well!. Kate

  55. Kathy says:

    Hi! I’m starting to work on a crazy project…refurbishing an old pool table! The table hs been in our basement for years. We bought it cheap off Craigslist for the kids when they were younger and it’s still in good shape but it’s ugly! We are renovating our basement and I don’t want to put this ugly brown laminate pool table into or newly decorated space. I want to paint it black with silver accents and grey felt (found a Brunswick table that I’m copying). What paint do you recommend? I am priming with the Zinnser Stain Block. Also, it has some metal edges and thick plastic corners (where the ball pockets are). Any ideas for these? The plastic is what I want to paint silver. I might just paint the metal black to match the table. It is kind of a copper color now.

    Any suggestions wold be great!

    P.S. I followed one of your blogs to repaint a bed, dresser and side table for my son’s room. They were my mom’s and an old mahogany color. They are now a cool dark black/brown color and look awesome and updated. Thanks!

  56. Jennifer says:

    Thanks for this detailed post on painting. And all the pics really helped to understand the process. The table is lovely! :-)

  57. Chrissy says:

    Love the table..going to do ours white also really soon, just wondering once painted and waxed what is a good way to clean the table for every day use..mommy here with an 8 & 3 year old lol so I am sure I will be cleaning it a lot..thanks

  58. CentsationalGirl says:

    Once the wax is cured Chrissy (it takes a few days) and if you buff it well it will be just fine for everyday use.

  59. Kathy says:

    Where did my question go? It sat here for over a week with no response, and now it’s gone!

  60. Sally says:

    What a great project for someone who isn’t very crafty. I had amazing results. The only thing I did different was painted my table a light beige and antiqued the scrolled images in the wood under the top of the table.

  61. CentsationalGirl says:

    Hi Kathy, the wood can be primed and so can the laminate, you may want to scuff up the plastic corners in the hoped the primer will adhere but plastic is tricky. There are some spray paints for plastic out there, RustOleum makes a few but not sure if they make them in metallic sheens.

  62. CentsationalGirl says:

    It’s there Kathy, it was just pending. Answer above!

  63. Kennedy R. says:

    My daughter and I have followed every step exactly on a similar table. We painted only the top. We chose a fairly deep red. We are to the last step, the final finish. My daughter wants to use the wax finish. Is this the finish you would recommend? Several sites say poly is the hardest finish. We have put poly over paint in the past and had an issue with peeling so we are a little apprehensive about trying it again.

  64. CentsationalGirl says:

    Hi Kennedy, the wax finish (if you do two coats and buff really well between coats) is a really good protective finish, the poly is fine for a red paint but it might slightly darken your paint so be prepared for that, you might want to try it in an inconspicuous spot first like on the table leg before you do the top.

  65. Daisy says:

    Hello! Awesome job explaining the details! I’ve been saying I want to refinish our kitchen table and you just made me realize it can happen! The problem with my table right now is that when we put a hot paper plate on it, the plate sticks to the table and leaves “paper plate residue” for years. Would the wax at the end prevent this from happening?
    This table is about 10 years old so the “paper plate residue” isn’t the only reason why I want to refinish but it’s definitely the main reason.
    Thank you so much!

  66. CentsationalGirl says:

    Hi Daisy, if you buff that wax well enough it does provide a really effective protective coat, sometimes it takes a full week or so to cure and I can’t guarantee no sticking with everything but I’ve seen that if done right, it’s a really great protectant.

  67. Myndee says:

    Thank you so much for this tutorial. I followed your steps except I used a black high gloss oil based enamel for the color on my kitchen table. It is a very high traffic piece of furniture and I don’t know what would be the best sealer/protective coat for it. I only have The Home Depot and an Ace where I live and they have not been very helpful on what to use. Can you help me, please? Thank you so much!

  68. CentsationalGirl says:

    Hi Myndee, you might be okay with just the enamel in the high gloss, especially if it’s oil, that dries very hard, but you could also consider a polycrylic on top with a gloss finish. Minwax makes a version and RustOleum does too.

  69. Jen says:

    Thanks so much for your tutorial! I have a question though: I have an oak table that is hideous but with paint could be kinda cute. However, the top is oak laminate, not real wood, and the rest of the table is solid wood. Will this method still work? Would chalk paint be a better option (I have to get some paint my piano anyway-thanks for your tutorial on that!)? Some advice would be appreciated. Thanks!

  70. CentsationalGirl says:

    Hi Jen, the same products will still work, the Zinsser is designed for glossy or laminate surfaces, just skip the sanding part for the laminate portion of the tabletop.

  71. Jolleen F says:

    Kate- I LOVE your site, thanks for all the great inspiration and tutorials! I am hoping you can lend some advice. I just painted my laundry room cabinets white. The original finish was a natural cherry, which was pretty, but just not my desired vibe. So I primed with zinsser cover stain (used 2 coats, which may have been a mistake!). Then after that cured the approach time, I painted with 3 thin coats of Majic Diamond Hard in a satin finish. This is a water based enamel that was recommended to me by my local Benjamin Moore dealer. I wanted BM pro advance, but turns out not every BM dealer carries it. So they talked me into the Majic.

    Overall, I am pretty pleased with how it has turned out, but before I put the doors back on, I am wondering if I should protect the finish somehow, and with what? I do sort of regret the satin finish – wishing there was a bit more sheen. The surface just feels a bit rough, so I wonder if gloss poly would help add sheen and smooth it out a bit. They way they feel now makes me think they will be difficult to wipe clean easily. I have heard though that ploys will yellow over time, so not sure if I should do that? Then I came across your painted kitchen table tut, and its got me wondering if a wax would be a good option for cabinets? If it is durable enough for a kitchen table, would it hold up well on cabinets, and would it add sheen and wipe-ability?

    Hope you have some advice for me!! Thanks for your blog!

  72. CentsationalGirl says:

    Hi Jolleen, if it’s sheen you want then you can add a protective coat, the wax won’t give you any more sheen, you’ll need a polycrylic type coating which doesn’t amber as much as polyurethane, but it still can over the years on white paint. If anything I’d grab a small quart of the same color you used but in that semi gloss or gloss sheen and layer one more coat over the top, they tend to be wipeable which is why that sheen is great for bathrooms and laundry rooms and kitchens… hope that helps.

  73. Linda says:

    Just painted a cabinet with benjamin moore advanced paint…would applying annie sloan clear wax or johnson wax be needed? Thanks

  74. CentsationalGirl says:

    Hi Linda, I don’t use a protective coat on the Advance, but you certainly can if you want!

  75. Valerie says:

    Hi Kate,

    I’ve been trying to follow your tutorial the best I can, but I don’t live in the US so almost all of the products you mentioned are unavailable here. I started with a pine table which had been varnished. I sanded perfectly, even sanding off all the varnish from the table top, but I missed the part on the primer somehow and ended up with a water based primer (2 coats) but also continued on with 2 coats of acrylic enamel (I couldn’t even get the brand I wanted because I would’ve had to purchase 4 litres minimum to get my colour) before I even realised this. My question is that I have the streaky/patchy gloss problem mentioned by a previous poster – is it a problem with my primer, my enamel, my brush technique, the paint brand or all of the above? In which case, what do I have to do to fix it? The primer didnt even seem to cover the darker knots and grain on the table after 2 coats – it was meant to be a 1 coat…lame. And on top of that, 3 coats of enamel later, there’s still one area that’s slightly grey, but I’m not sure if I’m only seeing it as grey because it has a different gloss effect compared to the area around it. The weather conditions have been pretty much perfect as well.

    Anyway, I was thinking I’d liberally sand with 240 grit and do one thin coat and then wax. I have a mouse sander, but I suppose I should be doing it by hand…I’m just that eager to get rid of the streakiness. As for the brushwork, would you recommend I brush in the same direction or perpendicular direction compared to my previous coats? I’ve been wondering if stroke direction has played a role…I even got a purdy brush, but needed to make a trip across town to find it. It’s better than what I had, but it didn’t make any difference for the streakiness.

    I also have the chairs to do – should I be getting oil based primer for them? They will be navy.

  76. CentsationalGirl says:

    Hi Valerie, a stain blocking primer would have prevented that problem, some water based formulas are not stain blocking. I’m so sorry you’re having problems with streaks, it’s a tricky process. My best advice is to use very thin coats and what I do is brush on in one direction, quickly go across in the other direction, and then back again in the original direction with the tip of the brush, almost dusting the top. The paint seems to level better that way, but it’s the longer open time that helps to minimize them. Sometimes water based acrylic paints dry very fast and so you get those brush strokes, frustrating I know. Look for primers that do have those bonding and stain blocking qualities, it should say so on the back of the can.
    Good luck!

  77. Victoria says:

    Hi. Currently following your wonderful tutorial for my dinning room table and chairs. Did you sand down between your two coats of paint? Thanks so much!

  78. Joann says:

    Hi Kate,

    Awesome blog! I too am getting ready to paint a table plus chairs. I have purchased chalk paint, would you recommend all these steps? Do not wan to take a chance on time & money to end up with poor results. I know chalk paint is self priming, but would do the extra steps for durability & great results. Your thoughts?

    Thanks for your time,


  79. CentsationalGirl says:

    Hi Joann, several people have written to me telling me they used the AS chalk paint on their table and it turned out great. I’ve used that brand of paint on other pieces but not a table. You could certainly try it. I do like the stain blocking and adhesion properties of the primer I mentioned.

  80. CentsationalGirl says:

    No I don’t sand between coats of paint, I just use very thin ones and pay attention for drips.

  81. Lisa Y says:

    Hi Kate, Thanks for your very informative and detailed instructions and guidance! It is giving me the confidence to paint our kitchen pedestal table a BM Paper Mache white (to match our IKEA cabinets). After the project is finished, I read somewhere in your Q & A that you can use regular cleaners. Should the wax be reapplied periodically/how often? Thanks for your help!

  82. Jamie says:

    Hi Kate!
    I am paining my kitchen table (and eventually chairs) and am following your tutorial as closely as possible. I am painting the table and chairs black. I have already primed (using the same Cover Stain primer you recommended….tinted gray). I went to Sherwin Williams this morning to buy your recommended paint in black. Since the Pro Classic doesn’t come in black, he recommended All surface enamel paint (acrylic satin) and that it will be just as durable as the pro classic (which I bought). I was planning on then finishing with a polyacrylic coating (since I’m doing black instead of white, I thought polyacrylic would be better than wax). The man at the store said that I don’t need any “protective coating” over this type of paint, and actually said that the polyacrylic may interact poorly with this paint and cause more chipping?! I have three young children and want to do whatever I can to ensure the most durability for our kitchen table, so I wanted to ask you your opinion as what/if I should do a top finish coat.
    Also, when I get to the chairs I was thinking about using spay paint. Any recommendations as to steps for spray painting? Should I still do a spray coating of primer….then black spray paint, and then follow up with either spray or brush polyacrylic?
    Thank you so much for your time and help! I love reading your blog and truly appreciate all the help and feedback you provide for us DIY attempters! :)

  83. CentsationalGirl says:

    Hi Lisa, it all depends on the wear and tear, but you could add more layers in a year or so.

  84. CentsationalGirl says:

    Hi Jamie, a good enamel paint can go without a protective finish (I skip it on less regularly used surfaces) but for a kitchen table top I do like an extra layer of protection and prefer the wax. I’ve spray painted a lot of chairs, it’s pretty simple. First wipe them down with a deglosser, then spray prime like the Zinsser shown, then spray paint with several LIGHT coats after the primer is dry. No need for a protective coat over the spray painted chairs, you’ll find the paint when applied in several thin layers over a good bonding primer is sufficient.

  85. Jamie says:

    Hi Kate!
    Thank you SO SO much for answering my questions! I have my three coats of black on my table now and am just waiting the 3-5 days for curing before doing my protective coat. I have one more follow up question for you regarding the protective coat. I have tried to do some research on the protective coating options (hoping to avoid asking you another question!) but am still pretty confused. I know I want the “most protective” option. I know you said you prefer wax, but do you think that is my best option (also considering I have a black table). Is there any downside to me using polyacrylic instead?
    I totally trust your opinion, so just wanted to ask you which you think I should do in my case….polyacylic or wax (again my biggest objective to gain the most protection).
    Thank you again Katie for your help and insight!

  86. Betty819 says:

    Could I bother you to measure the diameter of your white table? I love it and you make it look so easy. That table really looks solid and heavy oak? Beautiful design. I was hoping to accomplish a lot of projects this summer, but it isn’t turning out that way. Life keeps getting in my is called a DH! I spend my days driving him to DR. visit and to the grocery store, playing “Nursemaid” but such is life. Those projects I wanted to accomplish will get done when I get ’round tuit.” Thanks for sharing all your experiences, knowledge and skills with us. I love your blog!

  87. Nora N says:

    How I wish I’d read this tutorial first BEFORE trying to paint our dining table (which looks almost like yours) We applied primer with a spray paint gun and it was Great. Then i decided to roll on a semi gloss Behr paint with a regular roller (not foam) and it didn’t cover well At all and left a slight texture feel/look to it. So we waited a while…and then I, not so smartly, decided to use a spray can to go over it……that failed because the spray paint was crap. SO we tried to go over it again with a Foam roller, again same problem as before..and finally bought a paint gun (the other was borrowed) and used behr in it….could never get the settings right and it left it totally bubbled and with a bad high texture look and not semi gloss at all- more of a flat sheen. SO…it’s been sitting in the garage for a week and we’ve been eating off the counter, as we figure out our Next step.
    Mind you the chairs are another horror story =/

  88. Lisa Y says:

    So I finished the table this summer and it is absolutely awesome! Took my time to allow drying ++ during the humid summer. I was extremely worried about stains on the off-white table but they really do wipe out without any problem! Had to be careful with my brush stokes on the final coat but it looks really high end-can’t believe I was able to do it just by following your blog! Thanks!

  89. reyna l. says:

    Hi Kate. I am painting my dining table following your instructions to a T only difference is I am painting it in black. I got the Purdy brush like you suggested and am now done with all my coats. Only problem is that there are very obvious brush strokes visible. You dont say anything about sanding after the final coat in your tutorial, so I am I to understand that the Polyurethan ( not doing the wax as I followed what you said and am doing the liquid protective coat instead for the dark color) will get rid of the brush strokes? Or should I be sanding before doing that to get rid of the brush strokes? Help!! Im in the home stretch and dont want to mess up! Thank you for your wonderful site and advice!

  90. CentsationalGirl says:

    Hi Reyna, if you plan to topcoat you can take the time to lightly sand the brushstrokes away.

  91. reyna l. says:

    Hi Kate thank you for the speedy response, I actually just went ahead and tested a small spot on the leaf with a 400 sand paper and it went down to the primer.. then I tried another small spot with a 1000 wetordry sand paper and it did the same thing. I read somewhere on here about paint conditioners to eliminate brush strokes? should i sand it and put some of that in the paint and try again? I did use the type of paint and brush you said ( but in black) so Im not sure what I did wrong.. AAAHHHHH!

  92. norma s. says:

    Hi, I can’t wait to paint my pedestal table like you have instructed. My question is what do you use to clean it after it is in it’s everyday use? I like to use an antibacterial cleaner like fantastik in my kitchen due to all the kiddos but noticed when i used it on just an ordinary repainted (not in any way as you have demonstrated, just a sand and paint over job) dresser, the paint started to peel a little each time i did it. I definitely don’t want that to happen but if I can’t clean it with other than a damp cloth, I may just forget the redo and buy a new table. Some info, please. Thank you !

  93. CentsationalGirl says:

    We use the Method products from Target Norma, but I’m not sure what my friend uses for the table I painted for her – I can find out, but I was at her house the other day and the table still looks great.

  94. Charlene H. says:

    Dear Kate…I have just read ALL these comments and wanted to thank you for having the patience of Job! This is my very first painting project. Thank you for all these tips!

  95. Gin says:

    Just wanted to say thanks for the info. I have done some refinishing in the past but never with laminate. My practice piece was an end table that was a very inexpensive piece that we have had forever. It was dark and worn. I bought a good paint at Lowe’s but it was on the “markdown” table. 2.50 for a quart. I already had the primer at home. It was a warm sunny weekend so I thought now is my chance. It turned out great, I loved the color (pot luck color when it is on markdown). I did apply a spray poly (very stinky) had to let it set for several days. I had it and wanted to experiment. I have used brush on poly before that worked much better. I am anxious to move on to a few more projects, I will be getting some wax and try that instead of poly.

  96. Carolyn says:

    Thanks so much for all your tips. I am finishing my stairway to third floor. I have primed the risers and treads, and I am ready for finishing with paint. My husband thinks flat paint will be sufficient, but I am more inclined to use enamel. Can you help me?

  97. CentsationalGirl says:

    I’d use Porch and Floor paint Carolyn, it’s durable :)

  98. CentsationalGirl says:

    You’re welcome Charlene, I try !

  99. Claudia says:

    Hi kate! I wanted to let you know I much I love yor blog!! I’ve learned so much with you!! I started my first proyect with a HUGE dresser that I painted white. It’s almost ready, i just need to apply the protectant, but I’m not sure wich one to use, I already have the Varathane water based poly, or should I use wax?? How diferent is the final result with each product?? What would you reccomend??? Do you have to reapply wax after some time?? Thanks so much and I would love your advise

  100. CentsationalGirl says:

    Hi Claudia, I recommend clear wax for white paints, and if you give it a few coats in the beginning you shouldn’t have to reapply for at least a year and then every year after that.

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