Upcycling Coffee & End Tables Using Fusion Mineral Paint
It’s no secret that moving into your own home can be quite expensive, especially when you are first starting out and you need almost everything at once.
After moving out into my own house at the end of September one of the first rooms I wanted to complete was the living room. I was going for a Southwestern decor vibe in the room, but also wanted to incorporate farmhouse style furniture.
I had seen a nice coffee and end table set at Home Hardware that I was interested in. It had dark stained wood tops and matte black legs, but I found the quality to just be OK and wasn’t completely in love with it. I also wasn’t in love with its price tag registering in around $750 CAD including tax for the three pieces.
I’ve always been active on the online classified website Kijiji and decided to look there for something I could possibly re-do. It took about two weeks to find something I was interested in and I was able to get exactly what I was looking for at $200 CAD.
Now, when I say “exactly” I mean it was the exact style I was looking for, not the actual colours/quality I wanted to add to my living room. The legs were painted a shiny white, the tops were stained with an orange/red tint and coated in a varnish that was thick and almost looked smudged. It also had a lot of pencil markings etched into the wood.
Let me start off by saying that never in my life have I used a sander, painted, or stained a single piece of furniture in my life. My boyfriend was going to be helping me with this project and for $200 I figured if I completely messed it up I wouldn’t feel too bad about it.
I watched a lot of upcycling YouTube videos to get inspired and learn some tips along the way. One of my favourite channels to watch was April Bee as she was very easy to follow along to.
I also decided to use Fusion Mineral Paint after discussing my upcycling plans with some of my co-workers. They suggested this all in one paint option from previous experience using it themselves for DIY projects. It requires minimal prep work and has a built in top coat.
This was the inspiration I had that I saw on Pinterest:
These are the steps that worked for us to achieve our desired look.
Step 1: Sanding
We sanded the tabletops with a power sander using 80 grit sandpaper. This took off pretty much all of the top coat and stain that were on the tables without having to purchase a stain stripper. We spent the most time using this grit of sandpaper. We then switched to 120 grit to strip the rest of the stain off and then started to even out the gouges and marks in the wood. We finished the tabletops with a 220 grit to achieve a smooth flat surface.
Since the legs were spindles we weren’t able to use a power sander on them and used 120 grit sandpaper by hand to rough up the surface, as that’s all that is required for the Fusion Mineral Paint. After all the sanding was done we took a tack cloth to the entire surface of the furniture to get rid of dust and debris.
Mistake To Avoid: My boyfriend tried to use the power sander for the top flat portions of the legs and it went down to the bare wood. My Dad said this would need to be primed before we painted it, so we did prime that one table. This didn’t really prove to be necessary which I’ll explain later.
Step 2: Taping
We taped the underneath sides of the tables with an automotive tape to avoid transfer of paint from the legs to the clean wood surface because let’s be real I’m no Van Gogh here. I found putting the tape on in stages instead of one long strip allowed me to get more even lines.
My Dad suggested this tape as he uses it for car painting and hasn’t found any issue with the paint bleeding through or paint chips ripping off when it’s removed.
Step 3: Painting
I purchased my Fusion Mineral Paint in Coal Black (the darkest shade they sell) at a local specialty shop. A store that carries it near you can be found here. I also purchased the special paint brush they suggested and I must say it was well worth the price as it painted beautifully.
I found it the easiest to pour a small amount of paint into a pie plate and work with it from there. I didn’t want any debris to be put back into the pot from the brush. The first coat went on so opaque with no streaking, drips or major clumping. It also had zero smell.
As I said earlier, putting the primer coat on the one end table seemed to be useless as the paint was so concealing. I also found the paint didn’t go on as smooth over that one. I found the Fusion Mineral Paint really stuck to the primer but not in a good way. The paint didn’t flow over the wood like the other legs and I felt like I was dragging it around a lot.
We let it dry for two days and came back to do the second coat. Although it was so opaque it did need another coat since it was going from white to a matte black. I used about half the jar of the paint to complete this project.
Step 4: Staining
We purchased our Minwax products at Rona and put a thin layer of the pre-stain wood conditioner on with a rag (cut up old cotton t-shirt). We let that dry for 25 minutes and then put on our interior stain in the shade Special Walnut with different rags. This may seem obvious but make sure you go with the grain of the wood when staining. I honestly didn’t really rub out the layer I put on too much because I liked the colour that was building. This was the result after one coat:
We applied a second coat the next night and let it dry for another 24 hours.
Step 5: Top Coat
We chose to seal the pieces with a polyurethane top coat in satin finish. We applied this with a synthetic brush. We probably could have used a finer bristled brush to avoid bubbles, but once it dried on the first piece it was a smooth finish.
Mistake to Avoid: We thought doing the seal in one continuous motion on the other pieces would create fewer bubbles, but we were wrong. What it did create was a drip pattern that reminded me of ice cream melting on a hot summer day. We ended up having to sand these sections out after with a block sander and re-do the seal.
When it was all done we tack clothed the pieces again and put felt pads on the feet to prevent scratching on the floor. Here is the end result in my living room:
Breakdown of the project cost in CAD $:
- Tables off Kijiji= $200
- Mastercraft 2A Random Orbit Sander= $35 (50% off sale at time of purchase @ Canadian Tire)
- Mastercraft Sandpaper= $18 (5 sheets/package of 80, 120 & 220 grit @ Canadian Tire)
- Safety Glasses= $26 (Stanley brand @ Canadian Tire)
- Dust Mask= $3.49 (5/package Stanley brand @ Canadian Tire)
- Tack Cloth= $6 (for 2 @ Canadian Tire)
- Tape= From my Dad. Unknown how much he purchased it for but from auto body shop.
- Fusion Mineral Paint 500ml= $23.99
- Paint Brush= $29.99
- Minwax Pre-stain Wood Conditioner 236ml= $10.69
- Minwax Interior Wood Stain Special Walnut 236ml= $9.99
- Minwax Polyurethane Satin Finish 946ml= $22.99
In total the project took around 2 weeks to complete and saved me around $500 CAD compared to the set at Home Hardware.
Although it was a lot of work I am very happy with the end result. Since I have the DIY itch right now I’ve actually purchased a kitchen table and chair set for $100 CAD off Kijiji this past weekend so I’ll be out in the garage sanding my life away.
1. What items have you upcycled?
2. What is your favourite site to purchase second hand furniture from to restore?
3. What is your favourite paint to DIY with?
*This project was not sponsored by any of the mentioned brands or stores although I wish it was.