Sweet Pickins - using steel wool to stain table

Oh – you guys, i am SO excited to show you my transformed table!  I love it so much and after wanting to make the change for a couple years, am so glad i finally did it!

It was a fairly easy re-do with a big impact, i dont know why i waited so long!

Anyways – its done now :)

This is the last pic i took of my table.  It was a good decent table that wasnt exactly cheap so i just didnt want to get rid of it, plus i really like the lines of the chairs.  But what i hated so much besides it being black, was the table top.  It had all these lines in it to mimic wood planks and trying to keep it clean (on top of being black) was a nightmare.

Plus the black was so heavy and just didnt flow with my room – i can tell now in looking at the 2 pics, how much changing it to white really helps make my space look the way i want it too :)

Sweet Pickins - using steel wool to stain table

I really wanted the look of a farmhouse table, and unfortunately my black table top had some MDF mixed in, so i wasnt able to just sand it down and stain that, it had to be replaced.

When i had my “great clean out“, i took the top off the table and sold it.  I kept the chairs, bench and table legs.  They all sat in the basement a couple of weeks until i had the chance to paint it one weekend.

I painted the base of the table and all the chairs in a high gloss finish, with no distressing.  The top was made from stock lumber from lowes.

I got 3 different sizes for the top, 2 2×8’s, 2 2×10’s and 2 2×12’s (all 8ft lengths, i just cut off 1ft to get the right length) – i just wanted a more casual “pieced together” look so thats why i did the different sizes.  For all 6 pieces of wood, i only paid about $55

Sweet Pickins - using steel wool to stain table

To give the wood a little character, i used lots of little tools to add lots of dings and dents to the wood.  A hammer (using both sides), a razor blade to scrape off a lot of the edges and make big grooves in the edges, a phillips and flat head screwdriver for making small holes and dents, and different size screws for making various other marks in the table (just lay the screw flat and hammer it into the wood).

Sweet Pickins - using steel wool to stain wood

After i did lots of distressing, i used a 220 grit sandpaper on my orbital sander and smoothed the wood out.  I was very careful on this step as i didnt want any lifting wood.  Splinters suck big time.

After the wood was sanded, i used my vinegar and steel wool concoction that i posted about here to stain the table.  I ended up doing just 2 coats of the vinegar to stain the wood.  I did this method rather than using a traditional stain because its super easy and i did a test on a scrap beforehand and it turned out to be the perfect color.

After it was dry, i went over the wood again with the 220 sandpaper to smooth it out one last time.

After bringing in the top and before attaching it all together, i gave the wood several coats of Howards Feed n’ Wax – this stuff is awesome!  It really gave the wood the look i was going for and it brought out all the distressing i did, as well as the pretty natural features in the wood.  Who knew that stock lumber could look so awesome?!

Sweet Pickins - using steel wool to stain wood

You can see in this pic below, just how much the wax changes the wood.  In real life, the unwaxed piece of wood in the front was really gray.  The Howards wax turned it to just the right shade of warm brown/gray.

Sweet Pickins - using steel wool to stain wood

After everything was waxed, i attached the table with strips of wood underneath the table – sorry i forgot to take a pic!  Its just 5 strips of 1×2’s spaced evenly under the table and then those are screwed in from underneath.  I ended up doing it this way because it was easy, and i didnt want to glue them together in case we ever need to move the table.  The top is super heavy!!  There were a few metal brackets that the old table top was attached with and those were used as well to secure the top to the table.

And just look at her now – so pretty!!  I cant get over it…i LOVE it tons!

Sweet Pickins - using steel wool to stain wood

I had bought a new jute rug to go under the table, but now that the table is white, im really loving the contrast with the floor.  So i think im just going to go rugless for now.

And i am loving bringing in some natural wood, it makes the space feel cozier :)

It looks perfect with my EAT sign…

Sweet Pickins - using steel wool to stain wood

Here are a few close up’s of the wood…

Sweet Pickins - using steel wool to stain wood

Sweet Pickins - using steel wool to stain wood

By the way, i just got those enamel containers from Ikea, just $12 for the pair!  I super love them and am going back for more :)

Sweet Pickins - using steel wool to stain wood

Sweet Pickins - using steel wool to stain wood

Sweet Pickins - using steel wool to stain wood

I also took the arm rests off my bench – i hated those stupid things!  So hard for people to get in and out of the table!

Sweet Pickins - using steel wool to stain wood

And one last after pic…

Sweet Pickins - using steel wool to stain table

The 411

Paint color on chairs/table (and cabinets) – Ben Moore Mascarpone (i had mine mixed up by Sherwin Williams)

Stain used for table top – Homemade mixture of vinegar and steel wool, i posted about that here.  And Howards Feed n’ Wax (i have done about 4 coats and i think thats good, i let them dry for a day inbetween)

Super cute blue enamel containers – Ikea

Fun pillows on bench – TJ Maxx

My completely awesome EAT sign – posted about here.  You can buy one here.

My wall color – Sherwin Williams Repose Gray @ 125%

Table/chairs originally bought from Vintage Oak in SLC, UT

……………………

Watcha think?!  I know that i am LOVING it :)

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98 replies
  1. Amy
    Amy says:

    I have the same table but not the bar height. I love what you did with the table. What kind of brush did you use to paint the chairs and the legs? I would love to do this to my table but not sure i could get it to look as nice as yours.

    Reply
  2. denise
    denise says:

    love the redo!! I am also loving the light fixture over the island. would you please share where you found it? it is beautiful!

    Reply
    • Sausha @ {Sweet Pickins}
      Sausha @ {Sweet Pickins} says:

      thanks!! Thats a 2nd hand find i bought about 5 years ago @ a consignment store. I get lots of questions about it and i have looked for a “maker” on it and nothing to be found!

      Reply
  3. Cindy
    Cindy says:

    I’m speechless! I love how it looks! You’re an absolute inspiration and I can’t thank you enough for the step-by-step approach you use on your blog. It’s something that keeps me coming back for more! Amazing work!

    Reply
  4. Julie
    Julie says:

    LOVE the table!! You have a BEAUTIFUL kitchen. Thank you for posting such good pictures and writing about your project.

    PS. Are you going to repaint your bar stools the same color as your table?

    Reply
    • Sausha @ {Sweet Pickins}
      Sausha @ {Sweet Pickins} says:

      i cant decide to paint them the same color, a light gray or take off all the paint and stain them the same color as the table top – kinda thinking about the stain the most :)

      Reply
  5. Keni Farnwalt
    Keni Farnwalt says:

    Of course it is beautiful & it came at the perfect time for me. I just stained a table top & I haven’t put a finish on it. I love the look of the waxes from Ce Ce Caldwell & Anne Sloan but they are so expensive & I use so much! I’m also going back to my latex paints for the same reasons. Your stuff always looks great with it. How do you feel about the chalk & milk paints?

    Reply
    • Sausha @ {Sweet Pickins}
      Sausha @ {Sweet Pickins} says:

      i agree, too expensive to use for as much as i paint. I also dont like the way chalk paint distresses – i like more of a chippy/scraped off look that i can get with latex. I do like milk paint, but its just a lot more time consuming hand brushing rather than spraying it on like i do with latex (ive tried spraying the milk paint and it just doesnt work)

      Reply
  6. Ann Marie @ Twice Lovely
    Ann Marie @ Twice Lovely says:

    Looks so fresh! Love it! I went through a black phase in my home too. Seems like everything I put in there was painted black. We’re getting ready to move in a month and when we do, I’m planning on repainting everything bit by bit and lightening everything up.

    Reply
  7. Heather
    Heather says:

    Looks great! My husband just made us a farmhouse table as well. Did you cut the arms off of your bench? I can’t tell if it had arms to begin with. We also have a bench and I’m debating taking the arms off so we can push it under the table.

    Reply
    • Sausha @ {Sweet Pickins}
      Sausha @ {Sweet Pickins} says:

      i didnt cut them off – i was just able to unscrew them. So glad i did!! I kept the arms just in case – but threw them away the other day cuz i will never be putting them back on!!

      Reply
  8. Jamie
    Jamie says:

    I LOVE your Kitchen & all of the white! It makes it look so clean & fresh!! I have never used a wax finish, are there any other waxes that you’d recommend for finishing a table?

    Reply
  9. Jesse B @ Scout & Nimble
    Jesse B @ Scout & Nimble says:

    It looks gorgeous as always, Sausha! I think you have me convinced to go buy a sprayer…and I will have to add that Howard’s feed and wax to my list, too. You used it instead of poly, right? Does it hold up just as well? I had previously used Annie Sloan’s wax on my kitchen table, but it recently started staining in spots where the boys spilled some salad dressings and such. I’m thinking I need to top it off again and was going to just go with poly this time, but maybe this would be better?

    Reply
    • Sausha @ {Sweet Pickins}
      Sausha @ {Sweet Pickins} says:

      a paint sprayer is the way to go!! I already replied to your other comment on the wax/poly :) By the way – i got my Gemma curtains from Worl Market the other day – perfect!! Thanks so much getting me inspired with all your cute florals :)

      Reply
  10. Allison
    Allison says:

    Beautiful! So fresh & tranquil. I picked up a paint chip of Repose Gray, just curious if the color goes well with any greens or blues you have? Like you had, my living room walls are a greenish tone but clashing with some colors. I need a simple palette to help bring in other colors. Hoping your experience with Repose Gray is still a good one? Thanks!!

    Reply
  11. Julia
    Julia says:

    Ok, I’m sorry…. I don’t get it!!!!!!!!! How does ONE person end up with so much creative genius?? This is gorgeous and I’ll be honest, I didn’t think your house could get any more perfect, and there you go proving me wrong again!

    Reply
  12. Jenni Vreeland
    Jenni Vreeland says:

    Love everything you do! Your blog was the first one I happened upon when I first was on Pinterest (trying to find inspiration) and you inspired me to start redoing furniture. I thought to myself after reading your blog all day, I could do that! :) I started off with doing pieces for just me but I am starting to do pieces for others as well and selling at flea markets. Thank you for all your great pieces and great blog and tips!!
    I am not fortunate enough to have an Ikea even remotely close and looking online for those great blue containers. They would go great in my kitchen!! Do you know if they have a specific name I could search under?
    Thanks again!

    Reply
  13. paige
    paige says:

    I have the same table and hate the grooves because they are so hard to clean. After scrubbing in the cracks so many times, I have ended up ruining the MDF in there. I love the way you brightened up the space with the white. I need to find a furniture painter here in Texas and change my table up!

    Reply
  14. Linda Parent
    Linda Parent says:

    I was wondering if you find your wax finish creates any white rings with a hot coffee mug for instance?

    Love your blog!

    Reply
  15. Jesse @ Scout & Nimble
    Jesse @ Scout & Nimble says:

    Gorgeous as always, Sausha! I am in love with your EAT sign, too. I may have to check out this Howard’s Feed & Wax…the finish on it is beautiful. You used this instead of poly, right? I white washed my kitchen table and covered it with Annie Sloan’s Clear Wax, but after a year of being used and abused by my boys, it is starting to show some stains (mainly oils from foods, etc…) I was going to go ahead and fix the stains and re-coat the whole thing with poly, but maybe this stuff would be better? What do you think?

    Reply
    • Sausha @ {Sweet Pickins}
      Sausha @ {Sweet Pickins} says:

      thanks!!

      I use poly a lot for tops of dining tables and would have used it on mine, except i wanted more of a rustic look. the problem with poly on a dark surface is that if it gets scratched, it will leave a white mark behind – so with your table being lighter you will probably be ok – and the poly will be so much more duarable than wax!

      Reply
  16. Janae
    Janae says:

    I love it! I am going to redo mine {as soon as I can convince my husband}! My question is about your primer. I am considering a liquid deglazer and an oil based primer for the legs. What are your thoughts? Is an oil based primer the way to go? Thanks for the wax suggestion! Perfect!

    Reply
  17. Rose
    Rose says:

    Just LOVE your table!!! Its so pretty:) I tried to mix up the vinagar and steel wool, but it didn’t seem to work right. The color never changed and the wool never desinagrated??? It has been sitting for about 24hr. I used 0000 steel wool, what brand vinagar and steel wool did you use? I really want this finish for my table it’s beautiful. I could use all the help I can get:) Also did the wax, is that also a sealer. Did it make the wood shiny? Thanks so much!

    Reply
    • Sausha @ {Sweet Pickins}
      Sausha @ {Sweet Pickins} says:

      sometimes it takes longer for the wool to start dissolving – its been different everytime i have made the solution. As for the wax it is also a sealer, the wood stayed shiny for a few days but is now a matte finish

      Reply
  18. Jamie
    Jamie says:

    Shausha! I have the same table (not counter height). I love this. You have inspired me. We just took apart the table and can’t wait to follow your tutorial. You’re amazing! Xo

    Reply
  19. Erica
    Erica says:

    Your kitchen is fabulous!! I love this and would so love to change the color of the cabinets in my house. I’m so happy I ran across your site. I definitely will be adding to my faves! :)

    Reply
  20. Lisa Y
    Lisa Y says:

    Looks beautiful! I have a table with black trim that I’m thinking of painting white as well. I see you used the same paint as your cabinets, that is something I was wondering about. My cabinets are a creamy color (Benjamin Moore Navajo white) and I was wondering if you could give me your opinion on whether I should match the paint with my cabinets or just go with a basic white (I would rather go with the basic white but I’m not sure if it will look right).
    Thanks in advance!

    Reply
    • Sausha @ {Sweet Pickins}
      Sausha @ {Sweet Pickins} says:

      its so hard to tell without seeing the space – for me, because ours are so close together, i thought it would look best to have the same whites

      Reply
  21. Firefly234
    Firefly234 says:

    Hi there, love how the fir table top transformed from the vinegar/steel wool. Did you seal the top after the feed n wax or do you think the wax will keep that beautiful warm brown color? I usually use poly after a vinegar stain and changes it to something I’m usually not pleased with. I really like this look but don’t know if the feed n wax will stay :) thanks for any reply In advance :)

    Reply
  22. Rhonda
    Rhonda says:

    Love it – I have an antique cherry dining table that I’ve been dying to paint white… maybe this will get me to be brave enough to do it?

    Is your table bar-height? My hubby really wants us to do that in our eat-in kitchen (we dont have a formal dining room) but I’m hesitant. How do you like it if so?

    Reply
  23. Jessica
    Jessica says:

    Just wanted to let you know how much this post gelled and inspired me! I just finished the new to for our kitchen table and a farm bench to match. I am in love with it! That’s for such a great tutorial!

    Reply
  24. ANNA
    ANNA says:

    hi! after a few years, do you have any regrets with this table? i would love to do something like this to our table-has it held up well?

    also, where did you get your beautiful candleabra chandelier over the kitchen island? i love it!

    Reply
  25. Jess
    Jess says:

    Wow it Looks AH-MA-ZING!! i would love to see a picture of the underside of the table because me simple little head cant picture it :/

    Reply
  26. Michael
    Michael says:

    Hi,

    For the new table top project a few years ago, I cannot find any mention of what kind of wood your planks were. Were they a soft wood like pine or a harder wood? I am very interested in doing this to our french dining table but one reason is the current top is too soft and dents and scratches too easily. Plus of course it is a micro thin veneer being typical Haverty’s poor quality. However, with a new real wood top it would be very acceptable.

    Reply
  27. MMclendon
    MMclendon says:

    It looks gorgeous! How did you remove the top off? Been wanting to do that on my table but was skeptical in removing the top.

    Reply
  28. MMclendon
    MMclendon says:

    It looks gorgeous! How did you remove the top? Been wanting to do that on my table but was skeptical in removing the top.

    Reply
  29. Debbie
    Debbie says:

    This is so beautiful……you did a GREAT job!!! I love the farmhouse look and you really nailed it. Thanks for the inspiration!

    Reply
  30. Michelle
    Michelle says:

    Love this!!! Even though the transformation has been 3 years, it’s still one of my favorites.
    But just like Anna (above) I would like to know any regrets? Did it hold up well? And how was it to clean/sanitize? Did crumbs/debris get stuck in the cracks?

    Reply
  31. Tiff
    Tiff says:

    I love your table! I am about to do this to my table. I love how you used different sized boards, I was wondering what pattern did you go in with the board’s? I’m so bad at making decisions like that haha… I want to try using different sizes as well.

    Reply
  32. Firefly
    Firefly says:

    Loving this table top, how has finish held up? Did you have to re apply the feed n wax? Thanks and look forward to a reply :)

    Reply
    • Sausha @ {Sweet Pickins}
      Sausha @ {Sweet Pickins} says:

      No – the Howards feed wax didnt hold up very well at all. I reapplied it a time or two, but it would still dull down and not look fresh – i would definitely use a different product for something like this that will be wiped down often.

      Reply
  33. westie
    westie says:

    Super fun and inspiring!!

    1. How did you deal with gaps in wood – just left them and not worry about crumbs?

    2. I use the feed wax on our floors, but yeah, it’s work that I wouldn’t want to maintain with tabletop. Do you know of an environmentally friendly sealant? thanks!

    Reply

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