How To Upcycle An Old Table

How To Upcycle An Old Table

I was lucky enough to do a good deal with someone on this old farmhouse table that had seen better days.  The legs were incredibly scratched by years of cats using each leg as a scratch post, and when I say scratched I mean these cats must have been small lions!

The table top however was in reasonable condition, the usual kids pen marks and fork stabbings but apart from that not to bad.


Ok so lets start with how to restore and upcycle the pine farmhouse top.


Step 1:

Clean the table top with white spirit.  Pour it on fairly liberally and work it in with a low grade wire wool and then wipe it off with an old rag.  I use all of my little ones stained baby vests or something along those lines.  This not only gets off all the years of grime but also a fair proportion of the wax from the top.   Then let the table top dry out.

…..White spirit and wire wool can be found at most local hardware shops and definitely at the larger DIY stores……


Step 2:

Wash the table top with warm soapy water to get any residue from the white spirit off.  Allow the top the completely dry out.  Sugar soap is good but I generally just use a cheap washing up liquid.


Step 3:

Get the sander out!


On this table I started with a course paper, say 60 grit, I then moved onto finer and finer paper, ending up with a 240 fine grain.  I also have a triangular sander that is great for doing the edges of a table top.

If the top is severely damaged or even burnt I would use a much harsher belt sander first.  Be careful with a belt sander though as they are aggressive and will take a significant chunk of the wood out with each strip.  For beginners I would always start with a less aggressive sander.

Screwfix have a great range of sanders available.

You may need to also use a small piece of hand sandpaper to get the corners and edges until you are confident with an electric sander.


Step 4:

The legs...

Firstly I had to fill the large gouges in the legs.  I used a dry filler that is mixed up to form a wet filler and it can be applied easily into all the scratches and holes and is dry within 3 hours.

I then gently sanded down the filler on the legs to reveal a smooth-ish surface.  This is when I applied a cheap chalk paint as a base coat.  I often buy this cheap chalk paint from Aldi supermarket whenever they have it on offer.  It is usually around £3 a tin.  I add a little water for a base coat to prevent the chalk paint form becoming too sticky.  The beauty of chalk paint is that it can be applied to almost any surface. If the surface is very lacquered or varnished I will run a sander over it to give the paint something to adhere to.

I then apply 2 coats of whichever colour I have chosen. For a block colour such as a grey, perhaps  ‘Manor House Grey’ I tend to use Farrow and Ball and if I want a shabby chic finish I will use an Annie Sloan chalk paint.  I have just discovered this new mineral paint though called ‘Fusion’ which goes on like a dream, dries quickly and has a great silky smooth look.

I used a water based stain and then a waterproof wax on this table, (in theory meaning it would be weatherproof to a degree).



Local delivery can be arranged by the team at Owen Farm or collection in person from BR6 7PW.

For shipping further afield please get in touch for an accurate quote.

I am also very happy if you would like to arrange your own collection by a suitable furniture courier.

You are welcome to come and view any of the items of furniture, to do so just make an appointment via the contact us form.

Remember you can stay up to date with us via Facebook and Instagram and also via the blog for upcycling ideas and projects. Any questions just drop me a line as I’m happy to help. The furniture showroom is open Tuesdays every week between 930am – 4pm or by appointment on other days.

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