Lady gets old dining table, turns it into a true work of art

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder⁠—this certainly holds true for anyone who has ever found an old dining table and imagined endless possibilities for restoration. Luckily, thanks to Misty Johnson, we have the inspiration we need.
The ideal dining table should be a solid wood piece of furniture. While composite wood, such as medium-density fiberboard (MDF), is often used as a material in construction of modern furniture, it's just not possible to sand away any original finish and apply a coat of stain. Keep that in mind prior to purchasing that large table that caught your eye in the local thrift store.
After purchasing and loading the table of your dreams into a van or pickup truck, you'll feel a surge of excitement. Embrace that feeling and use the instructions below as a guide to upgrade an old dining table into a true beauty. Don't become one of the many people who give up on their projects because they're not equipped with the right tools, materials and instructions. Preparation is the key to restoration.
There are several methods available to remove old paint and stain from a dining table. A chemical paint stripper may be used to soften the old paint or stain, making it easier to peel off with a scraper. Alternately, you may use a heat gun to heat the paint, then scrape it off with a scraper. Lastly, a power sander may be used with 110 grit sandpaper to remove any old stain or paint from the wood.
Start at the top of the project and work down to the bottom. Always wear safety glasses when sanding; use gloves when using a chemical stripper. Ensure the table is completely smooth and free from any old paint or stain before following the steps outlined below.
- Safety glasses
- Rubber gloves
- Electric power sander
- 110 grit sandpaper
- Pencil
- Small cotton cloth
- Paint brushes in various sizes
- Wood stain (non-polyurethane) in color of choice
- Varathane or polycrylic
1. Draw a large freehand sunflower on the surface of the table lightly with a pencil. Use the image below as a reference for the size and style of the petals and head of the sunflower.
Misty Johnnson
2. Follow instructions on the can to mix stain. Put on rubber gloves. Wrap a small cloth around your index finger; dip the finger into the can of stain.
3. Place the cloth-covered finger on a petal that meets the head, or center, of the sunflower. Trace the pencil line with the stain. Use the stain to add shade to the outside of the head, moving the finger upward into the base of the petal.
4. Push the finger toward the tip of the petal, making a vertical line down its center. Experiment with different colors; push the finger harder and lighter on the wood to create different shades of stain.
5. Add definition to the petal. Dip a paint brush in stain and brush it vertically down the center of a petal. Experiment with straight and angled brushes in different sizes for different results.
6. Follow steps 3 to 5 to enhance the petals of the sunflower.
7. Dip a small paint brush into the stain and make dots all over the center of the sunflower head. The dots replicate the hundreds of tiny disk flowers that make up the center of a sunflower head.
8. Dip half of the cloth in the stain and stain the rest of the table. Rub the cloth into the wood in a back-and-forth motion. Use the index finger to trace around the petals of the flower; use caution not to get stain all over the petals which were completed in previous steps.
9. Allow the stain to dry.
10. Apply a second coat of stain, if desired. If attempting to achieve the primitive look for the dining table, remember less stain is more. The natural appearance of the wood may be visible through the stain on different areas of the table.
11. Apply three coats of varathane or polycrylic to seal the stain and protect the table; follow the application instructions on the product. Allow the product to dry between each application.
Resources Misty Johnson and Home Depot

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