Give an old table a stylish new face with this simple stain-and-stencil furniture makeover.
Furniture finish stripper
Clean lint-free cloths
White crafts paint
Large pouncer stencil brush
2- to 3-inch chip brush (optional)
Strip the piece using a finish stripper, such as Citristrip, following the manufacturer's instructions.
After sanding and removing sanding dust, use a cloth to apply one coat of wood conditioner (we used oil-base Minwax wood conditioner) to the entire table, according to the manufacturer's instructions.
Within two hours of applying the conditioner, stain the table (we used oil-base Minwax Classic Gray 271) with a cloth or paintbrush, applying stain in the direction of the grain. Leave stain on for five to 15 minutes (test in an inconspicuous area for time). Remove excess stain with a cloth. Dry four to six hours, then restain with a second coat, if desired. Or allow to dry completely (eight hours) after one coat.
Squeeze a small amount of the crafts paint onto a foam plate. Place the stencil on the table and use the pouncer brush to apply a thin coat of the paint. Remove stencil. Let dry 15 minutes.
If desired, give the design an aged look by dipping a cloth into the stain and rubbing a small amount of stain on top of the design, then immediately wiping off. Let dry for a couple hours.
If desired, add dimension to other areas of the table by dry-brushing with white crafts paint: Squeeze a quarter-size amount of paint onto a foam plate. Dip the chip brush into a small amount of the paint, then blot the excess onto a paper towel. Move the brush back and forth over the edges of the table. This technique puts very little paint onto the piece, but the edges and corners pick up the paint in just the right areas to add a rustic, driftwood look. For broad sections of table legs, in addition to the edges, brush lightly with the grain of the wood. Rub on polyurethane (we used Minwax Wipe-On Poly Oil-Base in Clear Satin) with a cloth, according to the manufacturer's instructions. Let dry.
Cloths used with oil-base products should be disposed of carefully. After use, hang outdoors and let dry thoroughly, then dispose in trash.