Before & After Uncategorized

Wax On, Wax Off

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  • November 10, 2011

Before we moved, we bought a new dining table and chairs off of Craigslist. It was a very solid, light reddish toned wood (I’m thinking oak?) but I knew right away that I wanted to do something different with them. And it’s only taken me a little over a month to finally do it..pretty good, right?!

Ever since I saw this tutorial over at Isabella & Max Rooms, I’ve been dying to try out liming wax. So when we picked up a new dining table and chairs from CL a couple months ago, I knew exactly what I wanted to do to the table! We needed a small, round table that would better fit in our eat-in kitchen in the new house. It was a really high quality set and it came with 6 chairs and 2 leaves so that we can extend the table when we have company. Kachow!


So the first step was to strip the old finish off the table. Thus begins the first of many trial-and-errors with this project. I originally thought I could take the easy way out and just use a deglosser. No dice. It didn’t take off any of the actual stain, just the glossy sheen. So when I put the liming wax over it, wayyyy too much of the original stain still showed through.

My next move was to use my electric sander (yayy power tools!) and sand it down to the bare wood. It worked well for the table-top, since it was flat but not so much on the curvy, fluted parts of the table (like the column base).

JP helped quite a bit with the sanding because I am a puny woman-child with spaghetti arms.

SO the third and final component of the stripping extravaganza (which sounds a lot saucier than it really is) was to use a paint and varnish remover. I chose Motsenbocker’s Lift Off..partly because of some good reviews I had read and partly because of its super awesome name. I just glopped it on all of the un-sanded, curvy parts of the table with an old paintbrush and waited about 30 minutes for it to do its thang. Then I used a stainless steel wire brush to remove it. I was actually pretty shocked at how well it worked. It took off all of the previous finish and left me with bare wood with very little effort at all! Yippee for paint strippers with vaguely German sounding names! Now there’s a sentence I’d never thought I’d type.

From there on out, it was smooth sailing. ….HA! I wish. You guys should know by now that very little I do turns out how I want it to on the first try! Long story short..I applied the liming wax (I used the Briwax brand, which I ordered from Amazon) and it just wasn’t giving me the effect I wanted. It was definitely a step in the right direction, but still a long ways off from what I was picturing.

So, I did some googling and found this blog post at Perfectly Imperfect (how did I not know about this blog before..she does some seriously amazing stuff!) which gives some AWESOME tips on whitewashing and dry brushing furniture. I decided whitewashing with a paint mixture was a better way to go for the look I was wanting to achieve so I mixed up about 1/4 cup of paint with a little less than 1/4 cup of water to give something slightly thicker than a 50:50 mixture.

It’s hard to tell from the picture, but it has a consistency sort of like milk. And the second I painted it on, I knew I had chosen right. It. Looked. Awesome.

You can see that the liming wax basically just takes to the grain of the table, which still allows the coloring of the wood to show through. I wanted my table to look more white overall but still allow the grain to show a bit through the finish, which is just what the whitewashing achieved.

And it took me all of 20 minutes to do the whole table. Jackpot! I didn’t even use anywhere close to that 1/2 didn’t take very much at all to get the look I wanted. And as for technique, it’s not exactly something that takes a lot of skill (obviously, since I was able to do it)..basically I just barely dipped my brush in the cup (a little goes a long way here) and painted it on a small section, making sure to try and spread it out fairly evenly. Then I waited about 10 seconds and wiped off any excess. It’s seriously SO easy. And before long, I had a table that looked exactly like what I was picturing!

Sorry the picture isn’t the was nighttime and I had to use my phone because my camera charger has gone missing and it died on me! But I assure it is beautiful!! I used the Varathane sealer that she recommended in the above post to protect the finish. And because everyone loves a good before and after:

Well, hello there you beautiful thang,’re lookin’ mighty fiiiine. Work it, girl. 

I like to compliment my furniture when I feel like it’s looking particularly snazzy. Don’t judge.

  • Shaunna

    Thanks so much for the shout-out!!! Table looks GREAT!

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    […] #4: Wax On, Wax Off […]

  • Kay Farmer

    Hello, when my mother passed I got her dinette set. It was very similar to your picture. Since its out dated, ive been wanting to do something like this. Pray ir works for me too!!

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