If there’s one thing I’ll always buy at the thrift store, it’s drafting tables.
I absolutely adore them!
Not that I find them often, but when I do, they’ve got to come home with me. So when I saw this heavy, solid drafting table months ago at the thrift store for only $40, I had to have it.
Unfortunately, I didn’t have any use for another drafting table in the house, but I did need a solid workstation for my garage. So I decided to remove the drafting table top and refinish the body for a natural finish with orange caster wheels. It’s been a great staple in my workshop as a traveling workstation!
But readers kept asking, “Hey, Serena! What are you going to do with that drafting table top??”
Well, here at Thrift Diving, there is no such thing as “trash.” All parts and pieces can be used for something.
This month, with the kids headed back to school, the answer was clear: I’d use the old refinished the top, build a new countertop height base for it, and we’d finally have a table in our kitchen on which the kids can eat, complete homework, or just have a place for guests to sit when they drop by to chat!
● Beyond Paint Navy blue furniture paint
● Draft table top
● 5-6 pieces of 2x4 wood
● Small paint roller
● Mahogany gel stain
● Beyond Paint Multi-Purpose Sealer
● 4 caster wheels
● Orbital sander
● Kreg Pocket Hole jig and pocket hole screws
● 3” screws
● Dust mask
● Chemical stripper (optional)
● Chemical gloves (if stripping)
● Sandpaper (80-grit and 150-grit)
● Old rags (lint-free)
● Wood glue
STEP 1: Remove the Old Felt Pads
The first thing I had to do was remove the old felt padding that was attached to the table top. They were pretty nasty!
STEP 2: Sand the Underside of the Drafting Table Top
I typically don’t sand or refinish the underside of tables (because who sees them anyhow, right??). But I didn’t want to create this amazing table and then when you drop something on the floor, look up only to see a yucky stained, dirty bottom. So I pulled out my orbital sander and sanded it smooth with 80-grit sandpaper.
STEP 3: Sand or Strip the Top of the Table
I started out with the idea to use the orbital sander to strip the top, but thought it would be a better idea (and take less time…??) to use chemical stripper. Either way, I think this process takes a lot of time because you want to ensure you remove enough of the old finish so that the new finish is easily absorbed.
I took my time sanding, moving about 1” per second so I didn’t get little “pigtails” in my wood--those annoying “swirley” marks that orbital sanders are known to leave behind if you move your sander too quickly.
If you use chemical stripper, be sure to use an After Wash to clean the residue off before donig a final sanding.
STEP 4: Apply the Gel Stain
I tested the underside of the table first with the gel stain to see how it would take. Typically you’d want to use a pre-conditioner so that the stain evenly absorbs and doesn’t leave a blotchy mess. But I fell in love with how the gel stained highlighted the grain. It looked amazing! I decided to keep going on the underside, and flipped it over to add gel stain to the top of the drafting table.
STEP 5: Cut and Attach the 2x4 Pieces of Wood
I only bought 5 pieces of 2x4 wood. I really wasn’t sure how much I would need. I should have bought 6, I realized after the project was over, in case there were any screw-ups!
I used my miter saw to cut 4 legs, 4 aprons, and 2 leg braces.
Here is where I started to just wing it.
I knew that I wanted the table to be the same height as the other part of the drafting table. So I measured the legs and the height of the caster wheels to total up to about 37”.
The aprons I just fitted after the legs were attached, as were the leg braces.
I’ll admit that when I attached the legs with pocket screws and glue, I should have taken more time to make sure they were 90 degrees, because I later realized that a couple of my legs were a bit wonky.
Regardless, the table base was solid!
The thing I forgot, though, was to create a foot rest under the table so that while sitting, folks have a place to place their feet under the table. Guess I’ll have to go back and attach that later once I get more wood! 🙂
STEP 6: Use Wood Filler to Hide the Screws and Pocket Holes
I didn’t want the pocket holes or screws to be seen, so wood filler helped to hide them. While the wood filler was drying, I moved on to painting the stools! After the wood filler dried, I sanded it down smooth.
STEP 7: Paint the Body with Beyond Paint
This was the part I was super excited about! I absolutely love Beyond Paint’s Navy color. It’s such a vibrant color when it’s in the light, but can be totally subdued in a darker room, taking on an even darker navy color!
Beyond Paint doesn’t generally require any sanding or priming, as long as what you’re painting is in good condition (e.g. isn’t chipping, isn’t gouged, bleeding through, etc.). One of the stools was previously painted (rather poorly, if I should say so!). But the good thing is that I didn’t have to sand or prime first--only wiped it clean with Simple Green.
Since there was no prep work required, I let the boys jump right in painting one of the old barstools that had been in the kitchen. They did a great job and, surprisingly, didn’t make as much of a mess as I thought they would!
STEP 8: Use Multi-Surface Sealer on the Top
I wanted to protect the top from the wear and tear I’m sure my boys are going to bestow on the table! 🙂
I love how easy it is to use the Beyond Paint multi-surface sealer on stained and painted surfaces to make them extra durable. I only used one coat, but I’ll later go back and add another 1-2 coats so that the kids don’t ruin the finish on the pretty new table top!
Here’s a look at how things turned out!
You can see below how worn and scratched up the drafting table top had been!
Have you ever broken down a piece of furniture and turned it into separate pieces of furniture? Leave a comment below and let’s chat about it! And be sure to head back to my blog, Thrift Diving, for more DIY project!
Please check out my other Beyond Paint makeovers on my blog:
- BEFORE & AFTER: China Cabinet Makeover
- How to Paint a Dresser with Beyond Paint
- Repurposed Toddler Bed Becomes a Potting Bench with Beyond Paint
Serena Appiah is the owner, publisher, and artist behind Thrift Diving, a blog that inspires home enthusiasts to decorate, improve, and maintain their home on a do-it-yourself budget. Her mission is to inspire people to be creative and to gain the confidence, motivation, and skills they need to not just start a project but to finish it, using paint, power tools, and thrift stores.