The other night I was cleaning my room, which is a task I’ve been avoiding since 1989, and came across a box of art supplies I totally forgot I had. So obviously, I was easily distracted by my new discovery (because I have the attention span of a peanut some days), and decided to update my boring old Ikea Jokkmokk table, that very night!Since I painted the dining room wall that beautiful raspberry colour, and added the dark pantry cabinet, I’ve been a little unhappy with the dining table. The natural pine colour just wasn’t cutting it. I’ve been pretty set on painting a faux marble top in white and staining the legs dark brown for the last few months, and I’ve even been practising my marbling techniques, but something clicked the other night and I went in a whole other direction.
This project was basically inspired by this elephant motif stencil I found in my mystery art box, plus these shelves from World Market that I was crushing on months ago, and my recent visit to Jaipur. Before going to Jaipur I would have been pretty apprehensive about putting so many colours into one space – the raspberry wall, my weird blue floor, plus a blue & brown table with fuchsia, gold, and lime green accents; just hearing that sounds like chaos! But it turned out to be beautiful chaos.
Unfortunately, I was hit by a bolt of inspiration and energy that night and didn’t have anyone around to take pictures, and I had zero desire to try and take photos while staining or stencilling, so I’ll just walk you through the process and give you a source list for my colours.
I started by sanding the entire table with a medium grit sandpaper (you’ll want to do this outside, because it’s dusty) and then cleaning it really well. I used a dark espresso stain, and in hindsight I feel I was too heavy handed with my first coat. The right way to do it is to apply thin layers and let each layer dry, but I was impatient. I used a foam brush and rag to spread the varnish out, and it took about 30 hours for it to dry really well.
For the legs and elephant motif I used a variety of acrylic paints – which by the way everyone at Home Depot told me not to do! (They were super helpful in explaining how to sand and use the varnish though – I’m a total novice to varnish projects). The thing with acrylic paint is you can’t wipe it down and it chips easily, however, I’m going to seal it with an acrylic sealer this weekend which I’ve used on loads of projects over the years, and I’m confident it will be okay. I’ll also be sealing the top with a clear varnish after it has cured for a full week.
I seriously could not be happier with how this table turned out! In fact, the entire kitchen is coming together so nicely and I love opening my front door and seeing this table and the my gallery wall – it feels like my home. Now I just have to decide what to do with the chairs. Right now I’m debating staining them to match the top, or possibly painting the backs bars to co-ordinate with the elephants. I’ll keep you posted on that!
Images by: Aziz Dhamani
Table – Jokkomokk Ikea
Wood Stain for Top – Varathane Wood Stain in Espresso (from Home Depot)
Elephant Stencil – Handmade Charlotte by FolkArt
(All acrylic paint from Michael’s)
Blue Paint for Legs – Martha Stewart Wild Blueberry (Multi-Surface Satin)
Green Elephant Paint – Martha Stewart Green Olive (Multi-Surface Satin)
Gold Elephant Paint – Martha Stewart Brushed Bronze (Multi-Surface Metallic)
Pink Elephant Paint – American Royal Fuchsia