Help me dupe this amazing side table
October 13, 2015 3:24 AM   Subscribe

I fell in love with an expensive, and too small side table. I'd like to create something similar on the cheap but I don't have all my DIY steps down.

I feel in love with a table! We've been itching to buy a house but that's a ways off and I'm hoping to use my DIY skills to make similar tables to freshen up our place.

This is the amazing agate style and gold table. But it's $50, and I need two, and it's small.

We're currently using black TV trays (uhg, I know) as our end tables. They suck.
I need end tables that are about 15" wide (can be deep), about 20" to 24" tall, ideally have a shelf.

So I've found these tables that are in our price range. And they have a shelf! (So all the programming books have a home!)

To dupe the one I want here's my steps:

1) Use varied watered down acrylic on watercolor paper. Let dry and press under weights. (Acrylic so it's waterproof.)
2) Spray paint legs and table gold - probably before assembly (do I need to lightly sand the veneer or should it stick?)
3) ???? (Treat it or contact paper cover it or...?? and affix somehow???)
4) Awesome table

I was thinking of covering the painting with clear contact paper, wrapping the top edge under so it's completely sealed, then gluing it down really well and really smoothly with a strong glue of some kind. Ideally I'd just put glass on top but that's out of the budget. We do need some sort of solid and not too soft of a top because we put drinks there, though we could use coasters.

What should I do to make this plan work? I LOVE that table.
posted by Crystalinne to Home & Garden (22 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Do you already have all the materials you'll need? Not sure what both come to with shipping but with the $13 dollar difference, if you have to buy any of the materials mentioned you may end up spending more?

Gorgeous table too!
posted by ellieBOA at 3:33 AM on October 13, 2015 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Should have clarified more (got caught up in my idea before bed). Those tables are not at all big enough for our needs. I would easily use paints, large format paper, and laminating film again in other projects and we were already looking for larger and more useful end tables with a shelf. If those were large enough I would buy them in a heartbeat!
posted by Crystalinne at 3:45 AM on October 13, 2015

Is it just the swirl pattern that jazzes you? Covering with glass will probably be the easiest and most robust solution but really swirls are kinda hard to get just right. Are you an artist? Getting that sparse clean look from a clunky rectangle may not be satisfying. Also there are epoxies that make a hard surface over the art but getting set up and practicing is a real project and probably not cheap for a one off effort.
posted by sammyo at 4:13 AM on October 13, 2015

The product you want to seal the tabletop is what's known as "table top epoxy" or "bar top epoxy". But as sammyo guessed, it would cost $20 for a small kit. Urethanes and other varnishes would be noticeably yellow. Clear lacquer might work but it is usually sprayed on.
posted by mr vino at 4:23 AM on October 13, 2015

Cute table!

I would lightly sand the new table before spray painting. If you do it before assembly, make sure they've sent you all the pieces first so you can return it if necessary.

For the top, I think I would:
sand the top of the table lightly or just scuff with steel wool
Either paint the top white or affix thick white paper with spray adhesive (this will keep the color of the table showing through your painting)
affix your painting to that with spray adhesive
seal with whichever of these spray sealers seems appropriate to your medium
build the finish with whichever sealer seems sturdiest
use coasters

The last time I used contact paper to cover something was probably 1992, but it wasn't very effective or attractive. It was impossible to get to lay flat, and peeled up from the edges even after some hot glue reinforcement.

You could do a trial run with contact paper on your tv trays and see how it stands up? I'm assuming it's improved since I last used it.
posted by mgar at 4:26 AM on October 13, 2015 [1 favorite]

If I were doing this on a budget, I'd try to find paper with an agate/malachite pattern and use decoupage techniques to attach it to the tabletop. The wallpapers I'm seeing are pricey, but there are some promising results when I google malachite wrapping paper. Here are decals that might work (and would already have a somewhat water-resistant finish, I'd think).
posted by mama casserole at 4:51 AM on October 13, 2015 [4 favorites]

I would not change the color of the wood, and I would focus my efforts on getting the agate pattern under or on the glass you're going to have custom-cut to sit on top of the table. You can paint directly on the bottom side of the glass, or you can get a high-quality print to put underneath it.

Since the legs of the one you're buying are so much thicker and heavier, I'm afraid that'd be a BAROQUE quantity of gold-painted wood, rather than a modern-sleek amount. So I'd focus on replicating the pattern on the top. You might go to an art glass/stained glass shop nearby and ask their advice, they might have some good options or ideas.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 4:57 AM on October 13, 2015 [2 favorites]

The original is "agate inspired". I thought it was enamel but it is painted glass. You can do the same thing, paint the underside of the glass with a combination of oil paint and water, or how ever you want to achieve a marbling effect. Then coat the surface to protect the paint before putting it face down on the table top. Have the edges of the glass "swiped" so they are not sharp.

Finding (book) end papers with a malachite pattern and decoupaging would be the easiest.

For the legs, imitation gold leaf, then sealed.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 5:01 AM on October 13, 2015

Spoonflower makes wallpapers; 2'x1' samples are $5, $7.50 for peel-and-stick.
posted by mgar at 5:07 AM on October 13, 2015 [2 favorites]

You may want to check out this and this from Little Green Notebook for some technique ideas.
posted by rebeccabeagle at 5:13 AM on October 13, 2015 [1 favorite]

If you're willing to be flexible on your faux-stone type, Little Green Notebook has a tutorial for painting faux-malachite on a huge desk top.

I would honestly paint directly on the table top after sanding it a bit. Trying to fasten any kind of paper for it is just a recipe for terrible peeling.
posted by specialagentwebb at 5:14 AM on October 13, 2015

Response by poster: Hm.. I wonder if I could glue down and seal the paper that I paint, then put down a sheet of plexiglass using just a circle of hot glue on each corner to keep it steady. Then the plexi could theoretically be removed and hot glue is decently easy to pry off or sand a bit (or leave bits there) if I wanted to do glass or another method. Thoughts? I could get the plexi for about $13/piece.
posted by Crystalinne at 5:17 AM on October 13, 2015

If this were my project, I'd get two of these (possibly second hand) and paint them to look like the ones you want. It won't turn out much cheaper though. But you'll have shelves. And the legs are skinny enough so they can be painted gold.
If you're handy with paint, faux malachite is certainly an option.
posted by Too-Ticky at 5:22 AM on October 13, 2015 [2 favorites]

I'd look for thrift store / yard sale (etc.) tables and do them up, use the money saved to buy the art materials. You might not get matching tables though. But that might be part of the charm. I avoid non-rectangular tables, as the useful space is basically the inscribed and not the circumscribed rectangle.
posted by carter at 5:47 AM on October 13, 2015 [2 favorites]

This article might give you some ideas for the tabletop design.
posted by illflux at 6:01 AM on October 13, 2015 [1 favorite]

For the bottom gold part... Spray it with spray Kilz, then use gold or aged copper metallic spray paint.

For the top part, I would hit the craft store and see if you can find some scrapbooking paper that works. Then use Mod Podge to attach and then seal with spray acrylic.
posted by raisingsand at 8:08 AM on October 13, 2015

I think the texture of the watercolor paper is going to mess with the effect you are looking for; no matter how you flatten, it you will still see the tooth of the paper. A smooth, flat surface is going to look more realistic.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 8:17 AM on October 13, 2015

I would print out a high-res photo of an agate, if it's within your budget (something like this from Etsy, printed with a cheap online service...sites like Shutterfly usually have coupons). Are you sure you can't afford plexiglass from Home Depot for the top? Maybe even the plexi from a frame from IKEA, with the glass flat against the photo/surface of the table so it doesn't break? If you know how to build your own table (not that much harder than assembling one), you could also save money by going to the lumberyard. I think it would look nice with daintier legs.
posted by three_red_balloons at 8:31 AM on October 13, 2015

I saw a similar project the other day using Malachite fabric and decoupage.

If you want to protect it, use glass instead of plexi as the plexi will scratch up over time. If it slides around use a small cork pad in each corner rather than glueing down.
posted by homesickness at 10:48 AM on October 13, 2015

Response by poster: If all holds and my husband can find what we need at the store, I'm doing a test run! I have some small wooden canvases that I painted gold then I'm going to paint my sheet of paper, edge that painting with a brighter gold, mod podge them down, then do a few layers of polyurethane (sanding between) and see how the process goes. I have a lit outdoor balcony for the poly application if it goes smoothly and gives a durable surface then I may use them on the tables eventually, otherwise I'll have a couple pieces of interesting art.
posted by Crystalinne at 4:22 PM on October 13, 2015

Use Benjamin Moore Stays Clear for the clear coat. I've never found anything else that doesn't yellow.
When I paint furniture I lightly sand, spray with KILZ, paint then clear coat with sponge "brushes". The sponge brushes don't leave brush marks.
posted by BoscosMom at 8:59 PM on October 13, 2015

I wonder if that swirl pattern you like on that round table top will look as good on a rectangular surface?

Anyway, I like the suggestion of putting down a wallpaper sample. I would not bother with dubious sealing schemes but instead get a piece of glass custom cut to go over the top. Glass will look waaaay better than plexi and hold up better and will probably be cheaper as well.

Oh and I would not bother to sand the legs before painting, just make sure that your paint has a primer, or prime in advance with a can of grey primer.
posted by LarryC at 11:41 PM on October 13, 2015

« Older Thank You, Thank You, Thank You Kindly!   |   What to do when you've topped out your salary 10... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.