Face Lift For a Bare-Naked Lady

I've had this fantastic, naked, solid-wood butcher's block for nearly 11 years. She has sat sadly bare in 4 different homes (I could never part wither her, she's too solid). I've craved an identity for her, but lacked the vision, so there she stood in all her naked glory for 11 years . She's had many duties over the years: a kitchen butcher's block, a hallway console, a standing desk, and now as the perfect serving table for the back patio where she'll soon proudly display BBQ fixings, lemonade, chips & salsa, and more. Just in time for pool season.

Here's what I did to restore her to new life......

1) Choose a Medium

I choose a medium. I went with chalk paint for the base. Only my second time using the stuff. I went with CeCe Caldwell's and I bought it at online at Glitterfarm. I choose the color Vermont Slate and the clear wax. For the top, I wanted the beauty of the wood to shine through so I went with a stain. I choose a Dark Walnut and a semi-gloss polyurethane coating from Home Depot. More on that in a minute.

2) Sanding

If your piece needs any sanding, do it now. I had to sand off a little bit of dried glue left over from her standing-desk days, but that was it. Her wood was completely raw otherwise and didn't need much attention. Vacuum off any left over sand dust.

3) Prep Work

Remove hardware and prep your piece by scrubbing it down with a mildly soapy water (I used my Thieves household cleaner). Let it dry completely.

4) Apply the First Coat

Stir the paint with a plastic spoon or stir stick first. Pour a little paint in another container so you don't contaminate the original paint. Using, your chalk paint brush, spread the paint on. The first coat will not cover completely. This paint is thick yet it spreads out surprising thin in my opinion. So, expect to see some wood show through after the first coat. That's normal. I also left the tight places bare the first time around so I could go back and get them with a small paint brush later. Let dry before applying the second coat. An hour is all it took to dry.

5) Apply the Second Coat

Apply the second coat of paint following the same method as the first coat.

6) Ready to Wax

After the paint dries completely you're ready for the wax. You'll need a clean chalk paint brush. I have two brushes and one is designated for paint and the other for wax. I will NEVER use my wax brush for anything else. You'll also need a spoon and a paper grocery sack. Scoop a spoonful of wax onto the paper bag. Using your brush, manipulate a small portion of wax around on the paper bag so there are no lumps on the brush. (Don't be afraid to get a little rough here with your brush). Begin painting the wax on the furniture one section at a time. Note, the wax isn't super visible. It is really just there to protect the paint and give it a nice, subtle sheen. Once you've applied one coat of wax, use a lint free cloth to buff it. You can add two coats of wax, following the same method, if you wish.

For the top:

You can start on the top while the bottom chalk paint is drying to save time, or you can completely finish the bottom and then start on the top.

1) Apply the Stain

Using a lint free cloth, apply the stain in smooth, even strokes. I wore gloves for this. Wipe off any extra stain. Applying the stain was my favorite part of this project. I love watching the wood grains get highlighted and come to life. I applied two coats of stain total. Allow each coat to dry before applying the next one. The longer you leave the stain on before wiping off the excess the darker it will be.

2) Apply Polyurethane

Once the stain was dry, I used an oil-friendly paint brush, to apply the polyurethane. I dipped my brush gently into the can instead of pouring the polyurethane into another container, and painted in the direction of the wood grain in smooth, even strokes. I applied three coats to make sure my piece was good and sealed since it will be outdoors. Let dry completely.

3) Reattach the Hardware

Reattach hardware when dry, but be sure to only use your furniture gently for the first couple weeks, the chalk paint will need a little time to cure up.

And WALA.....my butcher's block is looking ready to entertain. I can't wait to use it!


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