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DIY: Chevron Wood Table Top With Distressed Painted Finish

Well, this chevron wood table top project turned out to be a real time-consuming pain in the neck, folks.  And the interest thing is that the actual building of the table top was the easiest part of the whole thing!  I mean, cutting all of those wood pieces was a breeze since there was no measuring involved, and then gluing and nailing them to the MDF was simple and went fairly quickly.

Getting the finish to look like I wanted was a real challenge, though.  I wanted to give up, but I powered through, and finally finished painting at about 11:30 last night.

So when I left off  yesterday, I had a bit wood filler mess.  But that was a planned mess, so it was okay.

The next thing I did was add a “frame” around the table top to cover up the edges of the wood and the MDF.  I used strips of 1″ x 2″ lumber for this, mitered at a 45-degree angle on the ends, and then attached with wood glue and nail gun.

Then I used more wood filler to fill in the cracks where the frame met the tabletop.  When everything was dry and sanded, this is what I had…

So far, so good.  Then tragedy struck.

I thought I wanted a stained look under the paint, so I used Minwax in Special Walnut, and it just turned out ugly.  I mean, yellow and orange wood grain streaks galore!  I just looked like yucky cheap wood.

I sanded it down some and got it to a color that I thought I could live with.  After all, the top was mostly going to be painted.

So I moved on to the next step.  I taped off one of the zig zag rows.  The plan was to paint the row, let it dry, and then sand it to give it a distressed look (hopefully like old weathered wood).

But when I sanded, I realized my plan wansn’t really going to work.  There really wasn’t a way to keep the sanding marks contained within each piece of wood.  See how they overlap the next pieces here?

I felt like there was no way to make that look like naturally weathered, distressed wood.  If I kept on, it would look completely contrived and ridiculous.

But I did have a happy accident, which sparked a new idea.  See this last painted strip?  I decided to try a dry brush technique on that one, and it actually looked more like I had envisioned.

So, I decided to have a fresh start.  I sanded the entire top down completely and started over.

This time, I decided to do the vinegar/steel wool stain.  That was a problem, too.  I think my mixture has been sitting for far too long, because this is what it looked like immediately after I brushed it on.

And then after it was dry, the entire thing was the color of rust.  It was dark, and almost completely opaque.  I couldn’t see any wood grain at all!!

So, I grabbed the sander…again.  And I sanded the entire top…again.  But after sanding off that rust colored finish, I noticed that the wood underneath did have a slightly weathered look, so rather than mess with another stain, I decided to go with more natural look.

And then I taped off each piece of wood, and dry brushed them one by one.

I know it sounds tedious, but in reality, this method went a lot faster than my original method because the taping was really easy.  All straight lines, all blunt tears.  The other way, I was having to be sure the tape formed perfect 90-degree angles.  Talk about tedious!  This way was just rip and tape, rip and tape, rip and tape.  It really did go by very fast.

And because I was dry brushing, the paint dried very quickly.  I just continued painting piece after piece, row after row.  After I finished each row, I sanded it with 150-grit sandpaper to remove any paint build  up, and to be sure that enough of the wood grain was showing through.  (I did NOT want to cover up too much wood grain, or all of that piecing together would have been for nothing!)

Here’s a close up of how the paint looked after it was sanded.

And the whole finished table.  I left the “frame” the natural color.

And here’s a close up view of the distressed finish.

And one more close up view with the natural color edge.

So that’s the story of my chevron wood table top.  I almost gave up, but I’m glad I powered through.  🙂

This project was for my condo breakfast room makeover. Click here to see the whole before and after of the breakfast room makeover.

Or click on the thumbnails below to see other DIY projects that I did for my condo breakfast room makeover.

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  1. Wow…I am exhausted just from reading that! You deserve a nap today, girl! Nice job! I didn’t doubt you could do it. Not even for a minute!

  2. You have faaaar more patience then I.
    It would probably be firewood at my house.

    But… YOU have a fabulously CUTE table now :))))
    It looks great!!!! Way to stick with it.

  3. Looks great. Did you seal it after the painting? I hope so after all you went through with your countertops.

  4. I’m tired from just reading that. I don’t know how you put up with it, but half way through, I think I would’ve given up and just painted the entire thing.
    Your hard work paid off!

  5. I think you did a really great job with this table top! Very nice construction. I kind of wish you’d left out the white, but that’s just a personal preference. The older I get, the more I like wood tones! But shhhhh….don’t tell my husband or we’ll have a sudden wood overload in our house 😉 Good work!

  6. Wow, you are really determined to get the look you want. You rock, girl! I’m pretty sure I would have put it away for a couple months and then went back to it when I forgot how much trouble it was.

  7. Whew! I’m tired after reading the whole process and it would have likely been out of my house at that rate, but AWESOME JOB!!!!

  8. Everything you do turns out amazing! I wish I lived closer to you so you could decorate my house. I keep showing everything to my husband and we’ve discussed the fact that if I’m not careful, we are going to have your home almost entirely duplicated in ours. I told him I can’t help it that you and I both have good taste.

  9. This is turned out amazing. It has actually inspired me to look at more creative ways at using good frames and adding a new top. I never thought of like this but this chevron pattern is wonderful for the space. Thanks for sharing. I love your blog! It keeps me inspired.

  10. WOW it turned out amazing. Girl you rocked those power tools and brushes! Love the paint technique and colors – not to make you work on it one more second than you want to but have you thought about maybe spray painting the white metal base to match either the green or the blue… thinking the white is a bit too stark and takes away from the tabletop.

  11. Dynamite tabletop! Sometimes it’s a curse to know exactly the results you want. I tend to let serendipity take over, but the results can be a disappointment, so I can’t recommend that way. I’m curious, like David, to know if you are going to seal it. Also, like everyone else, I am impressed with your perseverance.

  12. Excellent job Kristi. I don’t always agree with your colour choices but I keep coming back because of your vision, creativity and tenacity to do things the way you like them. You never cut corners. You always start over. That perfectionist in you reminds me of me!

  13. I LOVE your table……wow! a lot of work….good for you for seeing it through! I’m wondering if I painted/distressed the 3 colors on my wood planks before cutting and putting together? Just trying to think of an easier way…….great job!

  14. Kristi, this table turned out fabulous! I’m truly inspired by how you persevered! I’m gonna share on my facebook page with a blurb about perseverence when a project doesn’t come easy, if you don’t mind. Full credit to you, of course. Thank you for sharing this! Kim

  15. I love the finished table – colors are great and it’s wonderful to see the wood grain. Can’t wait to see a photo of your dining area completed. Nice job!

  16. I love it. It kind of looks beachy. It looks fabulous and I almost always have to resort to a plan “B” on my DIY projects too. I’m glad you didn’t throw in the towel on this project. It was so worth your effort.

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  18. This is stunning! I have been seeing chevron prints so much these days, but almost always in really bold contrasting colors. I love how you did this remake. The colors you chose are so much fun, without being obnoxious. Like usual, don’t think I could pull it off, but would love to try! This turned out so amazing, I just love it!


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  20. I’m sure you have experienced issues with wood movement by now. There’s a reason why you don’t see tables like this as the only way to keep it looking good is to veneer the top, otherwise it’s going to have issues over time

  21. I’m glad it’s worked for you. I wasn’t attacking you, just want it noted for those who might try it, as it could cause an issue for others. Please look up wood movement, putting the border around the table locks the wood in… without the ability to expand, will cause it to bow over time. Your refinishing of it might have actually helped seal it and prevented moisture from getting in.

    Again, not an insult, as I myself learned the hard way!