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DIY: Chevron Wood Table Top With Distressed Painted Finish

Last Updated on December 18, 2012 by Kristi Linauer

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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  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    August 31, 2012 at 9:26 am

    Love it! Can’t wait to see it in the breakfast nook, Kristy. 🙂

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    August 31, 2012 at 9:37 am

    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!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    August 31, 2012 at 10:32 am

    it looks fabulous. you never cease to amaze me!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Chevron Wood Table Top, Part 1
    August 31, 2012 at 10:41 am

    […] It’s finished! You can see the finished chevron table here. /* Filed Under: Kristi's breakfast room Did you enjoy this post?I'd love for you […]

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Laura @ LifeWeLive4
    August 31, 2012 at 10:49 am

    Great job!! It’s looks amazing.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Shannon Fox
    August 31, 2012 at 10:57 am

    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.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    August 31, 2012 at 12:27 pm

    You are so creative and super talented.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    August 31, 2012 at 1:10 pm

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

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Anne @diy projects
    August 31, 2012 at 1:46 pm

    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!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Rachel @ Architecture of a Mom
    August 31, 2012 at 1:58 pm

    Wow! Talk about determined! I don’t know if I could have kept going through all that. You have my admiration for awesome results…but more admiration for the determination to get there!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    August 31, 2012 at 2:17 pm

    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!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    August 31, 2012 at 3:24 pm

    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.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Recreate and Decorate
    August 31, 2012 at 3:31 pm

    That looks incredible!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    August 31, 2012 at 7:29 pm

    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!!!!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Diane | An Extraordinary Day
    August 31, 2012 at 7:52 pm

    Wow!! You did it!! Sometimes the best result comes from a few stumbles along the way. Can’t wait to see it back in its home.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    August 31, 2012 at 8:09 pm

    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.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    August 31, 2012 at 9:35 pm

    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.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    TKraft Art & Interiors
    August 31, 2012 at 10:04 pm

    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.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Barbara @ DIY Home Staging Tips
    August 31, 2012 at 11:22 pm

    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.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    September 1, 2012 at 12:11 am

    This looks amazing Kristi! Well worth all that hard work you put in to it! Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    September 1, 2012 at 5:00 am

    Looks awesome! Great job!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    September 1, 2012 at 6:48 am

    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!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    September 1, 2012 at 7:42 am

    Your hard work really paid off! That is beautiful!!!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Angela Conley
    September 1, 2012 at 12:14 pm

    I really like the different take on chevron that you did. It’s so much more creative! Bet you’re glad it’s all done!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    September 3, 2012 at 7:13 am

    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!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    [email protected]
    September 3, 2012 at 8:09 am

    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

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Jodie M.
    September 3, 2012 at 8:21 am

    Kristi…it looks wonderful! Great job.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    September 4, 2012 at 4:21 pm

    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!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    September 10, 2012 at 1:44 pm

    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.

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    No Sew Decorative Tablecloth « vintage soul modern spirit
    September 17, 2012 at 12:21 pm

    […] it, at least until we move. And then I came across Addicted to Decorating’s post about her Chevron Tabletop. I loved how the pattern and the colors worked. Since I was in no position to make a new tabletop, […]

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    September 22, 2012 at 7:04 am

    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!


  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    October 10, 2012 at 9:37 pm

    Wow I love the look of this! But instead of using it as a table, I would love to have this hanging on the wall!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    October 24, 2012 at 9:24 am

    […] to use on my banquette in my little dining area. I don’t want them to clash with my new(ish) chevron dining table, but I definitely need some pillows just to finish the area and give some color and texture to my […]

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Wendy Grams
    October 25, 2012 at 10:36 am

    Kristi! You did an AMAZING job! You are one determined DIYer. So well rounded …. love it!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    My Chevron Table Is Getting A Makeover
    December 4, 2012 at 11:06 am

    […] do you have any suggestions for me? December 4, 2012 By Kristi Linauer Remember the chevron table that I made a back in […]

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    My “New” Stained Chevron Table
    December 6, 2012 at 10:33 am

    […] that’s why I decided that paint was the only option.  But clearly, a multi-colored chevron table top just wasn’t right for my tiny condo.  So I tried one color for the whole top, which I showed […]

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Re-reupholstered Dining Chairs
    December 10, 2012 at 10:39 am

    […] not that I didn’t like the last upholstery on the chairs.  I did.  But just like my painted chevron table, the yellow seats with the navy blue welt cord and buttons just weren’t right for the […]

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    Katie @ Addicted 2 DIY
    January 16, 2014 at 2:25 pm

    Oh my goodness! I can’t imagine how much work this must have been, but I love it! Even just the raw wood is stunning, but adding a rustic flair to it takes it over the top!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    July 14, 2014 at 2:48 pm

    Hi there,
    Can you tell me what kind of paint you used. Maybe I missed it….

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    March 16, 2019 at 4:22 pm

    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

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    March 17, 2019 at 4:58 pm

    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!

  • Reply To This Comment ↓
    March 17, 2019 at 5:01 pm

    Rather than simply saying, “google it” which I realize isn’t helpful, heres a top woodworking site explaining the issue with an example.