The Coffee Table Resurrection
This footstool/coffee table has been a handy piece of furniture for the last few years. However, in my family, nice things never stay nice. I knew when I purchased it that I would be cursing the original upholstery. I bought this table with a vinyl, or fake leather, black covering. I knew it would not hold up to the herd of crazy children that inhabits my house. Sure enough, within a few months, the vinyl started ripping. I taped it and lived with it for a couple years before the new puppy had his way with it.
I had a really great idea for a new top to this base, but decided on a simpler and cheaper fix. Removing the torn vinyl and replacing it with a new fabric was my solution. Of course, I knew the fabric would survive even less time than the vinyl. So after a year of drinks being spilled on it, dogs laying all over it, and food sticking to the top, it was time to get rid of the material.
I decide to be brave and attempt the idea I had originally wanted to do in my first coffee table resurrection. So, the fabric was discarded and the frame removed. Here are the steps I took to once again bring new life to the same piece of furniture. (Please disregard my inferior photos. I need a new camera.)
1. After removing the top frame that held the foam, I measured so I could get two pieces of wood that would meet at the center support. I went to Lowes and politely asked a gentleman to cut my board. Being that it was winter I did not want to pull out my own saw.
2. That evening, I stained the wood and left it to dry.
3. After the wood was dry enough, I attached the two pieces to the frame. To secure it temporarily, I put in a couple screws through the top of the table. I knew those screws would not be seen after I finished my project.
4. Knowing that the wood was being held in place, I flipped the whole table over and added screws through the already existing holes that held the original top frame.
5. Next came the hard part. I had bought this map for another project I wanted to do, but decided against it. I have never done decoupage before and thought it would make a nice addition to this otherwise boring table. Based on what I had read, I figured I needed to use basic polyurethane instead of decoupage to attach the map. Since the stain on the wood is oil based, I needed to use an oil base varnish. It took many, many coats to get this map to stick. I had to use cans to hold the edges down because the thick map paper wanted to roll up.
6. After several coats, I felt like the edges where still not sticking well enough. I knew my crazy kids would sit there and pick the map off gradually. I decided I needed to add a border to prevent that. So I took another trip to Lowes. This time, I just purchased several pieces of small edging. Since I was already going to pull out my miter box and hand saw, I figured I would go ahead and buy enough strips to add a finished edge to the sides of the table as well. After measuring and cutting each piece, I stained them with the same color.
7. After the pieces where dry, I wood glued them down and threw in several finishing nails to keep the borders from being kicked off.
8. After several more coats of the polyurethane, I got my finished product.
I completed this project a couple months ago and I am happy to say that my work is holding up very well to the abuse it regularly goes through. I am so relieved that I don't have to stress about spilled drinks or dirty feet. The children have also experienced several great geography lessons as well.
I am not an expert at things like this. I just love to try new things. I knew I had the basic skills at staining and varnishing. I have cut angles on wood making corners before, so I knew this was not out of my reach. In the end though, perfection is not what I am working towards. Nothing in my house, or life, is perfect. However, I do want experience and knowledge. I can not allow myself to be held back on attempting a project just because I'm afraid I might fail. The worst that can happen is that I will have to start over. No big deal.
As with every other project I have done, there were mistakes and accidents. My biggest panic was when my daughter knocked the open can of polyurethane off the counter and onto my nice kitchen floor. After I stopped freaking out, I remembered that mineral spirits work on cases like that. So off to Lowes again. In the end, it was an easy clean up, no harm done.
As a side note, here is the frame I removed from the table. I already have plans for the foam. I will use some of it to make a footstool for my daughter's new chair we reupholstered (another post coming soon) and also to make cushions for my outdoors furniture when the weather warms. The frame will be stored until we need it for the building of some farm animal home and the green stretching things will be used for another project that I have no idea what it will be. I love using all that I have.
So, there you have it. I know there are better example of up-cycle and remakes, but I mostly want to share with you my heart. I want to encourage you to go for it. Whatever project you have been putting off because you are afraid of failing, give it a try. You may need to ask for assistance or repurchase items that you've messed up too badly, but the knowledge and experience you gain, and the feeling of accomplishment you receive is worth it all.
***As always, please feel free to share with me your thoughts and ideas. Blessings.