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Date: Oct 6, 2016

Shabby to Chic: An Auction Find Story

Read how our DIY expert found and upcycled the perfect farm table for her dining room at the Shipshewana Auction!

The thrill of the hunt

The hunt for my perfect 6’ farm table to match my late 1800s farm house was not easy. I was picky...very picky.

I knew what I wanted, so I waited nearly half a year for exactly what I was looking for to come through the Wednesday Shipshewana Antique & Miscellaneous Auction.

Each week I scrolled religiously through the auction's photo listings in hopes of that one perfect piece. I will admit, there were a couple pieces that tempted me, but I inevitably knew they would not have pleased me in the end. Although I was picky, I knew how to look past the grime and the grunge to see that beautiful piece with good bones that was just waiting to be noticed—my ugly duckling.

About mid-August, I saw a picture of a farm table that was going to be in the auction the next day. As soon as I saw it, I knew I wanted it. Was it ugly? Yep, it sure was. Layered completely in a matte white color that was applied much too think, was a 6’ farm table WITH A LEAF!

Time to bid

I talked to my husband and we agreed on a max bid price—because it’s always good to talk with the hubs before you go and chuck his old table from college! Needless to say I won the bid at the auction for way less than my max bid. Nothing like saving money AND being able to customize your table to fit exactly in your home!!!

Ok, so I won the bid (mind you, I’ve never actually bought anything from auction before, so you can imagine my excitement), I got the table, we got it home… now what? I will say, my hubs was a little hesitant about the table…he kept asking if it was actually solid wood—when he lifted the table, he knew right away it was nothing but solid!

The upcycling begins!

  • First things first--- I wanted to see what it looked like underneath that paint. The hubs got out his electric sander and sanded the paint off a corner of the table. Revealing a BEAUTIFUL solid wood top with gorgeous grain underneath. Score!
  • Next Step? Get that ugly thick layer of paint off. Well, a trip to the hardware store it was. We picked up a paint stripper—why not just sand it all off? Because that paint was THICK!... and I (or should I say, my Hubs) didn’t have all day to sand. The paint stripper worked great. He just followed the directions on the can and used a scraper to scrape it off. Viola! The legs were a little bit different story. With them being so curvy, we couldn’t just scrape the paint off. We decided it would be best to sand as much as we could and at least get the messy paint drips off.
  • Once the table was stripped and sanded, we wiped down the entire table so there was no dust or stripper left behind and we prepped for staining. We used a medium stain color that matches the trim work in our house. The stain was applied one section of the table at a time. You can use a rag or a paintbrush; We chose to use a sponge brush to apply and just threw it away when we were done.  We used an old (clean) rag to wipe off the stain when we were done with each section.
  • After that, we allowed at least a day for the stain to dry. Once dry, we applied our first coat of polyurethane. We used a sprayer for an even coat; You can use a paintbrush, but just be aware you will not be able to use that same paintbrush—ever again. After the first layer of poly was dry, we scuffed it up slightly with sandpaper, cleaned off the dust and applied the second coat with the sprayer. After that, the top was done!
  • For the legs, I decided it wasn’t necessary to use chalk paint, especially if it was going to just be white—why pay that much for WHITE? Plus, we wanted to be able to use the sprayer with the paint… our sprayer doesn’t hold a very thick liquid so we had to water it down and added several layers of paint. Sometimes ya just have to hack it! Good thing for us, it worked!

As you can see, it’s a completely different table from start to finish! I love, love, love it! And it looks great in my dining room!

Now… If I can only find some chairs… 

How to Paint Distressed Furniture:


Find your own unqiue treasures for your home at the Shipshewana Indoor Fall Market Series or at the year-round Wednesday Antique & Miscellaneous Auctions here in Shipshewana, Indiana. Learn more about auctions.

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