Thrift Store Table Makeover Using DIY Chalk Paint

Remember the cute little brown table I found at the thrift store? I finally finished transforming it.


My $5.90 thrift store find.

Furniture Before and Afters


I removed the wheels and added ball accents to the top corners.  The wheels made it too tall next to the chair I placed it by. I saved them, if I ever want to use the table somewhere else.   The table was a bit beat up so instead of trying to make it perfect, I made DIY chalk paint and gave it a distressed white finish.  It is exactly the type of table I have been searching for to go with the big white chair in my family room.

Furniture Makeovers using chalk paint and wax

I made a few variations for it.  Mirror inserts are one. I can just imagine some candles and greenery on the mirrors when the holidays come around.  The mirrors on  the top and bottom will reflect the light and add to the holiday glow.

DIY Chalk paint recipe

If you want a distressed or aged patina on the furniture you makeover – chalk paint is the way to do it. Not chalk board paint, but paint that has a chalky finish that beautifully distresses and then gets buffed with wax. Annie Sloan is the brand that is just beautiful, but it is pricey.   This is my first time working with this type of paint. I am sold… and I didn’t even use the real stuff, I made a DIY version. Although I think the next time I will buy the Annie Sloan clear wax since the Minwax on white paint adds an orange tint on rough spots.  I had to redo them to get them white again.

I was inspired to paint this table a bright fun color like one of the tables from oomph.  I adore this site and browse frequently for inspiration.

oomph online furniture and accessories

But I could not commit to any one color, so I went about adding some color in a different way.  The table top is slightly recessed so I bought inexpensive hardboard and had it cut to size to use as inserts for the table top and bottom shelf.

Thrift Store Furniture Makeovers

I painted each one a different color so I would have lots of color options and never tire of the table.

Furniture Before and After Ideas

I love color, but I also love change.  One day I may be in a pink mood…

Painting Furniture with Chalk PaintChalk Painted furnitureHow to distress and wax furniture

and can simply change out the color when I am feeling more of a turquoise vibe, or just to fit my mood, day, or an occasion.

Furniture Makeovers using chalk paintDIY Chalk paint

Furniture Makeovers

How To: Thrift Store Table Makeover Using DIY Chalk Paint


 supplies needed: 

  • 4 – 1 1/2”  round wood balls – AC Moore
  • 4 – Dowel screws – 3/16” x 2” – Lowes
  • Drill and drill bit
  • White semi gloss paint and non-sanded grout to make DIY chalk paint – Lowes
  • Johnson’s Clear Finishing Wax – Lowes

1. Carefully drill a hole in each ball. Make sure to keep the drill bit straight as you make the hole.   You want to go as deep as one half of the screw. Be careful not to drill right through the ball like I did.  Luckily I only needed four and six come in a pack.

Furniture Makeover Ideas

2. Insert a dowel screw into each ball.

Furniture Makeover Ideas

3. I added the wood ball embellishment to each of the top corners. I painted the table before I purchased the wood balls and ended up painted the wood balls once they were attached.  You could attach them first and paint everything at once.  You can also see in this photo how the brown hardboard/mirror inserts fit into the top of the table.

Furniture transformation ideas

4. –  1. Drill a hole into each corner. 2. Insert the other side of the dowel screw that is in the wood ball into the drilled hole.

Furniture makeover ideas

It will look like this.

Furniture makeovers

Repeat on each corner and then paint.

Thridft Store Furniture Before and Afters

I made my own chalk style paint using this recipe.  I only needed a little bit of each color, so I cut the amounts in half. I used one bottle of craft paint for each board’s color.


I used a paint stick to stir the mix until it was fairly smooth; you can add a tiny bit of water to get a brush-on consistency.  I applied it fairly thick since I knew I would be sanding it smooth once it was dry.


After the paint was dry, I distressed the edges by rubbing all over with medium grit sandpaper wrapped in a sanding block.  I sanded the edges and cleaned all the sanding grit off with a damp rag.   I applied a thin coat Minwax with a soft cloth all over the table and boards.  I let it dry overnight and then used another soft cloth and  buffed the waxed surfaces to give them a nice glow.


The application of finishing paste wax truly makes the finish look professional.  Chalk paint requires no priming or sanding before painting, which saves a lot of time, but it does require the wax finish which is another step, so it is just a time trade-off. I loved working with the paint and will definitely use it again.

Basic white

How to use Finishing wax over chalk paint

Painted inserts

Decorating with paint ideas

Mirror inserts

Furniture makeovers with mirrors

I am loving my $5.90 table.  I am happy I decided to duck my head into the thrift store “just real quick” one day a month ago because you never know what you will find.  It is always hit or miss, but you have to keep looking to find the treasures.

Living room Decorating Ideas

More to tell you…

I have a new post up over on My Colortopia on how I painted the  doors in my foyer to match my staircase risers.

How to paint a door


  1. SB Hoffman says

    I absolutely love this, and thanks for the “chalk” paint recipe. What type craft paint did you use – latex, acrylic? (I can’t read paint labels to tell.) I have a “roadside trash” table in my basement that I know what to do with now. Love the mirrors especially also. Just a little bit of bling that will reflect the colors of anything sitting on it. I just found your site (looking for how to build a frame to skirt the outside of my bathtub) and I can’t stop looking and getting more and more ideas.

  2. Larisa Shevchuk says

    I followed your steps and made diy chalk paint – great, then I applied a coat of varathane semi gloss and then I read the instructions… it needs 3 coats of 2 hours dry in between….. I am ready for this project to be done! Can you give me more details of the minwax you used and will it give sturdy enough coverage for everyday use? I painted old dresser that will be used daily. Thank you.

    • says

      Hi Larisa –

      When using chalk paint there is no need to use Polyurethane over it – it would ruin the aging effect. Wax is more subtle and will protect the painted finish. Any clear paste wax will work. I have learned since posting about how I did my stool that Johnson’s Paste Wax is clear – a better choice than the Minwax which is orange (dries clear but can leave a orange cast on your piece) that I used. Annie Sloan also makes one, but you can’t buy it a grocery or home improvement store. To apply: Once your paint is dry use a soft rag to apply the wax over the painted surface rubbing it in as your work. Let dry for a few hours until it dries to a haze or overnight and then using a clean soft cloth – rub over the wax to buff the wax to a shine. If you want more shine go over it again with more wax, let the wax dry to a haze and repeat the buffing process. Work in circular motions as you buff. A soft sheen will transform and protect the finish. It looks beautiful. If you see a spot wear over time – just apply a bit of wax to the area and buff.

      • Larisa Shevchuk says

        I did one coat of varathane already, which did make the dresser look yellowy (kinda neat as I did want an antique finish), can I apply minwax over this one coat of varathane? or should I paint over it again with chalk paint and then apply wax?

        • says

          Hi Larisa – The wax won’t adhere to the urethane. If you want the chalk paint aged finish – I would go over it with the chalk paint and then apply wax. Normally you do not need to sand the finish first when using chalk paint, but since you already have a few new layers of paint on the dresser I would take some sandpaper over the entire surface first just so your finish doesn’t look too thick when you are all done. Just a light going over with some sandpaper on a sanding block will do, especially if there is a build up of paint or urethane in any areas.

  3. Larisa Shevchuk says

    Diane, could I use chalk paint to paint my kitchen cabinets? I started sanding some of the doors to paint with melomine paint. I would love to use diy chalk paint again. What are your thoughts?

  4. Larisa Shevchuk says

    Diane, can you please explain the chalk paint too please :) What exactly does it do? I like the ease of it and already painted a dresser I found on the side of the street with no drawers :) I was inspired by the one you have in the mood room. I will line the made shelves with wall paper I picked up for $1 to make them a little bit more weather proof. We will use the shelves for shoe storage at our entrance. I really liked that I painted it in one afternoon, without sanding the dresser beforehand and I also distressed it a little and it turned out great. Waiting on my husband to make the shelves though….
    I want to paint more furniture with the chalk paint. However, I see a lot of diy projects using spray paint and priming before using paint…. Can you just fill me in onto the chalk paint and its uses, advantages and disadvantages. Is this your new go to paint in restoring furniture? Thank you!!

    • says

      Hi Larisa –

      As far as your kitchen cabinets- There are only a few disadvantages to using chalk paint on your cabinets that I can see. The wax might get worn in spots, but if you are after an aged patina then this is in your favor. The wax finish could melt. I don’t think I would use it on a kitchen table top where you place hot items or on a cabinet over a stove. You could use chalk paint in these areas without the wax, but the wax is what brings out the finish. You stated you have Melomine paint. That is great stuff and is the best for making glossy surfaces paint-able. Kitchen cabinets take a lot of wear and tear and I think if it were my kitchen I would stay with that and use chalk paint on furniture or a bathroom cabinet where there is less heat.

      Chalk paint does not have to be aged at all which a lot of people think it needs to be. You can use it just like any other paint, but you don’t have to prime first :) After it dries – buff with wax and it creates one beautiful finish.

      There are so many ways to paint these days and personal preferences comes into play. Tried and true methods- primer and paint will always be popular because that is the way it has always been done. No method or way is better or worse. The real success in any paint job is the time you take to do it nicely – not just slap it on. I know many people who think spray paint is not for furniture. I would totally disagree. I use it on items with spindles and rounded edges. It is my go to paint source for getting a perfect finish on those items.

      Chalk Paint is still new on the scene and the Annie Sloan brand is still a bit pricey for most people and is still not widely known. In a few years I think it is only going to gain in popularity and there will be other brands emerging to compete with Annie Sloan. I am so happy with the DIY version as I can choose any color I want. I have painted my third item using DIY chalk paint and I have to say I will be using it more and more – each piece just gets better. The piece I just finished I painted lime green and aged it not by sanding the edges, but by rubbing on Valspar antiquing glaze, wiping it off, and then wax. It just came to life and looks great. I am sold and will be using it again as my go to source when painting furniture, doors, and who knows what else – I think the two big corner cabinets in my family room are going to see it soon :)

  5. says

    What a great find!!!! It turned out gorgeous!!!!! I recently found a solid oak night stand that I chalk painted and distressed for a steal at $9. Don’t you just love a great bargain :)

    Happy chalk painting,

  6. Brenda says

    Your work is beautiful! Great transformation! I have a question. I am using a water based enamel alkyd paint. I have painted one thin coat. After letting the paint dry, can I sand with a fine wedge? I sure don’t want to damage the piece but there are some paint brush marks that are annoying me. Thank you for any help you can give!

    • says

      Hi Brenda – You can sand it – no problem. Just use fine sandpaper. If you don’t sand the brush marks after the first coat – with each added coat – the marks will just get built up so it is best to get them smooth between each coat.

  7. Janet says

    LOVE everything about this table!! You did a great job. How do you make the mirror insert?

    • says

      I usually use the white that comes already white in the can from most paint companies. It usually is marked – “White” or “Bright White”. I have used Valspar – Bistro White on a few pieces. It is a nice white white – without feeling too cool. On the table, I probably mixed whatever whites I had leftover from other projects – which would have been all of the above, but I think it was mostly the Bistro White.

  8. Kimberly says

    Thanks so much for sharing this! I have a dresser I’ve been wanting to update but wanted to skip sanding and priming. I’d like to know how much would 1 batch of paint cover? I’m working with a 5 drawer dresser.

  9. says

    Hi Diane! I’ve been browsing your website for the last few weeks and I’m so impressed. Your tutorials and ideas are fabulous! This little Thrift Shop table is so cute and I love the interchangeable inserts…very creative and a great way to change the look and feel. I’m totally in love with the mirrored top!

  10. amanda alred says

    for this project did you mix your unsanded grout with just regular craft acrylic paint?

  11. Cambria says

    Hi! I love your table!!!! What a beautiful piece :) how did you find a mirror to fit on top? Dumb question I know… Also have you tried Benjamin Moore Chalkboard Paint? I’m using it to paint my old kitchen chairs… I Love that it comes in ANY color! Cheers!

    • says

      Hi Cambria – I took the table top measurements to my local glass cutting place and had mirrors cut to size. Yes, I have used both BM and Valspar Chalkboard paint. It does come in great colors.

  12. Laurie says


    We bought a beautiful but totally beaten up real wood pedestal dining table with chairs. Painted it with DIY chalk paint, let the paint dry/cure 24 hours then waxed it with Minwax Finishing Paste. We bought an electric buffer and after waiting for the wax to dry for 15-20 minutes, we used the buffer on the flat surfaces. We hand-buffed the non-flat surfaces with a rag.

    I try not to put anything rough on top of the table yet I notice we keep getting dark scuff marks. Can you think why? Did we maybe use too much wax?

    We’ve had to sand the spots using a fine-grit sandpaper (it’s the only way we could get the spots to disappear) and then re-wax and re-buff.

    I love the way the set came out but I’m not looking forward to having to baby-sit it like this – no-fuss, no-muss is why I went the chalk paint route to begin with!

    Love your blog – you are unbelievably creative. When I’m feeling stressed out I re-read your posts detailing how you made your craft table. I thought that was so AWESOME. I love all the posts that you wrote about setting up your craft room. They always make me feel better. :)

    • says

      Hi Laurie – It makes me so happy to hear that you come to my blog when you are feeling stressed out. I am glad I can make your day better. As to what could be causing the dark scuff marks to appear on the table – I am not quite sure. It is most likely the wax – you only need the smallest amount and the fact that you used an electric buffer says that you were able to really get it buffed well to seal the wax and bring it up to a shine. I would suggest not adding any new wax and just keep buffing to remove some of the wax build up that may be on the surface like small ridges that dust/dirt gets stuck in.

      I used Minwax Finishing Paste on my very first piece I chalk painted – it works fine, but I have found with experience that there are better waxes to use over chalk paint. On the least expensive side is Johnsons Paste Wax- $8 . It can be found in the cleaning aisles in grocery and home improvement stores. It is smelly, but works great and is clear. Minwax is orange and when used over white or light paint colors can change the look of the color. Fiddes and Sons is my favorite wax. It is around $20 a can. I use it in clear. It does not smell as much and goes on like butter. I buy it on Amazon.

  13. Beth says

    Hello there!
    I just wanted to add a little food for thought.. (Btw, I LOVE WHAT YOU DO!) I am thrifty and crafty myself, and I found (thanks to my husband who is a contractor) that if you use polycrylic rather than minwax clear coat, it WILL NEVER YELLOW! I refinish antique furniture all the time, and especially when you are painting white, it’s super important to use polycrylic.. I swear by it! Also I know this post is very old so who knows if you will see this, but if you do, or anyone else reading this… Polyurethane will yellow your project, polycrylic Will ALWAYS BE CLEAR! Even years from now. It’s like glass.. I LOVE IT!
    And btw, I LOVE YOUR WORK!

    • says

      Hi Beth – Thanks for your tip on Polycrylic. I use it or Zinsser Ultimate. I learned early on in my DIY career that poly yellows :-( When using chalk paint on furniture, using soft wax over the painted finish brings out the patina – I love what it does. This table was one of my first pieces using chalk paint and I used Minwax wax. I wasn’t happy with it, but since doing thie table, I now use Fiddes and Sons wax. It is so nice to work with and cures to a very durable finish.


  1. […] I found this cute little table at the thrift store, it is the first piece I ever used chalk paint on. I loved how it turned out and have been using DIY chalk paint on furniture ever since. I made different colored inserts for the table so that I can change things up from time to time.  In the photo – I had mirrors cut to size.    One Table 4 Ways […]

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