I had just enough time for a quick visit to an estate sale at a beautiful old home, but for me, of course, the best find was a castaway coffee table in the garage.
I loved the lines on the legs and decided to try something new. Instead of painting inside the lines after the final coat, I used a reverse method.
First coat was Annie Sloan Graphite.
When that dried, I applied Old Linen. While the paint was still wet I wiped the it away in the grooves using cotton swabs, which exposed the Graphite. I repeated the swabbing method after the second coat of Old Linen.
I guess I was a little heavy-handed because I wiped down to the wood in spots. Not exactly what I had imagined, but I liked it.
The top also had some interesting grooves and I used the same method.
The next step was a little tricky. I used Adobe Illustrator to make a large clock face, printed it out on multiple sheets of paper, and taped them together. I included an outer circle as a guide to help me trim it.
Alternatively, you can find an image of a clock face you like and blow it up to the right size, and print it out. Either way it takes a little bit of computer savviness.
I slid graphite paper under sections of the paper to transfer the image to the table.
You have to be careful with graphite paper. It’s almost impossible to erase if you make a mistake, covering goofs with a lighter color (like Old Linen) is challenging and tedious. You can see that I must have shifted the paper while tracing the number XII. Fixing it was frustrating but not impossible. I should have checked my transfer process more often.
Finally, I was able to use a small brush to fill in the numbers with Graphite (paint, not paper). I was careful but not worried about perfection because I knew I would be sanding them for a distressed look.
“One must work with time and not against it.” – Ursula K. Le Guin
Same goes for the grain of the wood when you’re sanding. This is one of the legs after I started sanding back the paint on the edges.
And here’s the top, distressed. I used light curved strokes over the numbers and put a little more muscle in it around the edges, sanding down to the wood in random spots.
Then came a fun time with my Facebook friends. I posted a picture and asked for opinions: Should add working clock hands, paint them on, or leave it blank? Here’s the tally:
- 7: Leave it as is.
- 2: Add a working clock to the table face.
- 2: Paint the hands at 5:00 (Happy hour!)
- 3: Make a sundial. (Vetoed. I recognized the grave danger of a table with a pointy top.)
- 2: Add a lazy susan in the middle.
- 1: Paint hands on the lazy susan to “play with time.” (Extra credit for making me laugh.)
- 3: Make a working clock on the table face and add a raised glass surface. (Time-consuming.)
I appreciated all the input but after pondering the ideas into the wee hours, I decided to go back in time to my first inclination and leave it the way it was.
The bottom portion of each of the four legs must have capped at one time. To make the table appear a little more grounded, I painted them with Graphite and sanded them back about the same amount as the numbers.
A coat of clear wax and there she is! One of the dishes holds thyme. Get it?
What I learned:
- You can wipe wet paint with brushes, rags or, in this case, cotton swabs to expose the color (or even unpainted wood or metal) underneath.
- Sand with the grain or shape and not against it.
- Graphite paper transfers are unforgiving and should be used carefully and with caution.
- Other people’s ideas are alway useful. Even if you don’t use them, they help guide you to what you really want.
- “Time is on my side, yes it is.” – The Rolling Stones