Repurposed end table as checkers table

I’m going to be swamped over the weekend finishing up some projects & finalizing some work on the ol’ blog here so I’m going to share a couple of furniture pieces I finished up in the last few months. I know they’re not new-new, but they’re pretty new so I think they’re still worth sharing.

Have you ever had an idea you were so pumped up about you could hardly sit still? I did.

My epiphany came over me this summer & I was sure was an original idea because I had absolutely never seen one before. I was going to make a checkers table! I had an old end table lying around in the basement that was perfect for it. It was heavy & solid & the perfect size for 2 people to sit around.

As you can see, it had been used as a spray paint table

I primed it with a coat of Kilz oil-based primer & gave it a light sanding. When you work with Kilz spray primer it is extremely important to shake the can for several minutes or the product will come out splotchy and not give the full adhering power it is meant to. The primer will leave a slightly chalky texture, so a light sanding is a must.

After sanding it, I sprayed it down with 2 coats of Krylon’s satin white, big surprise here huh? Perfect color for the vintage looking checker’s table I was going for.

It’s been a few months so I can’t remember the exact size of the table, but a checkerboard is 8 x 8 squares so I figured it up to the size I wanted it and it left me with about 3 inches on each end. I lightly sketched out the squares with a yardstick & square & started painting in every alternating square in black.

It might sound a bit backward, but it was actually quicker for me to freehand the painting rather than using painters tape. I’m not patient enough to sit & tape all those squares off and then to do it twice?! No thanks.
By the time I finished up the last black square, the top was dry enough to start on the cream color. I could have just left the opposite squares white, but I thought the cream also added to the vintage vibe I was going for.

I did use a few long strips of tape once all the squares were filled in to sharpen up all the edges though. Once I went one direction; I just used the same tape & moved it the opposite direction. It wasn’t too painful so I survived.

I had been toying with a few ideas for the extra space. I thought about maybe adding a chalkboard scorekeeper to each end, or some sort of lip or ledge to hold the opponent’s chips you collect, or even some kind of family monogram or last name might look good. Nothing was sticking though.
I finally decided on something as simple as adding the word ‘checkers’ to each end. So I used my cheap thrifty transfer method to apply the words to the table.

Works every time!
I just filled in the lettering with my Elmer’s paint pens and let it all dry.

The next day I knocked it back with some 100 & 150 grit sandpaper to give it a nice distressed feel & then gave it a coating of cocoa glaze.

I fell in love with a pretty grey patterned paper I found & lined the drawer with it.

Painted the hardware black

I finished it all off with 3 coats of Johnson’s Paste Wax and buffed it to a beautiful soft finish.
I started on some chunky checker pieces but they aren’t finished yet. I know, I finished the table in September & I’m still not done with them. There’s a good excuse reason though. The table was a personal piece so it wasn’t going anywhere. Pieces for my own home sometimes take the back burner so I can get projects for others finished up. They are cut through & just need painted & a good sanding.
In the meantime, she adorns my living room as an end table by our couch.

Shortly after I finished the table, completely proud of myself for such an original idea, I found a similar idea online. I was crushed. I truly thought I had thought of something unique and fun. There’s such a thrill that comes from knowing your very own little brain came up with something with no outside influence. It’s hard to explain, but if you happen to be one of the lucky few who have done it; then you understand.

In the few months since it’s been finished, I’ve seen a few more & felt the little sting of disappointment each time, but it’s waning.
I have come to the conclusion since this experience that it really doesn’t matter how an idea came to be or who thought of it first. The more pieces I complete, the more I fall in love with the furniture…. with painting…. with the magic a brush can wield…. with the process itself. Whether I glean an idea from a catalog & modify it for my home or a spark is ignited by a fellow blogger, what it all comes down to is the joy a piece brings to the creator & the house it eventually calls home.

I think I’m over the devastation hurt now.
I will continue to paint & create whatever my heart calls out for, original or not. Who knows, maybe somewhere in the dark corners of my mind there’s an idea just waiting for it’s debut.

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