DIY Farmhouse Table Renovation

With the Tommy DIY Paint System there is no need to be intimidated by the idea of renovating a dining room table. Sarah Evans, our Sales Director, shows us how upcycling an antique table, despite the ups-and-downs, turned out beautifully.


Like most women, I am all about making my home custom and comfortable.  However, when it came time to replace the first dining room table that my husband and I bought almost 10 years ago, I was very shocked at the quality and extreme price points of potential replacements.  So I did what everyone does … I Pinterested until my fingers hurt from holding my phone!  


Imagination International Materials

  • 1 Jar Tommy Art Antiquing Wax (You’ll only use a smidge of the jar)
  • 3 Jars Tommy Art Matte Varnish (I only used 2.5 total)
  • 1 Jar Tommy Art Light Blue-Gray Paint (I only used ¼ of a jar)

Generic Materials

  • 1 Paint brush (I used one I already had for painting walls)
  • Old rag or t-shirt
  • Drop Cloth
  • Belt Sander

Honestly, Pinterest alone got me nowhere.  I found a bunch of inspirational projects, but none were achievable with my limited DIY abilities. So again, I went shopping. This time at a local vintage shop where items are still in their natural original “old” state.  I came across, this old 1940’s farmhouse table that had seen better days, but the detailing was unlike anything I had ever seen and so unique. It had way too many coats of super glossy varnish and needed serious help. I decided to bring it home. It’s craftsmanship and details were one of a kind, unlike any of the new tables I’d seen in the stores. 


The table ended up in my dining room.  What happened next turned into such a mess I had to get my husband to dismantle and move it back outside.  You can see here, the serious amount of varnish this thing had, but it was easily sanded down to bare wood. 


Step one: Sand away the varnish

Wow, what a mess! But, now you can see the raw beauty that inspired me through the glass-like layers of varnish.  My original thought was to sand it down and add matte varnish, but that idea changed in the instant I saw the natural burnt grain of the bare wood.

Step two: ‘Burn Steaks’ with Antiquing Wax

I added a step to my original plan with Tommy Antiquing Wax. With an old rag (old t-shirts are perfect!),  I started making what I felt were “burn” streaks in the wood.


Exactly what I wanted!  Raw and certainly one of a kind.  

Step three: Sealing the Tabletop

My next step was to seal the tabletop so that we could actually eat on it.   After an hour  of sanding and mastering what I felt was better than a custom piece of art, I applied the Tommy Matte Varnish and saw...a cloudy, blue/greyish almost darkening look.  GASP!  Ok, “trust in the process and breath”, I told myself.


Step four: Finishing, watching and waiting

After 5-10 minutes of dry time, I had a gorgeous protected table.  Note: for a durable finish, I proceeded to add two more coats of Tommy Matte Varnish, allowing about 45 minutes of dry time between each coat.

Tip: Dry time will vary with humidity and temperature. Test a piece with the back of your hand, if it is cool to touch, it is still damp. You should wait until the piece feels room temperature to proceed. With each application of Matte Varnish, I would apply, gasp as the odd color appeared, breath, wait, and as always it dried perfectly normal.


Step five: Painting the legs

In the photo above, you’ll also notice that I got a bit bored watching varnish dry.  I decided the original dark legs weren’t going to match the newly updated top as I had hoped, so I painted them.

I mention this step because due to my impatience I literally did no sanding from the original glossy varnished legs you saw in step one. I went ahead with applying one coat of Tommy Blue/Grey Paint and voila!  You might say the initial blue/grey color of the varnish inspired me with the leg color.


In the end, my vintage store find and remodel took a total of 3.5 hours of my attention from start to finish. Because of the DIY Paint System by Tommy Art, I now have a table that fits perfectly in my home, as well as a great story to tell friends.  Here are the final before and after pics. Keep in mind, I am not a DIY’er or crafty. I’m simply a girl with access to a very cool product line that inspired me.