Paint Pine Furniture with a Driftwood Effect

Painting and distressing a pine end table

Do you have a drab old pine table that took up residence between your sofa and your love seat years ago? I can totally picture it. It does its job, it holds your lamp, a few coasters and a stack of dusty books. Inside the drawer, you can find the TV remote, ancient batteries and a channel list that predates the on-screen guide. The table has an orange cast to it (see above left). That’s what happens to pine over time. But it just so happens that pine is primed for a makeover. The soft wood is absolutely perfect for distressing and its smooth surface takes well to chalk paint. I’m going to tell you how you can love that table again!

You may recall that I acquired a set of 3 pine tables from some friends when they moved. This is the 3rd makeover out of the set and I’m going to miss my pine furniture makeover series! This table was different from the other 3 because I painted and distressed the base with homemade chalk paint and instead of staining the top, I used acrylic artist’s paint to make a driftwood effect.

First, I removed all of the hardware and then filled some of the holes left behind to prepare for the installation of new hardware. I roughed up some of the edges with a hammer and sandpaper and filled cracks in the base where the wood had settled over time. I quickly sanded the base of the table with a fine grit sandpaper (which you actually don’t need to do when painting with chalk paint, but old habits die hard). The top–which I planned to paint with a sheer driftwood look–required a deep sand with a power sander, followed up by sanding with a 150 grit sanding sponge and finally, 400 grit paper.

Paint Pine like driftwood

To make the table top resemble driftwood, I mixed black and white acrylic artist’s paint with some water until it resembled a thinned out driftwood hue (I wish I could tell you the exact amount but I generally eyeball the color). I brushed on a few coats of the mix, allowing ample time to dry in between. I dabbed a bit of black and white acrylic paint on a damp piece of cheese cloth and wiped the paint in various areas to give the color a little depth. Once completely dry, I sanded some of the paint off, dusted the surface and then sealed it with a few coats of Minwax polycrylic.

How to paint a driftwood table top

I mixed my own chalk paint using Plaster of Paris. The recipe is simple:  mix 1 part Plaster of Paris into 1 part warm water. After mixing for at least a minute, add 3 parts latex paint and mix again. I applied about 4 coats of the paint mix, which dries relatively quickly in between coats. Once completely dry, I sanded some of the edges to give the table a worn look. Finally, I sealed the base with polycrylic and added the new hardware. I generally recommend allowing the piece to fully cure for 4-6 days before putting anything on top of the table.

Updated pine table


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5 Responses

  1. Cathy Elliott says:

    Morning , love this look and am almost finished doing it myself. Question, what sheen of poly did you use? Thanks, Cathy

  2. Kathy says:

    Still love this piece – a year and a day later

  3. Kathy says:

    i love, love, love my new end table! Thank you!!!

  1. March 9, 2016

    […] to finally try out Annie Sloan chalk paint. If you’ve been following my blog, you know I typically make my own chalk paint for my furniture transformations. But this piece is special so I wanted to go all out! While I am thrilled with the end result, […]

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