I painted a little side table I’ve had around and didn’t love. I didn’t have a plan or even any inspiration. Actually, you could say my inspiration was that I had a sample paint pot and thought, “why not?”
I just slapped a bit of color on it and then lived with it hoping I would get some inspiration for what I wanted to do with it.
One night, I had a notion to try something with a map I’ve had hanging around for a few years. It’s a pretty little map that I picked up overseas. It isn’t anything special. Every tourist shop has racks of these. I think I paid £3. It’s been sitting around getting a little discolored so have wanted to do something with it. I had originally thought I could decoupage these maps onto my desk. Instead, I thought I would give the process a trial run with this little table.
I definitely made a few mistakes so I’m glad I tried this out on a project that wasn’t as important to me.
The map was a skootch bigger than the top of the table but I figured that actually made it easier. I wasn’t trying to center anything. I let the paper overlap the edges.
I had some Mod Podge for furniture (it is labeled for furniture) and poured a generous amount on the table top. I thought about ironing the map. It had been folded up for a long time and is kind of a parchmenty paper so it really wanted to stay folded. If I were to do this again, I would iron as much of the folds and wrinkles out as possible. Instead, I decided to take my chances and put the map on the Mod Podged table top.
It actually went on really well and the wrinkles smoothed out pretty good. I should have let it dry this way first. That is change number two I would make. Instead, I poured another generous amount of Mod Podge on top and spread it out across the map. If you try a project like this, let the under-layer of Mod Podge dry before you do a top layer of Mod Podge.
This made everything difficult. The map got very flimsy and wanted to wrinkle up really bad. In fact, after trying in vain to smooth it out I kind of gave up and just settled for as few wrinkles as possible.
I let the map dry for a couple of days. I was really pleased to see that for some reason, the wrinkles flattened out and the surface was smooth.
I had to decide at this point, what I was going to do with the map edges. Did I want to wrap it around the top completely? After futzing with it for a while, I decided it would never wrap around crisply so I decided to cut the map right at the edge of the tabletop. This was a little tricky just because of the very nature of paper. It isn’t rigid so it is hard to cut evenly.
I trimmed it, then I tried sanding the edges to feather the map edge. I put a couple coats of polyurethane on top and let it dry for about a week. The polyurethane actually made the paper wrinkle up again. I hoped that it would flatten itself out again and it did but it was really wrinkly at first and freaked me out a little.
Last night I looked at it carefully and decided the edges were still jaggedy and looked bad. In the end, I decided to try the simplest solution to see if that did the trick. I used a very sharp carpet knife and just carefully ran it along the edges.
That actually did the trick. It has a clean (ish) edge now.
The next step was finding a drawer pull. I tried one I picked up a Cost Plus a few years ago. I got this pair thinking they were nice and neutral and I’d be able to use them on something. But instead, they are always boring. This was no exception. Not only was there no zip, the scale was wrong.
So I found the original handle that hadn’t been painted and put that back on. It still isn’t right but it will do until I find the perfect one.
I like how it turned out. It’s unique and still a handy table. I keep thinking it isn’t done and I’m not sure why. I’ll have to live with it a while to decide. I don’t know if the whole thing should be distressed or a different color but for now, it works.
I do really like how the paper maintained the bevel of the table top.
I’ll get some pictures in natural light the very next day we have any light. Either that or I’ve got to set up some kind of lighting system so I can share finished projects without the yellow cast to the light.
Update: I did manage to get a picture with better light. Some background I didn’t provide on this table…it is just a little inexpensive end table from Target. I think it was around $30-$40 in a dark wood finish. I didn’t sand the surface and the paint has adhered just fine.