The Most Expensive Free Table Ever

Posted by | January 22, 2014 | Bucket List, Inspiration, Making Stuff | No Comments

Being FUNemployed has given me some time to try out something new, so I decided to refinish a large round wooden coffee table.

The table was passed along to me by good friends who were moving out of their legendary loft space. My plan was to transform it by stripping off the shiny varnish and adding a large and simple lotus flower design to the surface of the table.

The project also gave me an opportunity to try out some environmentally friendly milk paint & and natural oil finishes (offered by the friendly folks at Homestead House Paint Company right down the street). I had admired the Homestead House products for a while was intrigued by the rich colours and natural, non-toxic products.

Picking the Paint
I loved the milkpaint’s finish – but they didn’t offer the right shade of deep, reddish purple that I was going for. I have to say, I’m pretty picky about my purple. I even got some sample sizes and tried to mix it myself using milkpaint. I got a (really nice) shade of brown – not even close! So I settled for using “non-toxic” acrylic paint and used hemp oil to finish the surface. Hemp oil is awesome, by the way!

I never realized how much work or messy sanding is. Lesson learned!

Blowing up the design using a tiled printout seemed like a good idea at the time...

I put transfer paper behind the printout and started to trace the design.

Tracing was easy, but using only 1/4 of the printout as a reference made symmetry very challenging. Oh oh.

Hmm, I needed something round to use as a reference... Hula hoop to the rescue!

Decisions, decisions. Which shade of purple should it be?

Can't forget about the legs.

Finally ready to paint the lotus design on the table. That was the quickest part.

The finished table. I love the warm, matte look from the hemp oil finish.

Approved by Mister Fu, the "supurrvisor".


Cost of table
What I ended up spending on rentals, supplies, mistakes and transportation.
Amount of money I really didn't need to spend at the hardware store and gas station

So what about the expensive part?

The table was free and so I expected that a small budget for paint supplies and renting a belt sander would be a frugal and creative way for me to end up with a truly unique item of furniture.

Things started to add up when I went to pick up the table…

First off, the table wouldn’t fit into the car I had booked from the car sharing service. (Note to car manufacturers: listing the cubic litres of the interior does not give me any meaningful way to figure out if a 4 foot wide table will fit through the back hatch).

That meant we spent a lot of extra time securing the car to the roof. So I suppose we’ll need some rope for that! Off I went to the hardware store (while on the car-sharing clock, paying by the hour). “Hmm, maybe while I have a car, I should get some soil too…” “Ooh, those big houseplants are on sale!” And so it went at the hardware store.

Time to extend that car reservation. I had to put some gas in the car too – which is normally covered by the car share company – as long as you use the right card at the right gas station. Whoops! There’s $30 I won’t see again!

We finally got the table secured – but this “quick favour” I had asked my friend Hans to help me with had taken so long, it was now well into dinner time. “Looks like I’m buying!”

Suffice it to say, although this comedy of errors added up, it was so worth it! I’m quite pleased that the table turned out pretty much the way I had imagined it. It’s a gorgeous and unique addition to our home.

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