A Refreshed Coffee Table Top (and all about layering gel stain and chalk paint)

Remember this vintage solid oak coffee table I worked on a long time ago? Well, since then I’ve had to re-apply the gel stain a few times. Twin Tornadoes do a number on table finishes and gel stain just hasn’t held up to the abuse. I haven’t been very pleased with it since it’s supposed to be able to be applied on top of old finishes without these problems. Oh well. Since I’ve found a new coffee table that better suits the size of the room and our style it was time to refinish this top once more and sell.

Rather than expending the time and energy to sand and stain, I went out on a limb and decided to layer chalk paint and gel stain. The worst that could happen is I have to sand and stain. All I’d be out is some time. I quickly brushed on a coat of FolkArt “Castle” chalk paint, one of my favorite neutral colors.

Once this dried, I lightly brushed on some CraftSmart “Walnut” gel stain. I made sure to work in very straight lines, brushing the gel stain out thin and even. It tends to be gloppy so it’s important to work with small amounts and in smooth sections.

The gel stain dried fairly quickly and I applied a couple coats of General Finishes matte topcoat to protect it without losing the lovely smooth, matte finish. Gel stain topped with polyurethane was too shiny for my taste. I love the richness of the stain and the smoothness of the finish on top of the chalk paint. For a more bold, Western theme you could try doing this with a bold turquoise underneath and distressing.



Within a couple hours I had a very excited buyer; yet another piece off to a new home.


4 thoughts on “A Refreshed Coffee Table Top (and all about layering gel stain and chalk paint)

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