Makeover Challenge: Under $10 in Less Than 2 Hours


I recently came across a $2 can of mis-tint Benjamin Moore paint in a daring shade somewhere between cranberry and fuchsia--perfect for Valentine's in a couple weeks! It happened to coordinate with a piece of scrapbook paper I had on hand, and I had the perfect little end table waiting in storage for a challenge such as this--$10 furniture makeover in less than two hours!

$10 under 2 hour table makeover challenge

I bought this table several years ago as a set of two for $7.20 (after an extra discount off the already super-cheap price of $9) at Habitat Restore. Check out how my mom finished the first table here.

If you look closely, you'll see it had a LOT of dings and scratches. None of them were big enough to worry about filling or smoothing out.

thrifted end table with damage before

I had exactly two hours to complete this project while Axel was at preschool.

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STEP 1: Clean with household cleaner & Remove Hardware

clean and remove hardware

STEP 2: Add BB Frösch Paint Transformer to Paint

In order to save myself the time and energy of stripping or priming, I add BB Frösch Paint Transformer to my paint.
It helps the paint stick without priming or sanding, but it has a few other features as well:
  • helps paint dry quickly
  • helps paint self-level
  • makes paint manipulatable (so I can easily distress if I want to)
It takes less than a minute to mix!
how to mix paint

STEP 3: Paint!

I like to pour my paint onto a paint tray instead of dipping my brush into my jar of paint. This keeps my brush cleaner so it doesn't get loaded with paint from dipping directly into my jar of paint.
paint tray
I recommend painting a thin first coat. A thick first coat will take a little longer to dry, and I feel like a nice thin first coat makes the second coat level in nicely for a beautiful smooth finish. I also recommend using a BB Frösch paint brush and using cross-hatch strokes to help your paint self-level. 
first coat of paint
Sometimes the first coat can look a little scary, but trust me, those cross-hatch strokes are going to help the second coat level in, and it's going to turn out amazing!
paint a thin first coat

STEP 4: Once Paint is Dry, Apply Second Coat (and any additional coats, if needed) 

Even though adding BB Frösch to your paint helps it dry quickly, this table was so small that I actually had to wait for the paint to dry!
waiting for paint to dry mom helped with this project, which could have contributed to it going so quickly 😬
It's a little blurry, but you can see my second coat didn't give enough coverage, so I ended up painting a third coat, and in a couple spots, a fourth! Every once in awhile, you will come across a paint that needs an extra coat or two. This can happened especially with white on dark surfaces. In this case, I may have gone thinner than necessary on the first coat. Even with the extra coats, I still used less than a cup of paint, and I stayed within the time challenge since I didn't waste time on the front end sanding or priming.
second coat of paint

STEP 5: Distress (if desired)

I don't always distress, but since this piece had a couple of nice curves, I chose to highlight them with a little distressing. I never use lower than 220 grit to distress. I like to cut my sandpaper into manageable pieces so I'm not folding it. Then, using flat fingers, I gently "swipe" over raised areas. I don't suggest rubbing aggressively back and forth because that can create unnatural-looking distressed spots. Think about how a piece would naturally distress over time--only on the raised areas, so focus there.
distress with 220 grit sandpaper

STEP 6: Pièce de résistance

400 grit sandpaper is my secret weapon for a buttery smooth finish! Using flat fingers and a small piece of 400 grit sandpaper, smooth back and forth a couple of times as if you were dusting. No need to press hard here since you aren't distressing, you are just smoothing. Feel the difference between the painted areas and the ones you've smoothed. FEELS AMAZING, RIGHT?
smooth with 400 grit sandpaper

STEP 7: Seal & Protect

Once you have the look you want with distressing and smoothing, it's important to seal and protect your hard work! Okay, so less than two hours isn't exactly hard, but no one needs to know that 😉.
I chose BB Frösch Clear Premium Finishing Wax to seal this table. I like how quickly it dries and cures so my project could be 100% ready to use by the time Axel got home from preschool.
Start by buttering the end of your wax brush (I use this wax brush.) I never dip my brush directly into the wax can because that gets too much wax into my brush, and my wax could get contaminated by a brush that could have color from the piece on it.
how to apply finishing wax
Use either circular motions or broad even strokes to apply wax. One brush load should cover about 1 to 2 square feet. I loaded my brush about seven times--once for each leg, once for the top, once for all the sides, and once for the drawer. So, I needed vary little wax!
how to apply wax
wax catWhen there is no more wax on your brush, before re-loading your brush, remove excess wax with a lint-free wax cloth. You will know when the excess wax has been removed when your cloth glides smoothly, wax is no longer tacky to the touch, and surface begins to shine. At this point, you can re-load your wax brush and move to the next section.
use a lint free wax cloth to remove excess wax

STEP 8: Install Hardware

I didn't like the original drawer knob, so I replaced it with a cute little gold one I had leftover from a different project. Since it was leftover, technically it didn't cost anything!
replace hardware

STEP 9: Add Drawer Liner

Since the drawer was so small, I simply cut a coordinating piece of scrapbook paper to fit.
drawer liner

STEP 10: Pat Yourself on the Back and Admire Your Work

valentine end table after
pink end table with drawer liner
Just as I was finishing up and taking pictures, Axel got home from preschool and offered to model...
pink end table after
Check out this blog post for more swoon-worth Valentine-inspired makeovers.
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