Furniture Makeovers

Easy Build Table with Holiday Stencil

Hello Friends,

Welcome to the November edition of DIY Furniture Girls.  

This month’s theme is “Words,”  which means that we were challenged to refinish a piece of furniture and incorporate words in some way.

So if you ever wondered how to build a table using only two items plus Liquid Nails —and finish it in a holiday theme that includes words — Then this is the post for you.

Easy Build Table with Holiday Stencil


Disclosure: Product was provided by Old Fashioned Milk Paint Company, but all projects and opinions are 100% my own.

For this project, I needed a round side table in a certain size.  Of course, I couldn’t find one anywhere.  So I had to think —– invention.  And that’s when it hit me.

Ok. So it really didn’t actually hit me and I really didn’t invent the “old-bar-stool-with-a-piece-of-wood-attached-to-the-top-trick.”  But I do want to remind you about how useful, easy, and inexpensive this trick can be.

Any bar stool that meets your height requirements will do.  Just keep in mind that the bar stool and the top should remain in scale.  What I mean by this is that the top should not be so big that it looks out of proportion with the bottom.

How to Measure 

For this table, the bar stool is 24-inches high and the top is 24-inches round.  So if, for example, your table height needed to be 27-inches high, then you may wish to consider increasing the topper width to 27-inches as well.  I have found this rule-of-thumb to work nicely in the past, but it is certainly not set in stone.

And please note that the stool came from my stash of outdated pieces and the topper was a standard item ($10) at the home improvement store.

Color Me Red

Say whaaaaaat?

I know! I couldn’t believe it myself!  But I had used Old Fashioned Milk Paint in Salem Red on this decorative ladder for Christmas (Click here to see the post) and loved it so much that I thought it’d be perfect for the table.

Kind of a Christmas meets country sort of vibe….

So Salem Red, here I come.


Mix It Like You Mean It

In case you haven’t used milk paint before, let me preface by saying that it is an all-purpose paint.  This means that you can get a lot of different looks with it depending on your application technique.

For this project, we will do a chippy bottom and a painted top. The good news is that the mixing process is the same for both so once you start painting, you can complete both pieces with the paint you have mixed.

An earlier post on this blog details the mixing process I use.  You can click here to get the mixing directions and then meet me back here to apply the paint.

Chippity Doo Da

So what makes milk paint do the big chippy?  Truthfully, there are several answers, but really only one for this stool.  


The surface of the stool legs are extremely slick.  If I do not sand or rough up the surface, then I will have super crazy chipping all up in here.  The reason for this is because milk paint loves to adhere to porous surfaces, like raw wood, but not slick surfaces, like painted/sealed wood.

If I want the paint to adhere, instead of chip, I’d need to sand AND add a bonding agent to the mixed milk paint.  

But that’s another post.

For this post, just remember —–  A super slick finished item and no bonding agent, whether it’s wood or not, and the paint will chip.

Juuuuuusssst like this.


See You at the Top

The top received two coats of the same paint mixture used on the bottom.  But with these applications, the paint was being applied to raw wood so it soaked into the wood more like a paint/stain. Trust me, there was zero chipping.  That milk paint stuck to the raw wood like white on rice.

With raw wood —Just brush on the paint and it will stick —I promise.


Ooooops, I Did It Again

And I’m embarrassed to admit that I didn’t get a photo of the wood top before I started stencilling the top, but I surely did not. A thousand apologies!! So I hope you will trust me when I tell you that the two coats of paint stuck to the raw wood beautifully.

Super Easy 3-Step Stencilling

Then, to make the table more festive for the holidays, letters and numbers were added.

Step 1.  Lay the stencil (from Michael’s) in the desired location and trace the image with a #2 pencil.

Yes, another option is to pounce on the stencil with paint, but I wanted a slightly different look.  So I used this quick and easy option.


Step 2.  Then go over the pencil marks with a Sharpie or paint pen.


Step 3. Fill in the outlines with white paint. I used Old Fashioned Milk Paint in Snow White.

Keep Calm and Sand On

Once all of the paint was dry, the top was sanded like my life depended on it.  Remember how milk paint super adheres to raw wood?  Well, because of this, you better bring your sanding A-game if you want raw wood with a distressed surface.  It’s not hard to do, it just requires a little lot of elbow grease.


Wax On, Wax Off

After sanding and cleaning away the dust, the milk paint color was enhanced (see below – lower right) and the paint protected with a combination of finishing waxes.  

Step 1. Cover the entire surface with clear wax.

*** Let the wax sink in. Do not buff. ***

Since Daddy Van’s wax is 100% natural, I apply the wax bare-handed and then rub the left overs into my skin.  It is amazing how the beeswax plus emollients combo will soften the skin.

But I digress.


Step 2. Apply a very thin coat of brown wax over the clear wax.


I cannot express how very thin the coat of brown wax should be.  Thin.  Thinner. Thinnest.  That’s how thin. Wait a few minutes, then buff the entire top with a soft cloth. I used an old tee-shirt.

After buffing the wax, you will see that the paint color evens out and the finish has a slightly darker glow.


And the Two Shall Become One

Then assemble the top to the bottom with Liquid Nails.  

Liquid nails is a super-strong adhesive found in the paint section of the home improvement store. If you are unfamiliar with this product, please discuss the details about its use with the store expert.

Bring On the Bling

And last, but certainly not least, style the table with your favorite accessories.  Go bold with traditional holiday flair.


Or more neutral and woodsy.


Whatever your choice, it’s all good — because it’s Christmas — and you should totally make it the way you like it.


And that’s all there is to it.

An Easy Build Table.

——with a handy graphic for easy pinning … 🙂

Easy build table with holiday stencil | #sponsored Old Fashioned Milk Paint Company | The Chelsea Project |

But before you go, please check out how The Girls used Words in their refinished pieces.

DIY Furniture Girls







  • Reply Heather Northington November 17, 2016 at 5:39 am

    This is a beautiful table! Love the stencil tip using a permanent marker, I never would have thought to do that. Another fabulous project as always!!

    • Reply theChelseaProject November 17, 2016 at 6:59 am

      Thanks Heather! I needed a table for the holiday season. Fingers crossed it works when I get it into place! XOXO

  • Reply Lindsay Eidahl November 17, 2016 at 8:06 am

    Such a pretty table for the holiday season! Great makeover!

    • Reply theChelseaProject November 17, 2016 at 8:19 am

      Thanks Lindsay!!

  • Reply Carolann November 17, 2016 at 9:09 am

    So beautiful Susie! I love how you did the stencil! This puts me right in the mood for the holidays. Your work is always perfection! Love that barn red color and that tip about the marker is brilliant! xo

    • Reply theChelseaProject November 17, 2016 at 11:05 am

      Thanks Carolann! This is a super fun table for this time of the year. Thanks for stopping by!!

  • Reply Marie from The Interior Frugalista November 17, 2016 at 9:28 am

    Great idea for DIYing a table Susie and how adorable is this for the holidays! It’s been a few years since I played with milk paint and every time I see your pieces painted with it, it inspires me to play again. Love the chippy goodness!

    • Reply theChelseaProject November 17, 2016 at 11:04 am

      Thanks Marie! Looking forward to seeing some of your pieces in milk paint soon!

  • Reply Lucy @ Patina Paradise November 17, 2016 at 10:08 am

    Great repurpose for a stool Susie! Love the color, the stencil and your styling. Perfect for the Christmas season! ;o)

    • Reply theChelseaProject November 17, 2016 at 10:46 am

      Thanks Lucy!!!

  • Reply Karin Chudy (ART IS BEAUTY) November 17, 2016 at 11:42 am

    Oh its PERFECT! Totally puts me in the mood for the christmas season!

    • Reply theChelseaProject November 17, 2016 at 7:23 pm

      Thanks Karin!! XOXO

  • Reply misstoni65 November 17, 2016 at 1:19 pm

    I love that you made a table from a bar stool! The top is adorable and perfect for Christmas Time or anyone who loves Christmas all year. I have a wine barrel top that I want to make into a table, now I’ll be shopping for an old bar stool 🙂

    • Reply theChelseaProject November 17, 2016 at 7:22 pm

      Thanks Toni!! Be sure to send me a photo! XOXO

  • Reply christykjames November 17, 2016 at 2:11 pm

    This is SO charming, Susie!! I love the idea to marry the barstool to the table round. It is so perfect for the holidays!

    • Reply theChelseaProject November 17, 2016 at 7:20 pm

      Thanks Christy!

  • Reply Wendi@H2OBungalow November 17, 2016 at 9:08 pm

    How festive and such a pretty red color too!

    • Reply theChelseaProject November 18, 2016 at 8:22 am

      Thanks Wendi!!

  • Reply Kathy Owen (Petticoat Junktion) November 17, 2016 at 11:50 pm

    Wow, that was a lot of work girl. Love the stencil. So dramatic!

    • Reply theChelseaProject November 18, 2016 at 8:23 am

      Thanks Kathy! It was a fun project.

  • Reply Kim @Hunt & Host November 18, 2016 at 2:19 pm

    Precious and wonderful as always you are so talented and have an eye for pretty!

    • Reply theChelseaProject November 18, 2016 at 7:24 pm

      Thanks so much, Kim. Missed you on this challenge!! XOXO

  • Reply Cynthia Chilson Finger November 19, 2016 at 8:50 pm

    Another great project, Susie. You are on a roll! 😀 Red paint and dark wax is a winning combination. Thanks for sharing! Cynthia

    • Reply theChelseaProject November 19, 2016 at 9:19 pm

      Thanks Cynthia. It’s a fun little piece for my outdoor room.

  • Reply Paula November 21, 2016 at 12:41 pm

    You are so clever to think of making a table from a bar stool! What you created is just perfect for the upcoming Christmas season.

    • Reply theChelseaProject November 21, 2016 at 11:16 pm

      Thanks so much, Paula! Have a Happy Thanksgiving!!

  • Reply ARod November 30, 2016 at 11:34 pm

    Love how this table turned out. So super cute. Love the look of it in your Christmas scene.

    • Reply theChelseaProject December 5, 2016 at 7:01 am

      Hi Anj! Thanks so much for stopping by. I love the little table and find the size works perfectly for us. XOXO and Happy Holidays.

    Thanks so much for your comment!

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