If I were a professional furniture flipper, I’d simply have to hire the Hubs as the official furniture scout. You know he finds the best stuff.
Like, for example, this sad-looking side table. One day he sent a photo via text from a garage sale and said the price was $3.00. Honestly, I didn’t know what on earth I’d do with another side table, but figured, at the very least, I could refinish it and give it to somebody who needs a side table.
Then something totally unexpected happened.
How to Paint and Protect Outdoor Wood Furniture
Last week, a package arrives at my doorstep from a brand new (well—new to me) company called Dixie Belle. And my reaction was pretty much, “Ok, nice color.” That’s the honest truth. I didn’t think much about it other than I needed to see which piece of furniture would work best with the color.
Disclosure: This post was sponsored by Dixie Belle Paint, however all projects and opinions are 100% my own.
And since I had already started the She Cave Spring refresh, I thought this lime green would provide the perfect pop of color —somewhere. So I started moving all of the furniture around to get a fresh look to the room. It may sound crazy, but I always put pieces in place based on size and then decide on color.
But at this point, the little side table was still in the garage.
You see, a few months earlier it had been cleaned up and painted to use as a prop. I’ve used the top as a backdrop for tablesettings and the table as a filler piece for whimsical posts. So, for whatever reason, the ah-ha moment needed to connect the limeade paint with this table was a bit delayed.
But eventually, the little $3.00 table made its way into the sunroom —and the rest, as they say, is history.
Step 1: Prep for Paint
The table was wiped down so that all surfaces were clean, but not sanded. It had been painted with home-made chalky-type paint and then sealed with one coat of poly. On the website, Dixie Belle says their paint will adhere to just about anything. And so you know I just had to put it to the test. Not to be mean or anything, but I really did want to challenge Dixie Belle to see if it really was any different from the others.
Step 2: Apply Paint
And all I can say is —- WOW. The paint went on super smooth and covered almost all of the dots and bows in one coat. But I did, after about an hour, apply a second coat.
Step 3: The Turning Point
And now, you may be wondering, “Ok, based on what you’ve said, what makes this paint so great —-especially for outdoors?” And again, I’m going to be honest.
At this point, I was planning to use this piece as a side table in the sunroom so I really wasn’t concerned about durability, just color.
Then, a couple of days later, I took it outside and tried to lay-on a little distressing, but couldn’t.
Holy cow, I couldn’t! I promise, I couldn’t make a dent in it.
I called on the human power sander (AKA the Hubs) to help. And although he huffed and puffed, he really didn’t get anywhere either.
So we changed out the sandpaper to a brand new piece of 60-grit (YES! 60).
With the gritty sandpaper and a ton of elbow grease, the paint finally gave way and allowed some of the beautiful taupe to peek through. All of the rough and rustic goodness shown here comes from the table. I left it on purpose because I wanted the table to look like it came from an old potting shed.
This is when I realized there truly is something different about this paint. It has got to be the toughest chalky-type paint I’ve ever encountered. And tougher than any of the chalkies from the side-by-side comparison I did some years ago.
Step 4: Talk to the Experts
So I emailed the company with a list of questions about their products’ durability when used on wood and left outdoors. They replied that Dixie Belle has been used on furniture that is always outdoors (in Florida) and it has never washed off. Even after years of exposure, it is still “going strong.”
With the evidence clearly on my table and this information, my thoughts about the paint did a complete 180. I was so surprised to learn that this paint is durable enough to use outdoors. With the exception of the porch swing, I have always used oil-based spray paint for outdoor pieces. Now, there’s an alternative. An easy-to-use, chart-filled-with-fabulous colors alternative.
Having said this, let’s think about a piece for you.
Step 5: Review Tips for Prep and Paint
Clean the piece from top to bottom.
Your piece may need sanding and all of the nooks and crannies filled with wood putty.
When the putty is dry, you’ll sand it again.
Then again, your piece may only need cleaning. If so, click here to see Dixie Belle’s recommended product on their website.
Then turn the table upside down and paint every teeny space — with at least two thin coats.
Apply at least three coats to the bottom of the legs and a few inches up the leg.
Always use thin coats. The paint will love you for it.
When the feet are dry, flip the table over and paint the outer portions with at least two or three thin coats.
Step 6: Review Tips for Distressing Wood
If using sandpaper, distress the wood when the table is dry, but has not begun to cure.
Wet distressing is also an option. This process is simple. Dampen a clean, soft cloth and wipe away nearly dry to newly dry paint in the areas you wish to distress. Just make sure that the basecoat is good and dry before applying and distressing the topcoat paint.
Apply a Resistant:
Apply a resistant (like beeswax, candlewax) where you do not wish the topcoat paint to adhere. Then paint the piece, let it dry, and use a cloth to wipe away paint that sits over the resistant.
Step 7: Finish with Polycoat
Once the table is painted and dried (I waited a couple of days), it’s time to apply Dixie Belle’s water-repellant topcoat called Gator Hide.
This product is applied just like the paint —using three thin coats while making sure to cover every nook and cranny under and out. It dries very quickly and the brush washes up with water.
But what surprised me about this product is its durability.
After the Gator Hide was dry, I dribbled a few drops of water on the table top and it did bead up –similar to the way water beads up on a waxed car. Remember, not all polycoats can claim to be water-repellant. Some are only water-resistant, which is weaker protection than a repellant.
As for the finish, it is definitely a matte, but there is still enough light reflection to give the piece life. What I mean by this is that the matte finish does not merely add protection, it adds depth to the piece by using light to pop the color.
It’s quite striking, actually. I’m just sad that this piece doesn’t do it justice. In fact, I’ve already decided to refinish another piece that isn’t so rustic to show you the finish in a better light.
In the meantime, you can check out the Dixie Belle website by clicking here.
And just to orient you about quantities, this table needed about 8 ounces of paint and 8 ounces of Gator Hide.
As always, thank you so much for spending a few minutes of your day at The Chelsea Project.
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