When we first built the table we were doing it on a budget and opted for a one colour solution. DH & I didn’t want a natural wood colour, and we also didn’t want to paint it, so we stained it! We used a one-in-all primer and stain in a dark espresso colour. NOTE: This is back when a lot of our furniture was dark because DH liked it and I didn’t have enough of a coherent vision for our spaces to insist on something different. Flash forward to this spring, through 2 gruelling winters, a move, and a style update, we knew we needed to give our beloved table some much needed love.
Last winter I stumbled across this picture of Lauren Conrad’s harvest table and kinda fell in love. I mean, what’s not to love about this tablescape? It’s bright, breezy and eclectic. The idea interested me enough that I talked about it with DH and we agreed that we could definitely go white for the top. It would require the least amount of work to update, and would have the biggest impact.
*Minwax sponsored this post, but all thoughts are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that make PMQ for two possible.
To get the look we wanted, we got the MinWax onboard. They’re the name in the game when it comes to stains, so it only made sense. We knew we would also have more control when it came to how much coverage we wanted without sacrificing when it came to the sealant (like with the all-in-ones). The added bonus of working within a product range is that everything tends to work super well together, so that’s always a plus!
*The following product links contain affiliate links. Thank you for supporting the brands that make PMQ for two possible. For my full policies click // here //
Minwax Water Based Pre-Stain Conditioner // here //
Minwax Water Based Wood Stain White Pickling Wash // here //
Minwax Water Based Helmsman Spar Urethane // here //
Wide sponge brushes // here //
Because our table was already stained we knew we had to strip it before anything could happen. Picture me, standing in snowy rain on a saturday, on top of my harvest table with a pressure washer trying to strip stain out of the table. If you’ve got a drowned rat in your minds’ eye, that’s pretty darn close. It took far too many passes with the washer but I eventually got most of it.
We then had to sand it to get rid of all the stuff I couldn’t clear with the washer. Thankfully we’ve got a set of matching Ryobi palm sanders // here // so it went quickly.
Stripped wood tends to be a little raw, so we needed a pre-stain treatment to prepare the wood. Going on in looked pearlescent, but it did the job because the wood looked renewed before we even applied the stain. Kinda like a dry face after some moisturizer if you catch my drift.
The pickling wash took 3 coats to get the solid white finish I was going for, but we encountered a few issues along the way to the perfect finish.
We first did two coats of pickling wash and wiped excess stain away between coats as the label suggests. Then we sealed it with water-based poly after waiting the prescribed amount of time.
We did NOT use the right poly sealer. This is where the problem started.
After 2-3 days with out table in place under the pergola, it all started to yellow! Can you say “eww” with me?! We sealed the ends of the wood and made sure the top was well covered, so where on earth was all this yellow grossness coming from? Did DH maybe put the wrong poly on? (we have several in the garage).
Turns out we did! We used an interior poly which was not created to withstand all the UV, so under the sun everything started to yellow like in the pic below.
You can see the yellow on the shot above from my Painted Tabletop Flower Planters // here //. It looks nasty.
It was a relatively quick fix, but a weird situation to be in in the first place. I sanded down the poly and re-stained the entire table to get rid of the yellow. It took 3 coats but it all looks as it should now.
I’ve now re-sealed the table with the correct finish: Minwax Water Based Helmsman Spar Urethane
In the product picture at the top you may have also noticed some little cans for the PolyShades. That is a super neat line that allows you to apply it over an existing stain colour to create a new colour. How freaking cool is that?! With the tabletop getting a refresh we wanted to do something for the rest of the table and benches to make it special as well. With our existing coffee coloured stain, we chose the Natural Cherry colour to create a warm and invigorating brown. Not quite as dark as a walnut, but still nice and warm with hints of red.
This was a super simple application, and a great idea for a quick weekend project since you don’t need to apply a sealant on top of it. Simply sand the existing surface lightly, and apply! The dry time is a bit longer than the other products I used for the refresh (about 8hrs between coats), but the results are well worth it as everything looks fantastic.
All in all I am very satisfied with this refresh as it was easy to do in stages, with quality products, and everything we needed was available at our local Home Depot aka the perfect weekend project.
I will never miss an opportunity to showcase my plants ever again, especially now that I have such lovely planters for them. Sure, some of them are dying-off faster than I figure-out how to properly care for them, but at least I’ve got something
Now that it’s all said and done, I am so happy with how it turned-out. I think the white is the perfect contrast to all the dark and the green. It also allows all my colours to pop – there was nothing wrong with the dark stain we had before, but it just didn’t showcase my style very well. The white does!