Swedish Gray Coffee Table Tutorial

Before we get started, I have a little piece to add about my Aunt Cheryl, who I listed as one of my early sewing influences in my About Me post.  I mentioned she taught me to cross stitch, but I guess I left out this info:

"You apparently do not remember but...you used to sit on my lap in Gram's basement ..where my sewing machine was...and "help" me sew....I particularly remember making fabric jewelry "boxes"...for my bridesmaids..circa 1981....you were only ..what??? ...2 or 3 ? You would sit there so well behaved ..as always... And help push the fabric through!!! Oh GOD. ..seems like yesterday!!!"

So I guess I "started" sewing a little earlier than I thought.  I do remember being completely in awe of everything about my Aunt Cheryl, so this makes total sense.

On to the furniture refinish.  If you like the swedish gray antique look, like this picture from Matha, I'll show you how to get it (or at least come close). 

Okay, here's the before of my coffee table.  It's from the Pottery Barn outlet and was in that honey finish popular about 10 years ago. 

Swedish Gray Tutorial
My mother has done this to a few pieces so I pretty much followed her directions.  This was a project for after the kids were in bed, so again, bad lighting for the photos here!  This is really easy, each step is under thirty minutes, but you need a good week to get it finished.  Letting the coats dry in between steps is crucial.

Table or furniture to refinish
Screwdriver (to remove hardware)
Paint brushes
Paint tray or tupperware you can throw out later
Mineral Spirits to clean brushes & tray (and hands)
Latex paint in very light gray - pint size should be fine for most smallish pieces of furniture)
Antiquing Glaze (I used Valspar in Asphaltum 98278)
Satin Finish Polyurethane coating - small can

1.  Move the coffee table into your garage and/or put a drop cloth down to protect your floors.  Remove any hardware and drawers (mine would not come out!).  Lightly sand the entire surface with an electric sander or just by hand.

2.  Wipe it down with a damp cloth & apply a coat of Killz to the entire piece.  Make sure to crawl around to make sure you get every surface area.  Or you'll notice when you go looking for stray legos later and it will drive you crazy.  Let it dry overnight.

3.  Day Two:  Now apply a coat of light gray paint to the entire table.  This should be the lightest gray you can get, practically white looking.  You can get gray that has a bit of yellow or blue to it, make sure you hold the paint chip samples up in your room to make sure you get the right hue.

Let this coat dry overnight.  (ignore the can on the table, we decided not to use that, just focus on the table being a solid light gray now).

4.  Day Three:  Now you need a to mix some of your light gray paint with some of the Valspar Antiquing glaze.  The color I used was Asphaltum 98278.  Pour a good bit of the paint into a paint tray & add the antiquing glaze a little at a time until you get the shade of gray you like.  Mine was still pretty light gray.

Apply this to the table with a brush until you get the look you want.  You can use cheesecloth to rub it off if it goes on to heavy, but I found it easiest to just stick with the brush.  Allow this to dry overnight.

5:  Day 4-6:  Now that your table is finished and dry you are going to want to protect it.  If you don't have kids, you might want to consider a glass top.  If you do have kids you probably want to apply a few coats of polyurethane finish all over the table.  Use a big paint brush.  This will help avoid chips.  If you have girls you might get away with two coats.  I definitely recommend a third coat if you have boys.

6.  Once you are sure the table is dry, screw back in the hardware & move it back.

I'm pretty happy, thanks, Mom!


Popular Posts