How I went from a “grandma” dining table to surf retro

The cats like the table

Thanks for all the congratulations on the table! I am so glad everyone loves it as much as we do.

Finished Dining Table

How I gave my grandma’s dining table a beach makeover

Supply List

Here’s the products I used for this project. They worked really well for me, but there certainly are other comparable products out there.

  • Electric Sander (I use a Mikita that I purchased for around $30)
  • 80-grit, 220-grit, 360-grit sandpaper
  • Zinsser Cover Stain Oil Primer
  • Rust-oleum Spray Primer
  • Rust-oleum Painter’s Touch Ultra Cover 2x Spray Paint in Gloss White
  • Rust-oleum Painter’s Touch in Gloss White
  • Behr Eggshell Latex in Aqua Spray
  • ScotchBlue Painter’s Tape with Edge-Lock in 1″
  • Newspaper and Dust cloths
  • Minwax Wipe-on Poly in Clear Gloss
  • Gloves
  • Mask

My #1 Tip

If I had to do this project again, I would have sanded just a little more at the beginning to get the surface as smooth as possible. So, my #1 tip is to take your time during each step of the project so you get it right.

Sanding dining table

As I showed you two days ago, I started by sanding the heck out of the top and legs of the table. I didn’t think I could remove the laminate finish on the top so I settled for roughing it up a lot. I started with a medium grade 80-grit paper and worked up to a fine grade 220-grit paper.


Then I flipped the table on its back so I could prime and paint the legs and any visible parts of the underneath. I sprayed about two coats of the primer and 2-3 thin coats of the Painter’s Touch. I lightly sanded it down between primer and paint to smooth out drips and rough spots.

Working on the table top

With the bottom dry, I flipped the table upright to work on the table top.

Measuring the stripes

Using my handy 24″ quilting ruler, I measured out the stripe pattern on the table top. I started by measuring the center of each table leaf and then measured out each stripe. The pattern was a 2″ aqua stripe flanked by a 1/2″ white stripe and 1″ wood stripe.

Each panel had to match its neighbor so I started on the middle leaf and worked out connecting all my marks into lines before triple checking all my measurement again.

Tape off the wood stripes

Taking a deep breath, I then taped off my 1″ wood grain stripes as straight as possible following my pencil lines. The tape was one continuous piece to ensure all the leaves matched up. Once the tape was applied, I rubbed it into the wood with my finger to make sure it didn’t have any bubbles.

Leave a 1/4" gap between table leaves

Also before taping, I had extended the table so I had about 1/4″ between each leaf. This way the paint couldn’t pool between the leaves and I could easily clean up any drips.

Prime with Oil Primer

I was a little worried about the laminate finish. Would the paint stick to it? I used a oil based primer to make sure. Nate and I had used it on our hallway cabinets and really loved the results.

Paint on the primer

Two thin coats of primer were applied and then let to dry for 24 hrs before sanding down with 220-grit sandpaper. The primer stuck to the laminate really well. The stuff is truly amazing and well worth using.

Rustoleum Painters Touch in White

The following day, I applied Rust-oleum Painter’s Touch in Gloss White to the primed table top. I started with spray paint, but quickly changed to the actual paint. (I just bought a pint of the paint sold in the same section the spray paint is found.) I applied two thin coats, let it dry for 24 hrs then sanded yet again with the 220-grit paper.

Remove tape on wood stripes

With all the white layers done, I decided to removed the tape to check that my wood stripes worked before continuing in case I have to change plans. I was really worried that the primer may have leaked. Amazingly, it hadn’t. The Scotch Edge Lock worked like magic and left sharp clean wood stripes. I was so excited I made Nate come outside to see and did a little happy dance.

Remove tape on wood stripes full table shot

Next up was the 2″ center stripe. I lightly sanded again just in case there was any edges from the tape. Then measured out the center stripe and taped it off with my magic tape.

Tape off middle stripe and paint over it with white

I decided to try out a great tip I read for getting foolproof stripes. By sealing the tape with your original color before painting the stripe, any leakage under the tape will be the original color so the stripe should be clean. So I sealed the tape with a little white paint and let it dry before adding the aqua color. (I couldn’t use this tip with the wood stripe since I didn’t have a color to seal the tape with.)

Behr Aqua

When the paint was dry, I painted two thin coats of Behr Aqua Spray down the middle and let the paint dry overnight.

Remove tape for aqua stripe

When I removed the tape this time, I bunch of the white undercoat came up with it. The stripe was nice and clean, but I did touch up the white 1/2″ stripes a bit before sanding the table one last time with the 220-grit paper.

Apply wipe-on poly

Nate and I moved the table back inside for the polyurethane coats to make sure we didn’t get any dirt or bugs in it. The wipe-on poly is really easy to apply with a clean cloth. It usually dries in 2-3 hours, but it’s been pretty warm here so each coat took much longer.

Retro surf dining table with cat

I had two box fans on and the table still took about 7 hours to dry between coats. I sanded with very fine 360-grit paper between the coats. The final coat was allowed to dry for 24 hours before we used it.

Retro surf dining table

And there you go – the finished table!

Football draft

The table has gotten lost of use these last few nights. We even hosted our fantasy football draft on it Tuesday night.

We'd love to hear what you think!