Monday, March 5, 2012

Fake French Country Furniture, The Side Table (Part 1 of 3)

I just adore the look of French Country Furniture, but the price tag has me reeling!  (This one is nearly $1000.00!)
Habersham Coffee Tables  Home Portfolio Living Room Ideas! Buy Country Cottage Chic Home Decor You Love!
Of course, you know that I would much rather refinish my own furniture, but I still find myself unhappy with the price tag of expensive Designer Chalk Paints, Glazes and Colored Waxes.  There must be a cheaper way!

I have three pieces of furniture I'd like to refinish to make a matching set for my living room: A Side Table, A Coffee Table & A Sideboard/Sofa Table.

Here's the first piece of furniture that I'd like to tackle:

Its actually an old sewing table that used to house a swing-up sewing machine inside.  I bought it at a yard sale YEARS ago and I've kept it in it's current semi-finished, semi-stripped state.  It's a great side table in my living room, and it's been well used as you can see.

So, first things first, my husband "volunteered" to sand off the top and side grooves of the table.

Thanks, Honey!
Next, I added a coat of Minwax Ebony Stain to the top.

Then, two coats of plain White Flat Interior Paint (the cheapest one they had at Lowes) in place of Chalk Paint.  Flat finish is pretty much the same as the Chalk finish, isn't it?

Now, the moment of truth...I really love the distressed look that those Designer Waxes give, but I'm too cheap to buy them.  So, instead, I though I'd give this a try:
Yup!  Brown Shoe Polish!  Got it for a buck at the Dollar Store!

I put it on using an old dishtowel. What do you think?

Two Hints:  1. Do yourself a favor and wear some latex/rubber gloves during this step!  2. A little Shoe Polish goes a loooong way, so go slowly at first until you get the hang of it!

The Shoe Polish dries instantly, so immediately after the distressing step, I applied three coats of Satin Polyurethane (the kind that cleans up with soap and water - it's far less stinky than the oil-based kind).

Here's the final product:

Here's BEFORE again!  Dramatic Transformation!

Looks cute with my Rag Rose Topiary Lamp, don't you think?

The Fake-It Yourself Breakdown:

Fake French Country Refinished Sewing Table ($12.50 White Flat Paint, $1.00 Shoe Polish, $10.77 Polyurethane, $0.00 Rag)

Total Fake-It Cost: $24.27 (with plenty leftover for Projects 2 & 3)

Compare to Designer Refinishing Materials such as Annie Sloan's ($27.00 Chalk Paint, $12.65 Dark  Wax, $31.76 Lacquer)

Total Fake-It Savings: $47.14

Linking Up at Tip Junkie, Today's Creative Blog, The Frugal GirlsFunky Junk Interiors and these other Great Parties! 


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  2. You did a great job! Shoe polish was cool.

  3. Loving this... what a great job!! I just bought a hutch and wanted to Chalk inspired me to give flat paint a try and use butchers wax on top!! Thanks~~!

    1. Tracey, So glad! Butcher's wax is a great idea, too! Send me a picture when it's done!

  4. Wow!! That looks great! Love the stain on the top, and who would have thought shoe polish. I have a table I may have to make over this summer. Thanks for your wonderful ideas!!

  5. Love it! I have a country french coffee table in need of refinishing...I was going to do a normal refinish job on it...but now thinking I may try this.

  6. Love your table. And so much cheaper than the chalk paints and waxes.

  7. You absolutely rock! There is always a cheaper way to get the same effect. No one will know what kind of paint and wax you used unless you tell them. Let them think you splurged!

  8. Wow that's beautiful! I would have never thought of using shoe polish. I may have to try that next time I want to give something an antiqued look. I would love to have you share it at my link party!

  9. Thank you so much for the ideas. I've been wanting to find an alternative to the expensive wax. Can't wait to try this on something.

  10. I've done the same thing with old english liquid.Also did it on paintable wallpaper(embossed) works great! I'd send pics but no longer live there.

  11. I loved the Turk's Head Knot on your earlier post about nautical knots, so had to find a tutorial to make my own out of some old twine out in my shed...they look great only now I have to keep my eyes open for some heavier rope to make a nice big one. Thought I'd share the tutorial:

  12. I love the finished product! Thank you for the shoe polish idea! I would never have thought of that...but will definitely be doing it from now on.

  13. Liquid shoe polish also works for white on something dark, or one of the browns on something white. Get a foam disposable plate & a 2" throw away brush from $ store. Get some liquid on the plate & dry brush it on, I usually also get the .99 can of clear spray paint at $ Store or Lowes to seal the whole peice when I am done.

  14. What a great looks great!

    I would love if you would post it and share it with my readers! Join the Community and share any of your creative project!

    Susan @ Oh My! Creative

  15. I am a woodcarver and have used shoe polish as an antiquing medium for many years...good job on the furniture.

  16. Amazing! Great idea, great job!

  17. wow! thanks so much for sharing these ideas! I also like to fake it :) Good to know you can get the same look without buying all the expensive paints - I thought I was going to have to try that next time! This summer I distressed my TV stand by spraying paint onto a plastic bag (all I had at the moment) and rubbed it on - - haha, shoe polish looks much better!

    Brie @ BreezyPinkDaisies

  18. This is gorgeous! I am heading to buy shoe polish now!

    Ashley from

  19. That looks gorgeous! And who would have thought shoe polish would do such a great job!? We'd love for you to share this at our party!

  20. I think it looks great. I think I will try flat paint in place of the expensive ASCP. And I like the look the shoe polish made over the dark AS dark wax.
    Thank you so much for being fake frugal.

  21. Love, love, love! Love that furniture polish tip too!! I just don't have the dough to pay for the chalk paint plus the other stuff PLUS shipping (can't get it in my town). I will have to try this.

  22. had to say great ingenuity! i love it when people DIY and cherish the item more when it turns out as good as your's did!

  23. I like it. What could you do for a more distressed wood finish?

  24. I make my own chalkpaint.....may recipes on pinterest, just search for homemade chalkpaint. I use plaster of Paris mixed with my latex paint, works perfectly, sands beautifully. Your piece is gorgeous

  25. Thank you so much for the great tips. I just finished my coffee table and bathroom shelf. I never would have thought of shoe polish. I used a few layers of black and brown to get a darker brown look and I just love it. Your sight is my new favorite.

  26. What a transformation! I'm just into things far enough to understand the chalk paint phenomenon! I just know it's expensive! That really looks awesome.

  27. Gorgeous~! ( only wondering what the hell is up with that lampshade) lol - but the table is beautiful

  28. Find your best furniture featured product deals, furniture discounts, furniture coupons and much more on almost every furniture item with great savings only on

  29. The first thing you need to do is thoroughly clean your furniture. Wood is more susceptible to stains than other products because it will absorb the stain quickly. Polishing is the first thing that you need to take care of. To polish your wood, select a good quality furniture polish.

    Remove Scratches

  30. Some really great stuff! Ever since I started using this delivery service from home direct amazon that assembled my furniture for me I've found the time and effort I need to be able to transform my furniture into what I've always wanted

  31. Thank you so much for the great tips..
    Hotel furniture...Gorgeous the table is beautiful.

  32. it! Thanks for showing me what you did with your sewing table. I use milk paint in place of the expensive chalk paint.

  33. it! Thanks for showing me what you did with your sewing table. I use milk paint in place of the expensive chalk paint.

  34. I hear white is very hard to get right with the chalk paint method. What a great alternative!

  35. It is lovely! I already have a cabinet waiting for this! Would it work with a pearl finish paint instead of flat paint?

  36. Great post! This is so well done! Thank you for this beds for sale UK

  37. This is gorgeous! I am heading to buy shoe polish now! MATTRESS AND FOAMS UK

  38. i am giving this a go for sure... I am been looking for a cheaper way of getting great result, thanks for posting

  39. Brilliant! Can't wait to try it. So much more sensible than chalk paint and furniture finish wax. Thanks. Love your blog.

  40. You did a fantastic job and they all look great! I have in my lifetime refinished probably over 100 pieces of furniture. Before the days of chalk paint and ageing wax, this is what I did.
    I would paint the furniture with a good exterior house paint, satin finish. Then, to age it, I tinted my own wax. Buy a can of Johnson's Paste Wax, and tint to your desired color with an oil based wood stain. Easy peasy and cheap. A can of wax and the smallest can of stain you can buy will last practically forever. I used exterior paint because of its wearing ability, and it's important to use a satin finish so the wax is easy to rub off, leaving it where you want it.

    1. Forgot to mention, scoop out a small portion of wax and place in a disposable bowl. Add the stain a small amount at a time, it doesn't take much, and "whip" with an old spoon until it's combined. The wax needs to be soft, which it will be if you keep it stored inside the house.

    2. Geeze, have not had enough caffeine this morning, LoL. Also forgot to mention, if you use the satin finish paint and wax as I described above, there is no further protective coatings needed. It's done. No polyurethane required.

  41. Love using flat paint!!!! Rub it with 0000 steel wool & it has a wonderful sheen & feels smooth as silk...

  42. really lovely and quite ingenious of you! Well done!

  43. Wow!!! great work. How nicely you makeover the French style furnitures?

  44. Wow!! That looks great! Love the stain on the top, and who would have thought shoe polish. I have a table I may have to make over this summer. Thanks for your wonderful ideas!! And just for your information, in Indonesia we make some mahogany and teak furniture. You can visit my site to

  45. I'm buying new furniture and have found this amazing french country furniture collection. I have compared all of the major furniture brands online and this company has the best prices/collection in a french country style. Thought I would share it with your readers:

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  47. I tried the chalk paint and was not impressed, especially for the price. I am definitely going to try this instead. Thank you for the great idea!

  48. So glad I found this little trick. I am definitely going to give this a try.

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  52. شركة شراء اثاث مستعمل بحائل والمدينة والدمام
    هناك العديد من الخدمات التى يبحث عنها باستمرار عملاء داخل كل مكان فى الرياض ولكن لا يجدون افضل الخدمات المميزة والتى تحقق الخدمات التى تحقق مستوى عالى من الخدمة ، من اهم هذه الخدمات هو شراء الاثاث المستعمل فى الرياض وبيع الاثاث ايضا ، فلم يكن هناك منزل الا وقد يحتاج الى اعمال البيع او الشراء للاثاث او الرغبة فى التخلص من اى شىء متواجد فى المنازل لم يكن هناك بحاجة الية .
    محلات الاثاث المستعمل بالدمام
    شراء الاثاث المستعمل بالدمام
    شركة شراء الاثاث المستعمل بالدمام
    تهتم شركة المستقبل باعمال الشراء لجميع الموديلات المتواجدة ورغم ان هناك الكثير من الموديلات المختلفة المتواجدة فى المكان من الاثاث الزجاجى والاثاث الخشبى و... غيرها بالاضافة الى القيام باعمال الشراء للاغراض المنزلية المستعملة والاثاث بجميع انواعة والاجهزة الكهربائية وكافة الاغراض المتواجدة والتى اصبحت لا قيمة له بالنسبة لعملائنا فى كل مكان فى المملكة العربية السعودية .
    محلات الاثاث المستعمل بالمدينة المنورة
    شراء الاثاث المستعمل بالمدينة المنورة
    شركة شراء الاثاث المستعمل بالمدينة المنورة
    لماذا شركة المستقبل فى اعمال الشراء للاثاث المستعمل بالرياض؟
    تهتم شركة المستقبل باعمال الشراء للاثاث المستعمل من خلال الفروع المنتشرة فى كل مكان فى المملكة والتى تسعى الى شراء اى قطعة من الاثاث مهما كانت موديلها ومهما كانت حالتة وبالاضافة الى اى كان المادة المصنوعة منها ليس فقط من الاخشاب فلدينا اتم استعداد لشراء اثاث المنازل والفنادق والبيوت والمطابخ .
    من اهم المميزات التى تقدمة شركة المستقل اثناء القيام باعمال الشراء للاثاث الاتى :-
    • - الاسعار التى تقدمة الشركة افضل الاسعار والتى تتلائم مع الاغراض المراد
    محلات الاثاث المستعمل
    • القيام بشراءة دون ان يبخس فى اسعارها .
    • - تعتمد على الخبراء فى تحديد الاسعار ولا يتم الامر بشكل عشوائى فالدقة والامانة من اهم مميزات شركة المستقبل .
    • - يتم تحديد الوقت من قبل عملائنا وعلينا القيام باعمال الفحص واعطاء التقرير وتقدير الاغراض المتواحدة فى المكان .
    • - تقوم الشركة بتوفير السيارات المتخصصة فى اعمال النقل من المكان الى المخازن الخاصة بالشركة .
    محلات الاثاث المستعمل بحائل
    شراء الاثاث المستعمل بحائل
    شركة شراء الاثاث المستعمل بحائل
    عزيزى عميل شركة المستقبل شركتنا تهتم باعمال الشراء والبيع للاثاث المستعمل والعمل على اعادة اصلاحة وتجديدة مرة اخرى والقيام باعمال الدهانات و التجنيد والاهتمام بكافة الخدمات التى يحتاح الية الاثاث .
    لا تكتفى شركة باعمال الشراء فقط ، فنظرا لان هناك ارتفاع فى الاسعار للاثاث فى الاوانة الاخيرة فلدينا محلات لبيع الاثاث المستعمل لا تستطيع ان تفرق بينة وبين الاثاث الجديد فاذا كنت تبحث عن شراء الاثاث الذى يلزم منزلك او تبحث شراء قطعة من التحف وغيرها ، فتاكد انك سوف تجد كل ما هو مميز لدينا ونحقق لك افضل ما تتمنى ان ترى علية المكان فتعاون مع شركة المستقبل فى القيام باى خدمة خاصة ببيع او شراء الاثاث المستعمل فى اى مكان فى المملكة .

  53. I recently bought one such classic looking French country furniture from a designer furniture store in London and the rustic appeal and ornate hand carvings on wood was truly sublime as I was basically looking for a vintage style furniture for my country house in Berkshire. I guess it would go on to impress my guests and friends who come enjoying their weekends in Berkshire.


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