DIY for dummies

chalk-painted table

If I were ever to host a craft blog it would be called “The Crappy Crafter.” I cut corners. I don’t prep properly, and I absolutely refuse to embrace the process. I do not want to take “proper steps” and “time.” I just want to get to the finished product.

This is a metaphor for my life, really. Don’t get me wrong. I absolutely love to take on a lot of DIY projects. What separates me from the pros is that I also do not love to try real hard. I am the person who refuses to tape down tarps when I paint, for example. Thus I spend a lot of time — and carpal tunnel risk — scraping paint drops off things.

In other news, I used a paint sprayer on the front porch last spring. I’m sure that white paint will grow off the shrubbery, eventually. All miter cuts — and cutting of any kind — are left to Mr. Wonderful. I am fully aware that I am not allowed to operate any type of saw because measure twice and cut once is not in my wheelhouse. I quit trusting math once the alphabet got involved.

The only thing I am allowed to cut around here is corners. My most recent foray into corner-cutting-near-disaster DIY was my insistence on making over an old gateleg table. My budget was roughly $20 and I wanted to spend an hour to an hour and a half tops. That would include coffee breaks, naturally.


This tired old table was handed down from my Great Grandparent’s home. It is probably 90 years old but the style itself is a dime a dozen. Walnut finish on wood of some undetermined origin, fold down sides, one tiny drawer and a skinny top.

When folded down it takes up only a sliver of space and is quite handy. When the sides are folded up it makes a nice table for four or so. Six if they are really close friends.

I routinely see these types of tables sell at auction for $10-20 or so. So before we go any further, let me assure you, dear readers, that no irreplaceable heirlooms were harmed in the making of a more useful piece. Over the years it had been moved all around the house until it had, finally, been relegated to the porch.

New plan

Still, we have a history, this table and I. I simply couldn’t part with it. So I dragged it back in. I poked around on Pinterest — dangerous ground — and came up with a plan to bleach the top with household bleach. I could cut corners and use basic products for things they were never designed to do. What’s not to love?

I planned to chalk paint the legs, because that just seems like a basic craft lady thing to do. I’m about a decade behind the “chalk paint all the things” trend so it was time I caught up. Again, because I love to cut corners, I bought spray chalk paint.


This leads to the next step: dealing with a buzzkill. Special thanks to said buzzkill (aka Mr. Wonderful), who stopped me from spray painting indoors. For a brief moment of insanity, I actually contemplated doing so in our kitchen. In my defense, it was cold outside.

Somehow in the moment, I felt like that would actually be a great idea. In fact, I was somewhat annoyed with him for stopping me. I was going to put a towel down, sheesh. As far as I was concerned he could just sit there and be wrong in his wrongness.

As an aside, he was right to stop me. I don’t know what the heck I was thinking. Cabin fever is real, y’all. In the end, I dragged it back onto the porch and spent a happy afternoon splashing bleach on things and spray painting every inch that wasn’t bleached. Did I wear a mask? I think you know the answer to that. Let’s just say I might have lost a lung, but I gained a really cute table.


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Warm, witty and just a wee bit warped, Kymberly Foster Seabolt is a native of Kent, Ohio, who survived childhood exposure to disco and grew up to marry and move to the country. Her column weaves her special brand of humor with poignant, entertaining, and honest portrayals of parenting, marriage, and real life. She currently lives in northeastern Ohio with her husband, two children, two dogs, two cats, and numerous dust bunnies who wish to remain nameless.


  1. That was enjoyable & entertaining to read. With a touch of real (in the sense it related to me alot), so I was laughing with you, & at myself haha. Nevermind. Anyway I will look forward to your next D.I.Y. thanks.
    By the way. That looks amazing. Very much NOT, Run Of The Mill/cookie cutter, piece of furniture. (Not like anything I’ve ever seen here in Australia anyways).

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