For this month’s partnership with Ace Hardware, we were encouraged to break the painting rules. Think: colored ceilings, painted floors and hot pink furniture (which, by the way, we’d be down with!). We wanted to have fun with idea, but between completing the guest room and looking forward to the kitchen, we weren’t quite ready to commit to, say, a whole room color or larger furniture piece.
But! We did have a slab of wood, and we did have hairpin legs waiting for their match (more on those in a bit). You know we’re always up for a little burst of color, so we put a plan into action.
A couple months ago, our friend Eric – fellow flea market lover and seller! – came to our house. Before leaving, he told us, I have just the thing you need. Once home, he texted us this hunky live edge slab that he’d been hoarding from a flea adventure of yore, and he said it was destined to be with us. Um, are you kidding me and yes please and when can we pick up?
It’s a good 5′ wide and 2″ thick, but the surface was rough to the touch. Normally I would have started with an 80 grit sandpaper to smooth it down quickly , but once I got all set up outside, I realized I didn’t have any on hand. (Kim!) It took a little longer, but I used what I had: 150 grit sandpaper first, followed by a superfine 220 grit with our orbital sander. Almost immediately, I could start to see the gorgeous grain shine through, and a solid 45 minutes of sanding brought the whole surface down to a super smooth, super soft finish.
I wiped off all the sanding dust with a microfiber cloth and tapped along the live edge to get any lingering debris out of the nooks. Using a 4″ foam roller for the top and a 2″ paintbrush for the sides, I sealed the bench up in 3 coats (no stain) using our go-to Polycrylic in Clear Satin. Between coats, I lightly sanded the wood surface with a 220 grit sanding block, which helps the following coat adhere. Note: While pushing the polycrylic into the live edge with my paintbrush, it looked sort of white and foam-like, but it dried to a perfectly clear finish.
Now, about those legs. We’ve had these stashed since last summer (the summer of big demolition!). The 18″ hairpins were found in a Goodwill, painted a medium brown (to mimic wood, maybe?) and attached to a chipped up plywood top for $6! We tossed the top and kept the legs (you couldn’t even purchase half a hairpin for that price), and after spraying them with primer, I used a foam brush to give them a vibrant pink finish: Valspar’s Magenta Manicure. We wanted them to be durable, so we went with Valspar Optimus in a flat finish to give the illusion of being powder coated. Tip: Some Ace Hardwares are able to compress your purchased paint and turn it into spray paint! This was our original plan, but sadly, their machine was down at the time. Womp. If you’re in the Chicagoland area, the closest location that does this is in Wheaton, IL.
We waited a day for everything to dry, used wood screws to attach the legs to our poly-ed slab, and we brought it up to the second floor landing – for now. Eventually, it would look great at the foot of a bed, and it’s not so heavy that we couldn’t move it down to the living or dining rooms. We even tried it out in our funny little (teal-green) nook room, but the pink shines in the studio, don’t you think?
The wood slab is so, so pretty, and it’s a bit outside of the norm of what we would normally gravitate towards – and that’s been half the fun of experimenting in this home!
We’ll be back later this week with our finished dining room gallery wall (checking off those tiny to-dos – such a good feeling!), but for now, how about a bit of Ace cash for your own rule-breaking paint projects? Together with the Ace crew, we’ll be giving away a $100 Ace Hardware gift card to one lucky reader! The giveaway runs through Friday, November 21st at 5pm CST; simply enter using the Rafflecopter widget below. The winner will be announced within this post by Friday evening. Good luck and happy entering!