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How to Make a Farm Table from Inexpensive Craigslist Furniture

I love an antique harvest table like this one here, but can’t quite manage the expense right now. I decided to make my own farm table with an inexpensive find on Craigslist – you’ve seen these tables time and time again, but probably see the yellow or orange glossy coat and run. Don’t. This table was just $50 and with very little effort, I have my own farm table to enjoy! 

DIY Harvest Farmhouse Table via
Like any crazy pregnant woman, I have changed my mind a few times in the process, but let’s start with the DIY I did.
1} I started with a traditional table, made of solid pine.  Using a hand belt sander, and 60 grit sandpaper {rough}, I removed the varnish.  Then using my hand sander {I recommend at least having this} I used a sandpaper grit of 120 to ensure a smooth surface.  I also used this for the divets around the edge.
$50 harvest table via
I left just a tad of vanish/color in them, which adds a lot of character and saves a lot of time.  No hand sanding here!
diy harvest table via
When I got to this point, I just couldn’t continue with my original plan to sand the sides, legs and give them all a slight stain.  It just looked so simple and beautiful as is.  The transformation from it’s honey color had captured my heart!  And hey, who doesn’t like eliminating steps?
2} So I let it weather a few days.  Not long, just enough to give it a little more variation in color and darken it a little.  To give it a quick and deeper weathered look, break apart a steel wool pad and soak it in vinegar overnight.
harvest farmhouse table via
3} To give it a little protection, I “waxed on” tung oil. Yep, just like a car.  It penetrates into the wood giving protecting it, without giving it a gloss coat, making it useful for now!
The table that will eventually go in the dining room is walnut, matching the current furniture and floors, but for now, the table will be used in the dining room.  The table seats 9 with the leaf and will be perfect for hosting Thanksgiving.  The next two photos are the first final result, including one with a Fall table setting.
diy harvest table via
DIY Harvest Table Tutorial via
At risk of sounding like Brittney Spears, oops, I did it again.  I couldn’t resist.  I just couldn’t stop thinking about the final product. This photo {via Williams Sonoma} and the one above continued to burn in my mind.  So…
DIY harvest table - image via Williams Sonoma
I considered the vinegar, tea and steel abrasive pads to age the wood, but wasn’t sure if that was the look I really wanted to go for.  It had a little rustic look already because I didn’t give it a completely smooth sanded finish and didn’t eliminated all of the tarnish from the edges.  I decided to use two stains to achieve the color I wanted.  The first, Minwax “driftwood” to give it a little dirty look, followed by their simple special walnut.  I used really thin coats, continually stroking the brush to “pull” the stain.  I also used an old towel to brush off stain on areas below that naturally collected too much.  I wanted those to be a little darker, just not as dramatic as they were.  I allowed extra stain to seep into the crevices and edges of the table to continue a little rustic look.
The finished project:
DIY farmhouse table via
What do you think?
DIY harvest table via
outdoor dining patio furniture
Would you believe it just took me a couple hours? I look forward to hosting lots of friends at this table! Am I the only one that changes my mind each step of the way?


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entertaining expert and lifestyle blogger Julie Blanner




15 comments on “How to Make a Farm Table from Inexpensive Craigslist Furniture”

  1. I am also a crazy pregnant lady, and have been looking around my house lately at all the furniture I’d like to change and fix up before baby number two comes along. My only concern is doing work like that while pregnant. Were you worried about removing varnish while pregnant? I’d use a particle mask while working, but still…Just wondering what your thoughts are. The table looks great!

  2. Lol! It depends on the ventilation. My husband (a physician) gave me the okay with a mask and doing it outdoors. As far as painting, again ventilation and te type of paint. I’d love it if you’d share your projects!

  3. Wow, that’s great! Now I can go ahead and paint that dresser and sand my dining room table. I guess this mama’s gonna be busy in her last trimester!
    And since you asked, I blog about crafting, baking and mothering at

  4. Robin, I wanted to let you know that I tried to comment on a couple of your posts and couldn’t pass the word verification. Best wishes with your furniture alterations!

  5. How funny! Your table totally looks like a table we re-finished for my mom last year for her birthday!

    Yours looks fantastic! I love the birch on white look!

  6. The diy harvest table shown here is superb. Have a look at it

  7. Good idea with the grinding using a sandpaper abrasive. It ensures the exact amount of friction to make an even polished out surface.

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  11. Your table looks awesome! I’m just curious did you do anything to remove the tung oil before you put the stains on, or did you just stain over the tung oil?

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