Useable Art

Sometimes things wear out, and we just don't have the money to start replacing them. This is when we need to just stand back really look at the item, and figure out a way to get more life out of it. Cheap kitchen tables are one of those items. This project is for anyone out there who has a kitchen table that is still standing but the wooden top has seen better days. Before you throw it out, consider this project.

Or maybe you need to get a kitchen table, but don't want to get a set because your chairs are still good. Whatever your reasons, there is a cool way to update your kitchen table, or any table actually, that can also become a conversation piece and a useable piece of art! Think of it as a permanent photo album on display.

Here is what you will need:

One wooden kitchen table, or table with wooden top

Lots of family pictures, or posters or anything that you can get black and white photocopies of.

Decoupage Glue or Lots of white glue that you can mix with some water to make homemade decoupage glue

high adhesion primer

black latex paint

paint brushes

Clear water based varnish (water based works best as it doesn't yellow the whites)

Clear plastic or vinyl table cloth or clear Plexi-glass or a piece of clear glass cut to size, but the plastic table cloth is cheapest.

How to create it:

Take as many pictures as you can find and put them on the copier glass, you want to get as many on a piece of legal size copy paper as possible, especially if you are paying to make the copies. Take black and white photo copies these look the best in a large grouping. Get lots of these.

Depending on how big your table is, you will need lots of these photo copied pictures, but this is also a great way to get those pictures that are somewhere in a box out for people to see. If you don't have many find some relatives or pictures of things you like. Anything to personalize this table. They don't have to be in any particular order, just haul out those doubles and other pictures you can find loose.

Now really clean the table top with a degreaser cleaner and rinse and let dry. Now paint it with a good high adhesion primer (paint stores sell this, is covers everything without having to strip off paint or varnish as long as there is no grease).

Once you have put on a couple of coats of high adhesion primer, now you can paint the table top black, you should use two coats. Let it dry well. Now take your photo copied pictures and cut them out of the sheets, this is where the whole family can get involved. If you don't want to cover the whole table, then you could pick the outer edges and the center and make a pattern from your pictures. This part is up to you.

Using the decoupage medium or your homemade version (2 parts white glue to 1 part water mixed well in a bowl), paint an area with this glue and then place your pictures face up, and with a brush push the air bubbles out and coat the picture with the glue mixture.

Keep on going overlapping pictures as you go, filling in gaps with smaller pictures. You could also use photocopied posters or postcards anything. Maybe a photocopied kids drawing from long ago.

Once you have all your pictures on your table and you are happy with it, and all the pictures have had at least one coat of the glue mixture over top of them (the glue goes on white and dries clear) then you can let it dry.

Next step is to put on 2 coats of your clear water based varnish. Although the varnish dries rock hard, it is nice to further protect your work of art with a clear vinyl table cloth, or if you can swing the extra cost, have plastic or glass cut to size Since you will be using this table, that extra layer of protection will keep it looking good.

Now every time you sit down to eat, you can have a conversation piece. If you have lots of pictures on this table, then you will never run out of ones to look at!. Using the black and white photo copies on the black background table has a stunning effect.

These cheap kitchen tables, are no longer cheap. They are works of art, that will be treasured for years to come.

You can do this same effect on coffee tables, stools and frames. I have done one with a mirror in the bathroom, so every time I brush my teeth I see a nice picture of when my kids were younger. You just decoupage them onto a wood frame. Lots of extra hands helping at gluing the pictures on helps it go faster.

The longest part of this project is cutting out the copies and gluing them down, but once you have done that it has an amazing effect.

So, maybe you saw some cheap kitchen tables for sale at the second hand store. You can get them for a good price and then personalize the tops with your useable photo album.

Give the rest of your set a good clean, you could even paint the chairs if you wanted or add chair pads to update the kitchen table and chairs. There are many things you can do to update in the kitchen and yet make it your own.

Cheap kitchen tables can be turned into great works of art. Since you are taking photo copies in black and white, you could use ancestry pictures. A family tree on the table to look at. There are many combination of pictures you can use. Make sure and fill in the gaps as best you can with smaller pictures, that way, you never run out of things to see and talk about.  Also see repurposed window frames for more great ideas, and using Faux Tin Tiles for that backsplash.