a round green coffee table

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This is a vintage Paul Frankl cocktail table that is selling for $5,800 at Downtown.  It is absolutely PERFECT for my room, but there is NO WAY I can afford nearly six thousand dollars for a coffee table.  Thus began my search to find a suitable replacement.

I knew it would probably be hard to find a green table, so I attempted to find a round table that could be painted.  I wanted something between 36″ – 42″ in diameter, preferably nearer the larger dimensions.  I also did not want something too low (we are tall in our household, and I am not a fan of low slung furniture).  I was willing to spend up to $500 if I could find the perfect piece, but I was hoping to spend about half that.  No luck at any price (except, of course, in the $1000++ bracket).

Next I turned to craigslist, where I actually found a French Provincial round table done in a shabby chic white with a broken foot for only $30.  The dimensions were perfect!  I figured it wouldn’t be hard to sand and repaint to suit my purposes.  I snapped it up.

Unfortunately, the seller did not disclose that the top of the table was very badly warped and bubbled from being outdoors or in the rain or something.  The warping did not show up on the pictures.  I hesistated about finalizing the purchase, but the shape and scale of the piece were perfect and for only $30 I thought that I could do something….

Sanding did not made a dent in the swollen areas, although it did help break down some of the crackle finish of the paint.  The part that was broken on the foot was minor and hardly noticeable if you faced that side to the fireplace (which I did, of course, and I never did fix it).  I figured the only thing to do was to raise the rest of the table top to level with the swollen places.  However, with the scalloped and bi-level detail fo the top, it seemed difficult at best to pour some resin or other product on top and to achieve a nice edge and finish.  Plus I wasn’t sure that was the look I wanted.  In the end I decided to try papier mache.

I ended up doing three layers of papier mache, letting it fully dry and sanding between each application. It worked pretty well and cost me just pennies (I used a flour and water paste with a little salt added to make sure it dried more thoroughly and to give me a harder finished surface).  It was still a bit rough, even with the sanding, so I used some wall patching mixture (thinned down) to smooth out the rough edges, and then sanded again.  It never got completely smooth, but I was happy enough with results to move on to painting.

(I might also note that somewhere in the middle of this process I brought the table inside to show it off.  When I carried it back outside to keep working on it, I dropped it on my bare feet and smashed up my big toe horrendously.  You should thank me for not posting a picture of it.  This is the pain and suffering we endure for a bargain!)

With two $3.50 cans of spray paint, I ended up spending less than $40 and I am quite pleased with the result.  I even had enough paint left over to spray paint a mirror in the front entry.  I am pretty happy with my version of the high end design, even though I had to work through several challenges (and a sore foot) to get there.  The color is great in my room too.  I knew I wanted green!

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