I am firm believer of the “if you can’t find it, make it” philosophy, so when I couldn’t find a coffee table for our living room that was either a) unique enough, or b) in my price range, I set out to create one of my own. Now I’m not a carpenter or a welder, so this limits the amount of from-scratch work I can do, but I’m good with a paint brush and hell-on-wheels in a resale market, so I set out on a mission.
I love thick, elaborate frames on art and mirrors, so my goal for the day was to find a great frame on a cheap piece of art and an inexpensive bench or side table and somehow throw them together to make something useful. My original thought was that if I could find a frame I liked, I could lay it over glass or wood and affix it to the top of a nice sturdy table – preferably a solid wood pedestal type side table. I headed to the local Charity Guild resale store on a weekday, when there’s less traffic and usually more items being brought out for inventory in preparation for the weekend crowds. I practically had the place to myself and I was feeling lucky.
First pass I found this great Ethan Allen solid wood end table that had a great pedestal shape and carved details for a mere $22. SCORE!
I was planning to paint it anyway, so it didn’t matter what shape the finish was in, and I loved that it had some depth to work with. Instantly gold leaf came to mind.
Next to find the perfect frame. Since I was planning to paint that too, I didn’t care what color it was. More importantly, I was searching for a baroque style that I could paint gold to coordinate with the large gold mirror in our living room. And then, there it was. This fabulous Rococo style golden frame, surrounding a great old signed Petitjean mezzotint engraving. The more I looked at the art, the more I loved it. It had a lot of the gray tones that we have in our home, and the scene had a beautiful classic art vibe that worked well with our other art. Plus, it was already covered in plexi making it a perfect waterproof surface as it was. Just the right size and a TOTAL WIN at only $78.
So once I got the pieces home, I gave the frame a good cleaning and touched up the gold on some broken edges with some liquid leaf. Then I took my side table outside, gave it a light sanding, and using some leftover paint from our paneled walls, I gave it a coat with a natural bristle brush. I wanted it to have some loose streaking from the bristles to keep that imperfect, aged feel. Once it dried, I added Liquid Leaf brand gold leaf, in the same color as I used to touch up the frame, to the inset carved details similar to the Louis XVI style chair legs in our dining room. (Here’s a GREAT article from The Aestate for more info on differentiating Louis style chairs.)
Finally, to affix the art to the table, I performed the ultimate cheat. Because I didn’t want to make this a “permanent” placement, in case I someday wanted to just keep the art for some reason, I pulled out my trusty semi-permanent solution – industrial strength Velcro. This may seem comical to some of you, but I decorated 75% of my bakery with a Trompe L’oeil style paneling on the walls that got rave reviews and was featured on a national TV show for its unique design. When I closed the store, I was able to take every single piece of that paneling with me – thanks to that removable Velcro that held those panels on the walls for almost 6 years. I am no fool.
Anyway, since the art was backed in paper, I simply covered the back with a layer of clear packing tape to reinforce it and give the Velcro something sturdy to stick to, set the art on top of the table and positioned it where I wanted it, and then marked the corners with a pen on the back of the art. Then I placed a large piece of Velcro on each corner of the tabletop, set the mate piece of the velcro on top of that, removed the backing, and positioned the art. That puppy ain’t moving.
So here’s the final product:
And in the room near the large gold mirror:
I’ve gotten a lot of “oh my gosh, where did you find that” compliments and with 2 kids to give it the real field test, we’ve cleaned up spills with no problem and haven’t seen it tip over or wobble at all. It’s a perfect match since I used the same paint as on the walls, and the gold frame is about as close in color to the mirror as I could have ever planned.
It was a super easy, one-of-a-kind addition to our eclectic living space that I am sure we will cherish for years to come, and for about $100 plus the cost of paint and Velcro that I already had on hand, it’s cheaper than anything I could have bought at a retail or antique store for sure.
So what do you think? I welcome your comments and feel free to share some of your own DIY furniture revamps with me too!