April 23, 2019

How I made my fish table…

OK, Chabby asked me to share how I made my fish table… This project started with my neighbor sitting one of  those little wine rack tables, we’ve all seen before, on the curb…free to a good home…with a plan in mind, I scooped it up…We were in need of a table that could live on the front porch with the rockers, a place for appetizers when we are hanging out…So this is what I did…First, I flattened out a cardboard box so I could make a pattern for my fish. That way I could create the right size of fish to fit over the existing table top. I decided to leave the original top on the rack because it was sturdy and well attached.

After I got my fish drawn, I cut around it leaving about a 2 inch margin so I could have the ability to tweak the final shape, to make sure I liked the shape and more importantly that it covered the existing top. I then realized that I would need to nip off the corners of the original top to accommodate the roundness of the fish otherwise my fish would’ve had to be a lot bigger.

So now I have my pattern and I went to Lowes to look for a piece of wood. I was hoping to be able to purchase a small piece of plywood instead of a whole sheet but what I found was much better. They had small finger jointed wood in three or four different dimensions, pre-sanded, suitable for a table top. The wood is not a hardwood so you have to be ok that it will get dinged easier and just consider that part of its future character.

Back home, I laid the pattern on the wood and traced my fish, then used a jigsaw to cut it out. Because it is a softer wood, it was easy to cut and the I took a piece of 220 sandpaper and sanded the edges. Then I used the jigsaw to cut the corners off of the original table and I drilled 4 holes so I could attach the screws to the fish from underneath. A little secret I learned a long time ago, is that when screwing two pieces of wood together it is important to pre-drill the first piece of wood for the screw to slide through the hole and only bite the second piece of wood, otherwise they will push away from each other. I then attached the fish adding some wood glue before screwing it together.

Now, the really hard part…How to paint it??? Since I am not an artist, a realistic fish was not an option, so I decided on a “folk art fish”. That translates to no rules. Google is your friend, so I googled folk art fish…I didn’t really see anything that I thought would work for me, but what I did see was freedom, uneven lines, color…

It’s time to pick my colors… I looked around my kitchen and saw a few pieces of fiesta ware grouped together…and decided to use 4 of those colors…so off to Lowes again…I picked paint chips that matched my colors and had them mix samples for under $3.00 a color. This is the best deal ever!!! Back home, I am ready to design…I drew on my pattern till I figured out what how I wanted to paint the fish. I used leftover interior latex primer to prime all the raw wood first. Then I turned the table upside down and sprayed the underneath black (Rustoleum Satin Finish Enamel). I wanted the underneath to seem to disappear, so when you were sitting down, all you would notice was the color.

To apply the paint I used a combination of sponge and small (cheap) artist brushes. I applied the primer and most of the first coat with the sponge brushes and used the artist brushes for the second coat and the eye. It needed a second coat to make the colors really pop. Then I put three coats of clear polyurethane to seal the paint…I always wait at least a week or two before I use anything with poly on it, to give the polyurethane time to cure (ie. harden)…not sure if it really matters, it’s just what I do…and that’s it…we now have a fun table for the porch that cost less than $40.00…And my friends are amazed…You gotta love that :>))  Karen M.

PAINTING DOORS…ugh!!!

Painting doors has to be hated by professional painters too (they tell us this by their price for painting them).I have discovered an easier way to get that professional look, without the professionals. No brush marks, just a smooth crisp look as if you had the doors sprayed .Well…all you need is a small foam roller and time to do the painting.The foam roller puts the paint on light, but so smoothly… after two coats,and maybe a touch up roll here and there, you will be amazed at the quality of your job! Remember it is work that you can do, and it is easy, but time-consuming. Think of all the things that you can do with the money you saved by doing it yourself… move on to the next project. Stephen