Tinfoil makeover

When I was younger, I had this thing for restoring furniture. I used to spend hours bent over very old and very average pieces scraping away at old varnish, sanding until my hands were raw, and then refinishing with an oil or a wax or or a stain, until it looked brand new and beautiful. There was something that I loved about taking something that was unremarkable and dull and harnessing power tools and making a mess everywhere and getting dust all in my hair and making it beautiful.
The very first thing that came to mind on day one of my single days, was that I wanted to restore furniture again.

So i’ve been a busy girl.
The first thing i’m going to share with you sounds nuts.
While my dining table was okay enough, I felt it was just okay and I hate the chairs. So i’ve been sizing it up for weeks, wanting to do something with it, but not your run-of-the-mill sand and revarnish. I’ve been waiting for it to speak to me… show me what it wanted to be when it grew up. But for the longest time I had nothing.

Then I had this idea.
What if I glued Aluminum foil all over it?

So thats just what I did.

This was my table before the tinfoil makeover

So this is how I did it.

I mixed up 2 liters of wall paper paste. (I tried using craft glue to begin with, which was expensive, messy, got all over my face, made me say the eff word, plus made for a marathon of elbow grease when I had to scrape it off) I cut the foil up into squares and simply pasted the table and laid the foil over it. No preparation with the dining table necessary.

When I got a little gung-ho with the glue, the foil began bubbling and it wouldn’t dry, so I had to scrape it all off and start again.

Reason number 120 not to use craft glue: If you have to scrape it off, you’re in for a workout.

This was a major pain, and I actually had to do it twice. Had I not had a dining table covered in glue and tin foil specks I would have given up. I swear on the second try I actually swallowed tin.

So the third time, I actually took my time with it. I put on the music channel, poured a glass of wine, and slowly slowly, carefully laid the foil on the table and smoothed it with a scraper. When I had smoothed it down, I would create very subtle creases in the foil by moving my hands over it and crinkling it up. This gave it more character.
The legs were easier because I was more rough on purpose and wasn’t concerned with it looking perfect. I wanted the legs to look more beat-up.
When the glue had dried, I spread black acrylic pain all over the table and as it was drying, smoothed it off so that only a residue was left, making the finish look older. The black would stick more to those creases I had made and gave it texture.

 

With the finish just how I wanted it, I then gave it two coats of varnish. Because I couldn’t be bothered shifting the table out into the garage to varnish, I did it inside.
Inside my very small living area. With not many windows open.
Best not to do this ever again I would say. It was a bit fumey and I started to see Leprechauns crawling in and out of the walls.
So…… What do you think?

 

 

 

You can use this same technique to refinish nearly anything. And once you have the technique down pat, it really takes no time at all. You could use this technique with bedside tables, old picture/mirror frames or transforming old jars into vases. Not only is it easy, its extremely cheap. To re-do the entire table cost me $22, several glasses of wine and a few hours. I have been scavenging for new dining chairs to complement the table, and then I will burn those old rickety chairs and laugh at the flames. Goooosh I hate them.

I have a few more tricks up my sleeve that i’ve been dying to share with you all, but that post will have to wait for a few days, as I haven’t quite finished my current project, but I promise its a very, very cool thing.
Talk soon lovers.

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62 responses to Tinfoil makeover

  1. 

    This looks great! I’ve got a small table I’ve been wondering what to do with. I was thinking of painting it in some imaginative way, but I’m going to consider tinfoil. Neat idea!

  2. 

    This is absolutely amazing! Getting into redoing furniture is something that’s been on my bucket list for a long long time. All the furniture in my grandfather’s living room, he made himself and that has always fascinated me. Now, I’m not about to create a carpenter’s workshop in my garage, but buying an old piece of furniture and making it new or recreating something I already have sounds like a more achieveable challenge. Your dining table looks amazing and more importantly, no-one else has one like it! I hate the idea that my rooms look like something from a catalogue. Fantastic idea, great result and enviable determination! :)

  3. 

    Wow, it looks great! I hate my dining room table too. Maybe I don’t have to live with it as is.

  4. 

    That is ridiculously awesome! What a brilliant idea. And the black paint wash was the perfect finish…I wonder what I could do that on :)
    After reading through your site I hope that you find and get to experience exactly what you’re looking for. The concept of making your single time count and really getting to know yourself before you get mixed up in someone else is under appreciated but so essential to being truly happy.
    Enjoy your you time and make the most of it. It will mold who you are and what your life can become.
    http://dyefeltsool.com

    • 

      Thank you so much (and thank you also to all the responses to this post) I can confirm that this finish can be applied to nearly anything, even glass. Think picture frames, mirror frames, bedside tables…….even an entire wall for something really different. That whole table, as stated in the article, cost me only $22 to refurbish. Who knew a humble roll of tin foil could give us so much joy. I encourage you all to give it a go (make sure you put on your favorite album and have a glass of wine nearby to complete the experience. ;-)

  5. 

    Looks pretty awesome. I’m re-doing the little desk area in my apartment & will be shopping for some sort of second-hand storage for under. I was planning on painting it, but maybe this would be more fun!

  6. 

    Hi! I read this post day before and was really inspired by your idea of using aluminium foil. So i needed something motivational for my room and i tried my hand at something. This is what i came up with
    http://goddamntrips.wordpress.com/2012/07/22/just-do-it/
    :-)

  7. 

    Great idea, although I can’t imagine doing an entire dining table, but maybe a small side table, or frame.

  8. 

    This is absolutely amazing!! I never even imagined tinfoil could look that cool.

  9. 

    I don’t quite have the balls to try a whole table, but I bet this would make an amazing little knick-knack shelf! Thanks for the idea, I love it!

  10. 

    This is so cool.. I want to try this with all my furniture now!

  11. 

    And it’s like you now have a new tinfoil table!

  12. 

    Wow that’s such a cool idea!! It looks great, and unique! When I started reading this post and you said you were going to wrap a table in tin foil I was a bit confused, but it turned out great! :)

  13. 

    That looks fantastic. It’s very much like a piece I saw at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art’s World’s Fairs exhibit. Pretty sure that table was more than $22.

  14. 

    Wow, this looks pretty good. :)

  15. 

    The table looks awesome! Thanks for the idea. I may be looking for a used table and chairs just to redo in a simlilar fashion! :)

  16. 

    that is too cool. Love!

  17. 

    LOVE THIS! The table looks amazing! What a fantastic idea!!

  18. 

    PS. thanks for the like :)

  19. 

    This is amazing! I’ve never seen anyone do this- it looks great!

  20. 

    Wow.. Amazing.. I have a coffee table that I think would look awesome done this way… right.. first project when I get home to Australia!!

  21. 

    I’ve been trying to figure out what to do with the old little table in our kitchen right now and this would be perfect! What an incredibly creative idea :)

  22. 

    Would it be the same effect if you just spray-painted it with silver?

  23. 

    If you asked me a silver table would not be my first choice. Having seen the finished article I am impressed. Your method is filed away in my DIY archive for potential future use. You should be really pleased. Well done.

  24. 

    This is so cool! I love it- sounds very painstaking, but it looks very unique in the end ^_^

  25. 

    thats awesome!

  26. 

    Nice work and very impressive !
    Next step ; ) may be to continue on with the aluminum like Billy Name did in Warhol ‘s Factory, http://artpedia.tumblr.com/post/17322429373/andy-warhol-with-brillo-box-at-the-silver-factory

  27. 

    That is the coolest thing ever!

  28. 

    Wow that’s incredible! I like the idea of mirror frames in it!

  29. 

    I think this is completely fabulous !!

  30. 

    Hello, first let me say yes, the table does look amazing and coming from a family of designers, they would love it too. then let me say thanks for following my blog. I always come and “meet” whomever is reading me regularly and to my surprise a big star has come. We both write of childhood upbringing and our younger adult lives- you my dear, have lots of years to go yet. I have grandchildren. I write of lessons hard learned. I always thought they were about living in the world, but now I see them as preparation for my living in eternity and reigning with Jesus. He doesn’t allow people to just lay around in heaven you know, there are responsibilities given there. And certainly Holy God wants perfect people in His heaven and we can never be perfect without Jesus. so I write of that as well. Of course the mainstream world is not interested in the things of God, but I know from experience that He is the ONLY one that can satisfy. The ONLY one that can fill up the God hole in your heart. Everyone is born with one. Everyone tries to fill that hole with everything but God, some of us better late than never finally figure it out and allow Him to fill it up-all the nooks and crannies-and suddenly all the aches, disappointments, wrong doing, whatever didn’t belong there is gone. But it feels so good. It doesn’t ache or pull at you inside anymore, knowing that it is 1:20 in the morning, doesn’t twist your stomach. You are too excited to sleep!Truly, it happens. Get
    up that way, go to bed that way-just knowing that the God of the Universe is now your FATHER and your life is secure in Him, takes the weight off.
    Oh dear, it’s happened again! I do get excited about Jesus. I know what’s coming, but I know who’s winning. Do feel free to contact me directly. I’d like that. cindy@mrtampanorth.com

  31. 
    yesterdaywasdramatictodayisokay November 24, 2012 at 8:56 PM

    That is absolutely amazing! Now I’m looking around my house trying to work out what I can cover in tinfoil!

  32. 

    The result was kind of nice in a modern way, but it is a pity with a table that was so much more beautiful as it was ;-)
    Did you do something about the chairs as well (they weren’t so beautiful…)?

  33. 

    Amazing and beautiful

  34. 

    Wandering around you blog and it just took a turn for cool. The table looks amazing. Anytime you are in the UK I have several items of furniture that need this treatment…

    • 

      Ill cover your whole house in tin foil if you pay for the flights????? ;-)

      • 

        What adhesive did you use to apply the tinfoil to your table? and since it has been some time since you completed this project how has it held-up to daily use? In other words, is there any of the process that you would change at this point? I’m curious as to the chairs you decided on. Any pictures of the chairs?

        • 

          I used wallpaper paste! Sounds weird but I wouldn’t use anything else. I did try something more grippy but found that it dried too quickly and made a mess. Wallpaper paste allows you to move the ton foil around a little but and is more forgiving of mistakes as you can just peel it off and re lay it. I used a heavy duty varnish once it had dried (floor varnish is ideal) and it has held up very well. I did not get around to doing chairs as I moved interstate shortly after doing the table :-)

  35. 

    It’s just amazing Vanessa…:) beautiful n highly creative… :) thanks for sharing.. :)

  36. 

    Oh Wow, I love this! I have a chest that I am going to try this with and perhaps even try some zentangles over the foil before varnishing. http://thecreativelink.wordpress.com/

  37. 

    Looks like a dining table from the King’s Palace … silvery … neat!

  38. 

    AWSOME
    We love it!!!
    It´s beautiful and I have published a post about your tutorial:
    http://todiyornottodiy.blogspot.pt/2013/05/moveis-forrados-com-papel-de-aluminio.html

    Thank you for sharing this
    you are such an inspiration!

    TO DIT OR NOT TO DIY

    ps: i also love the BANSKYs on the wall :)

  39. 

    If you are searching for some small tables you should consider a nest of tables,
    I bought a set on sale from ikea and they are extremely practical

  40. 

    Google has actually got very wise versus these spammers yet I see a few of the remarks still slip with, it
    should function though because my blog site
    still gets hammered

  41. 

    Bye! Gotta go stock up on tin foil :)

  42. 

    You can if you want to,that’s your choice.

  43. 

    Love this idea. I’m myself going to tackle a big chest I have that’s a little battered as was a toy box for a long while.hoping it looks as good.just out of interest how much did you sell your table for ?

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