Coffee Table Redo – Use A Vintage Book To Decoupage An Old Table

Coffee table red, before and after

Coffee table red, before and after

This simple coffee table redo is an easy way to bring new life to an old piece of furniture and make your decor scheme really pop. 

Gregg Shorthand Book page for DECOPAwesome coffee table redo

I have a few vintage books with detailed examples of shorthand

I stumbled upon a few great old books on shorthand at The Book Cellar in downtown Temple.  Shorthand is basically a non-existent tool these days, and to me, there’s something really beautiful and captivating about the technique. These pages were meant as a practice worksheets for people learning the technique.

Chris has had this ‘coffee table’ forever. It was in his old apartment when he moved in. It was a little scary, to be honest. It’s the kind of thing your boyfriend shows you when you’re moving in together for the first time and goes ‘hey what about this coffee table; it would go great with your stuff!’   If we lived in abandoned meth lab, sure, this might be perfect to bring the room together.

DECOUPAwesome Coffee Table Redo

This was how it used to look before we made it DECOUPAwesome

Thankfully Chris is pretty open to me doing crazy stuff, so he handed this off to me. I’ve been wanting a red coffee table for the living room for quite some time, so I went with my old standby–Krylon Fusion Gloss in the REDDEST RED THAT EVER REDDED.

I love this red. It’s like a fire engine and candy apple had a baby…and then painted it bright freaking red.

Anyway, no need to prime with the Krylon. This Fusion line is made to adhere to plastic. It’s high gloss, high impact.

Next, I decoupaged the pages to the tope.

I get a lot of questions about air bubbles in decoupage. Lots of people want to know how to keep from getting air bubbles when you’re working with paper on a larger scope. Here’s the thing – you don’t. You get air bubbles. There is no great ancient crafting guild secret to keeping your projects from getting bubbles. And no, I’m not just saying that because it’s some big trade secret that must be protected from the uninitiated. There’s no cabal of decoupage druids who gather on the full moon to recite The Secret Of To Decoupage Without Air Bubbles.

You get air bubbles. The only secret to my technique is a little patience. And don’t use a foam brush when you are applying the paper to the wood – save the foam for applying the top coat of your decoupage medium, or else you will get way too many air bubble to deal with Apply each sheet one at a time and use a brayer or popsticle stick to smooth the paper as you go. Don’t use too much force, because you’ll tear the paper. But even if you do, don’t freak out because those little nicks and scrapes and imperfections are what make your piece unique.

And here’s the finished piece!

DECOUPAwesome Coffee Table Redo finished


DECOUPAwesome Coffee Table Redo finished 1

From this angle, you can see how smooth the surface is. It’s not perfect, but believe me, we don’t really notice at home.

Coffee table red, before and after

Coffee table red, before and after

Unlike most everything on here, this one isn’t available for sale in my Etsy store (lots of other awesome things are!). Plus, Chris loved it so much, he asked me to take on another piece of his furniture. (More on that another time!)



About Rebecca "Burt" Rose

"Burt" is a comedy writer, buffet aficionado and spirit conduit for Mr. Burt Reynolds, aka the greatest human being of all time. Burt Reynolds Is Her Spirit Guide. Her origins are largely unknown. Some people suspect she was raised by a pack of wolves, except it is highly unlikely that wolves would put up with so much drinking and swearing. You can follow her on Twitter @rebeccaburtrose

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