Reader, I Spraypainted It

Mmmm, free goo.

– Homer Simpson

For me, one of the most memorable comment threads from the past year was a bit of a scuffle on Apartment Therapy over a painted furniture project. (I’ll let that sink in.) One entry in particular really made me laugh:

There needs to a be a seperate section on apartment therapy for the featuring of “crap I spray painted.”


We are redoing the living/sitting room – long (and forthcoming) story, but we added built-ins, which had Consequences for where the existing furniture lives out its days. We had a fabuloso desk in one corner that also served as an end table. The changed layout meant we needed to move the desk out of the corner and replace it with a smaller end table. So hellooooooooooooo, Craigslist!

A picture of the end table before it was painted.

End table in the raw

This little puppy isn’t really something I’d normally be drawn to, but (a) it’s an END TABLE, and (b) $20! And (c) I was totally going to spraypaint it. Between the woodwork and the piano and the cabinetry, there is a LOT of wood in that room, and we don’t need another end table’s worth.

Picked it up, cleaned it up, fixed the drawer…aaaand spraypainted. NO PRIMING. NO SANDING. This end table and me, we’ve got iconoclastic verve.

One can of Rustoleum “Oregano” (gray-green) later, and it was wholly presentable for our purposes. And then…and then…I decided to wax the top. TO PROTECT IT! The Internet said I could! AND? Uncle Fred gave us his “pure beeswax polish” some time ago. What could be better??

Uncle Fred! Gurning champion you might have been, but labeling compliance guru you were not. There was Something in that “pure beeswax”—possibly something petroleum-based—that melted the paint.

picture showing paint coming off the end table onto my thumb

End table (and me) covered in goo


Mineral spirits helped melt the rest so I could start the heck over. Design karma?

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