DIY Map Table Tutorial

The story of the DIY Map Coffee Table.
For many years now we have had no coffee table.  Our previous house was all tile with one large area rug in the living room. For a house with small babies, this was the only non-head-bumping-into-tile place to play. So the coffee table we did have went, soon after baby #1 started to get mobile.  5 years later, the kids have their balance (most of the time) and I'd like a place to put a drink down. I was on the hunt.

I found this coffee table at an antique/flea market for $40 (it is not antique... but very sturdy... witch is important when you know your children will be diving off of it onto the couch). It also has storage and is large... exactly what I was looking for. My husband was WAY less than trilled when I brought it home. It was dirty, peeling, chipping, and covered in 20 coats of old paint. I don't blame him, but I had a vision.

Here's what I did.

  • A table - or some piece of furniture with a large flat surface.
  • Latex paint - Mine is Glidden flat from Home Depot
  • Plaster - You can buy a whole carton for around $7 at Home Depot. It will last forever.
  • Paste Finishing Wax - Mine is Minwax brand
  • Craft paint in various colors and small brushes
  • Painter's tape
  • A map - I found mine on Google, printed it out on multiple sheets, and taped it together.
  • X-acto knife
  • Fine grit sandpaper (maybe heavy duty grit too if you're furniture is in really rough shape)
Step 1
Sand and scrape your furniture piece until you have a mostly smooth, even surface. I had to dig chunks of old paint out of the molding on the top. Wipe off the dust.

Step 2
Mix your chalk paint. Mix 2 cups of your base color with 1/3 cup of plaster and a tiny bit of water.  I added some black to my white base color.  So my table is actually really light gray. This part is forgiving... you can eyeball it.

Step 3
Paint your base color.  I did 2 coats of chalk paint and lightly sanded after the last one to make the surface really smooth.
Pay no attention to the fact that the table may have been painted green, then brownish green, then tealish, before the gray chalk paint.  I might have had a few craft fails before arriving to this point.

Step 4
Cut your map.  I used an X-acto blade and roughly cut out the majority of land masses.  There are going to be several angry Canadians out there because I edited many of their upper islands.  Sorry, there were too many and it's cold up there anyway! Japan is missing as well! It's "art", right?? : /

Step 5
Paint your world. I placed the map on top of the table and taped it in place.  Then I painted lightly from the outer edges inward around all of the continents until the whole map was roughed in.  I switched between all of my craft paints to do this.  Sometimes blue, sometimes green, yellow and gray.

Step 6
Remove the paper map and continue painting.  This is the part thats up to you. You can make it as "painterly" or crisp as you want. I chose to water down my paint and let a lot of it drip onto the map using a plastic spoon.  Then I smudged a bit with a damp rag.

Step 7
If you have another area on the piece, tape off a cool pattern. I did an X shape on my center shelf using 1" painter's tape. Just find the center and go from the corners to there. Then work your way out using another piece of tape as a spacer. I painted these stripes in the same colors I used on the top.

Step 8
Add some detail to storage boxes. This took less than a minute. I lined up the boxes, eyeballed a stripe with two pieces of tape, and painted across all 3 at once.  Then I painted the little paper ovals that came with the boxes and put those inside the handle space.  Very easy!

Step 9
Wax on, wax off! Give your piece a coat of finishing wax to protect your work, buff it off, and you're done!


Creating with the Stars: Week 3 - Painting

Yup, the map table was me... and I got the Creating with the Stars boot! I'm a little disappointed but I think a little more relieved! This week's task is Home Decor and you know those ladies are going to completely do a whole room... and it's going to look spectacular. How is that possible in a week?! I had 3 hours each night after work/daycare/dinner to get my projects done. I don't think I've slept more than 5 hours a night in the past 3 weeks. Creating with the Stars is like crafting boot camp. It's crazy!

In the past 3 weeks I learned: I can do way more than I think I can.  Also that Janel from Nellie Bellie is super nice (we got the boot the same week). My kids let me know it when I haven't given them enough attention. My laundry can get way out of hand, really fast. I dislike renting and can't wait to get my hands back on a house I can paint and change at will. I know I'd kick butt on Craft Wars. :) I'm so ready to relax and enjoy Easter this weekend. 

The tutorial for the table will be up very soon. Thanks to Sarah, Thrifty Decor Chick, for all her advice.  Here are some behind the scenes pics from this week.
Thanks to Katie from Sew Woodsy for being my Home Depot photographer last week! There's me buying supplies on my lunch break :)
At one point I made this decision for the table.  Can we all say craft fail? Ewwww.
And of course the kiddos helped this time too... Cheez-Its in hand.  I hope some of you liked the table! I do!


Round 3 Voting for Creating with the Stars - Last Day!

Just a reminder, it's the last day of voting for round 3 of Creating with the Stars. There are only 6 of us left and it's clear, no one wants to be sent packing! It's impressive to see what projects get done in such a short amount of time. Go vote and send your favorites to the finals!

Last week I did the Anthro-Inspired Plate Wall.  Here's the tutorial up at East Coast Creative if you missed it.  
Did you notice my yellow branches over to the right?  Those are from my yard and I spray painted them about 30 minutes before I took these pictures.  I'm all about using what you have!

Here's to hoping I'm moving to round 4... sleep can wait another week, right?


Creating with the Stars: Week 2

Did you know the plates were mine? I got 2nd place again! What the what?! Shocking because the Creating with the Stars projects this week were fantastic. I'm not going to lie... last week I was confident, this week I was certain I was getting the boot. The Ikat dresser Melissa did from 5 foot 12 creations was one of my favorites. And Amanda from Love and Renovations took a well deserved 1st. Her wood tile dresser was really good... really, really good. Can't wait to see the tutorial.

The tutorial for my Anthropologie knockoff plates will be up on East Coast Creative on Saturday. You should check it out. And, in the tutorial I forgot to provide the link to the specific botanical I used. Ooops. Here it is if you'd like to use it. :)

In the mean time... here are the always entertaining behind the scenes of last week's plate craziness. Most every project happens in the wee hours around here... explains the darkness and jammies. The kids were very interested in the self timer/tripod method of picture taking.
They took these of each other.
I'm off to start my painting project for week 3... and drink a whole lot of coffee. :)

PS... Did you see the new header? I've been working on freshening things up a bit. I like it... do you? :)


Creating with the Stars: Week 1

Did you know it was me? :)  Yep, I did the tire table and came in 2nd!  What?! I'm pretty thrilled with 2nd. Who am I kidding? I'm thrilled I get to move on to round 2! Go check out the results of week 1 at East Coast Creative.  Did you see the Bicycle Wheel Clock from Karianne at Thistlewood Farms?  Aren't her photos spectacular? Where did she get that cool trunk?

Anyway, the tutorial will be up Friday on East Coast Creative.   I'm already hard at work on my "knockoff" project for next week. Sarah, my partner from Thrifty Decor Chick, and I are batting lots of ideas around. Remember to go vote again starting Monday.

In the mean time I thought I'd give you a behind the scenes look at my crazy table week.

My assistants are always near by. They voted to style the table like this.
Isn't cropping wonderful???
Ah yes, the treadmill and play kitchen are nice accents to my new table ; )
Have a good week! I'm going to be busy!


Creating with the Stars

So last month Katie from Sew Woodsy sent me a link for Creating with the Stars from East Coast Creative and suggested I enter. I read the gist:

"CWTS is the ultimate creative DIY competition that pairs 12 contestants with 12 of blogland's biggest stars to duke it out over 4 weeks. Only one team will make it to the end to claim the Grand Prize."  

You can win gift cards from cool places like Homegoods and Home Depot and Martha Stewart and work with some really successful and creative bloggers.  Sounds cool enough. And who wouldn't like a Homegoods gift card? After a couple days of procrastinating (and doubting I had a project that was good enough), I entered my DIY Herringbone Metallic Artwork... and then realized I was entry number 223.  Haha... I don't have a shot in the world at making this. I'm small peanuts and these people are professionals. Occasionally I'd venture back and see all of the stunning projects that were submitted. The total grew to 361 entries.
Fast forward to this morning.  March 1st.  Sitting at a light in front of my building for work (the longest light in the universe) I checked my facebook on my phone. Saw that the winners were announced and scrolled through their pictures ... not expecting to recognize anyone... when all of a sudden my face was staring back at me.  
Holy mother of crafting!  Never in a million billion years did I ever think I would ever be chosen for Creating with the Stars.  I've entered creative/craft/blog contests before, and was never chosen or even mentioned for that matter. The disappointment was expected. I think my heart jumped out of my chest and I may have screamed a little. (This is why I could never win the lotto... I think I might go into cardiac arrest at the news... though I'm willing to risk it).  

I am so nervous excited! I'm paired with another Sarah from Thrifty Decor Chick. Such a cool blog and right up my ally. I have no idea what to expect except that I am going to be really busy for the next few weeks. I can't wait to get my craft on. I think I'm going to celebrate with a Starbucks and something covered in chocolate. Things like this really never happen to me.... officially still freaking out.