Monday, May 28, 2012

DIY Distressed Table Tops for Food Bloggers

I was asked by a friend and fellow blogger to make a few table tops for her. She is the amazing and very talented food blogger of She is a well known foodie in the blog world and her recipes are just amazing!

For food stylists and food bloggers, they need to have different table tops to showcase and photograph their dishes on. Although they use various tables, tablecloths, place mats and accessories to mix it up, it can get a bit challenging.

Things you will need:
  1. Wood of choice (I used lightweight craft boards)
  2. Wood stain (dark walnut)
  3. Old rag and paint brush (I used a 2 inch wide disposable brush)
  4. Hammer, rocks,nails etc (to indent & add texture)
  5. Sand paper block rough & smooth
  6. Paint color

To tackle this request, I purchased lightweight craft boards from Lowes. I wanted them as light as possible since it would be easier to carry around or maneuver for that right shot. These boards were perfect but way too sharp and crisp at the edges. I had to change that dramatically in order to get that old, distressed, weathered look and feel to them.
I used my old sculpting tools from my amateur sculpting classes back in college. They came in handy after all. The sculpt tool (below left) was used to scrape the sharp edges off the wood to make it look more rounded and beveled. Old, weathered wood are always worn out around the edges and sides.
This is how it should look. Indented, irregular and uneven. After you have the look and roundness you want. Use a heavy duty sand paper block (above right) to sand smooth and even make the edges rounder. This will remove tiny splinters in the wood.

You can also rub the edges of the wood along any hard surface. I used this method also and it was much quicker than my sculpt tool. 
Take a hammer, using both ends, alternate hitting and pounding on the surface of your table top. Make some deep, some shallow etc. You can also use rocks to pound in some more characteristics.
Next, use a dark wood stain to completely cover the entire wood area. Including all sides of each panel of your tabletop.
I used an old rag to aggressively wipe the stain into all the indents and hammered-in surfaces. Oh, yeah, make sure you use gloves. I learned the hard way that this staining stuff, um...really stains.
Looks like old weathered barn wood to me! Love how they came out. Not bad for a first try, eh? I love how the indented areas pop even more after it had been stained.
Wait until your stain dries, then lightly (dry brush) paint using a paintbrush. Be sure to paint all sides fully.
Wait until this completely dries. Using your (rough) sand block, lightly sand the edges until you see the paint (blue paint) coming off, revealing the stained color below. This was the best part! very cool to see :)
Don't forget those edges...It really makes a difference when distressing wood.
Lightly sand the tops to your liking. Use uneven pressure while sanding, especially where the indents are.
This is how I chose to hold the panels together. Again, I chose lightweight wood pieces for the back. Nail them onto each panel. I left a tiny space between each panel so that the distressed sides can show more. That's about all there is to this. It was such a fun, easy project to do...
Hope you have enjoyed this and found it helpful. Feel free to email me with any questions or leave me a comment. I would love to help!

For more information on how to order these custom table top boards, please email me at Thank You!

**Note: You can leave as is or cover with another coat of stain to protect it. Use the same or a lighter stain and wipe off the excess.
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  1. AnonymousMay 29, 2012

    Good job! Made me feel like making one even if I don't need it :)

  2. I love this project! Thanks for the step-by-step! I'd love to know the name/brand of the turquoise blue color.

    1. I will post the color and brand soon...Thank you!

    2. Eileen, the paint color is 'Schooner' Olympic paint...

    3. Thank you! I will give this a try & hope to get the same results! Looks fun!

  3. I just saw these on Would you make/ship/sell one (or 2 or 3) of these? I know you made a sweet, informative, succinct tutorial... but I'm so not crafty!!! Let me know :)

    1. Thanks Kelly--Yes, I make them to order. I will email you with more info.

  4. Am visiting from Gina's! Wow, this is beautiful and you are so creative! I see your 'pin it' button, so I will do so! ;)

  5. I am also a huge Gina fan and just found you. How may I order or see the options you sell? I am a purple fan and would love to see and have one in an eggplant or amythest color.

    1. Hello Susan-Email me at
      I will send all the info on how to order. I make them to order all I would need is the paint name and brand that you like. Thank you!!

  6. VERY cool. Thanks for the step-by-step!

  7. This is a great idea! This would be perfect for photographing pottery and all kinds of stuff. Thanks!!

    1. Thanks,Yes! This can be used for any item not just food.


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