Earlier this summer, I visited my sister, Heather, and fell in love with her DIY concrete topped coffee table.
I went home and decided that the side table we had inherited from the previous homeowner would be AMAZING with a concrete top.
It’s pretty traditional, and I really thought I could turn it into something I will call “industrial chic” – perfect for Steve’s man cave!
Once school started, I scheduled a date to work on the concrete top with my sister. I put my two older kids on the bus and hopped in the car with my youngest and drove two hours to see my sister. We only had about three hours to work with (I had to be back home in time for the kids to get off the bus), so the pressure was on.
Heather is a DIY genius. This Concrete Table Top tutorial isn’t hard, AND it doesn’t require any extra tools!
Heather already had the concrete. It’s actually a lighter (“feather”) concrete. You can find it on Amazon:
We just mixed small amounts at a time. My coffee table really did not require much – and remember you can alway make more!
We used a disposable paint tray to mix the cement.
We slowly added water using a watering can and used a paint stick to stir.
We went with a cake batter consistency. This stuff smells – and it doesn’t smell great. My best description is that is smells like baby poop. 🙂
After you have left the mixture sit for about 10 minutes, you can lightly slather it on the top of the table. Remember to keep the concrete thin. You will want to do several thin layers. (I sanded my table top with an electric sander before I added the cement.)
We used a plastic scraper to smooth out the concrete and wiped away the extra on a rag.
You will repeat this process several times. We did three coats on my side table.
We found that an old sock was helpful for smooth out the cement – especially the sides of the table.
We were short on time, so we used a fan to dry the concrete quicker.
You can sand in-between coats, but I just (lightly) sanded at the end of the final (3rd) coat.
After the concrete is dry, you can add the sealer. (My sister says I should tell you 24 hours to be safe.) I also did about three coats of this. (Once the sealer coat was dry, I added the next. The sealer dried pretty quickly.) My sister has had this particular bottle of sealer for years, but I found something similar on Amazon:
We poured a little bit on the top and used an old t-shirt to rub the sealer into the concrete.
We repeated this process three times and added another layer of sealer once the the previous layer was dry.
And that was it for the concrete top – no special tools required! This is where the concrete tutorial ends.
But I wanted that worn rustic wood look that Heather had with her coffee table, so I continued…
I wanted to get rid of the wood’s orangey look, so I used a stripper to get rid of the glossy finish in hopes that I could stain the wood a darker color.
I used a brush to paint the stripper on.
I waited 30 minutes and started scraping. Stripping is NOT easy. And I lost interest. Quickly. I scraped as long as I could, and then I wiped away the rest of the old finish/stripper. It was a mess.
I added a dark walnut stain to the piece. It does have more of the industrial chic look I was looking for. (Whatever that means, right?!)