A Plaid Table in the Spring Garden
Written by on Sunday, April 21st, 2013

In my garden, I have a small, square table that’s just perfect for two, to sit at and enjoy a cozy meal.  The only problem… if I want to bring out a thermos of coffee or any extra, side dishes or even have a couple of extra guests, my little 28″ square table can feel pretty crowded.  Do you ever have that problem?


Why do puppies always need to go outside when it’s raining? LOL

I knew this problem would be easily solved though if I could find a small, inexpensive table, to use as a side buffet.  And if it had a drawer, for (napkins, silver ware, etc.) storage, that would be a great bonus!   But looking around, all I could find were indoor tables with a drawer, so I went to Plan B and began looking in second-hand stores.

Comp Home GoodsTable

On my first stop, I found this mid-century vanity, but it had strange arms (see photo inset) that pulled out & tucked back in.  Okay… I was confused.  But finally, someone enlightened me that attaching flouncy fabric to the outside edge (of the arms) and tucking them back into place camouflaged the wood table.  The 1950’s were so fancy!



The best part about the table – it had just been marked down (that day!), from $39 to only $10!  I know it doesn’t look like much, but in my imagination, I had struck gold!  Another BONUS – it had an off-white, Formica top, so I was already half-way to owning a water-resistant buffet….



Once I got my diamond-in-the-rough home, I removed the “arms” and painted the remainder of the table black, using a small ($10) can of exterior, semi-gloss primer & paint-in-one.  HELPFUL HINT:  To help your paint job go faster, take a few minutes to tape off any areas you don’t want to paint, using painter’s tape (see photo below).

Table_Painting_BEFORE & AFTER     Table Top_BEFORE & AFTER table painting_s

Now, if you’re like me, brightly painted tables (in boutiques) always catch your eye, but they’re usually pretty pricey. 🙁  But, my thrift store find would give me the opportunity to create my own, inexpensively, so deciding on a pattern was the only remaining dilemma.  Then, I noticed a plaid shirt one of my son’s had on and remembered how much I “heart” plaid!  It was a sassy idea and I’d never painted anything plaid before, but decided to go for it!  If it looked awful, in the end, I knew I could just repaint it and my table would be even MORE protected from the elements, right? 😉

I found a plaid pattern I liked on Google Images, to inspire me, and headed off to Home Depot to choose 4 additional paint colors to coordinate with my existing chair cushions (pictured below).  While there, I purchased small, sample-size jars of Glidden Duo Paint & Primer-in-one (less than $3 ea.) in my 4 accent colors.  Now, I was ready for the fun, creative part!


In looking at plaid patterns, I noticed that they basically have a mixture of wide, medium and thin horizontal & vertical stripes.  I figured it couldn’t be too hard if I carefully measured & laid out the first horizontal stripe, to use as a base for the remaining horizontal & then, vertical stripes.  I also found that because my table’s body had a mostly flat surface, it was an easy shape to work with.  I don’t know how some crafters paint plaid on rounded surfaces (like pumpkins), but I may tackle that someday too!

I began by using a ruler to measure and place a length of blue painter’s tape, above & below, where I wanted the first 2 horizontal stripes and painted my first color (yellow) between the taped areas.  HELPFUL HINT:  if you wait for each stripe to dry, you can remove the used tape lengths and re-use them again by placing them along the edge of the previously painted stripe – to guide you when painting the next stripe.   I followed this same procedure when painting the rest of my vertical & then, horizontal stripes.  And just in case my written directions were a little confusing, I photographed my step-by-step process below.

Table Painting_steps

Because the table legs created rounded corners in the body of the table, I made it easy on myself and painted that area a solid color (olive).

When I was done with the body of the table, I felt like it would look good if I kept the rest of the table design simple & subtle, so I only added my accent colors to the joints of the table legs and the drawer knob.  Good decision!

plaid table_painted_s

Although the paint I used was exterior, I also added a 2nd layer of protection by slipping a set of 1″ rubber furniture leg covers ($1.00/4 at Wal-Mart) to protect each of the table legs.  BONUS:  it also helped steady my table on the uneven outdoor surface!

plaid table_leg covers

This project took only 2 hours to complete – 1 to paint the black background and 1 to add the plaid pattern.  It turned out to be a really, fun project too!  And as long as I had extra paint left, I decided to create a useful & coordinated accent, in the form of a message chalkboard.  I purchased an inexpensive, unfinished wood plaque ($3) and ribbon ($2) at the craft store (Michael’s), and eye screws & chalkboard paint (Wal-Mart – $1 ea.).  I photographed the step-by-step process below.  HELPFUL HINT:  follow chalkboard paint instructions carefully because the application process is easy, but slightly different from regular paint.

Chalkboard sign_s

I can write GOOD MORNING, HAPPY BIRTHDAY, WELCOME SPRING, HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY or anything that’s appropriate for the season or special occasion.  My new table and message chalk board also inspired me to add a fresh coat of my yellow paint to the existing, farm window, pot a few plants and (ahem) clean my patio to create a fresh, spring, garden cafe for two.  Check it out….

plaid table_sunny from table napkin_s

table area_after_fountain_s

Full Table_s

Plaid Table_oranges_s

Plaid Table_closeup_top_sign_table front


I think the table & cushion colors are a great match!

I also love how the Star Glass Bowl and vase of flowers I recently found at KIRKLAND’s coordinated perfectly.  And all I did was pop their bowl on top of a black candlestick for more height & an easier reach.

I’m very happy that I found a table with a drawer because it will be so handy to keep extra napkins, spare silverware and my message board chalk in.

Even our 8 mo. old puppy, Lilly Grace, is enjoying it (or at least, looking under it for lizards among the new potted plants… LOL)!



Table  – $10

Paint – $22

Message Chalkboard – $7

So, for the same amount as the original cost of my thrift store table and 1/4th the cost of the table I found in the store,

I created both projects!!

And although it’s probably not necessary, I plan to place an outdoor grill or chair cover over my buffet table,

to keep it clean, between uses.

I hope this tutorial inspires you to create a similar project to use in your own Spring garden and that you…

enjoyed the creativity… Happy Spring!


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