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diy rainbow plaid table
frogtape rainbow plaid table
frogtape rainbow plaid table

Rainbow Plaid Table

You might be asking yourself 'why would a person paint a table in rainbow (gingham) plaid?'  My answer would be, why not?!  I had this table that I thought I might as well give a cool coat of paint to. I'd planned on putting it in our playroom and it was in crummy, cosmetic condition but was ultra sturdy (the pic on the left of the white table was after a day of sanding and priming).  I wanted something that was completely different from other textures in the room and would add a punch of color and pattern.  I'd seen painted plaid before but always wanted to try painting a plaid with sheer colors. It turned out great but it was tricky.


First of all, I needed a flat finish to start with (preferably primer).  After much sanding to remove dings and deep scratches, I painted the table with three coats of primer.  Then I mixed my colors and added a small amount of water, trying not to get it too watery while keeping an even amount of pigment in each color. (NOTE: These coats of paint won't have any durability without a clear coat overtop, I even used clear coat of Varathane after my first row of stripes, because otherwise the colors would mix and rub off while taping and brushing on the second row of stripes.)  Oh, and I added a strip of aqua blue because I prefer more blue than red (Sorry, it's not exactly ROYGBIV).  

Obviously, this is highly customizable and would be pretty great in almost any color combination.


I measured to find center of the table on both ends (the center of one stripe would go there) and placed shorts bits of tape on an end of the short side of the table to decide how I would space my seven colors.  It turned out that using narrower frog tape for between where the stripes would go and wide for spacing those

gaps worked perfectly.  The lower left pics show this better.  (Conveniently, this spacing also worked for double the stripes along the length of the table).  You can use a strip of tape over and over if you are just using it for spacing and this helps to keep your lines straight.  TIP: be sure to get the first line in the center and perfectly straight, any flaws will be exaggerated the further out you get from your starting point.  Also always be sure to press the edges of your tape down before painting, I use my thumb nail or an old gift card or credit card. 


Don't be discouraged if it ever takes a while and several reworks to get just the right arrangement.  A paint job is only ever as good as its prep job.


From there, I made sure I wouldn't have any disruptions (good luck with that) and painted as smooth a lines as I could.  I let that dry for a day or so and sprayed a clear coat of varathane overtop so I could continue taping and painting the next coat of stripes without disturbing the first one. (I learned the hard way by starting to paint without protecting the first stripes, the paint started to rub off because it was so thin...that's why my red stripe is a bit darker, I had to touch it up.) 


When I was finished, I let it set and dry for a few days before I clear coated it with three layers of spray varathane (because I didn't want it to have a yellow cast from a laquer based topcoat or have contact with a brush or roller from that point).  I sprayed it outside and, once, accidently left it out too long one evening and dew got on it making the colors run a little, (because the topcoat as well as the paint were all water-based, the tiny bit of extra moisture caused it to run together I was able to get it dried off and fix those tiny runs for the most part). 


That's probably too much information but maybe you can learn from my mistakes and have a smoother process on your project...hopefully you're not too scared now.  You know yourself, if you lack patience or the ability to finish things you start, you probably shouldn't do this (or DIY for that matter)...but if you like a challenge this might be the project for you.  It's not everyday that you can paint a piece of furniture with so many colors!  I want my kids to have bright happy memories to look back on and this play table will be a part of that.


Thanks for sticking with me on this (it is a bit tedious); I hope you got something out of it and hang around to check out my other projects!


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