Easy Beginner Painting Project

Want an easy beginner painting project that you can do in just a few steps? Today, I want to show you just how easy it is to transform furniture for your home!

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custom work

Our client purchased two smalls tables from some of the local shops and fell in love with them because of their shape. She wasn’t crazy about the paint color and the finishes though.

She asked if we could paint them in a color that would look good in her beach home near our Delaware coastline.

prep work

I opted to clean the first table with Mineral Spirits since I wasn’t exactly sure how this table had been finished. The Mineral Spirits will remove any oil or wax that may have been used to seal the chalky style of paint.

Sorry that I didn’t get a before picture of the second table, but let me describe the finish. It had been spray painted. Yes, I said spray painted. Not my favorite way to paint furniture 😉

Both tables got a good sanding, vacuuming and cleaning. This is definitely standard practice when prepping furniture for paint.

Our client chose Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint in Layla’s Mint for both tables. It is a soft green that will look perfect in her beach home.

Two coats covered the table perfectly. I have posted many times about using Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint. Here are some more articles and videos to help you get started with this paint:

how to mix milk paint

Cleaning and painting

This first table needed two coats of paint to cover the existing finish.

The second table needed to be primed first. The previous painter had applied a bright teal color and then used a sander to distress the finish. Since I wasn’t sure if it had been properly prepped before the spray paint, I thought it best to prime the table. Bin Zinsser Shellac Based Primer in White covers is the perfect primer for this table.

I started painting the second piece when my camera wasn’t around! Agh!! It’s not complicated though. Two coats of the primer and one more just to be doubly and triply sure that none of the spray paint or original reddish stain would come through. The primer only takes 45-60 minutes to dry before applying more coats.


I’ve made you wait long enough to see the mysterious second table and here it is! Our client loved the shape of the table top just not the bright teal color it had been spray painted with.

The soft green of Layla’s Mint is perfect for this side table!

The Bin Zinsser Shellac-Based Primer in White accomplished a couple of things with this table.

  • protected against the original reddish stain and spray-painted finish from coming through to the final finish
  • made a white layer that when distressed added more interest to the piece
  • created a crackle effect when the milk paint was applied


The first table is equally adorable! It is a small washstand that our client is going to place between two twin beds! Can’t you just see it??

The washstand was missing a knob so we added a little glass one. Glass knobs look perfect with just about in color in my opinion!

BTW, I mentioned this little lamp in my Instagram Stories the other day – isn’t it the cutest??

Just a light distressing on this piece. And I didn’t mention this earlier, but both pieces were sealed with General Finishes High Performance in Flat. This will protect the finish and give the pieces a matte finish.

easy beginner painting project

See how easy that was?? Let’s recap:

  • shop for a small vintage-style table at thrift and antique stores
  • give the piece a light sanding
  • clean the piece thoroughly
  • prime if needed
  • choose a Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint color
  • paint a minimum of two coats of paint
  • seal with flat water-based sealer like General Finishes High Performance
  • enjoy your reinvented piece of furniture!

Thanks so much for stopping by for this easy beginner painting project! I would love to know if this tutorial was helpful to you and what your project looks like! Tag me on Instagram so I can see your finished project!

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  1. Hi Cindy!
    I love both of those tables – adorableness is right! I can totally see that litte washstand table between two beds. That mint green color is perfection! I hope you’ll share this at Homestyle Gathering before the party ends today. 😉 Have a wonderful weekend!

    1. Cynthia Gayle says:

      Hi Kim! Our client was so happy with the end results! I will hop over to the Homestyle Gathering party this morning!

  2. Julie Briones says:

    Lovely, as always, my friend! You have such an amazing talent! Hugs!

    1. Cynthia Gayle says:

      Thanks Julie! Hugs to you too my friend?

    1. Cynthia Gayle says:

      Yay!! Thanks so much! I will pop over and link up to the party!