A new, old coffee table

By: Posted On: 2020-09-24

My name is Amber, and I have always been creative and enjoyed little projects around the house.  One day my husband found a coffee table on Facebook for $10! It was a little scuffed and used,  but he didn’t care. He saw potential! Besides, we have had our coffee table for almost 15 years, it’s old, torn up, and looks like something out of a college dorm, but hey, it’s a good table! Anyway,  he brings the new to us table home. We know it needs to be sanded, but beyond that, what to do? 

We are a family of Scouters. My husband is the Cubmaster for the local pack, Scoutmaster for the local troop, Supernova Mentor, and runs the Tiger Den (we are a small town). I am the  Committee Chair, Advancement Chair, Nova Counselor, Popcorn Kernal, and run the Wolf and  Webelos Den (amongst other things lol). Our oldest son is crossed to troop in February of 2020, and our youngest joined the BSA as a Lion in August of 2020. 

We are Scouters. When designing the table, this was the first thing that we thought about—something to connect us all. We talked and came up with the general idea of what we wanted the table to become, and I got to work!


The first thing I did was put masking tape over the stone sections of the table (those were still in great shape, and I thought they were pretty). Then I started sanding the table. I wanted to get all that old paint and stain off, any scratches to be removed. I didn’t sand the storage table underneath because it was not damaged, you wouldn’t be able to really see it and it would have been a pain in the butt! I also turned the table over and sanded a part of the very bottom (to test stain later on). 

The second step, find the pictures we want on the table. Those were easy, just standard BSA  Symbols. I printed them off in black and white to the sizes I wanted.


Third Step, get the pictures onto the table. This was probably the most challenging aspect of the whole table. My husband came up with a great idea, the ink on the paper was still fresh, so we could “Temporary Tattoo” the table! We laid the picture ink side down on the table, then put a  damp rag on top of the paper. We let it sit for 5-10 minutes, and it transferred! We did have to add a running iron on top of some of the smaller ones to get the details in it. But it worked great! 


I did take a pencil and trace the image to darken it up a bit because parts were still fairly light, and I did not want to lose the image. The next step was to decide how to get the image to stay on the table. The paint was a thought but after a bit, the paint wears off, we wanted something a little stronger. Lately, I have been playing with Epoxy, using it to make neckerchief slides, and that stuff lasts! We thought it would be cool to do the pictures in epoxy! But to do that, we had to engrave the image! Using a Dremel tool, I slowly engraved the image, one color section a time.  First, the gold outside edge, then moving to the next, never dremeling out two colors that would be next to each other at the same time.


I then took a piece of sandpaper and sanded inside the engraved area to make sure all the slivers of wood were out of there. When that was done, it was time to epoxy the section. I mixed the epoxy in disposable containers and chose a color. (I got everything from Amazon.com. The color packets were the best investment. A little color goes a very long way, and all the colors are  outstanding!)

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It took 24 hours or so for each section to be hard enough for me to engrave the next section, so it was a little tedious, but I was able to do multiple sections if they weren’t touching. Some of the areas were so small that just pouring the epoxy in wasn’t going to work…Amazon to the rescue again! This time for disposable single-use syringes. These worked great! (also, you don’t have to worry about them being misused after being done with them because once the epoxy hardened in the needle; you couldn’t get it out!!)


All in all, the engraving and epoxy took about a week and a half. I learned a lot from working with the epoxy. The biggest thing was getting the measurements right. Exactly ½ and ½ of each item. 5mg  of hardener and 5mg of resin. If you are off by a bit, it will take longer for the epoxy to set or it will set soft. After the main epoxy set, I noticed some of the colors were lower than the others. I  mixed up some clear epoxy and laid it over the top of the whole thing. Once set, I sanded it down to be level with the table. 

I found some epoxy polish and a rough sponge and started polishing up the epoxy, this took a  couple of hours, but the result was worth it, especially after the sanding. 

On the underside of the table, I engraved my name and filled it with epoxy so I could test different stains and glosses. I tried half a dozen different stains before settling on the “natural” colored stain. It was the lightest and let the engraving “pop” as much as possible. I carefully stained the table, making sure to avoid the picture as much as possible by using little paintbrushes. 

Once the table was stained, I removed the masking tape from the rocks and put a gloss sealant over the entire top of the table. I did this to make it easier to clean and harder to destroy. It also looks good!

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This was a super fun if tedious project that came out WAY better than I thought it would! If you have any questions feel free to email me at mamamegel@gmail.com


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