Last week I shared some in-progress photos of our patio with you.
Even though the work isn't complete, I couldn't help but start gathering up furnishings, especially when my brother in law came across this table at a thrift store (this table is still available at Target- it's the Threshold Holden Table).
I wanted a table that would seat 6, and we liked the rustic farmhouse style of this one. Another thing I liked is that it's actually made out of aluminum, so we won't have to worry about warping or weathering like we would with a real wood table.
The table has a plank-look for the top and a wood-grain faux finish. The one thing that we didn't really like was the color. It wasn't bad, but it was a little too light and had a rosy-toned hue, especially against our new weathered gray wicker chairs. And, you're just going to have to take my word for it because the color didn't photograph true-to-life.
I knew that spray painting the table was definitely an option, but I didn't want to completely cover up the wood grain finish of the table. My sister told me that she had seen projects with gel stain being used on garage doors to change the color, so we thought it might work just as well on the metal table, and would leave a transparent finish to let the wood grain still show through.
General Finishes has added a gray color to their gel stain line, and I thought it would be the perfect color to try on the table. I used a clean cloth to rub the stain on the table, working in one small section at a time since it gets tacky pretty quickly. You can see the difference in color here (again, true colors not really showing up)-
It's evident that the wood grain from the original finish still shows through nicely. After applying a coat of the gray stain, it was better, but it still looked a bit pinkish and off against the chairs.
After a day of drying time from the gray coat, I decided to try some of the antique walnut gel stain that I used on our oak armoire a few months ago to try to pull out more brown in the coloring. There are more details on the process of using gel stain in my armoire makeover post, but one tip to remember is that if the stain gets too tacky as you're working with it, it helps to moisten another cloth with mineral spirits and rub it over the tacky spots. It thins out the stain and makes it more workable as you're applying it.
After the coat of brown, I was very happy with the color. I know it's hard to tell a dramatic difference in photos, but in real life there was a big change. The new color looks much warmer and better with the new chairs.
I really like the finish that gel stain gives, and it's nice that it's usually not necessary to use an additional top coat with it.
Have you ever considered using gel stain on a metal piece? Here's the project I referred to about using gel stain on garage doors... I think it's a great new option to consider!