When A Project Starts Going Awry

Ever start a project, and somehow from the get-go, the stars do not seem aligned to work with you? Ever have a project go awry?

Such is the story of this little table, which I bought in Jenks yesterday (I’m a mere four miles from this antique mall, by the way) for $35. 

I spotted it almost as soon as I entered, which was good, because I’ve got to limit walking on this ankle right now. 

It wasn’t there last week. I went on down a few aisles, mulling it over. But somehow it seemed destined to be “the one.”

I signed on for a project with Behr paint. Behr Marquee to be specific. And for that project, you take something and transform it with their paint. For which you are compensated.

First I went to take the knobs off, and one fell apart. Not a good sign. 

I soldiered on.

Then when I started to sand (I don’t have an electric sander, but hoping I can use the next door neighbors when he gets home, because this job is not going to be easy, I can now see) a little chunk of one of the legs, the part that sits on the floor, broke off. 

Do I have rotten wood? 

So then I started sanding the drawers, once I had the knobs off, and the veneer started coming up. 

I immediately got online and typed in “what do you do when wood veneer comes up while you’re sanding?” (Thank goodness for Google.) It said take a putty knife (unfortunately mine seemed pretty dull, but better than nothing) and a hammer and take it off with your putty knife pretty level with the surface.

The first one came off with not a lot of trouble. In big pieces. 

The other one was a beast. I worked for at least an hour, with little bitty pieces coming off at a time. And then the drawer itself started coming apart. 

I was hot and sweaty because it’s hot as blazes and humid as a spa out there from the rain last night. But I kept going, muttering and cussing the thing all the way. 

Now I’m taking a break. I’ve got to figure out what to do about that leg. And see if I can get that one drawer back together. 

I thought about maybe just putting baskets in the two holes where the drawers go, but there’s no surface to put them on, and it’s a weird size. Don’t see how that would work. 

If I ever get this beast done, it will be a coffee table. It was the perfect size.

So, try to guess what color I’m painting it. Remember, it isn’t red, as you might immediately assume. And it’s not the paint color/shade of anything else I’ve painted.


  1. I agree with the shorten the legs just a bit to level it idea – unless you'd have to cut more off than what I'm thinking (you weren't real specific about how big a piece is missing). And I agree with the majority – you don't have a lot of blue so I'm thinking something in the blue family. As for the drawer, Gorilla glue can be a lifesaver. And if that doesn't work, use braces on the back of the drawer front and attach it back in place. You'll only have one working drawer but nobody will know that but you……….and all of your readers, of course…….:) It's a cute piece – don't give up on it.

  2. My guess would be black. I've never known you to paint anything black except your counter tops……..so maybe I'm wrong…….. Will be interesting to see the finished piece.

  3. I'm no good with fixing or painting furniture, so I can't be of any help to you on this one! I wish you lots of luck…I know this has to be frustrating.

  4. Oh my gosh you've got a "if it rains, it pours" kind of project going on there don't you? LOL. Sorry that it's not going as planned…but I am sure you will be able to turn it into something beautiful. I"m looking forward to seeing what you think of this line of paint.


  5. Oh my gosh you've got a "if it rains, it pours" kind of project going on there don't you? LOL. Sorry that it's not going as planned…but I am sure you will be able to turn it into something beautiful. I"m looking forward to seeing what you think of this line of paint.


  6. Could you smooth out the drawers with wood filler, sand them, prime and cover with beadboard wallpaper? Just a thought. I have disasters like that all the time! I'm guessing navy blue. Good luck and I hope the weather cools down for you!

  7. If you are going to use the table as a coffee table, don't you need to cut the legs off a bit anyway? Ask that friendly neighbor with the electric sander to do that for you, would you? You could borrow some clamps from him to glue and clamp the drawer back together. Keep it clamped 2 days. Tell him you will reward him with some homemade cookies! I think the color is turquoise, too; that's really trending now and is my favorite color.

  8. Brenda, when I saw the title of this post, I thought you were going to showcase one of my horrible projects! 😉 Could you measure the underside and have a piece of wood cut to nail on? Then you would be able to put basket in place of the drawers because the baskets would have something to sit on. I can't wait to see the color!!

  9. Ugh, nothing like a project that just keeps having issues! Especially on a hot day…makes me really cranky. Can you turn the table over to add boards below the drawer area for baskets to rest on? Cute table so I'm hoping it all works out! I'm hoping you paint it yellow…but that's just because I'm hooked on yellow lately! Lol

  10. Hi! I would just glue and nail the drawer fronts on for looks and maybe wood glue would fix the leg, too. I was at the big Jenks antique mall in July when I visited my sis in Tulsa. I drove all by myself from northwestern Wisconsin! I loved it there! I think you're going to paint it a neutral, like cream or beige.

  11. ALL of my projects go wrong from the start and stay wrong through the finish.
    Are you painting a colour in the plum family?

    Is there any way you could add some of your spectacular decoupage to the little table? That would be so marvellous.

  12. We used that paint on our LR project and were very happy with it. We used both flat on the walls semi-gloss on the woodwork. You need furniture clamps and wood glue at the least to repair. It may be more trouble than it is worth. To put in baskets instead of drawers, you would need to put on a bottom for them to rest upon. I kind of agree that it may be more trouble than it is worth.

  13. Sounds like how a lot of my projects end up going. I would continue to soldier on with the wood glue. But then I am a person who will end up spending so much more trying to fix something than cutting my losses and moving on. I am choosing purple for the color. I don't think I have ever seen you use purple! Good luck!

  14. my first thought is orange. Don't let that table get the better of you! Though some times I have had to "fold my cards" and give up with some projects. Yes…I've had a few fails. ha! The last one was when I painted my front door black, because of lots of people coming. I have to sand and completely redo the door with new paint…as something was wrong with the bucket of SW from Lowes. They refunded me my money…but still get to deal with that beast of a front door. Fortunately lots of people just come to my back door off of the carpark area. Oh well.
    Good luck Brenda.

  15. Brenda,
    The hubby works with wood quite a bit, and I occasionally work in the Furniture Hospital in our community.
    Wood glue is a fabulous product. If you can't get the drawer back in, how about removing the front of the drawer and either nailing it on, or gluing just the front of it on the table. The leg may be another story…
    I say you are going for orange:)

  16. I bet its either blue or turquoise! Sometimes when I buy things from thrift stores, I find out why they were abandon by their former owners. I know your determined but this little table may have lived out its life and need to be in the waste bin. Sometimes we just have to give up and move on, taking the loss .

  17. My money is on you, Brenda. I just know you'll come up with the perfect solution and it will look great. Now for the color…beige?…gray? I think you've had about every other color. 🙂

  18. sounds like more expensive to make all the repairs than to admit defeat, trash this loser, and get another table out of your closet and paint that one.

  19. Brenda,
    Can you cut the drawers away and just have the table top and legs an don't have the drawers. I think stapling a skirt around it would be a good choice too hide the leg. Good luck.

  20. Hey Brenda, my hubby and I were in Jenks at the antique mall, yesterday! It's a wonder we didn't bump into each other. My hubby mentioned that little table to me but I passed because I don't have room for another table! Good luck with your project.

    Grace & Peace,

  21. Hmm… not a color you usually use? I say it's going to be blue! If you really run into problems, I say paint the top and then staple a fabric skirt right under the table top to hide the legs and the drawers! 😉 Just my cheating idea!! Good luck!

  22. I'm having something similar happen now, but not quite as bad and I also had the idea about the baskets. Sounds like you might also be in need of some good wood filler.

    You didn't ask but my advice would be to give it one more try but if it's not working out cut your losses and move on. At least you're being compensated in some way, so perhaps the final product will pay for itself.

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