French Typography & Whitewash Makeover { Words Themed Tour}

| |
This post may contain affiliate links. Please see disclosures here.

There’s just something about wood grain.  I love it! And sometimes you just have to let it shine.

Look at the wood grain in this $6 thrift store table. I knew immediately I was going to have to let that shine!

Hey friends! It’s themed tour Thursday and the theme this month is “Words/Letters”.
And what’s better than a little French typography??

I’m a words, letters, graphics, typography loving girl (as is evidenced by this blog AND my home ) so I am really excited about this month’s theme.
For anyone new, some blogger friends and I get together every month and bring you a themed furniture makeover.

You can see past month’s themes –> here.

Now onto this month’s makeover….a little French typography and whitewash…

French Typography Table Makeover

It was a bit beat up but nice and solid.

But who could pass that up for $6???

French Typography Coffee Table Makeover - Before After - #milkpaint #chalkpaint #french #typography

I sure couldn’t!

I knew I’d need to sand (and I hate sanding) but sometimes it’s just a necessity.

French Typography Table Makeover - Top Sanded - #milkpaint #chalkpaint #french #typography - Copy

But just look at that. Gorgeous without doing another thing!

I was actually liking the way the grain held onto the black in the top and how it was looking sort of  “bleached”.
I originally thought I’d leave it that way until I wiped it down…and it looked YELLOW.

NO, just no.

I knew it would end up looking yellow once I added the poly or wax coat. (when dry, it looked very bleached, “wet”…it looked yellow)
So I whitewashed it instead.
I mixed up a little “Old White” Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and water and applied like so.

French Typography Table Makeover - Top Whitewashed - #milkpaint #chalkpaint #french #whitewash #typography - Copy

I just worked it in and lightly wiped over with the paper towel. (you don’t want much of the paint to stay behind, just a hint)


Now it will stay more “bleached” looking (white) once I put the sealer on top.

Next, I set up my projector (that I got off of Craigslist for around $40) and began transferring the image.
I printed out this graphic from The Graphic’s Fairy onto clear label paper to use on the projector.
If you don’t have that, you can have Office Max, or the like, print one out for you.
It only cost pennies..or a couple of quarters. I don’t remember but it wasn’t much last time I had them do one.

French Typography Table Makeover - Projector Transfer Method - #milkpaint #chalkpaint #french #typography

This is such a great way (and still my favorite way) to transfer large graphics onto something.
Here are a few of my other favorite transfer methods >>> “How To Transfer Graphics – My Favorite Methods

I used a black  Watercolor Pencil to transfer the image.

French Typography Table Makeover - Transferred Lettering - #milkpaint #chalkpaint #french #typography - Copy

Up close….

French Typography Table Makeover - Transferred Letters - #milkpaint #chalkpaint #french #typography - Copy

I used this same method on my Coastal Themed Dresser and this Estate Sale Sideboard.

I then hand painted it in using “Graphite” Annie Sloan Chalk Paint and a script liner brush (they are my absolute favorite for doing any kind of lettering)…..

French Typography Table Makeover - Handpainted in - #milkpaint #chalkpaint #french #typography

Pretty easy, just takes a bit of patience. As I’ve mentioned before, I love it, it’s my “mind therapy” time.
Put on some music you like, get comfy, and just start painting “in the lines”….before you know it, you are done.

I very lightly sanded the typography and then I added a bit more “whitewash” over the entire top.
See below…the lettering is a bit softer now.

French Typography Table Makeover - Before and After Top- #milkpaint #chalkpaint #french #typography

I sealed the top with  General Finishes Gel Topcoat.

Some close-up shots of the top…

French Typography Coffee Table Makeover - Up Close - #milkpaint #chalkpaint #french #typography

French Typography Coffee Table Makeover - Close up lettering - #milkpaint #chalkpaint #french #typography

French Typography Coffee Table Makeover - Close Up - #milkpaint #chalkpaint #french #typography

I like how the whitewash ended up looking on the black letters…almost antiqued looking.

I painted the base with General Finishes Lamp Black Milk Paint because I wanted it “BLACK”. (Graphite is more “Charcoal”)

I just LOVE that Lamp Black.
A lot.

French Typography Coffee Table Makeover - Lamp Black - #milkpaint #chalkpaint #french #typography

And it applies so smoothly…

French Typography Coffee Table Makeover - Lamp Black Milk Paint - #milkpaint #chalkpaint #french #typography

and is a nice, true, dark black.

French Typography Table Makeover - Lamp Black - #milkpaint #chalkpaint #french #typography

Simple and elegant.

French Typography Coffee Table Makeover - reading books - #milkpaint #chalkpaint #french #typography

With nothing because who wants to cover up that pretty French typography?

French Typography Coffee Table Makeover - After - #milkpaint #chalkpaint #french #typography

…and that gorgeous wood grain pattern I love so much.

So there you have it.
My $6 thrifty find turned Frenchy fun and fabulous! ;)

PIN this (truly simple to do) French typography project for later!!

So EASY!! French Typography Coffee Table Makeover - After - #milkpaint #chalkpaint #french #typography #furnituremakeover #transfergraphics #paintedfurniture #frenchgraphic

Hope you give it a try!

Be sure to check back later this week to see what I did to this old beauty!

UPDATE!!! See it now, here!!





An InLinkz Link-up


  1. As always…you rocked it! Love your would be stunning in my living room :) … Perhaps with lots of practice I’ll be able to paint those lovely delicate letter like you do so well… OX

    1. Aw thanks Wendi!!! But let me tell ya….(as I already did on your post!lol) right back at ya!!!! (and you can paint these no problem!)

  2. Nancy! I just love it! Of course I love anything FRENCH! That turned out fabulous. Love those projectors for these projects too!
    Great Transformation!

  3. The wood pattern is gorgeous! I’m glad you needed to sand it so that beautiful pattern could show through! The white washing is so beautiful and subtle as well! Awesome job!

  4. Love the contrast with the lamp black and the natural wood grain (and a pretty wood grain it is). Very nice makeover Nancy! I found a great little projector at Michaels for $40.00 (with coupon) and I haven’t used it yet. I seem to gravitate towards block printing my graphics on my laser and tracing it with graphite paper. Thanks for the reminder that a) I have that little projector collecting dust in the corner of my workshop and b) that it would save me a step!

    1. Thanks Marie!! I think the contrast is what snagged me right on in! I love contrast. :)
      Yay!! Yes, dust it off and try it out!! xo


  5. great redo nancy that was a fabulous find for 6 bucks the wood grain is my favorite part i am glad you made it stand out only thing i wish when using french graphics is a translation ha ha xx

    1. Thank you Chris! :) That wood grain is awesome if I do say so myself! lol Really, it makes the table, in my opinion.
      Oh…I don’t have the full translation but I know it is related to wine so it can’t be bad! ;)

      1. do not worry , i ‘m french . the translation is good. it’s just an advertisement for vines.
        and I wish to congratulate you!

  6. You did such a nice job on this table makeover. I always learn a technique from your furniture posts. You got that table for an amazing price and now it’s a real conversation starter in your living room.

  7. Great table just love the wood grain shinning through and your idea for white washing!
    I have a toy chest I have painted and wanted your suggestion for a top coat. Would you suggest using General Finishes Gel Topcoat in Satin?
    Always enjoy reading about your creations…Avid follower

    1. Thank you Charmaine!
      Oh yes..yes, yes, I am loving that topcoat.
      I think you will like it too. It is easy to apply also which is a major plus!
      (I’m not sure about the darkening or yellowing yet…I haven’t been using it long enough to assess!)

  8. Absolutely beautiful, Nancy. You take so much time with your work and it shows. Thanks for sharing your talents. I am inspired.
    Pinned :)
    Make it a wonderful weekend, my friend.

  9. I am so with you, Nancy. Hand painting is therapy for me since I was a kid, much like crochet. You did a fantastic job and I love the whitewash! :o)

    1. Thank you Christy!! It is sold! lol I do like it in the living room too actually. BUT..the black doesn’t really go and I am not sure I should put yet one more thing with words on it in my home!! lol

    1. Thanks Sandi! :)
      I would bet so! I would also bet you can find a bunch on Craigslist too for much cheaper! Take a look!

  10. LOVE your table !!. Thankyou so much for the easy, clear directions on how to transfer the image onto the table. I am interested in the Gel Topcoat that you used, but one question. I am always having such a “freak-on”, when anyone places a glass or mug onto my tables that I have chalk painted. Even though I waxed them they seem to be able to chip a little where the grand child plays with toys. Would this gel topcoat give a better protection than the waxes?. I am ready to order some, but am hoping to hear from you first.. LOL Again.. beautiful table !!

    1. Thank you Sandy! :)
      If you are going to have something used as described, I would lightly sand, then apply the Chalk Paint, then apply 1-3 coats of the Gel topcoat.
      (allowing all to dry well in between applications)
      I love a wax finish, and it has it’s place, but I’m really enjoying this Gel Topcoat! It’s SOOO easy to apply. I think you will like it!

  11. Loving that table, legs, shape, and of course the grain. And the $6 price tag, awesome. White washing was stroke of genius, no kidding, makes that table more awesome. You’ll have all of blog land buying projectors, sure makes using typography much easier. Don’t know how I’d do trying to fill in but would sure make it worth while.
    I bought an Americana stencil with French wording at Michaels which was $9.99 but had 50% off coupon, it’s a nice size, wording is for a bakery. I have a table to redo so thought I’d use the stencil.
    I am a big fan of yours, you know what people like to buy and how to get them to. I thought I might put small wheels/casters on legs of table I’m doing, depending on height will be with them on, paint ends of legs with gold or something to go with what color I paint table. Jury still out on that question. I’ll do some research to see what colors are more in trend at time. Any suggestions? So helpful to have an expert like yourself to refer to. Happy week and season

    1. Hey there! :)
      Thanks so much! If you wanted to try projecting and then filling in, you can also use paint pens which are a little easier to use. I just like the look of the painted with a brush a bit better so do that most of the time. But it’s worth a try!
      The gold legs sounds like a pretty touch! And aw, you really are too kind!! :) Thank you for the sweet words. I don’t know that I am an expert but I love creating and helping others do the same!
      For the table, you could try a search labeled “gold dipped legs” on google and find quite a lot of examples to see if you like that or not. (I do!)
      Hope you are having a wonderful week so far! xo

  12. Love the table and your directions are great! With the graphite paint , do you dilute or use it straight. Is the script liner brush something you can get at Michaels?

    1. Hi Bonnie :)
      Thanks so much! Yes, I usually will dilute it a little bit because it’s much easier to work with that way. And yep, you can get the script liners at any craft store.
      I got mine at Michael’s or AC Moore.
      Hope that helps!

    1. Hi Linda, the Lamp Black is from General Finishes. I have a link for it in my post. :) (highlighted link) Good luck!! xo

  13. Hi! How do I get a graphic from Office store. I understand the paint process. Do I take a picture from graphic fairy site or do I have to download a picture on my phone. Not sure what to do. I have no projector. Any help would be greatly appreciated! I’m new to all this. Thankyou so much.

    1. Hi Deborah! Just download the graphic to your computer, then save it to a small thumb drive. Take the thumb drive to the office store and have them print it out on a transparency. Then you can use it on a projector like I did here. Without the projector, you can print out large graphics like this at blockposters (dot) com. You’ll have to piece them together once printed and transfer them with one of these other transfer methods though. I found this old projector on Craigslist for about 35-40 dollars around 8 or so years ago and it’s still going strong. :)

  14. Nancy, how do you sand the top when there are different grain directions?
    Your work is stunning! Thanks for sharing.

    1. Thank you MaryJo! :)
      For something like this you just have to do the best you can. I usually try to sand each section in the way of the grain and then go back over the whole thing in one direction, left to right. :) xo

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.