Trashed to Treasured Coffee Table – Guest Post by Sawdust and Embryos

Upcycled Wood Grain Coffee Table ~ using Vinyl as a Stencil {Sawdust and Embryos}

Hello! How is your week?! I’m sorry I missed y’all on Wednesday. I spent the day at the permit office interviewing the director and filing for a building and mechanical permit for our kitchen. I learned oodles and will have a post for you as soon as I can.

In the meantime, I have a very special guest for you today! Beth from Sawdust & Embryos is here to share a tutorial for making that beautiful decorative coffee table you see above!

Beth and Nick are a young fun-loving couple who are constantly improving their old Iowa farm house. Some of the fun tutorials they share are:

DIY Painted Backsplashes

And this amazing handpainted dresser! You won’t believe what the before looked like.

Handpainted Dresser Tutorial

With that brief intro, I’m letting Beth take it from here…take it away gal!

Hey Pretty Handy Readers! My name is Beth, and I’m a fellow DIY junkie and blogger over at Sawdust and Embryos. We talk about everything, from parenting twins to furniture restoration! From stenciling to infertility… there are no rules!

Sawdust and Embryos Blog

It’s SUCH a huge privilege to be able to stop in and show you one of our favorite furniture transformations! It’s the greatest feeling when you strike gold with an idea… and it ACTUALLY TURNS OUT LIKE YOU ENVISIONED!

We started out with the tragic remains of what almost certainly used to be a coffee table of sorts.

Wood grain coffee table... using vinyl as a stencil {Sawdust and Embryos}

We tore out that grody wicker stuff from the bottom. And after taking some measurements of the top and bottom inserts, my smokin-hot man-boy cut some panels of wood to fit nice and snug. We wood-puttied around all the edges and sanded everything super smooth.

Wood Grain Coffee Table ~ Wood-putting {Sawdust and Embryos}

Next, we put a nice thick coat of polyurethane over the top. STAY WITH ME! This is when it gets good!

Preparing Furniture to use Vinyl as a Stencil {Sawdust and Embryos}

I had my vinyl-cutting-friend Dana cut me a pretty viney design, and I slapped it on (once the poly was SUPER dry). If you’re lucky enough to own your own Silhouette or Cricut, you can cut your own vinyl and I’m officially jealous!

Applying Vinyl to Furniture to use as a Stencil! {Sawdust and Embryos}

We polyed over it again (including the vinyl), and let it dry for a couple hours.

Next, we primed and painted… glossy black.

Using Vinyl as a Stencil with Wood Grain Showing Through! {Sawdust and Embryos}

While the paint was still tacky, we started peeling back the vinyl to reveal a beautiful wood grain peeking through the design! Talk about instant gratification!

Use Vinyl as a Stencil with Wood Grain Showing Through... it's EASY! {Sawdust and Embryos}

To finish things off, we put another coat of poly over the whole thing… to glossify things, and make it super durable!

Upcycled Wood Grain Coffee Table ~ using Vinyl as a Stencil {Sawdust and Embryos}

Using Vinyl as a Stencil for Beautiful Woodgrain to show through! {Sawdust and Embryos}

This was such a simple process with such a WOW outcome! We’ve used this same technique several times since (here, here, and here if you wanna look)!

The most important part of this process is to poly before applying the vinyl. When the poly dries hard as candy, the vinyl sticks to it like a window-cling and keeps the paint from seeping under, as well as making it easy to remove the vinyl when you’re finished painting!

Using Vinyl as a Stencil ~ Wood Grain Coffee Table (by Sawdust and Embryos)

We hope that you’re inspired enough to give this a whirl for yourself! It so satisfying to stand back and look at a beautiful thing that you created!

And since we’re on the topic of coffee tables, you might be interested in the most recent one we finished using a unique staining technique. Come check it out!

BEFORE picture... Gradual Shading Technique using Stain (Sawdust & Embryos)

Again, it is such an honor being here on Pretty Handy Girl! We just love being able to share our projects and life with the DIY community, and hope to inspire others!

Please consider stopping by our blog Sawdust and Embryos and saying hello! And thanks for having us Brittany!blank-001


Were you blown away too? Beautiful coffee table, Beth! Thank you so much for your tutorial and for sharing!

Have a great weekend everyone.



  1. My god that is cool. I’ve never seen or heard of anything like that.

  2. Stunning! Great job!

  3. Oh my goodness – it looks amazing!! Seriously, incredible.

  4. Amazing! I love it :)

  5. I never tire of seeing a piece of trash turned in to a functional piece of art. So beautiful.

  6. Beautiful! It looks wonderful! I never would have thought to do that. Great idea!!

  7. Stunning designs. Looks like kitchen can be improved.

  8. Wow, I never thought that staining technique could be applied in refurnishing furniture. I remembered when I do some painting class and this is the first technique that I learn. I might try this one. Thanks for sharing :)

  9. Good post. I will be facing a feew of these issues ass well..

  10. Excellent way of describing, and nice post to take facts regarding
    my presentation subject, which i am going to present in school.


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