My 4-Dollar Garage Sale Table Makeover

comments 6
Chronic-Girl Crafts / Hold My Gatorade and Watch This

whiskey table before and after edited

I blame the whiskey.

Here’s the thing.  While we were in Colorado visiting family, we went on a whiskey distillery tour.

Ya, ya it was interesting and all, but the main realization I had was, why didn’t we get married in a whiskey distillery?  Man, the décor was just gorgeous.  I loved all of it.  The barrels, the lighting, the steel and barn wood accents.  See, look for yourself.

whiskey distillery

Tell me that’s not gorgeous.  Plus, we look good there too.

whiskey distillery 3

Anyways, I came home with a plan to makeover a piece of furniture that has been far too boring for a bit.  Previously, we had nothing next to the chair in the living room so my aunt got this cute and simple table at a garage sale for 4 dollars.  I have been back and forth with how I want to decorate it.  I considered painting, staining, or decoupage, but nothing seemed perfect, until the whiskey tour that is.

Follow along and I’ll show you step-by-step how I made over this table to be a perfect accent piece.

To recreate something like this in your life you’ll need:

  • a wood burning tool; mine is Walnut Hollow brand
  • graphite paper – I buy it in packs off of Amazon
  • ball point pen
  • scissors
  • scotch tape
  • wood stain- if you like that look
  • the ability to print a design you love
  • whatever you plan to put your design on: bookshelf, table, wall hanging, etc.

Ok, so I knew I wanted something rustic, but that was also a bit busy and interesting.  I found a label design that I liked.  The secret to this is to Google or visit Pinterest and look for free printables for whatever your heart desires.  P.S. There are some really cute and fun old coffee labels which look promising.

Next, cut away excess paper and graphite paper and lay the graphite paper down first (shiny side down) then lay the design on top.  Tape it down when you’re happy with the location.

whiskey table

Now use your ball point pen to trace over every part that you want to burn.  You can lift up the corner a little bit at first to make sure it is transferring.

Once you’ve traced it all, remove your label and graphite paper.  It should look like the picture on the left below.  Now, just use your wood burning tool to go over it.  Make sure that you have some scrap wood to practice using the tool and getting a feel for pressure and which points you like best.  If you plan on using different points during one project you’ll need pliers, as the tool gets extremely hot and takes a long time to cool enough to touch.

whiskey table 2

Of course, if you’re super crafty you can probably just free hand whatever design you want.  I, however, am not.

If you like that look, then you’re all done.  For my table though, I wanted to get a darker and ‘seen some life’ kind of look.  The answer for that is stain.

whiskey table 3

The technique that I like to use to achieve that rustic look is to wet a paper towel or napkin, then dip a corner into the stain then transfer it onto the wood.  Then I go over it again with a wet paper towel to help move it around.  I use very little stain to achieve this look.  I used Minwax red mahogany this time because I happened to have that on hand.

Make sure that each part of the wood that is visible has been stained.

Let it dry and you’re all done.  Yes, if you don’t have the wood burning tool, graphite paper, and stain you’ll have to invest, but it will all last you a very long time.  Think of the Christmas present personalization opportunities.

whiskey table 4

In case you didn’t notice in the before and after picture up at the top… something else magically appears when the table is given a makeover…

Ok, don’t sue me if a jar of Moonshine doesn’t magically appear on your table.






  1. Pingback: My Coffee Bar- Including a How-To DIY Photo Transfer Onto Wood – POTS: Finding Smiles in the Trials

  2. rasm47 says

    Absolutely beautiful… Very well done. So, if I just bring you the piece of furniture…?


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