Creating a Happy, Colorful, Handmade Home & life on the shores of lake superior

November 24, 2014

Going for Gold - How to Paint a Vintage Typewriter Table

I'm sharing a furniture makeover today, and it's NOT aqua!  In fact, it's not any of my safe and favored colours - it's gold.  Gold and I have a weird friendship.  I love to wear gold jewellery (my gold charm bracelet is a staple).  I have mooned over many a gold-filled DIY project.  An art exhibit featuring white plaster and gold had me totally mesmerized.  When I came back from my second visit to Hungay, I was totally obsessed.  But I just don't love gold in my house.  I've tried: my framed agates have a delicate edge of gold.  That's okay.  But remember when I had a cute vintage print framed in a pretty, brushed gold frame?  Well, that ended up at my Mom's place, where the frame will look great with her original 1950s antique brass hardware (she doesn't like the print, but I think a photograph from our travels will look great - maybe in black and white).  I was sad to see it go - especially because the frame wasn't cheap - but it was just too much gold for me!!  Even though I appreciate gold, and love seeing it in other homes, in my own home I love the coolness of brushed nickel.  It complements the watery palette that makes me happiest, and just feels refreshing.

With all that said, I wanted to try a little gold spray paint.  I can sense you sighing, "she's so stubborn".

I had thrifted this vintage metal typewriter table for $2.50 and decided it might look cute in the computer shop I've been slowly helping gussy up.  Two chairs in their waiting area + a fancy coffee maker necessitated a side table.  I don't know why, but I decided this would be my chance to try gold spray paint.  Here it is before (I had already popped the wheelie feet off):

I actually liked the patina, but it was bordering on shabby.  And the computer shop owner detests shabby (remember the cute antique chair that was vetoed?).   

I scrubbed the table with Mr. Clean, then rinsed it and let it dry.  I used a fine grit sandpaper and lightly sanded the entire surface and then wiped it down again.  I removed the wheels (they just pop off) and carefully wrapped them in painter's tape.

Then I got to spraying, using Rust-Oleum Universal Metallic in Pure Gold.  This Rust-Oleum spray paint bonds well with metal and has a built-in primer so painting the table was easy.  This was another spray painting job I tackled in my Father-in-law's spray painting booth.  I am so ecstatic about the potential for cold-weather spray painting!!  Paint ALL the things...

I flipped the table over and did the underside first.  I let it dry about half an hour and then gingerly flipped it back to spray paint the top and sides.  The spray in any direction nozzles are so fabulous - how did we spray paint without them?  Also, these new formulas dry fast - I love that.

I have been doing my best to be a patient spray-painter: applying super thin, sheer coats and waiting a few minutes in between.  When we were out at my in-laws', chopping wood and painting, we brought Szuka and added her to my father-in-law's existing three dogs (one of whom won't play nice with anyone, and two that do hang out but can't be let outside together).  I was on puppy-patrol and was kept pretty busy letting them out individually for pee breaks and breaking up fights.  Paint a little, let a dog out for a pee, paint another coat, try to find that dog and lure it back inside, spray on another thin coat, let out another dog.  It worked well for me!  Being distracted is great for spray painting projects because it keeps me from sitting there, with a twitchy spray painting finger, globbing on heavy coat coat after coat.

Once done, I let it cure for a few hours while we had dinner.  Hubby's Dad said the finish looked so perfect, it's like it came from the factory like that!  He said it didn't look spray painted, which is a high compliment from a woodworker who knows his finishes.  Hubby and his Dad actually both like the colour, which was surprising because it's gold, which I thought they'd deem to be too "feminine".  This gold is pretty - it's not glam and glitzy, it's a subtle gold with the tiniest amount of gleam.  I'm really pleased with how it turned out and I reluctantly delivered it to the computer shop last week, but not before I snapped a few photos.

The finished product is not as yellow-gold as the lid, and I suspect that's because it was applied to a green-ish colour to begin with.  Had I primed with white, I suspect the gold would have been truer. 

This winter I'll be recovering the computer store's counter with Rustoleum's counter top refinishing kit (I'm so curious and just have to try it out) and then maybe I'll show you the shop.

For now, you'll have to take my word that it's such a cute piece of furniture for an otherwise modern computer store.   These typewriter tables seem to be a dime a dozen.  If you stumble across one for cheap, you might one to give it a little makeover.  If not gold, then perhaps one of these gorgeous colours? 

Visual Heart, Our Secondhand House, Design Dining Diapers

Thanks to Rustoleum for providing the product for this project.  I've been really lucky to be able to work with a great brand (a longtime favorite), who gives me total freedom concerning what projects I tackle, what products I use, when (or if) I blog about them, and how I write my posts. 


  1. ohhhh I want one! what a beautiful table. I'm not a gold fan but would have done a nice deep blue or burgundy. would make an adorable bar cart or if its big enough would be a great place to display our record player!

    1. I hope you're able to find one!! I bet if you snag a photo of one and put up a want ad in your local online classifieds, a bunch of them will come out of the woodwork. Deep blue would be fabulous!! It's pretty petite, but could possible make a bar cart - esp if the extensions are in place. I think it would be the perfect size for a record player, though!

  2. I love it, I can remember typing on one of those tables. Love the gold.

    1. These tables are so tiny, I can't imagine it was very comfortable to work at one of these!! I definitely feel pretty spoiled with my giant desk and laptop...

  3. Wildly cute! am SO digging that red one. I always shy away from reds, but am really loving it against aqua and sky blues these days. also not bold enough for a gray + red combo in my home decor, but am thinking I should incorporate it into my wardrobe for the holidays...

    did you get my Komondor inquiry e-mail? I attached a photo so wanted to be sure it didn't go into your spam folder.

    beautiful job---I'm a big fan of brass and gold with midcentury pieces. just so warm! we have gorgeous beige & brass lamps that belonged to my parents and they are key to making our lounge super retro.

    1. I did get your email and replied earlier this evening. Smart thing adding photos. Never thought about that, to avoid the spam filter. Plus I loved seeing your mid-century inspired living room!!

      I'm excited to chat Komondors with you!

  4. Ooooo! This turned out beautifully. I love it with the old patina and the not too gold makeover you gave it. And in mint, orange or light blue. I would love to get one of these tables for my sewing machine. It would look cute with a vintage sewing machine on it. I keep my machine stowed away but a little table like this could sit looking pretty until I needed to use it. Soooo cute.
    Admittedly, I'm a little envious that you have use of a spray booth into the colder months- that's excellent. I have the same problem with my spray painting patience- but I've been getting better. A few paint runs and do overs is starting to cure me of that. Rustloleum is my favourite paint and yep, I agree that he new formulas are incredible- I love that you can do multiple coats in such a short time. I have a leftover can of gold paint that I've been itching to use- need to find myself a small project to glam up a bit. Your table is inspiring me.

  5. Hi, Tanya. I wonder if you or others who have used Rustoleum spray paint could comment on the odor level when you use it? I've had terrible migraines after spray painting, so I tend to avoid it for everything except small jobs like drawer hardware. But these projects you're showing really have me wanting to try again. Any idea if Rustoleum plans a low-VOC spray paint (if that's even possible)? Anyone know of any alternatives for those of us sensitive to the fumes?

  6. These tables are too cute. I thought it was a sewing machine table at first, and I would totally love one for my machine. Easy to roll out from my crap, I mean craft room when needed and roll back when done. Love the little side flaps for more surface space. Of course I'd paint it aqua or turquoise......but the red is kinda catching my eye too.


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