My Insta-Photo White Plank Project

I don’t really know why i’m writing this blog. I have absolutely no authority, no training and no idea what i’m doing. I completely make it up as I go along. The one thing I am fairly good at is being willing to just give things a go. It’s how I learn and it’s what i’d really like to encourage other people to do, It’s fun! And that’s exactly what this little project was.

I know you shouldn’t copy other ideas, you should be original and think outside the box but I just couldn’t resist. Instagram is full to the brim of pretty flowers, cups of tea and books laid on battered white planks, so naturally I wanted in on the action. I wanted battered white planks!

Rather than buy myself an old white table I took a look around the house and thought what can I batter and bruise in a little experiment? The answer was this pine coffee table.

Insta Plank Project 2.jpg

If Gina and Andy read this then I’m really sorry for taking a hammer to the coffee table you gave me. Those beautiful antique chests will never get touched but this wasn’t old so it didn’t feel quite so naughty? Again, I’m really really sorry, please forgive me!

Here’s what you’ll need…

  • Solid wood table of some form

  • Hammer

  • Wood Dye

  • Sharp Knife

  • Thin V Chisel

  • White emulsion 

  • Sand Paper

  • Clear Wax

  • 2 x Paintbrushes

Here’s how I did it…

Start off by measuring the top and marking lines equal distance apart with a metal ruler.  These will be the ‘planks’. Score down each line with a very sharp knife.

Wood carving tools would be ideal for this project. I haven’t mentioned yet how excited I am that I’ve inherited Nicks great grandmas old tools which are in this amazing battered leather case and they smell delightfully of the 1930’s. But that’s besides the point, a cheap set would be more than adequate for this.

Using a thin V chisel carve out the lines of wood to emulate plank edges. I Made some parts thicker than others, this made the planks seem more worn and distressed. Don’t worry too much about the neatness or if it’s a little wobbly, it really didn’t bother me.

Then the fun part – Hammer the life out of it! Literally hit the sides, top, edges, drawers and legs as hard as you can with the both the front and back of the hammer. Do whatever you like. You’re creating years of knocks, bangs and scrapes, house moves and whoopsie daisies. It might even have lived in an old forge once upon a time, or a carpenters workshop. It’s story is yours to make. (I really wish I saved this part for a bad mood, wielding a hammer while you’re perfectly content is a complete waste of stress therapy).

With some rough sand paper sand the grooves, holes and dints. (You don’t won’t to give people splinters when they grab their coffee.) I used rough sandpaper because the old blacksmith wouldn’t have called a french polisher when the table in his forge gained a few bruises. The knocks and scratches would have felt a little rough. We’re aiming for authentically fake here!

Brush Jacobean Dark Oak Wood Dye in all the dents and grooves so when it’s painted and finally distressed the orangeness of the pine doesn’t come through.

Wait for that to dry and then paint away. Use any matt emulsion you have spare, it does not matter if the finish flakes and doesn’t last a lifetime. I mean it already looks like it’s been through the wars so whats one more chip? Be ruthless with your brush strokes don’t try to be neat, whats the point? Make it thick and clumpy in some parts and thin in others, keep going until you’re satisfied.

Once it’s dried lightly sand the edges, corners and down the grooves to remove paint and give it a distressed look.

To make it more distressed I splashed a little paint stripper on some areas and scraped it off. That looked a little excessive so I layered more paint until I was happy,  then a quick light sand to blend in all the stripped areas.

You’re nearly done, give it a wipe and a coat of clear waxed applied with a paintbrush and rubbed in with a cloth.

Voila! A surface ready for a pretty flat-lay photo.

Written with love.

Old Mother Hubbard

I really wish I’d have saved this project for when a red mist ascended but unfortunately I remained rather jolly during the whole process.