Herringbone Paint Stick Table

I totally meant to show you a much better picture of this table…..before.

It would have made the after so much more rewarding.


But I got busy cutting paint stir sticks and The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills was about to be on…..and I forgot to take a really good before picture.

A close-up of the table…….covered with splattered paint and rings of where the spray paint can used to be and scratches and big chips in the veneer.

Wobbly and woebegone and just waiting for a make-over.


Herringbone Paint Stick Table

Before and afters are the best.

They’re kind of like watching a really good Hallmark movie.

Like the one about the girl who no one ever noticed because she always wore glasses and frumpy clothes with not cute hair and she was super shy.  And she didn’t  really have any friends.  But you knew that she could be so cute if she just cut her hair and put on make-up and remake the prom dress that her dad gave her.


And then one day she bumped into the most popular guy in school who knocked her books over.   And then he helped her up with her books and for a moment he gazed into her eyes….well actually he really gazed into her glasses, but it didn’t matter because he saw beyond those glasses…..

                                …..and truly saw her for the first time.

He saw her for the true beauty that she was.

And he asked her to homecoming and she turned from a shy, awkward ugly duckling into the belle of the ball in her beautiful remade prom dress.


Before and afters are the best.

And here’s one of my favorites:


Before and After Paint Stick Table

(here’s an attempt at a before picture….it could have been so much better) 

Herringbone Paint Stick Table


Paint Sticks




paint sticks

wood glue

wood filler

sandpaper and sander


miter box


Paint Stick Project


 Step 1:  Cut paint strips into five inch sticks

I used about 25 paint sticks for this project.

We cut each paint strip individually with a saw in a miter box.

I used 34 five inch sticks to start the base of the pattern for the table and then

filled in around the edges with other smaller pieces.


Projects with paint sticks


Step 2:  Paint base of table

Step 3:  Measure 2 1/2 inches from the edge of the table and place a strip of blue painter’s tape.

The blue painter’s tape is your guide for the edge of the first row.

It is very important that you line up the first row properly so the rest of the herringbone pieces are straight.

Line up first two pieces with tape and a square ruler.

Apply wood glue and let dry.


Paint Stick Table


Step 4:  Using blue tape as your guide continue laying pieces of paint stick.

Line up edge of pieces on tape to keep the pattern straight.

Glue each piece in place with wood glue.

Follow the herringbone pattern as shown.


Cut Side Pieces to Fit


Step 5: Repeat step 4 until the basic pattern is laid

Once pattern is laid and glued in place, measure side spaces and cut side pieces to fit.

Don’t worry if the sides don’t line up perfectly, the sides will be sanded to match later.


putty for paint stick project


Step 6: Fill gaps with wood putty

After your paint strips are all laid in a herringbone pattern, there will be some that don’t match up perfectly.

Use stainable wood putty to fill in gaps.

Follow directions on package.

Let dry.


Sand edges of table


Step 7:  Sand entire table top.  

The strips are made of pine which is extremely soft and sands easily.

Round the edges of the table top until the sides are uniform and lined up.

Sand where putty has dried and sand any uneven pieces of paint stick.


Herringbone Paint Stick Table


Step 8: Stain table top

Follow directions on stain for application.

I used Minwax Provincial.

Apply two coats and follow up with a water based polyurethane to seal the wood.


Herringbone Paint Stick Table


This project is relatively simple and so inexpensive to make.

It looks like a high-end piece from an expensive retail store.

Here’s the after….in all her paint stick tabletop glory.

From ugly duckling to the belle of the ball.

I am totally calling the Hallmark Channel. 🙂

For more furniture projects….click here to check out out my furniture projects page.


  1. Image for kirby kirby

    Very cute!! (Just like the lab assistant who is hiding her 34Ds under that coat and she has the Rick Moranis glasses and her long blonde hair in a bun. And in one smooth movement, the coat is off, the hair is down, and the glasses are whisked off. And the handsome scientist falls in love with her and they save the world from total destruction.)

  2. Image for Lisa Lisa

    Stop it!! You made that tabletop??? From paint sticks??? You are my idol. You and Molly Ringwald and Andrew what's-his-name in Pretty In Pink! I love how you speak my movie language!!! Your table is truly beautiful and I am wildly looking around my house right now for a piece of furniture to herringbone. Thanks for sharing your creativity!

  3. Image for Donnamae Donnamae

    I love how you can take something so unassuming, such as a paint stick, and elevate it to a thing of beauty! ;)

  4. Image for Doreen Doreen

    Thanks for the tutorial - I have an old table just dreaming of getting this makeover! I was a little worried about you - glad to see you are back today!

  5. Image for Kristin Kristin

    OH that is the best! I love how you used paint sticks....clever girl!! It looks so amazing!! The 'afters' are so much better with a 'before'...yours is fabulous! Pinned!

  6. Image for Regina Regina

    How cute is this! I love a herringbone pattern, and I love taking "found" tables! Many years ago I was looking for a table to put our c. 1989 microwave on. (the c. was to indicate just how HEAVY it was!). I went to a thrift store looking, and on the way out found the perfect thing. It was actually a little vanity table that had been neglected and painted a sorry color. I knew I could paint it, but was it sturdy enough? When I asked the old man running the store, he said, "Well, it has an air conditioner sitting on it now. I think it will hold your microwave . . . " :) Have a wonderfully crafty, creative day! The SUN is shining!

  7. Image for Rosanne HIrsch Rosanne HIrsch

    Love it! Did you just collect paint stick over time, or casually walk around the paint department 25 times grabbing sticks each time around, or did you just ask and they gave you all those? I kinda like the idea of secret agent Kari nabbing paint sticks in a covert operation.

  8. Image for Jen (Arriving) Jen (Arriving)

    Such a pretty table. You are so inventive :-) (May want to add one step though? Wouldn't you have to vacuum the heck out of that top to get all the dust out before you stained it? How did you clean it?).

  9. Image for Jan G. Jan G.

    KariAnne not only is the top beautiful but i love the color of the table also... would you be so kind and share the name of the base paint?

  10. Image for Sherry Sherry

    Karianne, How in the world di you come up with covering a table with paint sticks? What a creative and wonderful project...love the table! xx, Sherry

  11. Image for Jeanette @ Creating A Life Jeanette @ Creating A Life

    I don't have a miter saw. Maybe I could cut all those stir sticks with a steak knife? : ) This is SO cool and SO pretty, Karianne! I feel like I should put down my chocolate hearts and go make something now! Thanks for sharing it. Jeanette

  12. Image for ann ann

    Very fun! I am looking at your PLATE RACK behind the project. Do you have this as one of your projects on YOUR website? Thanks.

  13. Image for Jeannie Jeannie

    Karianne, Great idea, I love the look, always think of using the sticks for something. Really enjoyed the story as well, and the way it's written. Jeannie

  14. Image for Danielle Danielle

    This table is pretty fantastic! I've become obsessed with the herringbone floors on international house hunters. I never thought of putting them on a table! Pinning this lovely piece!

  15. Image for Kate Decker Kate Decker

    My paint sticks are slightly warping...they were perfectly straight when i picked them out! Will the wood filler help? Eeek I don't know what to do!

  16. Image for Sheila Zeller Sheila Zeller

    This is just awesome, Karianne! I pinned it awhile ago, and guess what? My Dad is on his way over tomorrow so we can size up a little project I have on the go with this as the DIY restoration idea in mind! Thanks so much for the tutorial, and even better, thanks for sharing!!!

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