Looking to create a paint stick table top? This amazing herringbone design is easy to recreate and adds a fantastic change to old furniture.

Herringbone Paint Stick Table- doesn't it look amazing?

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.

It was pitiful though.

You have to take my word for it.

It was 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

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

Paint sticks are all you need to make the table top

Herringbone Paint Stick Table



paint sticks

wood glue

wood filler

sandpaper and sander


miter box


Trim the paint sticks to create the table top

Step 1:  Cut paint strips into five-inch sticks

This is what you use to create a paint stick table.

Paint 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.

Align the paint sticks with this ruler

Step 2:  Paint base of table

I used SW Mindful Gray for this table base.

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 the first two pieces with tape and a square ruler.

Apply wood glue and let dry.

Follow the pattern and repeat across the table top

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

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

Glue each piece in place with wood glue.

Follow the herringbone pattern as shown.

Trim the side pieces to fit the table top

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.

Fill the gaps with wood putty

Step 6: Fill gaps in the paint stick tabletop 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 the package.

Let dry.

Sand all the edges of the table to make them uniform

Step 7:  Sand entire tabletop

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.

Stain the top of the paint stick table to the shade of your liking

Step 8: Stain table top

Follow directions on the stain for application.

I used Minwax Provincial.

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

The table after the top redo- stunning!

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.

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  1. Image for Beth @ WelcomeLaneDesigns.com Beth @ WelcomeLaneDesigns.com

    Your table turned out beautiful!! I am putting this on my to-do list!! Thanks for sharing.

  2. 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.)

  3. 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!

  4. 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! ;)

  5. 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!

  6. 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!

  7. 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!

  8. 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.

  9. 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?).

  10. Image for Betsy(@coastal-colors) Betsy(@coastal-colors)

    Karianne, I love your paint stick table! This is such a cute table! I love the before and after picture!

  11. 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?

  12. 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

  13. 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

  14. 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.

  15. 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

  16. 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!

  17. 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!

  18. 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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