Painted Kilim Table


I found this little side table recently. Way more traditional that my usual look, but it has a very handhewn quality and the wood is pretty so I got it anyway. I wanted to take away some of the traditional feel, while still revealing some of the wood tones.  The top is formed out of two boards, joined asymmetrically. I kept it for a few weeks by the sofa. Tables like this are very useful for a iPad and remotes and a drink. Using it I don’t have to sit ALL THE WAY UP to reach the coffee table. Lazy, I know…

side table painted with OFMP to look like kilim rug old fashioned milk paint


So there it is, sitting on the rug when inspiration strikes. What if I put the rug design ON the table and take advantage of the asymmetry?  I ADORE kilim rugs. My favorite thing about them is the variation in color of the yarn. This is called “abrash” in the rugs, and Old Fashioned Milk Paint does the same sort of thing.   I think it must be the natural pigments…not as stable as synthetic but infinitely more human.  I was really excited to use OFMP for that reason and the people at Old Fashioned Milk Paint very generously sent me lots of colors of paint to use just for this project.

Many cultures celebrate imperfection as a quality of beauty and humanity. Some believe God is the only perfection, we are not. So they add intentional imperfection into their creations.  I see the evidence of handmade as an antithesis to mass produced products. So philosophical musing well established I started sketching out an idea.

sketch imperfect kilim rug design


Using school chalk directly on the table, I very loosely sketched guidelines for the painted design.  I love using chalk since it just wipes right off. It also isn’t going to react or resist the paint at all, since there is chalk actually in the OFMP. (I did a very light sanding of the top before sketching.)

I just needed a tiny bit, so I mixed them in little disposable sauce cups. I also mixed some colors to get some purple-y tones, which I always love. (I mixed Federal Blue and Salem Red with a bit of Snow White for the purple, bottom left.)  I was not looking to recreate the rug colors, and seriously did not plan out what I was going to do.

old Fashioned Milk Paint colors for kilim table


I added a splash of Extra Bond to each little container. I didn’t want the colors to chip with abandon. If they did a little bit, that would be ok. (but it didn’t) Then I jumped right in, making changes to the pattern as needed.

border kilim table OFMP

In the past, I have painted designs on furniture with the intent of distressing later. I outlined the shape first with paint and then filled in, and was dismayed when the outline “stuck” and didn’t distress naturally, with feathered edges. So this time I didn’t not outline, and brushed each triangle in horizontal lines like yarn. I didn’t worry about spaces of wood showing between the shapes. I didn’t worry about ANYTHING. Imperfection was the goal. Kind of freeing, kind of terrifying.

before sanding kilim table OFMP old fashioned milk paint

I dipped my brush in different colors on some of the shapes. Pumpkin/Marigold most specifically. I love how the colors mix on the table. In reality, the colors don’t pop quite as much as they appear to here. They blend into the wood.  I added a little more of the white detailing on the edge of the legs. This is a little bit of a throw back to MANY years ago when I painted similar tables in bright colors and shapes with a Memphis/Mackenzie-Childs vibe for resale in Old Town Pasadena, California. I wonder where all those tables are now?  The photos above is before I distressed the paint.  To finish it, I sanded along the “yarn” lines and waxed first with clear Daddy Van’s wax and then with some of the Brown tinted wax. The tinted is not as “wet” as the clear and did not stain the white paint as much as I had expected it to. But that is ok….perfectly imperfect. Like the table, our lives don’t always go in precisely as planned but the end result is even more beautiful for the stories we can tell about its creation.

kilim-pattern-on-pattern OFMP

After distressing with sandpaper and wax

kilim-table-in OFMP

I like that the table now has a little bit of a world traveled feel to it. Blends well with modern pieces, other pattern and imported items.

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