How To Make a Stained Veneer Table

To turn a bargain melamine table into a designer piece all you need is a homemade stencil, contact adhesive, timber stain and a sheet of veneer.  

Measure the tabletop accurately and cut a sheet of veneer to size using a craft blade and metal ruler.

For this tabletop the veneer top was inset 25mm all around and a 20mm wide border added, leaving 5mm of the melamine edge showing. The border was stained to match the stencil cutout. 

Dilute the stain with methylated spirits to control the depth of colour. 

Mix one part timber stain and three parts methylated spirits in a plastic container. Apply the diluted stain to the border and stencil cutouts with a paintbrush using long strokes. 

Reapply the stain until the desired depth of colour is achieved.

Designing a stencil 

To create the stencil, select the word or image from a computer program, printing one letter per A4 sheet. 

For this project a compressed helvetica font was chosen for its straight edges and simplicity. 

Straight edges are easier to cut and refit than curved edges so keep this in mind when choosing a design. 

Position the veneer tabletop piece on a self-healing mat. 

Secure the printed pages on the veneer using masking tape, cutting out the stencil with a craft blade. 

TIP Using a self-healing mat protects the surface underneath, gives you more control over the cut, and helps blades last longer

Printed out letter A being turned into a stencil, Handyman Magazine, Handyman , DIY,


How to make a stained venner table 

Step 1. Prepare the surface

Sand the tabletop with 180 grit abrasive paper to create a key for the adhesive. Apply a 2mm thick coat of contact adhesive using a paintbrush, then leave for 20 minutes until tacky.

Step 2. Secure the veneer

Lay the stencil and border pieces face down, then apply contact adhesive to the back and leave it to go tacky. Position the veneer top, the stained border then the stencil cutouts.

Step 3. Apply the finish

Let the adhesive dry for 24 hours then apply two coats of water-based polyurethane with a paintbrush, sanding lightly between coats. TIP Use a floor product for durability.

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