Repurposed Sewing Table

Have you ever seen a sewing table at a thrift store or yard sale, but you didn’t know what to do with it? Today I’m sharing my favorite repurposed sewing table idea!

Get more painted furniture ideas here!

sewing table before repurposing

Even though I love to sew, most of the time these old tables aren’t able to hold our new sewing machines without a lot of changes made to the table.

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If you are lucky enough to find a sewing table, with a working sewing machine AND you love to sew, you would be scoring big time! But that is so few and far between.

SO what do you do? The fix is easier than you would think!

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Supplies Used for Repurposed Sewing Table

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Note: You definitely don’t have to take the sewing table apart to repurpose it! You can refinish it as is. I just like to remove the hinges and remove the excess that I can’t use anymore.

Another note: If your sewing table has a top that opens up on both sides, you may want to replace the whole top with a new piece of wood.

Check out these repurposed sewing machine tables to see how to replace the top with new wood with other sewing tables.

Unscrew Top of Sewing Table

Open up the hinged top of the table and unscrew the hinges until it is detached from the table.

sewing table with top lid open

Once it is detached, you will easily be able to flip the whole table over onto its top without worrying about the hinged top opening up on you.

Next, remove the screws that are holding the top onto the base and legs.

I have seen one where the base had pocket holes with screws holding on the top, and another where the corner braces also had screws holding on the top.

Either way, find the screws that are holding your top piece on and unscrew those.

You should now have three pieces.

  • The top part that used to open up
  • The top part with the big hole for the sewing machine
  • The base with the legs attached

You can also remove the other random things that are inside the table if you want. These aren’t going to serve any purpose anymore. If you want to keep them there, you totally can keep them as well!

Then set aside the top with the hole in it, and all the stuff from inside the table.

Fill in Hinge Holes

Now that the hinges are all removed, you’ll see some cuts in the wood where those hinges used to be. Now is the time to fill them in.

My favorite way to fill chunks of missing wood like this is with Bondo. It dries harder and quicker than wood filler, and it’s easy to sand.

Learn more about filling holes when replacing furniture hardware here.

The biggest downside is that it’s pretty stinky, and you have to mix it up… and work super fast at spreading it when it’s all mixed.

You can use multi-purpose Bondo, wood filler Bondo, or autobody Bondo. They are all pretty similar. Check out the best wood fillers for furniture here.

How to Use Bondo

It comes with a can and a little tube of hardener. Follow the ratio and directions on the can, but don’t make it until you are ready to slather it into your holes.

can of bondo body filler

Learn more about how to fix chipped wood furniture with Bondo here.

Then fill in your holes, and overfill them just a little. But make sure to keep it as smooth as possible so you don’t have to sand extra once it is dry.

Bondo stinks, so make sure you are outside in a well-ventilated area, but this stuff sure works wonders where wood filler would take a long long time to dry and then shrink and crack.

After an hour the Bondo should be completely dry.

Now get out your electric sander (you can hand sand too, but it will take longer) and go to work making it all flush with the wood around it. Learn more about the best sanders for furniture here.

Screw The Top Back On

You can now attach the top part (that doesn’t have the big hole) onto the base.

Simply use the hardware and screws that held the old top (the one with a huge hole) onto the base. Make sure to measure and line it up so your new top is centered on the base.

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Paint Sewing Table with Milk Paint

That’s all there is to it! Now go grab your paint and create something beautiful! For this particular table, I used Sweet Pickins Milk Paint in Curry and Minwax Gel Stain in Aged Oak.

First, I taped off the top of the legs so no paint got to them.

To get a more crackling old look I brushed on a coat of shellac, then right away brushed on Sweet Pickins Milk Paint. After 2 coats the coverage was perfect.

Learn more about painting furniture with milk paint here.

I used my clean putty knife to get it to chip a bit and removed the tape from the legs.

If you want to add more yellow furniture to your home here’s our list of yellow dresser ideas!

How to Restain Wood Without Stripping

For the legs, I used gel stain to restain the wood without stripping.

After wiping down the legs I used an old cut up shirt to apply the gel stain. I wiped the stain on, and after a couple of minutes, wiped some of it back off with a clean rag.

Do you see how that mark on the right leg is gone? I love gel stain for restaining furniture! Learn more about how to restain wood furniture here.

Seal Milk Paint and Gel Stain

Once dry, it all received 3 coats of Varathane polyurethane in Satin. (I let the gel stain dry for 48 hours since it’s oil-based.) I sprayed the polyurethane on.

See gel stain in action with this tutorial on how to stain wood darker.

Restaining A Chair

The chair was another find from a different day, but you would never know that it wasn’t made to go with the table.

Since the chair was the same color of wood as the table originally was, it received the same treatment as the table legs.

Check out our blog post about restaining furniture where we used regular wood stain instead of gel stain.

sewing table and chair after makeover
chippy mustard yellow painted sewing table with wood stained legs

More Before And After Makeovers

Click any of these “before” photos below to view the “after” of that makeover.

This table is now ready to be a small desk, perfect for a child or teenager, or even a tall nightstand for your tall bed -OR- even a small entry table! Check out more painted desk ideas here.

There are so many possibilities with where these old repurposed sewing machine tables can go in your home. What would you do with a repurposed sewing table?

scroll up if you missed the after photos

Repurposed Sewing Table

repurposed sewing table painted yellow and chair

Upcycle your old sewing table into a new piece of furniture! Here are the steps for the repurposed sewing table.

Instructions

  1. Open up the top of the sewing table and unscrew the hinges until it is detached from the table. Flip the table upside down and remove the top.
  2. Now, fill in the hinge holes with Bondo. Overfill them just a little but make sure to keep it as smooth as possible. Bondo stinks, so make sure you are outside in a well-ventilated area. After an hour the Bondo should be completely dry. Sand the wood by hand or with a sander.
  3. Screw the top back onto the table. Measure and line it up so your new top is centered on the base.
  4. Before painting, tape off the top of the legs so no paint gets to them. For a more crackling old look, brush on a coat of shellac then right away brush on milk paint. Do 2 coats.
  5. You can restain the table legs without stripping using gel stain. Use an old cut up shirt to apply the gel stain. Wipe the stain onto the legs, and after a couple of minutes, wipe some of it back off with a clean rag. Let the gel stain dry for 48 hours.
  6. Once everything dries, apply 3 coats of waterbased polyurethane.

Recommended Products

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More Old Sewing Machine Table Makeovers

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sewing desk before repurposing to a nightstand
sewing table from thrift store before the makeover

5 Comments

  1. I used the original screw holes from the underneath or inside of the table.

  2. Teresa Reid says:

    I’m working on my first piece and ready to throw my hands in the air. I did everything done the list but I sprayed on bills eye primer. During first color I saw yellow instantly. Should I had of brushed it on? The primer is white. Paint is going to be dark green. What would you do now?

    1. brushing won’t prevent the yellow unfortunately. If you used the spray can bulls eye 123 primer, you can use another coat or 2 of that to block the bleed (since the spray can version is oil based). Or, we use bin shellac primer to prevent the bleed. Keep priming until the bleed is blocked. Then paint.

  3. I am SO doing this! We have been going through my MIL’s home (she is in assisted living now) and I have been gifted a sewing machine cabinet much like this one. The sewing machine is still in it and it’s a type I have never heard of before (DELCO by General Motors). It’s very unique so I don’t want to get rid of the sewing machine head but I do want to rework the cabinet. Maybe in the same color you used! It’s perfect for my home!

    1. Hey Jill, I’m so glad you can keep a piece from your MIL and update it to be something you will love even more! Best of luck with your sewing table!

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