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EGGSHELL PAINT thinned with

Think of a table top as a blank canvas for your own designs. Most surfaces can happily take a paint finish as long as they are not too waxed. Remove any wax with white spirit and steel wool, then clean with a rag; always work in the direction of the grain. Remember to use hardwearing paint for tables which will be in constant use – eggshell paint or powder paint mixed with varnish.

IMark up your design in pencil on the table, drawing on guidelines if the pattern has to be centred. Thin the eggshell paint with turpentine substitute for subtle colour shades and apply with a fine brush. Leave the paint to dry thoroughly.

Sand back the paint, using either sandpaper or a sanding block.

Go with the grain and apply very light pressure – remember there is just one layer of paint – until you have the right amount of subtle colour left in the grain of the wood. Then dust the surface of the table to leave it scrupulously clean for the next stage.

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