Bursting with Color – Three Nesting Tables & an Octopus

Meet Oscar!

An artist’s version of the Great Pacific (Red) Octopus


This set of nesting tables was screaming for something wonderful, colorful and opposite of the condition I found it in. I was challenged this month by The Fab Furniture Flippin’ Contest to create something with color. “Come On, Let Your Colors Burst!” was the theme for July. I have to admit Katie Perry is one of my favorite inspirational singers… I know… I know,  but seriously. Listen to her Firework song and tell me you can’t scream… er… sing at the top of your lungs that verse…

“Come On, Let Your Colors Burst!”

As soon as I saw the theme I began singing as I typed my name into the entry slot… it is my artistic theme song!

EDIT July 27th, 2015: I am honored to have had this piece selected as this month’s winner in The Fab Furniture Flippin Contest


The Fab Furniture Flippin' Contest Winner! July 2015

The Fab Furniture Flippin’ Contest Winner July 2015

So why an octopus… I honestly don’t know. I have always admired the colors of the underwater world but I remember seeing a beautiful red/orange/yellow octopus at an aquarium once and the legs of these nesting tables just screamed make me something unique! I will admit it’s a bit out there, not my normal style but I couldn’t help myself.


Oscar The Octopus logo Nesting Table Set Handpainted Uniquely Grace Shabby Paints Chalk Paint night stand end table

Techniques Used on These Nesting Tables

I began with removing the three layers of old peeling latex paint! YUCK! The latex was so stretchy I didn’t even have to use stripper. It was faster and less messy to just sit and peel off the paint by hand. My kids enjoyed it too. What was underneath? Beautiful dark wood! After a good cleaning I sanded down the tops of the nesting tables completely.


Nesting tables peeling latex paint wood fail clean up prep work uniquely grace


I hand sketched the outline of the octopus onto the tops of the nesting tables with a pencil then traced the lines with a paint mixture of Black ReVax (top coat/antiquing glaze) and Licorice (black) Chalk-Acrylic paint. The technique used to create these thicker, solid lines is an application technique I learned during my years as a natural henna artist, no paint brushes needed for this step.

I mixed an acrylic based chalk paint and added rubbing alcohol to it to lessen the solidity of the color and make it more transparent. I used many colors as I was led to create with color for this contest challenge. The colors I used were: Betsy Ross Red, Volunteer (orange), Coral Paradise, Texas Rose (yellow), So Serene (aqua), Marine Blue, Brown Bronze Shimmer, Licorice (black), and Alamo White. Whew! That is a whole lot of fun colors! After mixing with Rubbing Alcohol in small, sealed containers I added a thin coat of water to the surface, dropped droplets of color onto the wet surface and the water and rubbing alcohol react to one another pushing the color around all on their own. Different colors have different surface tensions a if you drop two colors next to one another on the wet surface they too will push each other around. It was quite entertaining to watch as the colors reacted to one another across the tops of these nesting tables.


top view oscar the octopus nesting table makeover refinish uniquely grace chalk acrylic paints shabby stunning set



Once the base colors of the tops were complete and dried, I went in and added some detail drops as in the brown bronze shimmer. I wanted those drops to be clear like spots on the Octopus’ skin. I also added the Alamo White in the suction cups on the tentacles.

The bases of the nesting tables were finished in a mix of Hazelnut ReVax, Black ReVax and Brown Bronze shimmer. The Brown Bronze Shimmer Glaze adds just the right amount of shimmer to catch the light without making it look metallic, adding depth and richness to the wood. After a few coats of this mixture I antiqued the details with the Black ReVax. These layers of dark neutral glazes and top coats created the look of a old wooden ship well taken care of though many voyages out at sea.

Oscar the Octopus Close logo wood distressed edges Hazelnut black revax brown bronze shimmer antiquing glaze uniquely grace Shabby paints


Oscar, as the kids and I have affectionately began calling him, has one tentacle that has overtaken one of the legs on the large nesting table in this set.

Oscar the Octopus tentacle leg logo close up uniquely Grace shabby paints nesting table furniture makever art


Okay, I mentioned before The Fab Flippin’ Furniture Contest is hosting the July theme “Come On, Let Your Colors Burst!”. The theme and contest this month is sponsored by Unicorn SPiT, a fun product full of life and vibrant color. It is a wood stain so it allows the grain to show through adding depth and texture to your project. Hence the reason I went with the coloring method I described above in this post allowing the wood grain to show through and add more texture to these tops of these nesting tables.


FFFC post graphic final (png)
The contest’s two hosts this month have also done color inspired pieces and you can find their posts here:

Lynn over at On Fern Avenue has “SPiT on curbside find

Evey over at Evey’s Creations has “Let your colors burst” Upcycled Americana Electrical Spool Plant Stand – The Fab Furniture Flippin’ Contest

If you are a furniture flipper and would like to join in on the monthly contest email Stacy at Info@anastasiavintage.com or Evey at info@eveyscreations.com

Please take a moment to comment below, I am happy to know you like what I do and I am also happy to answer any questions. OR if you really love it help me spread the word and share this post or images within it. Thank you for your support!

If you love HomeTalk! here is the link to this project on there:

Three Nesting Tables with Octopus Design

SM Collage oscar the octopus uniquely grace shabby paints nesting table refinish reuse hand painted art artist wood flip

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Hope you have a fantastic Fourth of July weekend!


Shabby Paints Stylist

Find me on…
Locally in Columbia, South Carolina
Facebook: Uniquely Grace
Twitter: Grace Lauer Artist @gracelauer
Instagram: @gracelauer_henna_artist
Pinterest: L. Grace Lauer

You can own Prints of this design & other items here:

This project was linked to the following:
The Pin Junkie

The Pin Junkie

Lamberts Lately


 Share Your Cup Thursday




40 Responses to “Bursting with Color – Three Nesting Tables & an Octopus

  • Molly Evans
    4 years ago

    LOL — apparently the font is white — but on a white background. We can’t see when we type.

    Anyway — wanted to say hello — I have no idea how I got here — must have saw something somewhere that led to you through a link. Felt compelled to say “Wow! Outrageous talent you have their little miss!” Seriously, what a great job you did on those tables — so original! I’ve seen that talent only one other place — Sawdust and Embryos — though hers is different than yours — results are amazing though. Your Dr. Seuss furniture was something else too Wish I couls dee what I’ve typed — know there are typos and grammatical errors because I can’t see it. Have a great 4th yourself!

  • Its so nice to see something different from paint slapped on wood.. what a work of art.. love this!!

  • What a fascinating DIY Project! Kudos to your makeover! Now I am inspired to do the same with some of my older furnitures that need tender loving care 🙂

  • They look beautiful! I love your creativity and what you did by incorporating all three tables into one scene. Nice work!

  • This is such a beautiful work of art. You did a great job! I am inspired to do this , too.

  • I love your tables – but I love Katy Perry more! 😉 I have seen her in concert twice, she is amazing! Kaz x

  • You are so stinkin’ talented! That is one of hte neatest things I’ve seen in a long time! The detail, color and total design are beautiful!

  • That looks so cool! I would’ve never thought of that. And I love that one of the tentacles goes down the leg.

  • CourtneyLynne
    4 years ago

    Omg these tables are so cool!!!such a creative idea. Just love ottttt! They would
    Look so cute in my house.

  • My nephew is really in to refurbishing old furniture so I think he’d really like this post! I’ll have to show it to him soon! Thank you for sharing! 🙂

  • NYC SingleMom
    4 years ago

    I am totally impressed with the make over. You are extremely talented. I loved that you chose the octopus, the colors are so vibrant. Definitely a conversation piece when you have guests come over.

    so vibrant. Definitely a conversation piece when you have guests come over.

  • Rebecca Swenor
    4 years ago

    These table s look totally awesome indeed with the octopus sea look on it . i You did a beautiful job on it and it is very creative for sure. I love this contest and good luck. Thanks for sharing.

  • This is very beautiful and very unique, never would have thought of having the octopus as inspiration for your colour theme but I love

  • That looks amazing! Such a creative flair to incorporate an octopus into the design theme. I love it!

  • Beautifully done!!

  • Fi Ní Neachtáin
    4 years ago

    Wow, that is such an amazing makeover. I love how you painted the nesting tables, you made them look so unique!

  • Wow whimsy, colorful, unique,conversation piece you hit them all with an obvious talent. Love it

  • This is such a unique and adorable idea. I love this. I have a painted table I was given that I have been meaning to strip and get to the wood underneath.

  • Wowzers! The artistry and colors are fantastic! Thank you for participating in the #fabflippincontest!

  • Very creative and a true art piece–love them!

  • Jann Olson
    4 years ago

    Wow, that really is some amazing art work! Love how the octopus continues from one table to the next. Very clever! Thanks for sharing with SYC.

  • So creative and beautiful!!! The octopus design is super clever! Love it!

  • Wow! I love this. It’s really unique.

  • Beautifully done! Love the colors! Very very nice.

  • I love that Octopus and the color combinations on those tables. That was extremely created. I have an octopus painting that I did ina paint class and may use that idea on one of the wooden jewelry boxes. Awesome job!

  • I believe you have mentioned some very interesting details , thankyou for the post.

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    4 years ago

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