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Unicorn Spit Side Table Makeover

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Unicorn Spit is the perfect choice for quick and fun furniture makeovers. It’s easy to use, and the creative possibilities are endless!

Psssst! Hey you! Yeah you, with the mouse in your hand. No, not that kind of mouse. The computer mouse! And you over there! Yes, you there! The one holding the smartphone! And you reading the iPad in your lap while sitcoms drone on in the background!

You guys wanna hear a secret?

It’s a good one.

Okay, but before I tell you, be sure to follow us on Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram, and click the subscribe button at the top of this page to sign up for our email list so you’ll never miss a post!

Now listen carefully, and I’ll whisper it in your ear.

**Sometimes Handan throws stuff away…**

I’m serious! Okay, look, it’s not very common, but it does happen, I swear! Recently, we’ve been cleaning and organizing our basement. And of course, when I say “we,” I mean “she.” Believe it or not, we’ve been quietly filling the big ugly red dumpster in our driveway with bits and bobs of accumulated crap that Handan has finally given up on.

(Can I get a “Praise Jesus!” up in here??)

There has also been a lot of crap stuff that she has given up on but can’t bring herself to throw out. These items have been moved to a “tag sale” pile to be sold in our driveway at some point this summer.

(Lemme hear a “Hallelujah!” people!)

Two such items that were sentenced to be sold were these matching side tables.

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I guess they were pretty fancy-pants back in their day. Hitchcock has always been a good name in furniture.

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But these twins had seen better days.

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We bought the pair a few years ago at an auction held by the same antique dealer who sold us the antique china cabinet that I eventually restored and now sits in our (almost finished) dining room. We paid $5 – a fair bargain for an easy makeover.

But the makeover never came. I suppose I should have gotten on the case sooner, but my head gets overfilled with so many projects, and I tend to shuffle around like a zombie, but with memories and thoughts leaking from my head instead of gooey brains.

The memory of these tables must have leaked out years ago. When Handan excavated them from a precarious mountain of stacked chairs, my brain went, “Oh yeah! I was supposed to do something with them!” and then promptly went back to sleep.

“We will sell these, my babes.” Handan said.

My brain rejoiced.

But then I kept seeing them in the basement, sitting in that pile of tag sale stuff, and I felt bad that I had forsaken them. And then I thought of how Handan must feel. She hates getting rid of things we paid good money for, no matter how small the amount. I felt like I had let her down, and now she was just giving up and getting rid of them.

Well I wasn’t about to let that happen.

I wasn’t going to disappoint my babes. Not this time.

I yanked those Hitchcocks from the tag sale pile and plopped them on my work table.

Think man! Think! Find something cool to do with them! But make it snappy, and make it easy!

This was back in the winter, and we had a lot of other projects going on. Handan wouldn’t appreciate me wasting too much time on these castaways.

And then it struck me.

Unicorn Spit.

We’d recently bought a bunch, figuring we’d try it out to see what all the fuss was about.

Unicorn Spit. Why not?

I’d never used the stuff before. Never really had the itch after seeing some of the creations online. A lot of folks out there adhere to a philosophy of “the more, the merrier” when it comes to color theory.

Just because Unicorn Spit comes in 14 colors doesn’t mean that you should use all of them at once.

But there I was in the basement, staring down a pair of Hitchcock side tables and casting an eye over at my collection of Unicorn Spit.

I’d be a little subtler with my color selections. I’d use colors that work together.

My first order of business was to remove the tables from their stands and sand off the old finish. My Makita sander made quick work of it. I have a few different random orbital sanders, but this little Makita is quickly becoming my favorite. It’s lightweight, relatively quiet and has a dust collector that actually works quite well!

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I picked my players for this project. I was thinking to use the orange as an underlayer, and then the blues and white on top. The green I wasn’t sure about. I’d try it on one of them. Since this was my first time ever with Unicorn Spit, I decided to flip the tables over and practice on their undersides.

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For the first practice table, I went with an orange and white underlayer. I plopped a few drops of each randomly around the table.

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I then used a folded paper towel to smear the drops. I wiped with the grain of the wood, but as I was to discover, you can pretty much do whatever the hell you want with this stuff.

The underlayer. Again, since orange and blue are complimentary colors, I was hoping for some sort of harmonious and serendipitous Unicorn Spit moment.

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Next, I sprinkled on some blues.

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And since Unicorn Spit is water-based, I spritzed it a few times to thin things out a bit. As I would learn, water is a key tool for shaping your colors.

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I folded up a new paper towel and started wiping.

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The water helped to cut through the underlayer. I was able to bring out more orange, or wipe it into the background. Same with the whites. I brought them up in some areas, and erased them in others.

Overall, I was pretty happy with the result.

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But it wasn’t what I was after for this project.

I did another practice run on the bottom of the second table. I started with pure orange (no white), and then dribbled on the two blues, the green and some white. I didn’t like that one as much (thought Handan liked it), and I didn’t bother taking a picture.

Up until then, I still wasn’t sure in which direction I wanted to go with the color nor what I’d use the tables for.

And then it hit me.

Summer was coming (in like 4 or 5 months). They be outdoor poolside tables!

I knew what I wanted.

I knew what I had to do.

I didn’t need no stinking practice.

I flipped the tables to expose their tops. My hand shot out and grabbed the first bottle of Unicorn Spit like a man whose done it a thousand times before.

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Baby dribbling time was over. I squeezed white Unicorn Spit on the table like mustard on a hot dog.

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I paused to admire my work, and then I grabbed the spritzer and squeezed off a few rounds of mist.

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As I said, water really cuts through this stuff. I was surprised at how little white showed after I wiped it in.

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It was time for the color. Since these tables were going poolside, I wanted a beachy, oceany summery feel. I stuck with the two blues and a bit more white.

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I wiped it in, following the grain. My idea was to make these tabletops look like the cool blue sea.

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For the other table, I skipped the white underlayer and got right to the action.

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It turned out just as good as the first, only a little darker since I didn’t first apply the underlayer.

Once the Unicorn Spit had dried, I sealed the two tables with satin polyurethane.

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This is absolutely critical when working with Unicorn Spit. Remember, water cuts through this stuff like a hot knife through warm butter, so it’s critical to protect the piece with a few coats of sealant.

As a last step, I painted the base to pure white. For me, nothing is more summery and beachy and oceany than blues and whites.

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And that was it, folks. It was one of the easiest projects I’ve ever tackled, and certainly the easiest that was 100% my idea. Handan is always telling me to simplify my projects. She may be on to something!

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20 Comments

  1. I’d never heard of Unicorn… uh, spit… before, but those tables are seriously adorable and very pool/beach-y. If I had a pool (or a beach) I’d want something just like them. How does the, uh… spit… compare to using craft paint? It looks pretty similar in the photos.

    1. Hi Nicole, Unicorn Spit is a water-based gel stain, so it behaves very differently than paint. I opted to lay it on pretty thick, but if you thin it out a bit, you can get some really cool colors while still allowing the grain of the wood to show through. Give it a try – I think you’ll like it!

  2. greg I like what you spit out (hmmm sorry) I agree most use too many colors and it looks like circus furniture yours turned out perfect for the pool area xx

    1. LOL, thanks, Chris! I’m looking forward to playing around with it some more. I know Handan has a few things in mind she’d like me to make. Can you hear the “Hey Babes?” 😀

  3. Unicorn Spit?!? *heads to Google* Well, I never! Maybe Ill seek some out for the side table I just upcycled. I love that blue and white combo you created. Sue x

  4. I swear, first glance at that first pic it looked like you wrapped the table tops with blue painters tape! lol

  5. Thanks for the inspiration. I have owned a collection of unicorn spit for about 6 months now. I played with it one time, hated it. I swore that those tutorials were sooo fake. I was sooo intimidated by this stuff that I haven’t touched it since. I should say though that I love love love diy crafting, butttttt I have not a craft bone one in my body. But NOW seeing what an amazing job someone did who had never spit before as well has done, maybe I’ll give this spitting thing a go again. It is soooo not like a girl to spit, but hey, a girls gotta do what a girls gotta do, so here goes spitting!!!!!!

  6. OooooooEeeeeeee you tried Unicorn SPiT. I love the stuff but agree with you sometimes people go overboard and use every single color and then it looks like the Unicorn vomited. But nothing, nothing beats how beautiful it looks when you get the combos right and I so love the fact that can get my hands dirty too.

  7. Next time use your blue jay as inspiration for pattern and color….?
    Tables are great. Very beachy oceany. Will now have to get some!!
    Thanks for all you guys do!

  8. I know this is an older post so I was wondering how have your tables survived the elements? I just did my first item, a chair and wanted to use it outdoors. What should I seal it with? I live in Louisiana (hot and humid).

    1. They survived alright until I left them out for the winter. Oops. For an outdoor chair, I would seal it with Spar Urethane – it is polyurethane that is formulated to have a little elasticity to it so it can withstand seasonal and weather-induced expansion and contraction cycles of wood.