How to Paint Buffalo Plaid (and refurbish a thrift store table)

Hi Friends! I’m Jessica over at Happy Heart Design Co and I’m SO excited that it’s almost time for Pinspiration Market! I’ll have the piece that I completed as part of this blog post and so much more – so be sure to stop by and see me!

Buffalo plaid - it's all the rage! And I LOVE it. Like can't get enough of it, love it. Like buy everything buffalo plaid I could find in the dollar section in Target. So I had to figure out a way to make my own, and I thought adding it to some furniture would be a great way to incorporate it even more into my décor! 


  • Time - This is definitely not a quick project - I did it over a weekend.
  • Furniture - I found this cute table at Value Village - I really love taking something that isn't so pretty and making it beautiful again!
  • Scraper - I used this to peel off the sticky Velcro
  • Orbital Sander/sand paper - I used an orbital sander but you could also do it by hand - it would just take a lot longer and your arms might turn to jello...
  • Respirator - be safe! Use a mask so you don't breathe in all that gunk from sanding...
  • Tack Cloth - This helps remove all of the dust from sanding so you are ready for painting
  • Paint - Chalk Paint. It goes on the best, and looks just beautiful! My favorite is The Fat Paint Company - it's just lovely! 
  • Paint Brush - Whatever you got will work just fine!
  • Painters Tape - the good old blue tape - you'll need it to lay out your buffalo plaid pattern
  • Ruler - I like using my clear ruler that is technically for sewing. It makes it easier to measure the spaces needed for the buffalo plaid pattern.
  • Wax - Again, I go with The Fat Company wax in natural - it works great and sets fast!

Let's DO this!

STEP 1: I found this little beauty at Value Village - for $2.99. Seriously?! I was so excited! It had some velcro on it where there were flat lego pieces (which my preschooler appreciated) so first step was to get that off using my scraper.

STEP 2: Once the sticky stuff was gone, I sanded the table tops and left the rest as is.


STEP 3: Then I used my tack cloth (available at Home Depot) to clean off all of the sanding dust before I brought it inside for paint!

STEP 4: Paint! This is the best part. I decided to go with Pewter for my base color. This will be the base for your buffalo plaid so just decide what you'd like it to be and paint your entire table this color. I'd recommend waiting about 20 minutes between each coat and typically 2 coats will be good, but just depends on the look you are going for. 

SIDE NOTE: It might not look pretty after the first coat - this is normal! Just keep going and it will get to it's beautiful state - I promise!

STEP 5: I let my bottom layer dry for 24 hours before I add the buffalo plaid pattern just to be sure it's nice and dry. You could probably start this next step immediately after your paint dries (approximately 20-30 minutes) if you'd like to.


Get your ruler and tape ready for some measuring!

STEP 6: Depending on your design, you may want to tape off the area where you'd like the buffalo plaid pattern to be. {Originally, I was just going to do a section of the plaid, but once it was done, decided to do the entire bottom section of the table - you gotta go with the flow and be willing to divert from your plan along the way!}

STEP 7: Time for some taping! This is the tedious step - I'm not gonna lie... First, you need to make sure you have an even area so that your pattern will look uniform when you are done. I decided to make the area 11" across so that my patterns would work well. You'll have to just see what works best for the area that you're working with. I like to make the rows 1" each because my painters tape is 1" and it makes it easy to work with. 


You'll want to do ALL of the horizontal pieces of tape and then come back over with the vertical - it's important to do all one way, with all of the other way on top so that when we come back to peel off the top layer, we'll be ready to paint our lines to complete our buffalo plaid pattern!


SIDE NOTE: Math is NOT my strong's one of the reasons I'm so grateful for my engineer husband. I had to measure this area and peel up tape a couple of times - so don't get discouraged if you measure wrong {like I did!} - just put on some Taylor Swift and Shake It Off {probably along with a glass of wine}.

STEP 8: Paint! This will be the other color in your buffalo plaid pattern - I like to use black {The Fat Paint Company Raven} but you could really play with this and do any color that sounded fun!

STEP 9: Let it dry for about 20 minutes and then paint another coat and let it dry about 20 minutes.

STEP 10: Peel that tape! You'll want to peel all of the top layer of tape {either vertical or horizontal - whatever ended up on top for you}. You'll see a pattern that looks like this one - gray squares and black squares. Leave the other tape!

Step 11: Paint those stripes! I use a round size 1 brush and just paint diagonal lines in each section. I don't worry about them being perfect, or that there are the same number of lines in each square or anything like that. Just make them all at the same angle and you'll be golden. Then let these dry for another 10-15 minutes before you peel the next layer of tape.

STEP 12: Next, you need to peel up the next layer of tape so your pattern will look like there are solid gray lines every other section.

STEP 13: Paint some more lines. Painting the lines gets a little tedious, so I usually do it while watching an episode of Fixer Upper {cause it's my FAV}, and maybe even sipping on a glass of yummy craft beer {my other FAV}.


You'll want to paint the next lines between the two solid colored {in my case black} blocks.

So when you are finished - it will look like this!

STEP 14: Wax time! Like I said before, I like The Fat Paint Company Fat Wax in natural - that way it doesn't change the color but gives it a great protection. Make sure to follow the directions for whatever wax you are using - and don't skip this step or your paint will wear much faster and you'll be sad.

STEP 15: Apply the wax to your entire project - just brush it on - and then wait about 5 minutes. It'll be a little shiny looking.

STEP 16: Buff! Use a lint free cloth to buff the excess wax into your piece. This is a wonderful arm workout - so just remind yourself of that as you are doing it. You'll then want to let it cure for 6 hours before you do anything with it.

And your DONE! You have a beautiful buffalo plaid table to add to your decor that you created all on your own. You MAY find yourself using an excess of coasters on it, just because it's so pretty! You could also do the buffalo plaid pattern on a sign, or canvas, or whatever your little heart desires.