Add an artful touch to furniture projects by applying your choice of photos, artwork, or drawings beneath a durable protective finish.
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Before beginning finish work on a dowel table like the one shown, consult the project instructions to find out when to apply the finish. To purchase print copies of the map used for this project (#22535447, 36-in x 24-in size), visit Art.com.
Sand the dowels and pine rounds. Sand the faces of the pine rounds up to 220 grit, and sand the edges up to 320 grit -- then lightly moisten the edges of the pine rounds, allow them to dry, and sand the roughened surface with 320-grit sandpaper just until smooth.
Avoid sanding the dowels any more than necessary to keep them from fitting loosely in the holes drilled in the pine round.
Working in a well-ventilated area, apply a coat of pre-stain wood conditioner to the pine rounds; let dry. Then stain the edges, bottom, and a 1- to 2-inch ring around the top of each pine round (we used Early American stain). Tape a 1/4-inch section at one end of each dowel and stain the dowels to match the table.
Wood conditioner helps create a more evenly stained finish by reducing how much stain the porous areas of the wood can absorb.
Adjust the map or other art on the surface of the pine round to visualize the look you want. Spray adhesive on the back of the art and on the top of the pine round, then press the round down on the back of the art. Flip the round over, squeeze out any bubbles, and trim off excess paper using a crafts knife or utility knife with a fresh blade.
With 320-grit sandpaper, lightly feather the trimmed edges of the art. Then apply just enough stain to blend the map edges with the pine round.
Remove the tape from the dowel tips. After the table is assembled, spray the entire project with at least two coats of polyurethane.