Junker TV Tables Pulled from the Dumpster and Revived Again

The “junker TV tables pulled from the dumpster and revived again” is a story I wasn’t planning on telling! Mainly because I wasn’t planning on giving them new life at all! We’ve had them a long time….so long, in fact, I can’t remember where we got them, but I bet we pulled them from a campground dumpster. When we’re camping, I always check the dumpsters, especially on Mondays when the weekenders have departed.


They were rickety and I can see why they got chunked. Sitting forlornly forgotten and unused in our basement, they’ve been gathering dust for years. I thought it was past time they landed in our next garage sale.


“I sure do hate to see those go,” hubby said wistfully. What? After all this time?? I pretended not to hear. “I sure do like those TV tables.” Sigh.


We’re SUPPOSED to be downsizing.

We’re SUPPOSED to be getting rid of excess junk.

We haven’t used them in years.

They’re STILL rickety.

“I wish you would fix them up.”




You know what that means. Work your magic on them Florence. Let’s-keep-these-rickety-TV-tables-we-don’t-need,-and-haven’t-used-in-years. He suffers from a malady I call Depression Thinking. Sometimes I think he has it worse than I do.


“I want to use them in the motorhome.” Our motorhome is OLD, with no slide, and limited room inside, but I bowed to the inevitable, and put them in my DIY project to-do list.


Fixing Up the Junker TV Tables~


Saltwash Technique


Since we’re keeping the-rickety-TV-tables-we-don’t-need, I decided to conduct scientific experiments, which is another way of saying, just do any old thing to them because they’re junkers anyway.


“Let’s use the SALTWASH,” I said to myself jubilantly. I was a little worried it was going to make them lumpy on top, and not smooth like tables need to be, but such was not the case.


For the uninitiated, Saltwash is a powdered paint additive. You just mix it into the paint color of your choice…to the consistency of thick cake batter. Then you start globbing it on. I chose green because our motorhome is green.


illustrating saltwash technique


Here it is globbed on. It’s probably supposed to be globbier, but I had to make it stretch as I was running out of paint.


Let dry till tacky to the touch.

Smooth out the peaks a bit with a brush.

Let it totally dry.

After totally dry, add the topcoat color.

Let that dry.

Sand to bring out the underlying color. Sounds easy right? It WAS easy.






Not bad, but a little blah.


I think we need to up the game with more serious scientific experimentation, don’t you?


Image Transfers Technique~


I decided I wanted image transfers in the middle. Can you do image transfers over saltwash? I have no idea.


What kind of image transfers? They’re a zillion images to choose from. Something travel related….motorhome means travel and foreign places. A little search on Graphics Fairy, and I found a couple of images I liked.


Using “Mod Podge Image Transfer Medium” for the first time, I really liked it and probably won’t go back to using regular Modge Podge. It’s much easier to get the paper off leaving the image behind. You can read all about image transfer techniques on The Graphics Fairy.




And by the way, when doing image transfers, they tell you NOT to use an inkjet image…it won’t work. But it works fine. (I can’t be bothered with running down to Kinkos for a laser image every time I want to do an image transfer.)


Inkjet images will work if you wait 24 hrs to allow the ink to set. I have absolutely no trouble with smear or bleeding.



Here is a vintage map of France I chose. Be sure to smear the transfer medium on the correct side of the paper! That is, on TOP of the image. Ask me why I’m emphasizing that…LOL.


Completely cover your image with the white paste. See all that excess white paper on the side and bottom? Be sure to cut that off, trimming close to the image. Don’t leave it on like I did. It wasn’t easy to rub off.



Fixing the Mistakes~


Mistake #1


See below the completed image transfer of the map of France….and here is mistake #1. Can you see it?


Other than there being all that white paper on the side…

Other than it being a little off-center….

The printing is backwards! I totally forgot to do a reverse image, necessary when you have any kind of printing, words, or script involved.




So HOW am I gonna fix that!!!??? Just keep reading. I’ll show you what I did.


Table 2….another oops. Holding the image above the table while eyeballing the center, the image literally slipped out of my hand. Unfortunately, it didn’t slip into a centered position. Yikes!


As Momma used to say, “You’ll never notice it on a galloping horse.” But it bothered me.




This calls for more image transfers! Remember it’s a scientific experiment!




You see how I placed the postmark image right over the word “France”? The rest of the backwards words on the map are so small, they’ll never be noticed. It’s for us, so it doesn’t have to be perfect.


Same with the one below~



Mistake #2~


But we still have the problem of everything being off-center. Here is what I did to correct that.


I just happened to have a whole bunch of vintage foreign stamps I got at an estate sale. Mod-podging those all around the images helped to balance it out.




Finished! They’re not perfect. But for junkers, we’re happy. We can enjoy using these once again.




For a fun touch, I tried using crackle medium on top of the saltwash and image transfers, but it wouldn’t crackle. That’s OK. Not bad for scientific experiments.




Here we are enjoying it at the campsite!


junker-tv-table -at-the-campsite


Want to see a tour of the vintage motorhome? Let me know in the comments!

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As an experienced online seller for 19 years, I've just begun to reveal some of my selling secrets. In my Vintage Finds posts, I show what I buy for resale, and sell for. Because many items are vintage and need TLC, I show these DIY's, and how I refurbish to sell. I love picking, junking, thrifting, and shabby chic style.

40 comments on Junker TV Tables Pulled from the Dumpster and Revived Again

  1. I think that your tables are really fun. I applaud depression thinking 🙂 I have never spent any time in a motor home and would love to see yours. Thanks for a fun and realistic post 🙂

    P.S. I love your husband 🙂

  2. Oh Florence you crack me up. I love how you described the behind the scenes, I can picture it like a movie in my head. The experimental ricketty tables turned out great and I would love to see a tour of your motorhome

  3. Florence, I knew you could fix your mistakes! You did a great job on each of them. We used to have a large 5th wheel, but sold it when we quit going to Florida for the winters. I always love to take a peek inside any camper or motor home when given the chance!

  4. Your tv tables turned out beautiful! I love the image transfers that you chose. One of these days I am going to try transferring a image on something. I really like the salt wash, it sounds like a really neat technique that I need to try.

    I would love a tour of your vintage motorhome.

  5. So inspired by your project, I just pulled our (not so) rickety TV tray tables from the Yard Sale pile! Thanks for the advice on the Mod Podge, and of course we would LOVE a tour of your motorhome!

  6. Ah yes, I want to get a tour of the vintage motorhome!!!!! I bet you’re wishing you tackled these tv tables years ago now that they’re done – they look amazing! No one will ever believe they came from a dumpster. Very clever save of the unreversed image debacle!

    1. Yes, I kinda do wish I’d started earlier on these. Never in a million years did I think he wanted these that much. Haha. That’s high praise coming from you….I appreciate it!!

  7. Florence this is why I love coming to your blog! You are fearless. You don’t worry about making mistakes cause you know in the end you will come up with a way to fix them! Love your crafty solution. I’m gonna have to look into those new mod podge solutions.

  8. Florence, you did a wonderful job on these tables!! The image transfers look great and that’s good to know about the inkjet versus laser prints and the mod podge. I’m glad you’re able to enjoy the tables. Also I would love a tour of your motor home!

  9. Your tables look really good. I smiled when I heard about your Hubs depression mentality, I have someone like that as well. I have never used salt wash and I appreciate the very thorough tutorial.

  10. Dear Florence, I loved your junker TV trays so much! I would love to see your trailer to see what you’ve done with it. Vickie

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