How To Restore Vintage Enamel Top Table! Step-By-Step Guide




Vintage enamel top tables hold a unique charm and nostalgic appeal. However, the passage of time can leave these tables needing restoration to regain their former glory. If you’ve ever wondered- How to Restore Vintage Enamel Top Table?


You can get the right answer. Most latex paints don’t stick to enamel particularly well unless it’s scraped hard enough, and cheap plastic putty knives won’t damage it (metal legs will, or at least leave marks). The standard way is to use a nylon brush with some hot, soapy water and scrub it.

Techniques are needed to transform your vintage enamel top table into a beautiful and functional centerpiece. 

So, without further ado, let’s started-.

How To Restore Vintage Enamel Top Table

Materials Needed To Restore A Vintage Enamel Top Table

Further, don’t look. You can get the right answer. When choosing a material for a vintage enamel top table. There are different ways to consider, including aesthetics, maintenance, durability, and budget. Here’s a list of materials you’ll need for this project. If you need to restore end tables , you may need almost the same materials.

Materials Needed To Restore A Vintage Enamel Top Table


  • Vintage Enamel Top Table: You’ll need the table itself, of course.
  • Safety Gear: Safety should always come first. 
  • Scrubbing Brushes: Soft-bristle brushes for cleaning and removing debris from the enamel surface.
  • Rust Remover (if applicable): If your table has rust spots. You’ll need a rust remover to treat them. It can be used to restore a stained table.
  • Sandpaper: Various grits (coarse to fine) for removing rust, smoothing surfaces, and preparing for painting.
  • Paint and Primer:
  • Enamel paint: Choose a color that matches the original or complements your decor. Enamel primer helps the paint adhere better and provides a smooth surface.
  • Paintbrushes: High-quality brushes for a smooth finish.
  • Clear Enamel Topcoat (optional): This will protect the ceiling paint and provide durability.
  • Painter’s Tape: For masking off areas you don’t want to paint.
  • Drop Cloth or Plastic Sheet: Protect your work area from ceiling paint splatters.
  • Rags or Paper Towels: For wiping surfaces clean.
  • Mineral Spirits: Used for cleaning brushes and removing excess paint.
  • Screwdrivers and Wrenches: In case you need to disassemble any parts for easier access during restoration.
  • Rust Inhibitor: To prevent future rust formation. Especially if the table will be exposed to moisture.
  • Metal legs Polish (optional): If any metal legs parts are on the table. You might want to polish them to restore their shine.
  • Wood Base Polish or Wax (if applicable): If your table has a wooden base or accents. You may want to polish or wax them to restore their luster.
  • Fine Steel Wool: Useful for buffing and smoothing surfaces.
  • Small Paint Roller and Tray (optional): These can be handy for applying paint to larger areas.
  • Workbench or Workspace: A well-ventilated area with good lighting. Where you can comfortably work on the table.

Methods For Restoring A Vintage Enamel Top Table

Restoring an old green enamel table requires careful attention to detail and several steps to ensure a successful outcome. You may need to follow different methods if you restore a cherry wood table also. Here are some methods and steps you can follow:

Assessment: Before you begin, inspect the authentic 1950s kitchen table restore thoroughly to assess its condition. Take note of any rust, chipping enamel, or other damage that needs attention.

Rust Removal (if applicable): If your table has rust spots, use a rust remover following the manufacturer’s instructions. Typically, this involves applying the rust remover, allowing it to sit, and then scrubbing gently to remove the rust. Rinse thoroughly to remove any residue from the rust remover.


  • If there are heathenish or chipped areas on the enamel, use fine-grit sandpaper to smooth them out.
  • Start with a coarse grit and progressively move to finer grits for a smoother finish.
  • Sand any rusty areas until they are smooth and show no signs of rust.

Priming: Apply a thin enamel primer coat to the entire enamel surface. This will help the paint cling properly and provide a smooth finish. Follow the primer manufacturer’s instructions for drying times.


  • Use a high-quality enamel paint that matches the original color or your desired new color.
  • Apply paint in thin, even coats using a paintbrush.
  • Avoid thick coats to prevent drips and uneven finish.
  • Allow each coat to dry completely before applying the next one. You may need multiple coats for full coverage.

Topcoat (optional): Apply a clear enamel topcoat to protect the paint and provide durability. This step is especially important if the table will see heavy use.

Masking (if necessary): If your table has metal legs, accents or parts. If you don’t want to paint, use painter’s tape to mask these areas before painting.

Reassembly: Once the paint and topcoat (if used) have fully dried, reassemble the table. If you had to disassemble it for easier access.

Final Touches: If there are any metal legs parts. If the table has wooden elements, you can polish them to restore their shine using a metal polish. You may want to apply wood polish or wax to restore their luster.

Read Also : How To Refinish A Table That Is Not Real Wood

How To Restore Vintage Enamel Top Table?

Restoring a vintage beautiful 1930s enamel table top table can be a rewarding DIY project that brings new life to a cherished piece of antique furniture. Here’s a step-by-step guide on how to restore your vintage enamel top table:

How To Restore Vintage Enamel Top Table

Choose a well-ventilated area to work in, preferably outdoors. Lay down a drop cloth or newspaper to protect the ground from spills and splatters.

Protect yourself from chemicals and dust by putting on your safety gear, including gloves, safety goggles, and a mask.

If your vintage table has any removable parts, such as drawers or metal legs hardware, use a screwdriver to remove them carefully. This will make the restoration process easier.

Apply a paint stripper following the manufacturer’s instructions. Typically, you’ll need to brush or black gloss spray paint the stripper onto the enamel surface and allow it to sit for the recommended time. Then, use a plastic scraper or putty knife to scrape off the old paint gently. Be patient and thorough, as this step can take some time.

After removing the old paint:

  1. Clean the enamel surface with a mild detergent.
  2. Water to remove any remaining paint residue, stripper, and dirt.
  3. Use a soft bristle brush to scrub away any stubborn spots.

If there are any rough or uneven areas on the enamel surface, use medium-grit sandpaper to smooth them out. Then, switch to fine-grit sandpaper to create a smooth and even surface for the new paint to adhere to. Wipe away any dust with a clean rag.

If your table has rust spots, apply a rust remover according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Use a soft cloth or fine steel wool to scrub the rust gently. Rinse and dry the area thoroughly.

Using a paintbrush or spray paint, apply an enamel paint that matches the original color of the table. Apply thin, even coats, allowing each coat to dry completely before applying the next. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for drying times and application tips.

Once the paint is dry, apply a clear enamel black gloss spray paint or varnish to protect the finish. Protect gives it a glossy or matte appearance, depending on your preference. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for application.

If you disassembled any parts in Step 3, reassemble them carefully. Replace any hardware if necessary to ensure everything is secure and in place.

Clean your workspace, dispose of hazardous materials properly, and wash your tools and brushes.

Here are the that you need to gather the necessary supplies:

  1. Cleaning and Preparing the Table for Restoration.
  2. Remove Rust and Paint.
  3. Apply Primer and Paint.
  4. Seal the Table.
  5. Reattach the Hardware.
  6. Add Finishing Touches.
  7. Enjoy Your Refinished Table.

Can You Repaint An Enamel Top Table?

Yes, you can, but the method depends on how you want it finished. If you are just painting, you must rough your surface to give it teeth to hold a new coat of paint. 

Sand it with a fine grade of sandpaper so your surface won’t be too rough. The table will still have teeth to hold your new paint. Once sanded, run either a tack cloth or a slightly damp rag over the surface to remove any dust created from sanding. Let it dry for a minute, then paint. Strip your table outside or in a garage or porch where you have shelter and good ventilation. 

Follow the directions on your stripper container. Once you get all or most of the paint stripped off and rinsed. Then, you let your wood base completely dry before going further. I’d suggest letting it dry overnight before doing anything else.

How Long Does Restoring A Vintage Enamel Top Table Take?

Here’s a general outline of the steps involved in restoring a vintage enamel top table and an estimate of the time required for each step:

Assessment (1-2 hours): Begin by thoroughly inspecting the table to determine. Its condition and what kind of restoration work is necessary. 

Cleaning (2-4 hours): Cleaning the table is often the most time-consuming step. 

Repair (varies): Repair work could include fixing dents, scratches, or structural issues. The time needed will depend on the extent of the damage and your repair skills.

Watch The Tutorial

upcycling vintage furniture..

How Long Does Restoring A Vintage Enamel Top Table Take

Stripping (4-6 hours): If the table has old layers of paint or finish. That needs to be removed to reveal the original enamel. Stripping can be time-consuming. 

Painting/Enameling (1-2 hours): Applying a new enamel coat or paint can take less time. Still, it requires careful application for a smooth and even finish. Multiple coats may be necessary, with drying time in between.

Drying and Curing (24-48 hours): After painting or enameling. You’ll need ample time for the finish to dry and cure properly. This duration can vary depending on the type of paint. Even then, enamel was used, and environmental conditions.

Finishing (1-2 hours): This step involves adding final touches, such as polishing hardware and reattaching components. Ensuring everything is in place.

Final Inspection (1 hour): Carefully inspect the restored table to ensure it meets your expectations and is ready for use.

Restoring a vintage enamel top table could take anywhere from a few days to a couple of weeks. It depends on the complexity of the project table and the time needed for drying and Curing. 

Tips For Restoring Vintage Enamel Top Table

If you follow my step-by-step guide. Then, you can Restore the Vintage Enamel Top Table. I was also asked about “how do you remove paint from an vintage enamel table?”. 

First, I will solve your confusion and what you can do step by step so that you can finally solve it. 

In Particular, you can follow lists of materials for this project table. It’s very important for your work. Then you can also follow some methods and steps. Finally, follow my step-by-step guide. It’ll help you with your work. I can assure you of my whole picture.  

By the way, according to what Gerry Davis says.

Tips For Restoring Vintage Enamel Top Table

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How Do You Clean A Porcelain Table Top?

Regular basic cleaning with warm water and mild soap keeps the porcelain looking beautiful. You can also use a gentle, everyday multi-purpose black gloss spray paint cleaner to remove soap scum, hard water deposits and mildew.

Can You Refinish An Enameled Tabletop?

If you need to repair a damaged porcelain table top, you’ll find that it’s a little easier than patching up intricate light fixtures and tile surfaces. Enameled porcelain dining table countertops can be made to look presentable again with home painting.

How Can I Protect The Restored Enamel Surface From Future Damage?

Maintain good oral hygiene, limit sugary and acidic foods, and visit your dentist regularly. Still consider fluoride treatments to protect a restored enamel surface from future damage.

Is Restoring A Severely Damaged Or Chipped Enamel Surface On A Vintage Table Possible?

Yes, restoring a severely damaged or chipped enamel surface on a vintage table is possible. Professional restoration experts can repair and refinish enamel table tops to bring them back to their original or improved condition. 

How Do You Clean A Porcelain Table?

Clean a porcelain table with a mild soapy water solution, rinse, and dry with a soft cloth. Avoid harsh chemicals and abrasive scrubbers.


Finally, it can be said that If you want to restore a vintage enamel top table, then you have to follow my instructions. I was also given a question about “How to restore vintage enamel top table?”. It involves meticulously cleaning, repairing, and refinishing the enamel surface. 

By following my steps and seeking professional expertise when needed.

To learn more you can pay a visit to ‘Restore Journey

Richard Journey

Written by

Richard Journey

Meet Richard Journey, the Antique Furniture Maestro. With a Fine Arts degree in Furniture Restoration and Conservation, he’s a guardian of historical craftsmanship. His accolades include the Golden Chisel Award, and he’s your guide to discovering and restoring antique treasures.

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