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How to: Paint a Buffalo Check Table

by on Oct 4, 2021

I love black and white, and what better pattern to show off this high contrast combo then buffalo check (also known as buffalo plaid). For the last few years, I’ve been adding more and more of this (usually) red-and-black flannel pattern known to my fall/winter wardrobe and home decor.  Last year, I decorated a whole Christmas tree for $10, and buffalo check was the main star.  

So, when I found this solid little table at a thrift store for $8, I decided to give it a giant gingham makeover.

white and gray buffalo plaid table makeover, after
Image: Jeran McConnel
buffalo check coffee table
Image: Jeran McConnel
Books and white flower pots adorn a black and white checkered table.

With some paint, tape and a little time, I was able to transform this boring side table into and graphic statement piece.

How to make a buffalo plaid painted coffee table

You will need:

materials for DIY project

I’ve been wanting to play with chalk paint. As a avid DIYer, it might be hard to believe I’ve never used it. But, I always thought it was just for shabby chic furniture, and that just wasn’t me. But, I do know that chalk paint dries very quickly, and I knew that with all the taping and layers I’d have to paint with this piece, this might come in handy. And I’m happy to say that I like chalk paint!!! It does dry extremely fast.

sand the table first

Start by giving the piece of furniture a good sanding.  I used a power sander to make quick work of smoothing out the surface.

remove all the dust

Remove all the dust from the piece of furniture.

prime the furniture with one coat of primer

Prime the piece.  I used a spray primer for a quick coat and a clean base for painting. Then paint the entire piece white, the top of the table and the legs. Allow it to dry completely.

tape off the stripes for the buffalo plaid pattern

Using 1 1/2″ wide painter’s tape, tape off 3″ stripes across the top of the piece, leaving equal space between the stripes. This will create 3 x 3″ squares in the finished buffalo plaid pattern.

A person is painting grey stripes with a blue and green pattern.

Paint the stripes grey (you could also use black if your alternating color is going to be red). Allow it to dry.

remove the tape

Remove the tape.

A blue and white striped table on a blanket.
Black and white striped table with blue tape striped across it.

Now tape 3″ sections going the other direction on the table.  I started at the center of the table, both directions, so that the lines would end the at the same point on either side of the table.

White table sitting on top of a grey sheet with blue tape and black tape on its surface.

Now paint any square that are white with the grey paint as well.  All it to dry completely.

A dark table has blue tape hanging from it.

Then, tape over the sections you have just painted.  Your tape lines will line up with the original tape lines again.

A blue and black grid is made by tape on a surface.

Finally, paint the squares that have been created by the grid of tape all black. When it is dry you can remove all the tape.

Black, grey and white coloured square type pattern on a bed sheet.

And lastly, you can seal the piece.  I used a creme wax that you just brush on, but a water based sealer of anytime would work just fine.

A stool has a grey checkerboard pattern on it.
A shoe set up on three books on a table.
A table lying on the wooden floor in a corner of a room with a vase and books on top of it

Looking for more furniture ideas?

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  1. I love your site. And you are all so clever. I have to ask, what color is the wall painted behind your new table?

  2. so much fun to see a pattern on a table like that.  always wondered how to create this pattern…looks totally doable!  love it Jeran!