Woohoo I’m back in the saddle!
Feels good to take a paint brush to some furniture again – this time for a friend whose sweet husband built her this gorgeous table!
She wanted some help with the finish and deciding on the overall look. After looking at some ideas online, she showed me some white washed pieces and some layered/chipped painted pieces. I suggested we test out several methods before committing, but the first step would definitely be to use some Minwax Dark Walnut to tone that raw pine down!
We started by brushing on some Minwax Pre Stain Wood Conditioner to ensure the most even results. This is really helpful when working with pine because it really loves to slurp up some stain, and you don’t have a lot of time to move it around. On a large surface like a table top, I definitely recommend it!
The stain didn’t take very well to the wood filler, which was to be expected. It won’t matter though, since we weren’t done yet! To decide between a plain white wash or paint, we did some testing on the underside of the benches.
It wasn’t a lot of effort to get an idea of what the options were – you know I always recommend testing!! Ultimately the fun pop of turquoise won, and we decided to do some white dry-brushing followed by the turquoise for a chippy layered paint look.
I diluted the white paint 1:1 with water just so it would be easier to control. This technique is very forgiving, so don’t be intimidated. Lightly brush paint on- in the direction of the grain- and then follow with a rag. We did two coats like this to get a decent base, letting a good bit of the wood show through. Then we applied a third coat lightly with the brushes but didn’t wipe the paint afterwards.
The legs were painted plain white for some glazing/distressing later.
We kept layering the white paint on until we got pretty solid coverage.
Again, do not be intimidated by this process. It’s really hard to mess up! You can always sand down the heavy spots or add more paint. Plus, this is just the beginning…try not to get hung up on perfecting any one step.
Then it was time for color!
We repeated the same process with the turquoise, adding layers of paint on top of the white.
We added more white on top, then another layer of turquoise before starting to sand. This part may take a little practice – but remember that you can always go back and add more paint if you over do it. The way you sand really depends on your desired effect. For us, we wanted it to look like the table was white in a previous life, then turquoise, and now the whole she-bang is weathered and aged. So I took some 120 grit paper and focused on the areas where the turquoise meets the white. I sanded a lot of the white down to the stain. I also sanded around the edges of the table top – taking them down to bare wood (you’ll see why in a bit). The whole top got a sand with 220 grit just to take off the sheen and smooth any imperfections, and when we were satisfied it looked like this:
The lighting isn’t great – it was bright but not as bright as it looks here. But the final steps of the process tone down the color a bit, so I encourage you to step outside of the box a bit and try something bolder than you might be comfortable with!
I used Old Masters Wiping Stain in American Walnut all over the table top, brushing on with a chip brush then rubbing in with a rag. This is my absolute favorite way to apply stain! You can see the difference this step makes below (stain on the left, original on the right).
This was my first time using this variety of stain for this purpose, and I highly recommend it! I have used the Minwax Dark Walnut, but it can be hard to move (if you’re not experienced, that leads to a streaky finish- think bad self tanner). This wiping stain went on beautifully, I could really rub it in and move it with a rag. I focused on the edges of the table as well, making sure to give them a clear line of stain.
Here’s how it looked once I got the stain on the table and bench tops.
Once the stain dried, I sprayed on a light coat of matte sealer. Basically this just ensures that the stain doesn’t rub off at all, which it can sometimes when you apply the wax. Normally it doesn’t bother me, but we were really attached to the color we ended up with. I used Rustoleum Painter’s Touch Matte Clear, but probably any spray sealer would do. Then I put on two coats of Minwax Natural Paste Wax to finish it off. Don’t skip the wax! This gives the piece longevity from wear and tear and really provides a professional looking finish.
Now it’s really obvious from that picture that we really needed to tone down the legs to match. Afterall, it wouldn’t really make sense if the top was weathered looking, but the legs were in pristine condition!
I got to work with the sandpaper again, taking every edge on the benches down to bare wood. Then I brushed on the Old Masters, keeping it mostly on edge (not an all over glaze like the top). The best way I’ve found to keep the stain on the brush light is to actually dip it in the small amount of product on the lid. We still don’t want perfection here, so I went over each edge with a rag after applying the stain and gave it a little smudge.
This did take some time, but it’s not difficult. I just made sure I got every edge, and that the effect was uniformly “aged” on both benches, but not perfectly matching. I did the same process on the table legs. Think of it like putting on makeup, you practice a little bit with the technique then it becomes second nature.
Sorry for the lack of wow factor in the final shots – the table doesn’t quite have a home yet (the owners are in the process of moving). Still, I think it turned out pretty sweet. Check it out the after shots: