Woohoo I’m back in the saddle!

DIY Layered Paint Finish Tutorial

Feels good to take a paint brush to some furniture again – this time for a friend whose sweet husband built her this gorgeous table!

before - raw pine 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!

dark walnut stained table top

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.

white wash testing

white wash and paint testing

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.

weathered table top tutorial

The legs were painted plain white for some glazing/distressing later.

dry brush technique for weathered look

We kept layering the white paint on until we got pretty solid coverage.

White weathered table top

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!

sherwin williams cooled blue

We repeated the same process with the turquoise, adding layers of paint on top of the white.

layered paint technique

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:

Turquoise Layered and Weathered Table Top

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).

Old Masters Wiping Stain as Glaze

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.

layered weathered table

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.

distressing the legs

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:

weathered table finish how to

distressed table legs

how to create an aged look on new wood

shabby chic paint tutorial

rustic painted table top

paint layering tutorial



39 Responses

  1. Brenda

    I love how the table turned out. I am redoing my kitchen lighter. My table is black, could I use the same for it? Love your blog!

    Brenda ~ 1840 Vintage Lane

    • Rachael Evans

      Thank you Brenda! You could absolutely do this technique over a black table!

  2. Simple Antiqued Chair Tutorial

    […] Here’s the deal: I wanted to get a really aged and chippy look without much effort – no primer and minimal coats of paint. I also wanted it two colors, like it had been painted twice. I used Sherwin Williams “Creamy” and “Homberg Gray” to get the look. I love these colors and always have them on hand. Just to make sure I was getting a really less than perfect finish, I used a cheap-o chip brush (which I normally only use for stain). […]

  3. Dyan

    This is absolutely beautiful. Turquoise is my favorite, and you did an amazing job of incorporating it without making it over-the-top!

    • Rachael Evans

      I pretty much always use water based. It’s just easier to work with and less cleanup!!

  4. Robin

    How long did you wait between coats of the whitewash? In a newbie and absolutely LOVE this finish!

    • Rachael Evans

      Hi Robin – You don’t have to wait too long because the paint is so diluted it dries quickly. Probably 30 minutes from finishing depending on the humidity.

  5. Sue

    I would like to use this technique on an old door that I plan on turning into an outdoor buffet. Any suggestions since my piece will be outside?

    • Rachael Evans

      Hi Sue- Instead of wax, I would use an outdoor polyurethane. Even so, if it’s exposed to the elements it will probably fade/distress/crack/peel over time.

      • Paul Williams

        A little tip regarding the exterior poly…minwax makes a “wiping poly”…but it’s a little bit “pricey” , and can instead be made by taking an oil base polyurethane, and cutting it 50% with paint thinner…then apply several coats by wiping it on, usually with a rag or a foam brush….just thin even coats…0000 steel wool between coats..one swipe,
        with the grain…very simple process, and the crusty coat that cracks and peels with time and weather can be avoided. Do not use a thick coat full strength poly for exterior !

  6. Betty weiss

    Could I use this technique on pbc shutters?
    if yes , what type of paint should I use?

    • Rachael Evans

      Yes, you’ll want to use all exterior paints and finish with an exterior grade poly (UV resistant). Good luck!

  7. lisa

    Hi, this table is beautiful. Any advice on whether I could achieve this by using layers of chalk paint on an already stained and polyed buffet? Trying to avoid having to strip or sand? Any ideas?

    • Rachael Evans

      Hi Lisa – You’ll definitely want to sand a little bit through the poly I think. You’ll get a better lasting finish if you start with a bit of grip. But yes, chalk paint will be fine!

  8. AnaLaura

    Looovveeeee!! I’m in the process of creating a pattern for a wall pallet space and these colors are perfect! How do I start the pattern? or do i mark each piece? Is it easier to install the pallet on Wall then paint from there?

    thank you!

  9. Katie

    Love this!! I can’t wait to make a plain looking unfinished ikea table into this! On the teal layer did you also dilute it?

    • Rachael Evans

      Hi Katie – The paint wipes on best if it is diluted, so all of them have some level of that. Experiment, it’s fun!

    • Rachelle

      Katie, how did yours turn out? I am also planning on using this technique on an unfinished Ikea table and also using diluted chalk paint. What did you use and how did it work? Any advice is amazing 🙂

  10. Connie

    I have church pew that is finished with a polyeurothane hard clear coat…do I have any options for distressing or white washing?

  11. Kelly Jackson

    I’m a true beginner at painting things like this, and having done months of research, I should tell you that nothing had been as easy to understand and as educational as this article. I’m so glad I found your blog! You have a new fan in me. 🙂 Thank you so much!

  12. Danette Cruse


    • Sami J

      use a urethane to seal them, preferably not oil as it will yellow over time. Make sure you let the paint dry really really well first! once the sealer is on make sure that has plenty of time to cure as well. It helps it last that much longer. I haven’t done any stairs but I have done numerous bookcases and have yet for a book to stick or have any tackiness. Hope this helps!



  14. Brittney

    Hi I absolutely love this technique! if I were going to do this on a piece of plywood for art what would you recommend I do. I have a 24 x24 sheet of plywood and I just stained it and the whole whitewashing thing is confusing me haha. I’m not sure if I sand before or after and what kind of sandpaper I should use.

  15. Bridget

    Hi, how does stain stick and dry on water base painted surfaces like in your tutorial? I have put stain over a water base paint before just to find out that it wouldn’t dry well or stay on, maybe I was doing something wrong?

    • Rachael Evans

      Hi Bridget – I’ve never had any problems, I typically apply thin coats and wipe off. Humidity can definitely affect if it dries and how long it takes. I usually use Sherwin Williams paint for furniture (their sample quarts), which is a latex, and has always worked fine with stain on top!

  16. Laundry Room | L and L

    […] get the turquoise look, I took inspiration from Lovely Crafty Home.  I winged it and simply took the paint on the rag with a little water and spread it all around […]

  17. Cresta

    I am in the process of doing a desk top like this technique. I’m wondering if you sanded the stain before applying the white wash paint and turquoise.

  18. Randi

    I’ve been looking for a way to create an aged wood (think barn wood) look for unfinished kitchen cabinets. I think I’ve just found my technique!! Thank you forgiving me proof my dream kitchen can be a reality!!

  19. Brad

    I just wanted to thank you for this tutorial. I’m often “inspired” by things I see on Pinterest but rarely enough to take the plunge and do it. Your tutorial was the first time I took action and I’m incredibly pleased with the results. I layered white, orange, and blue with the oak stains you recommended and love it. Thanks!

  20. Brad

    Thank you for this tutorial! This is the first time I’ve been inspired by a Pinterest post to the point of taking action. I just finished refinishing my kitchen table, layering white, orange, and light blue with the walnut stains you recommended. I love the finished product! Thanks!


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