Today I’m sharing a new-to-me technique for how to paint faux wood grain on a table top, and I have to say I’m in love with the results. The technique is easy, it’s forgiving and the final look is beautiful, neutral and on-trend.
This table was given to me free along with the secretary desk I painted last week, and a cabinet I’ll be sharing next week. Yay for free Facebook groups!
Before we jump into it, here are the supplies I used to achieve this look.
(Note: These are affiliate links for which I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks for your support!)
- Ethan Allen entry table (free)
- White Lightning
- Dixie Mud in black
- Custom tan color (60% Mud Puddle, 40% Sawmill Gravy)
- 4” Deck brush (Home Depot or Lowe’s)
- Whisk broom (Amazon or Walmart)
- Custom glaze (80% Midnight Sky, 20% Florida Orange, mix paint 50/50 with Van Dyke Brown glaze)
- Midnight Sky
- Gilding wax in Zinc and Copper
- Clear Coat in Satin
If you want tons of information on Dixie Belle paint and products, you can check out this newly updated Comprehensive Guide post, and you can download either guide free here by clicking the picture:
How to Paint Faux Wood Grain on Top
After cleaning the table with White Lightning, I filled the hardware holes with Dixie mud in black. You know I definitely wasn’t about to keep that outdated hardware! The holes were the right distance for the new cup pull, but because of the arch it was too high on the drawer. I also did a light scuff sanding and dusting of the whole piece before it was ready for paint.
I learned this technique from Shannon at Black Sheep House. You should check her out on Youtube. She uses latex paint, but I wanted to do her technique using Dixie Belle paint. I uploaded a swatch of the tan color she used to the Color Lab on Dixie Belle’s website, and got this formula to match it – 60% Mud Puddle and 40% Sawmill Gravy.
If you didn’t see my last post, I use a food scale and a red Solo cup to measure my paint for mixing. We are very professional around here!
Rather than mixing 6 ounces of Mud Puddle with 4 ounces of Sawmill Gravy, I reduced it to 3 ounces with 2 ounces. I didn’t think I’d need more than that for 2 coats on the top of my small table, and I had just about what I needed with a little left over.
Once my 2 coats were dry, I went back to the color lab to find a mixture to match java gel stain. I could have used Dixie Belle’s Walnut gel stain, but for my first try I thought it would be easier to use water-based products.
For the java color, I mixed 80% Midnight Sky and 20% Florida Orange. I love how the Color Lab has me using colors I wouldn’t normally use!
To extend the workable time of the paint, I mixed it half and half with VanDyke brown glaze. My table top came out a little darker than I wanted, so I think next time I may try Tobacco Road Voodoo Gel Stain or even the Whitewash glaze at this step.
The beauty of this faux wood grain technique is you can keep mixing and matching all kinds of products for different looks.
Here’s where the fun unconventional tools come in. Working about a third of the table top at a time, I brushed on my glaze mixture. Then I came in with my 4” deck staining brush to smooth out and remove some of the paint and add some texture. You’ll want to brush in straight horizontal lines. You can wipe the brush off on paper towels as needed.
Immediately after using the deck brush, I came in with the whisk broom. Again, brush in straight horizontal lines, taking off some of the glaze. You can’t overdo the number of passes you make with the broom, so keep going until you get the look you like. If the paint is getting too textured for your liking, go back to the deck brush for a couple gentle passes.
When the glaze was all dry, I dry brushed a small amount of Buttercream in random spots for a little more color variation. I’m not sure how I felt about this step. I think next time I’ll use more of a medium tone, like Sand Bar.
Overall, though, this technique is a great one to have in my tool box, and I can’t wait to switch it up with various products and results.
Midnight Sky Base
For the base, I used 2 coats of Midnight Sky. This is a beautiful soft black color, not as black as Caviar. I was tempted to use Flat clear coat for a high-end look, but dark colors tend to scuff more when they are matte. So I did my usual 2 coats of Satin on the whole piece, including the top.
Copper Cup Pull
The finish on the cup pull was a little accidental. It was brushed silver to begin with, and too shiny and new for my preference. I painted on 1 coat of Slick Stick for adhesion, and when that was dry I covered it thoroughly with Zinc gilding wax. I changed my mind from there and used Copper wax over it, but I left some of the Zinc peeking through in the crevices. I love the end result!
As always, if you learned anything or were inspired by this project, please Pin!
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