Rustic Wood Grain Coffee Table | How to Use a Wood Grain Tool


wood grain dark front

I originally shared how to use a wood grain tool with Voodoo gel stain for a coastal look on this same table.  But since it hasn’t sold, today we will use the tool with paint for a more rustic look.

If you’re thinking you don’t want to spend the money on another tool, you might want to re-consider.  The wood grain tool set is very inexpensive, and takes up little storage space.

Now, let’s take a look back at the original state of this coffee table.

wood grain coffee table before with words

Here are the supplies I used for the current makeover.

Resource List:

(Note: These are affiliate links for which I earn a small commission at no extra cost to you.  Thanks for your support!)

If you want tons of information on Dixie Belle paint and products, you can check out this Comprehensive Guide post, and you can download it free here by clicking the picture:


How to Use a Wood Grain Tool

I cheated a little on this makeover, and made it ridiculously simple.  Using very watered-down dark brown Coffee Bean paint, I painted a thin even coat over the top. 

Because I kept it so thin and watered down, the grain and texture applied on the first paint job still shows through.

When you see the white top and the brown top side-by-side, it’s hard to believe that’s all I did!  Here is what the original faux wood grain I applied looked like.

wood grain coffee table

And here is what it looks like with the Coffee Bean layer on top.

how to use a wood grain tool table

But you came to learn how to use a wood grain tool, so let’s pretend we are creating the grain from scratch.  Here is what you do:

1.Apply 2 coats of your base color.  It will show through your top coat slightly, so choose your color accordingly.

2.Apply a coat of clear coat (any sheen) to protect your base layer.  This is optional, but I think it’s worth doing. Allow to dry thoroughly.

3.Water down your top paint color about 30-50%.  I recommend trying it on a sample board first to achieve the exact look you want.

4.Working in small sections (about 2 boards wide on my table), paint on the top coat.  Immediately drag and rock the wood grain tool through the paint in the direction of the wood grain.  Be gentle!

5.Vary how you’re holding the tool and which direction you’re dragging to make it look more random and authentic.

6.When it’s dry, if your grain looks too defined or stark, paint a solid coat of the watered down top paint color over it.  This will make the grain more subtle.

The tool set comes with a large and small head, so you can use whatever fits your furniture piece the best.  There is also another texture tool in the set that can be used in many ways.

wood grain tool

Replacing Driftwood Gray with Midnight Sky

To coordinate better with the dark top, I painted the table base in 1 coat of Midnight Sky (a soft blue-black color).  I allowed some of the original Driftwood gray to show through to keep it more rustic.

Everything got a light sanding, and I sealed with 2 coats of clear coat in satin.  I’m so pleased with satin these days, I don’t foresee ever not sealing pieces this way in the future.

dark wood grain coffee table straight front

Not only does it give a lovely sheen, but it’s practical for wiping and dusting as needed.

dark wood grain coffee table right angle

Please Pin!

rustic wood grain pin

If you like this project, be sure to Shop My Faves for any supplies you might need.  You may enjoy these projects featuring different ways to finish tops as well.

gray buffet top view


Gray Buffet Makeover


nightstands interior

Mis-Matched Nightstands Makeover

end table set side view


Farmhouse End Tables

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