A Color Washing Tutorial - How to Get a Layered Paint Look

3 Materials
3 Hours

This is a simple and fun furniture painting technique that looks really complicated. I'm going to show you how I made a freshly painted piece look like it has years and years of paint.
Some good layering from age and patina make the details of the piece really stand out.  So a more intricate piece, like this mirror with the wood carvings, will give you a little more interesting finish.
I used a mirror (similar to this one) in this project. Mirrors are a great thing to try a new finish on. They are smaller, so quicker and easier – a great way to practice before tackling a giant buffet – and you can usually find a wood framed one pretty inexpensively at a thrift store.
I’m using blues in this tutorial, but other colors would certainly work just as well.  Just always start with a bright color and tone down as you go. I'm using three different shades of blue and adding darker colors to it until I get the look that I want. I also did not tape off the edges of the mirror.
Here is the first coat of paint. I painted straight on, no sanding because it's a mirror and doesn't require the extra durability since it will be hanging on a wall. Let it dry 2-4 hours.
Now that it's dry, we start the color washing technique. This second coat is mixed with some water and is slightly darker.. Apply the wash over the entire piece, section by section.
Then wipe down with a damp cloth and gloves. The darker color will settle around some of the details and give it an overall aged look.
Here is the second coat!
The third coat is mixed with about a tablespoon of black milk paint mixed with water. I wiped down this layer as well. My full blog post has a complete list of colors and products and a few other little tricks, like how to get that paint off the mirror - go check it out here.

And here is the final layered paint effect...
 It's gorgeous, isn't it?

See my full video tutorial in my blog post.

If you want to see more of my furniture finishes and learn from my easy online tutorials, please sign up for my blog.

Over on my blog, I have tons of painted furniture inspiration, a complete Guide to Shipping Furniture and a Furniture Painting Tutorial for beginners.

You can also see a gorgeous buffet I did this technique on using Stillwater Blue. Just click the blog link below.

Thanks for stopping by ... Jenni, Roots & Wings Furniture
Here is my quick Color Washing Tutorial. Enjoy!

Suggested materials:

  • Sand paper
  • Milk paints
  • Damp rag

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Jenni Ingram

Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!


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