Easy Driftwood Paint Finish for Outdoor Furniture

6 Materials
2 Days

In just a few steps, you can transform not only a painted porch swing, but any outdoor painted furniture to a coastal driftwood gray finish like you see in the Pottery Barn or Restoration Hardware catalogs!

It's any easy 3 layer paint process that will completely makeover your outdoor furniture.

Outdoor Driftwood Paint Finish First

I must disclose that I can only say this paint finish is safe for a covered area like my front porch. My best guess is this will work on more exposed furniture because the base layer is an exterior paint.

To keep my furniture clean, it's hosed down 2 to 3 times per month and so far the porch swing finish is holding strong with regular use and upkeep after 9 months and through the winter.

In order to understand how to achieve this finish, I'll detail the layers you will be applying.

The inspiration for this finish was a piece of natural driftwood that doesn't have much of a grain pattern to it.

Layers of Paint

  1. Base Color
  2. Custom Color Wash
  3. Dry Brushed Antiquing Glaze

Each layer only took about 30 minutes, so not a lot of time to devote to get the driftwood gray finish! Just the dry time will slow down the process.

Here is what the porch swing looked like before the paint makeover. The black paint was faded after 8 years of use and starting to peel.

If you like the upholstered seat, it was an easy DIY upgrade.

For the full tutorial, CLICK HERE.  

How-To Create the Outdoor Driftwood Gray Finish

Make sure you pick a time where it won't rain for a couple of days. There are overnight dry times in between coats and you don't want the rain to ruin your hard work!


  1. Wooster Paint Brush
  2. Quart Valspar Duramax Exterior Paint in Ivory Brown 6006-1C / Satin Finish
  3. Water
  4. Rags - I find old cut up t-shirts are the best
  5. Find Grit Sanding Sponge
  6. Antiquing Glaze

Custom Color Wash Instructions

Step 1

If the old paint finish on the furniture or swing is peeling, sand over those areas to remove excess paint. Wipe down with a damp rag to remove ALL sanding dust. 

Step 2

Apply base coat of paint. Because Duramax paint is SO thick (spans a 1/4 inch gap) I was able to apply only one coat!

If you need or want to apply 2 coats, allow the 1st coat to dry overnight before applying the 2nd coat.

In my situation, I had to mask off the upholstered seat with garbage bags. This is what the Ivory Brown base coat looked like, before the color wash. 

Step 3

Mix the antiquing glaze with water as shown.

Step 4

With your paint brush, layer on the custom color wash working in sections top to bottom and side to side.

Make sure to run the brush with the direction of the wood: horizontal and vertical. You can see my brush strokes below.

Let the wash sit for about 5 minutes per section and RUB into the paint using your rag.

Work the paint into all of the crevices of the paint. You want to enhance the texture and brush strokes. 

Let the the wash dry overnight!

Antiquing Glaze Dry Brush Instructions

You will now become an artist! This is called a DRY BRUSH technique because you barely have paint on your brush.

I'd suggest first practicing on a piece of cardboard first, so you get the feel of it. I'm sure you have cardboard around like I do from all of those Amazon deliveries!

Step 1

Fill the bottom of a wide mouthed bowl with antiquing glaze. DO NOT ADD WATER.

Dip just the tips of your brush into the glaze and blot on the sides of the bowl.

I'm going to show you a mid point in the process and what my brush looked like.

When I say very little glaze I mean it and your brush should fan out like this, from working the glaze back and forth on the wood.

You can see I was blotting the brush every time I added glaze on the side of the bowl.

Step 2

Work your brush back and forth, back and forth in the direction of the wood: horizontal or vertical to create lines.

Keep working an area until there isn't glaze coming off of the brush and you need to re-load it with glaze.

Try to avoid overlapping!

I worked the horizontal sections first trying to avoid the vertical slats. Make sure you get ALL surfaces. I did overlap on edges and left it because I liked the look!

If you overlap, luckily glaze is forgiving and you can wipe it off with a damp paper towel before it dries.

Here is a close up of the final driftwood gray finish!

Wait for it to dry overnight, before adding pillows or cushions so the finish is as hard as possible!

You can see I couldn't get into the hole where the chain is, but it doesn't hurt the overall effect.

Finishing Touch Rope Wrapped Chain

If you've made over the porch swing to driftwood gray, then you may want to create the total coastal effect by wrapping the chain in rope. Of course I have a full tutorial on that as well, CLICK HERE. 

Now you may be wondering "Can I use this same technique on an indoor piece of furniture?" OF COURSE! Just use the same base color in a satin interior paint. 

Any price and availability information displayed on [relevant Amazon Site(s), as applicable] at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of this product.
Hometalk may collect a small share of sales from the links on this page. More info

Top Hometalk Projects

30 Ways To Use Old Jeans For Brilliant Craft Ideas
31 Amazing Furniture Flips You Have to See to Believe
15 Kitchen Updates Under $20
11 Unexpected Ways to Use Spices in Your Home
31 Amazing Furniture Flips You Have to See to Believe
15 Genius Curtain Ideas To Instantly Upgrade Your Space
17 Faux Brick Ideas For Your Home
29 Of The Best DIY Mirror Projects Ever Made
29 Of The Best DIY Mirror Projects Ever Made
The Easiest Ways to Grow a Bumper Crop of Tomatoes
31 Creative Garden Features Perfect For Summer
16 Ways to Maximize Storage And Organization In Your Home
29 Of The Best DIY Mirror Projects Ever Made
18 Fun Ways To Add Glitter To Your Home Decor
15 Genius Curtain Ideas To Instantly Upgrade Your Space
Porch Daydreamer

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


Have a question about this project?

3 of 4 questions
  • Jennifer
    on Mar 17, 2019

    What color glaze did you use? The link brings up several options. Love the finish!

    • Jennifer
      on Mar 18, 2019

      Thanks. I am doing this on a dining table. Can I or should I top the glaze with a wax or polyurethane?

  • Jennifer
    on Mar 19, 2019

    I am using this process on a dining table. Should I top the glaze with clear wax or polyurethane?

    • Porch Daydreamer
      on Mar 19, 2019

      Yes, definitely! I’d recommend 3 coats of a water based acrylic polyurethane in a low sheen like matte or satin. Good luck!!

  • Cynthia tyler
    on Mar 23, 2019

    Will this work on a tired wicker set

    • Porch Daydreamer
      on Mar 24, 2019

      I think it is possible, but can't confirm since I have only done these types of finishes on smooth surfaces.

Join the conversation

4 of 12 comments
Your comment...