Asked on Jun 14, 2015

Matte and shiny - how to make it work

JT Tanny
by JT Tanny
I have a dresser i'm thinking of doing a matte and shiny finish, like this photo. What sealer do I put on it so that the matte stays matte and the shiny stays shiny??
I love the matte finish with the tone on tone shiny stenciling, so what is the best way to seal it without losing the variation in finish?
  7 answers
  • Connie K Connie K on Jun 15, 2015
    Good question! I haven't tried this effect on furniture but I love it on walls. There are two ways that I have used for walls which should work for furniture as well, in theory at least. (1) choose color in a matte (flat) finish. Paint entire piece. Then stencil pattern using a high gloss sealer like a polyurethane to to get the gloss, or reverse the process depending upon whether you want the background or the pattern to be glossier. (2) purchase paint in a matte and a gloss. Paint entire piece in matte, then stencil in gloss. TIP! please try this on sample boards first. It can save lots of headaches if you know that your process gives you the results you want before actually beginning your piece of furniture or walls. Sometimes using your wall or the item your painting as the first try can cause lots of headaches. I have used everything from poster board, foam core and cardboard to molding, drywall, and cabinet doors. I use the same sample boards when changing wall colors. That way I can move the sample boards around the room to see how the color is affected by light as well as see what happens to it after the sun sets. Its much easier than getting a room or even one wall painted only to find out that that its completely different at night. Thank heaven for the sample cans of paint that are readily available now. That saves lots of money. I used to have to buy a quart of paint (if it was even sold by quarts) to do the samples. Good luck and I'd love to know what process you end up using to get this effect. Its one of my favorites.
  • Janis Gibson Janis Gibson on Jun 15, 2015
    With the right paint I don't think you need to worry about it. the knobs will keep the wear and tear off the paint.
  • JeDonne M JeDonne M on Jun 16, 2015
    How about wax? Not sure if that would dull the shine or shine the matte or not. I would put some on a board and play with it first to see. Also, a knowledgeable person in a paint store may be able to advise you what products from start to finish to use to get that look.
  • JeDonne M JeDonne M on Jun 16, 2015
    WAIT! I just had another thought. What if you paint your matte base on, then varnish with a matte finish. THEN stencil or paint on your shiny design. The matte which is softer is sealed with a matte varnish which a satin or gloss paint will adhere to. Then use your shiny paint to detail the work and don't worry about varnishing it as they are a harder paint and will take the wear and tear, especially if you use a gloss. Think about how gloss wears on woodwork. AND gloss paints come in several levels of shiny now so you don't have to have too shiny or too flat. Hope this helps.
    • CAmom CAmom on Jun 19, 2015
      @JeDonne M That's exactly what I thought. I think it's the best idea since it would finish the whole project.
  • Elaine Simmons Elaine Simmons on Jun 16, 2015
    There is a varnish product with a flat finish. Wouldn't that work? Put on a flat base coat and use metallic for your stencil, then flat varnish finish. I love the look of this dresser. Wish I had something to try it on.
  • Robyn Welch Robyn Welch on Jul 03, 2017

    The stencil looks like a huge botanical garden, any idea where to find a stencil like this one?

  • NikiR NikiR on Oct 02, 2017