Painted Weathered Wood Tutorial

Honeybear Lane
by Honeybear Lane
I’m guessing that most of you have seen my DIY farmhouse table and bench post, right? This was my first major furniture build and I absolutely LOVE my table and do not regret building it at all. Yes–I just bought less than $100 in supplies, spend a little time and practice building this table, and BOOM saved myself about $3000 (since all similar tables in stores were at least that much!)
However, when it came to finishing it, I made one crucial mistake that ended up causing tons of problems.  I used the WRONG sealer.  I used DecoArt Soft Touch Varnish.  I actually like this finish for tables that aren’t used a lot, it’s similar to wax but a lot easier to apply.  But it was the absolute WORST finish for a kitchen table.

My kids beat up my table.  They get all kinds of food on it in addition to play dough, marker, crayon, pencil, pen, watercolor, etc, etc, etc.  So much stuff.  And some of it would leave a stain behind so I would pull out Oxyclean or Bar Keeper’s Friend and both of them would get the stain off but then take off the finish AND the stain and leave a giant and obvious bare wood spot.  The worst part about the finish though was that it was always sticky/tacky.  It felt like a giant popsicle had melted on it and could never get cleaned off.  I knew that it bothered people when they would eat over and that embarrassed me.  So please save yourself some time and do not use this finish for a kitchen table.
See how bad that looks?

I decided to paint it instead of refinishing it.

***Before I started painting I should mention that I caulked all the cracks.  This would NOT work if you are using stain but caulk is meant to be painted.  So if you want to paint your tabletop, go ahead and caulk any cracks.  Just make sure the caulk is ONLY in the cracks because if you leave residue on the tabletop it doesn’t sand off easily and it will be apparent through the paint.

I mixed a couple of shades of gray and painted the entire table top until it was well coated. Then I let it dry.  Once it was completely covered and dry, I knew I wanted some interest and depth to this tabletop.  So I started to dry brush a little lighter on the top.  I was struggling with it though…it just looked so obvious and fake.  So I got a damp paper towel and as I brushed on the paint (more generously this time), I followed it with the wet paper towel.
The paper towel adds a little more water to the paint and made it spread around more naturally.  It ended up adding a beautiful pattern to the plain gray and really helped bring out the wood grain.  I did this all over the table and bench top and let it dry.  
The last step was to take some sandpaper and sand the entire surface to distress.  I went over the edges and all the places where it would naturally distress, but then ran my paper over the grain (in the direction of the grain) to further help bring it out.

Then I sealed it with polyurethane and let it dry for 24 hours. I love it!

To get all the details, visit the link to the project on my site.
Honeybear Lane
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
Frequently asked questions
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  2 questions
  • Lchapman Lchapman on Apr 22, 2017
    Love the finish on your table and benches! What brand and colors did you use?

    L Chapman

  • RJ Baetig RJ Baetig on Nov 13, 2019

    HOW long is your tanks and bench?

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2 of 16 comments
  • Maryellen Maryellen on May 13, 2017
    Beautiful job, I am going to try this on our tired looking kitchen table.

  • Eroque022810 Eroque022810 on May 13, 2017
    I already own a similar table and this would be so awesome. I love it very much it blends both country and modern times. And good for you keep on building furniture if this is your first large item I can't even imagine what else you could accomplish. By the way you have many years basically until the kids leave before you will have a clean table not to mention the whole house. My men keep putting hot plates on this table I was speaking about leaving white marks. They do this to get a placement from center of table. I've just accepted that one day I will have my house look like adults live in it! HAHAHA I still have to watch my husband though. Love your table at any rate and wish you close by so I could learn to paint. Besides you took a chance and that alone was a brave move. I'm telling you keep doing this because it came out gorgeous.