She Uses Stain to Refresh a Furniture Piece Into a Piece of Art

M&M Embellishments
by M&M Embellishments
5 Materials
8 Hours

Stain has become my medium of choice lately. I have always used stain to do my shading on my signs and other artwork, so one day, I decided to try using it as my "paint"... and so it began :)

I had a problem at the beginning, but thanks to friends here and on another page, I was able to fix the problem. This was the original piece. I had done a smaller accent table that matches this piece that I wanted to match or at least complement.

I sanded the top of this without stripping first and came up with these swirly marks... :(

I sanded it down again and thought I could work with it.

But at this point, I decided it just wasn't going to work. The stain wasn't reacting properly and I knew I wouldn't be happy in the end. So.... I stripped and sanded and started all over...

I transfer the image by using carbon paper. Alternately, you could use a projector, but I don't tend to like that as well.

I add the stain to the darkest areas first and let it soak in and then it is just a matter of drawing the stain out with the brush, adding stain, shading/ drawing it out with the brush/ blending, adding stain, repeat, etc.

I am constantly looking back to my inspiration photo for where to shade. At this point, I should point out that I do NOT consider myself an artist! I think I am artistic but I can't just sit down and freehand draw anything!

This picture was before I started to add the stain to the outside.

This is the little accent table I wanted to "match". Didn't turn out that way, but it's ok. I like them both.

Staining the outside proves to be difficult. I did get a tip from a friend. She said she works the outside AS she is doing the flower. She looks at it as ONE piece of art ... makes sense. I might have to try that. But I like the really dark effect of the outside, especially with the wrought iron accents of the table.

After it was all done, I applied 3 coats of General Finishes HPTC. It is water based and I have been told it does NOT yellow. Hope not! I then did a fine sand and then another coat. I buffed it out with brown paper. I could put a layer of wax on top, but it ended up being so velvety smooth with this technique that I do not feel the need!

Hope you enjoyed .. and you should give it a try! People have told me they are too scared to try it. I tell them (and you if you have made it this far in this post).. grab a piece of scrap wood and just give it a whirl. Make sure it is sanded smooth or you won't be able to draw the stain out. Let me know how it goes, I would love to hear back from any of you! If you like this, please take a moment to visit my Etsy page and my website to see other unique pieces I do. Feedback is ALWAYS welcome! :) ~Michelle

Suggested materials:
  • Minwax stain
  • Artist brushes
See all materials
Frequently asked questions
Have a question about this project?
3 of 33 questions
  • Lynne Usher Lynne Usher on Feb 07, 2019

    How did you get the image of the rose onto the carbon paper? It's absolutely gorgeous!

  • Lauren Bailey Lauren Bailey on Feb 17, 2019

    Hi. Would you mind explaining (in more detail) on how you did the shading? Would love to try it, but not sure I understand how. Thanks

  • Colleen Colleen on Feb 19, 2020

    Your tables are beautiful,I sure would call you a gifted artist.Question I have 3 tables with the colored bases I would Jos like the bring these up to 2020 any suggestions on how I could pain them ?or do something else to?I hate just throwing them out.Thank you colleenbecker

Join the conversation
2 of 312 comments
  • MiMi MiMi on Feb 02, 2020

    All the work I’ve seen you do is just breathtaking!! I’m going to try it one day soon, but WOW!! Just AMAZING WORK!!

  • Jackson Jackson on Nov 02, 2021

    Not an artist ??? If you are not an artist, then I do not know WHO is !

    Phantastic work. I wished I could do that.