A long time ago in a land far away, I used to own a faux finish business with a friend.

It was called “How Great Thou Art.”

We created stria on walls and layered plaster finishes with raised damask patterns and weathered wood finishes and distressed antiqued pieces with layers of character.

The amazing thing about faux finishes?

No two are exactly alike.

You have to let the finish talk to you.

You have to let it tell you what it wants to be.

And that’s EXACTLY what happened with the finish on this table. I thought it was going in one direction. I had an image in my mind of what I wanted the table to look like.

But the faux finish knew better.

It knew where it wanted to end up.

So here’s our journey together, the finish and I.

As part of the makeover in a month series with my friends Leslie and Marion and Melissa, I created this table for the family room makeover. Last week we added the light fixture and the door hardware and this week was all about transforming this $40 thrift store table. Here’s the step by step on how to create a faux antique finish with patterned patina.

How to Create a Faux Antique Finish With Patterned Patina

1. Start with a stencil

Here’s the stencil I used.

I found it at Hobby Lobby and love the random swirls and dots and quotation marks.

The table was painted white and I started by taping this stencil to the top.

2. Stencil with stain

I took a sponge brush and dabbed the stain into the stencil.

This is my first attempt when I took this picture.

I actually ended up with much less stain on future stencils.

(total aside: after a few stencils, I also discovered that using a sock to dab the stain into the stencil worked so much better than a sponge brush and soaked up more of the stain.)

3. Let stain dry

Here’s what the stencil looked like when I pulled it away. You can see the stencil pattern the stain left behind.

Next, I let the stain dry until it was tacky.

And then?

This is where the finish started talking to me.

The stained stenciled tabletop looked like it had too much contrast.

So I decided to do this.

4. Dab the tacky stain lightly

When the stain was slightly tacky and almost dry, I used a sock to lightly dab at parts of it.

It wasn’t where I was going.

But I LOVED it.

It gave a kind of mottled look to the stencil and blended the stain into the white and added a layer of distressing to the table top.

5. Wipe down tabletop with stain

Next, I wiped down the entire tabletop with a layer of stain.

I just used a sock to wipe it down to add a little color and break up the stark white of the table.

Here’s what the tabletop looked like after it dried.

LOVE that patina.

6. Dry brush white paint

I wanted to add another layer of stenciled stain to give it even more depth.

So I cross-hatched white paint over the dried stencil pattern.

Cross-hatching is just taking a little bit of paint and brushing it in opposite directions as shown.

Then I let the white paint dry.

7. Add another layer of stencil

Next, I went back and repeated steps 2-4 again.

This is what it looked like after the stain dried the second time.

I loved it, but it needed to be a little bit lighter to fit into the space.

8. Whitewash the table

For the last layer of the finish, I wiped the entire tabletop down with a thin layer of white paint.

I wanted to lighten the finish and make it look a little more aged.

I let the white paint dry and the table was ready.

Here’s what my table looked like before.


It was only $40 at the thrift store.

And now?

It looks like it has the perfect faux antique finish patterned patina.

This wasn’t where I was going.

I had a darker finish in mind. Something a little more like leather with a stenciled stain patterned you couldn’t really see.

But the finish? It knew what it wanted to be.

So, friends, there’s a lesson here to be learned. The moral of this paint and stain story?

When your faux finish speaks….

….be sure and listen. ๐Ÿ™‚

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  1. Image for Kris Kris

    KariAnne, I think I like it .... but I'd like a picture from a bit of a distance as well as the up-close shots to get an overall impression (I'm toying with doing something fun with side tables and this might be an option). Maybe I should say I'm sure I like it but I'm not sure, from your photos, that it would fit into my space. Thanks!

  2. Image for Cindy Cindy

    I love doing projects like this and you're so right about faux finishing, sometimes it goes in a different direction. I always say at times you have to play with the paint to achieve a look. Love this piece. Cindy

  3. Image for Sharon Sharon

    I sent you an email about the girls book for my amazing granddaughter. I found it and ordered 2 so when we talk about the book, I'll have one. I know this isn't about this blog, but wanted to let you know. Have a blessed day!!

  4. Image for Tammie Tammie

    To be honest, when I was scrolling through the pictures and reading your descriptions, I thought it looked like a hot mess. But the finished product is beautiful! I might try something like this on a drum table that I painted a while back. It's plain on top and I think the stenciled finish may be perfect for it.

  5. Image for Pamela Pamela

    POOF! Well, that was MY mind exploding! Lol! That was a totally different ending to the table top story than what I was expecting.! From your teaser photo ( and now I understand what a TEASER photo is) I assumed it was going to be ending up a rich, very textured and shiny wood grainy ( is that even a word?) table top. I was interested in seeing how that was done. Now I will have to think about how to try something like that. Your finished table is absolutely beautiful. It's amazing when those creative juices start flowing and one is almost being led by some unseen force in a certain direction isn't it? As always KariAnne, you are an amazing creator. Thank you for inspiring us to go out and try something different! I never know what you are going to create, but I know whatever it is, I WILL LOVE IT! Have a great day missy!

  6. Image for Lynn Mosher Lynn Mosher

    LOL I'm with the others. I wasn't too crazy about the earlier photos. But you did it! As always! I love the ending. You're the best storyteller and even the tabletop proved it! ๐Ÿ˜โค

  7. Image for JC JC

    I too like it toned down. That is the whole fun of projects, they can take an unexpected turn and you need to roll with it, and you did!

  8. Image for Sandi Mcgrath Sandi Mcgrath

    Although it looks very nice its hard to see the whole table. Could you possibly take the picture from above like stand on a ladder so we can appreciate the beauty of the table and future furniture items. Thank you

  9. Image for Barbara Cawley Barbara Cawley

    I'm not sure if I like it. I want to paint a side board I have. It has a yellow tinge. I want to paint it white. I'm not sure where to begin. I have been reading about chalk paint. I don't want a painted look. My home is farm house. Any suggestions. You do a great job no matter what it is.

  10. Image for Diane Diane

    Wow! Honestly, you had me really scared at first. Those first couple of layers, I'm thinking "this is not KariAnne! She is NOT going to try to pass this off as wonderful. Please don't let this happen." And then you listened to the table and many layers later you have a stunner!!!! I wonder if I could do something like that on the ends of a long harvest table Im hoping for. It is gorgeous, worthy of that light and the french door hardware!!!!

  11. Image for Sue Sue

    From being a follower of your blog, I know you have wonderful stories to tell and tell those stories so well. Now I know you are a very good listener also! Love your table and how it looks with the wooden decor and floor.

  12. Image for Marlene Stephenson Marlene Stephenson

    Surprised at how it turned out, at first i thought it would be darker, love what you did and it's so pretty!

  13. Image for Deb Deb

    When you gave us teaser photos earlier on, I admit I shook my head with a bless her heart. I couldnโ€™t tell if you were layering spackle on there or what. It is an amazing transformation! But do you know, my mind is still in the, โ€œ I wonder if you could spackle over a stencil and when painted white and dried, put a piece of glass over it as a topper.โ€ I must have too much time on my hands... Great job!

  14. Image for Karen Karen

    Looks spectacular. I have some inexpensive espresso finish end tables. Will probably try a reversal using a gold or copper to change them up!...ksren

  15. Image for Katherines Corner Katherines Corner

    You and your blog posts make me smile. Your hard work paid off it looks wonderful so unique and one of a kind which to me is always awesome. hugs! P.S. you still have time to share this post at the TFT blog party

  16. Image for Cindy@CountyRoad407 Cindy@CountyRoad407

    OH MY LANTA! That is so beautiful! I love that and soooooo doing it! I just need to find a table to do it on! How did you get to be so creative? Can we rub elbows or can I cut your little finger off and glue it to my hand? I bet that would work. Pinned

  17. Image for Jan Fusco Jan Fusco

    Wow! When you first started sharing your transformation I thought....what in the world is she doing? But then the finished product.... I love it! Great job. Again, rocking it like the rock star you are.


    I love it. I would never have thought of stenciling a table with stain..but look at it now.. Wowzers!! Will try this on something . Thank you for being a Rock Star!!

  19. Image for Cate Cate

    I love, love, love how your thrift store table turned out!!! ๐Ÿ’—๐Ÿ’—๐Ÿ’—๐Ÿ’—๐Ÿ’—. Fantastic artistry KariAnne!!!

  20. Image for Laura Bervig Laura Bervig

    What an amazing transformation. So fun that you just kept adding layers until you got that amazingly perfect result!! I want to try this on some armoire doors and wonder how hard it was to stencil over the first pattern after you had distressed it??

  21. Image for Debbie Buckingham Debbie Buckingham

    First time to your blog through the In My Own Style blog. I love what "happened" to this table project! I'm just getting ready to do a large round dining table and I think this would be an awesome way to allow for the wear and tear that this piece of furniture will get. I was wondering if you sealed it with any kind of polyacrylic or wax to give it a higher degree of protection?


    KariAnne, I love the technique you used on this table. It's lovely! You never cease to amaze me with all your fabulous ideas! Have a blessed week!

  23. Image for Janet Hurlbrink Janet Hurlbrink

    I opened your email after I returned from breakfast room furniture shopping. Looking at your $40 find plus the cost of some elbow grease seems so much more appealing than a mass marketed dining table with a similar look.

  24. Image for Leila Leila

    When you say on #7 that you repeated steps 2-4 again did you use that same stencil that already had stain on it or did you use a new one? And was it placed right on top of where it was placed before or was it randomly repositioned?

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