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.
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.
DOESN’T IT LOOK AMAZING?
It was only $40 at the thrift store.
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. 🙂