Hello my friends! The daffodils and tulips are in bloom, spring is in the air, and I have a fun Black Wash Wood tutorial to share with you today! This is perfect for anyone who isn’t into using stain, but wants a stained look. By applying a black paint wash, you can give your wood furniture a dark rich tone – while still showing off some beautiful grain!
Here’s what I started with. This little side table is a piece from my own home.
I was eager to get started so I unscrewed the top and then remembered to take a before pic with my phone. Not the best pic but you get the idea. I’ve had this table for over 15 years and still love the shape and style, but I wanted a more rustic look without the cherry finish.
Here’s what the table looks like now!
This post contains affiliate links to products I use. You can see my full disclosure here.
- Wood Table
- Gloves and Mask
- Shop Towels or Rags
- Water + Container
- Black Paint
- Paint Brush
- Topcoat / Wax or Poly
HOW TO BLACK WASH WOOD FURNITURE
STEP 1:: SAND & STRIP
I started by removing the top and then stripping and sanding the entire piece. In the pic above, you can see I wasn’t too worried about getting off ALL the original finish because I wanted my washed piece to look a little more rustic. However, if you want a more uniform look, removing all of the original finish is recommended. After it was stripped and sanded, I cleaned and wiped away the dust.
STEP 2:: MIXING A BLACK WASH
To mix my black wash I used General Finishes Lamp Black mixed with water. I eyeballed the proportions, but I’m guessing I used around a 3:1 ratio – 3 parts paint to 1 part water. This ratio is adjustable. The more water you add, the lighter the stained effect will be.
STEP 3:: APPLYING A BLACK WASH
Applying the wash is exactly the same as whitewashing furniture. Brush it on as if you were painting a piece, but work in small areas.
STEP 4:: WIPE OFF
Once you’ve brushed on the wash, wipe it off with a shop towel or old rag. This is a messy process so it’s a good idea to wear gloves, otherwise your hands will turn pitch black! Work in small areas so the wash doesn’t have a chance to dry. If your first coat isn’t dark enough, add another. Below, you can see the first coat being applied and wiped away on the table top. This table took 3 coats before I was happy with the finish.
STEP 5:: SAND AND DISTRESS (OPTIONAL)
Because I wanted a more rustic look, I sanded the edges and the top to add some lighter and darker areas. This step is optional depending on the look you want.
STEP 6:: TOPCOAT & PROTECT
The final step is to protect your work with a top coat of your choice. I used Annie Sloan’s Clear Wax, but any furniture wax, poly, tung oil, hemp oil or whatever topcoat you like will work nicely.
The wash turned this table a nice espresso and the sanding created tonal variance which adds a lot of interest. It’s similar to the Brown Acacia Restoration Hardware finish, but has a modern farmhouse feel because of its irregularities. I’m really happy all the cherry finish is gone!
So, if you’re not into using stain or you can’t stand the smell, but you still love the look of stained wood furniture, a simple black wash is a great alternative. 🙂
Let me know what you think of this finish. And what are you up to this long weekend? I’m going to be busy celebrating Easter, spring cleaning, changing the trim/baseboards in my living room, picking up some more furniture – and the list goes on. My to-do lists are always overly optimistic – but that’s okay – it’s ALL fun stuff!