HOW TO CREATE A SIMPLE AND QUICK BLACK-WASH FINISH WHILE LEAVING SOME ORIGINAL STAIN PEEKING THROUGH.
Warning:: Some of you cherry wood stain lovers may prefer this before…
This is one of those questions I get asked ALL the time – How to paint over stain while leaving some of the original stain color showing through? — so I hope this painted nightstand makeover sparks some ideas. 🙂
Over the years I’ve used various ‘distressing tricks’ to reveal the stain but today I’m sharing one of my favorites. It’s easy, it’s quick, and the results are stunning!
It’s a simple BLACK-WASH… and today it’s Coffee Bean Style!
Here’s what I started with. It’s my part 2 of the bedroom set I splurged on last week. This set is not real cherry wood. It’s solid MDF covered in veneer but it’s simply gorgeous…. look at all this yummy detail!
Although I love all the curves and scrollies, personally, I’m not fond of this cherry stain – it’s just TOO red.
Here’s the updated AFTER with the Coffee-Bean Black Wash! What do you think?
THIS POST IS SPONSORED/CONTAINS AFFILIATE LINKS TO PRODUCTS I USE. YOU CAN SEE MY FULL DISCLOSURE HERE.
- 2 Nightstands – SALVAGED
- Sandpaper + Shop Towels
- Spray Mist Water Bottle
- Paint Brushes
- Coffee Bean Chalk Mineral Paint
- Black Wax
- Gator Hide
HOW TO BLACK WASH FURNITURE::
Black Washing is one of the easiest paint techniques and I find it’s effortless to control – there’s no right or wrong way to do this. I can leave as much or as little of the stain showing through depending on how thick I apply the wash and/or how many layers of wash I use.
The external flash on my DSLR needed new batteries and I had wet paint ready to wipe so I didn’t go upstairs to replace them but you can still clearly see the steps taken here.
Step #1:: Clean and Sand
Because this is a really slick surface, I did give this piece a light sanding with a 220 grit to create some ‘tooth’ for the paint to adhere to. Chalk/Mineral paints (including the Dixie Belle Coffee Bean I used on this piece) don’t require sanding because they stick well, but seeing as I sell my pieces I like taking the extra step on these types of shiny surfaces.
Step #2:: Apply Paint & Wipe Off
For these nightstands, I applied the paint full strength and then immediately wiped off the excess with a shop towel working in smaller areas so it’s still wet. I wipe it off the same way I wipe down my kitchen counter – nothing fancy!
Not a bad idea to wear gloves because it can get messy. 🙂
Step #3:: Spray And Soften
Once the excess paint has been wiped off, I give it a spay with my trusty water mister and smooth the paint out with a soft clean dry brush. I play with the paint until I like the effect.
Heavier black coverage ins some areas, and stain showing through in others. Here’s what it looked like after the first coat of wash.
Step #4:: Repeat
These painted nightstands took two (2) coats before I was happy with the look but you can manipulate the black wash to cover or expose as much of the stain as you like. Just keep playing until you like the look.
Step #5:: Topcoat
To create a rich Coffee-Bean depth, I applied black wax to the body and protected the top using Gator Hide.
Here are a few close-ups….
I love the cherry stain peeking through this rich brown/black Coffee Bean!
I hope this helps when you decide to create a peek-a-boo effect on one of your stained pieces!
ARE YOU A FAN OF PAINTED FURNITURE WITH THE ORIGINAL STAIN PEEKING THROUGH? FEEL FREE TO CHIME OR ASK ANY QUESTIONS YOU MAY HAVE… I ALWAYS LOVE HEARING FROM YOU.
Happy furniture painting my friends!
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Black Wash Wood Side Table
Pottery Barn Knock-Off Buffet Makeover
No Mess Wet Distress
Spring Inspired Dresser – Part 1
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Because this is chalk paint…does it have that feel of chalk? Or does the wax finish help that?
The wax finish leaves it feeling silky smooth.
This finish looks similar to oil rubbed bronze fixtures. I love it!
So I have 2 solid mahogany dresser that were stripped years ago and stained with varnish. So can I lightly sand and proceed with this technique?
Sorry it should say stained, then varnished. . .
Yes for sure Linda. I would give it a scuff sanding and then use a chalk/mineral type paint with good adhering qualities. If it’s a super shiny surface, try in an inconspicuous area and give it a scratch test to make sure your paint sticks.
Dotty Budnick says
If you are adding wood you bend to your piece before distressing, do you stain it first to match the original stain before you paint with the chalk paint wash?
Yes! Great idea so it all looks cohesive!
So beautiful! I’m just curious about the purpose of waxing and then using the Gator Hide. I didn’t realize that you could do that.
You sure can! Dixie Belle’s waxes are water-based so they are interchangeable with their water-based topcoats, unlike other brands where wax is always applied last because it is oil-based. I added a Gator Hide to the top for durability, water-resistance and easy cleanup. Now it’s SUPER durable.
Wow! Has it really been that long since you first shared these?? They did turn out stunning!! (A word I use often to describe what you do!! ) XOXO
Thanks my friend! XOXO Time flies when you’re having fun, right? 😉 …. or as my Mum used to say, the older I get the faster time goes!🤣
I don’t like black furniture because it looks dusty all the time! But I love what you have done with this bedroom set and would love to have it in my home. I think with the wood grain showing it would not look like it needs to be cleaned! I may try this technique on an old table I just bought. I recently finished an old table with 6 legs and used your method of slapping the paint on! Brilliant!!!
True! Solid black furniture does show more dust. I remember when I first moved into this house and was getting my floors redone. I wanted them stained super dark! The floor guy steered me away from it because he said dark floors are higher maintenance because they show all the dust. Looking back I’m so glad I didn’t go that route cuz I hate cleaning! ha
You are so inspiring, just love your pieces.
Cheryl Atkinson says
Hi Denise! I think Coffee Bean is the prettiest brown color. I took this and gave a table this same treatment and I love it. Thank you!
I love Coffee Bean as well… LOVE it! And so happy coffee bean wash turned out on your table!!! 🙌
Do you have a video of this? I literally want to repeat this on my cherry wood kitchen cabinets!
Hi Talia, there is no youtube video to go along with this post as I wasn’t doing vids at the time.
Random question., but do you think this would look good on cherry wood kitchen cabinets? Ready to take the PLUNGE!
I think it would look gorgeous on cherry wood cabinets. I would suggest a really good top coat though. Kitchens are SO high traffic you want something that is durable and easy to clean.
How do fix the dings on the furniture prior to this technique
If the dings or damage isn’t too extensive, a Bondo or wood filler will work just fine. Then as your painting, just make sure the dark paint is more opaque than a wash where you have used the filler.
Love this a lot.
Tim Lowndes says
They are all out of Gator Hide. I’ve already done the first two steps. What other product would you recommend for my top coat?
This Satin Clear Coat would work nicely and is easy to use or you can try a satin Varathane or Minwax Topcoat.
Absolutely love your work! Wondering if I can do this to my hickory kitchen cabinets? Want the lowers a black wash but want the uppers a soft white. Durable enough for the kitchen and can I do this with white?
Thanks, Teresa! Yes, you can definitely do this finish on kitchen cabinets. The black wash would be easy. For the whitewash, you might have to seal/prime with clear shellac or primer to prevent bleedthrough. I’m not familiar with hickory wood (whether it has a lot of tannins that bleed through or not??).
How long do you let the piece dry before you apply the wax? I have an ornate piece that is too cherry and this is a perfect idea! I wish you had a video!
I wax once the paint is 100% dry. If you’re using chalk or mineral paint, the next day after 24 hours is super safe if you’re unsure.
I love these pieces! So… I have a hundred year old dining table that I got at a second hand shop. It is painted a semi-glossy black over oak. I love the oak peeking through, but it has some nasty mildew spots I would like to get rid of. Do I have to strip all the black off, lightly sand it, or ??? before trying your technique? Thanks for any help you can give…Cheryl
Hi Denise, this is stunning! Just wondering if you “prepped” the surface?
Hi Carolyn! Yes, because this is a really slick surface, I did give this piece a light sanding with a 220 grit to create some ‘tooth’ for the paint to adhere to.
I love this! Do you think your same steps/process would hold up well w/ honey oak stained wood doors? I want to mae them rich looking but not lose the wood grain and this finish is very nice.
Peggy Gaynor says
Did you do the wash on the top or make it a solid coffee bean? I dont see any pictures of the actual top. Thanks Denise, love you work. Been following you for years.
Hi Peggy! Thanks for the lovely compliment and the smile…it’s great to have you here! XOXO The top is the exact same finish as the rest of the piece! 🙂
Terri Ruth says
I did a black wash on an antique china cabinet using Dixie Bell coffee bean and applied two very light coats of Behr wax (not Dixie Belle). It looks great except it’s blotchy.. I didn’t buff it yet. Any suggestions?
Hi Terri! Hmmm, I’ve never used Behr Wax so I’m not sure if it’s waterbased or oil based, but I would try buffing it out and see how it looks. A few tips when applying a wax (which you may already know) are work in small sections, less is more, and if you’re having an issue with the look of it, it’s better to buff sooner rather than later. Hope this helps.
I love what you have created! I am hoping for a lighter affect on a birch table, this would just require added more water to the chalk paint right? Also, I do not need to sand the wood consider I want the stain to come through?
It depends on the finish, Stacie. If it’s a glossy/slick finish, I would give it a sanding to rough up the surface before applying the wash. And yes, you can control the opacity (lightness/darkness) of the wash with how much water you add. Experimenting on an inconspicuous area before you start on the tabletop is a great idea. 🙂
Just wondering if you have to use chalk paint or if you can use latex paint that has eggshell finish. Thanks!
Hi Carla! Yes, you can create a wash from latex paints too. 🙂
Thanks for responding! I also saw your technique of watering down the paint first instead of spraying it after. Are the results similar? Thanks
For this technique, it’s easier to use the paint full strength, then feather it with a little water misting. It’s easier to control rather than watering down the paint and creating a wash because you want the paint to be more opaque in some areas and reveal a little of the original finish in others.
Ok great, that makes sense! Going to try it on an art piece that’s a little too cherry for me!! Thank you!
My pleasure and have fun. 🙂
Denise Hajec says
I absolutely love the finished result you achieved! Can I use GF Lamplight black and AS dark wax to get the same result on my cherry finish tables? Or is it best to invest in the DB coffee bean and black wax products?
Thanks Denise! 🙂 And for sure. You can use whatever products you like and trust. I’ve used GF Lamp Black many times and it’s an amazing paint. It’s a stark Black tho so results won’t be exactly the same.
Sallie oliver says
Can I use a light green wash over white chalk painted dresser?
You sure can. You can use ANY color as a wash.