Okay folks, are you ready for the Faux Barn Wood Painting tutorial!?…
I ask if you’re ready, because there are about a trillion photos. ha! Even though this process is SO easy, and relatively quick… I wanted to make sure that I didn’t miss anything important that you may need to know, when attempting this barn wood look on your own.
If you remember from our last post, we custom built this worktable around two Ikea draw units.
At this point, if you’re not into the whole “barn wood look”, then you can just stain it, or paint it whatever color you want! But I love to mix different styles together, especially when they’re close to each other, to add visual interest, so I went all barn-wood-crazy on this tabletops be-hind!
I’m admitting right now, I am NOT a furniture refinisher/painter. It’s just NOT a skill that I pretend to posses. I mean… I’ll paint a small table, or an occasional frame, but I actually have most of our large furniture sent to my friend Sausha who sprays everything flawlessly, when I need something refinished really well.
I tell you this because there is NOTHING technical about how I came up with this finish. I was just messing around in the garage, pulling out cans of whatever I had on hand, until my scrap piece of wood looked juuuust right 🙂
I’ve broken this tutorial down into 4 main steps, so it’s easier to follow. But the great thing about this painting technique is that it can really vary in color however you’d like! Darker, lighter, more or less ‘distressed’ looking. Just play around with it and have fun!
* Sand your wood surface well
* Wipe it down to remove any dust or debris
* Use a cheap $1 paint brush to apply a generous coat of Olympic brand Weathered Barnboard stain.
* Do not wipe any off. Just let it sit on wood, until dry to touch. (about 10 minutes or so)
To get a more distressed, old, worn look on new wood, use any sort of random tools you can find with interesting shapes, and take your aggression out.
You can see here all the different types of grooves and dents that the different tools and objects made.
I used the back of the hammer for the top of the table, and the front part of the hammer to bang up the wood around the edges a bit, so it didn’t look so ‘perfect’.
* Use any latex primer with a large foam craft brush and lightly brush a dry coat of primer on the top of the barnboard stain.
* You don’t want the primer to cover the wood completely at all. You are mainly just using it for it’s white color and matte finish, to achieve a layered, weathered, gray look for the end product.
* Use flat gray paint in any shade you choose.
I used some of the flat gray Flagstone paint from Olympic that we had left over from our Pantry Makeover… but really, any flat finish gray paint will work, as long as you’re okay with the shade.
* Use a paintbrush, dip the end into the paint, and then wipe most of it off on either the side of the can, or a rag of some sort. Then use whatever leftover paint is on the brush, to dry-brush over the primer coat.
Basically that just means that you’re going to lightly whisk your brush over the surface of the boards. You are NOT painting and covering the entire surface, you’re just trying to create the look of different layers on the boards… like if wood would have been out in the elements for a few years, and repainted a couple of times.
* Keep in mind, flat paint will dry lighter. I actually did 2 coats of this gray, because I wanted to deepen the color a little more in some spots. You’ll just have to play with your color and see how YOU like it.
* Using some of your leftover flat gray paint, add a dollop of black craft paint to the mix. Stir it around a little to deepen the color, but leave a little of the black paint around the edges, so that when you dab your paintbrush in, you’ll get subtle variations of dark and light on the ends of the bristles.
* Using the same technique, of dabbing your brush into the paint, and then wiping most of the excess paint off, dry-brush over the entire surface again. Periodically reloading your brush with more of your gray and black mixture.
* If you want more dramatic black or darker gray streaks on your wood, just pour a little more black craft paint into the mix, until you get your desired shade.
REMEMBER: You CANNOT mess this up!!!
As long as you use a light dry-brush technique for each layer, and resist the temptation to keep going back over each board before it’s dry, then you’ll do awesome! (if you keep going over and over the same brush stokes in your layers, you’ll get a muddy clouded look instead of a “worn wood grain” look). Each coat of paint will dry SUPER fast, because you’re not adding enough paint to actually make the surface really wet. And BECAUSE the paint dries so fast you can achieve that streaky, multiple layered look quickly!
After you’ve got your desired barn wood look, sand down your surface very lightly to get rid of any rough paint splatters or bits that may have been left behind. This should be so light that there shouldn’t really even be any dust coming off your table.
The last step is to apply another coat of your Olympic weathered barnboard stain to the top of your wood. You can do a full coat of the stain, but I just used the dry-brush technique again and ran the stain lightly over the whole surface. Adding the stain to the top of the mostly dry latex paint will almost give the surface a greenish-gray tint. Helping add to that worn look that you’re going for.
Honestly, this is one of the EASIEST, fool-proof painting projects that I’ve done. PLUS you feel all artist-like… mixing paint and flailing your arm around, quickly dry brushing everything.
Here is what the finished product looks like from further away. I haven’t put a clear coat on the wood yet, but I plan to. The surface is actually really smooth, and I guess it doesn’t matter if it gets banged up a little, but I just want that extra layer of protection, since I’ll be working on this tabletop often. I’ll probably go with a satin poly finish.
Good luck everyone, and remember to get creative with your barn wood painting! That’s the fun of it!
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