How to lighten a dark wood finish on furniture and apply a driftwood stained finish.
I recently gave you a glimpse of my dining room table that I had just completed making over using a driftwood furniture finish. Today I will show you the process I used to make the transformation.
My dining room table is a hand-me-down from my mom and dad. I like the style of the table, but not the orange-tone finish.
Here is the table before:
and the after…
I love it – it is exactly the finish I wanted. The best part – it was easy and inexpensive to do.
I love the look of salvaged, driftwood, or greyed-stained wood and if I had money to buy all new furniture, I would acquire a few pieces of it. So when I was recently asked if I would like to try out a new product called, Driftwood Weathered Wood Finish, I was intrigued and said yes, thinking it may get me the look I want at a fraction of the cost of buying new.
I was sent two packages and some liming wax. I read the directions – all you have to do is add water to the powder and brush it on – EZ! My type of project. I saw a few photos of what the mixture/stain would do and decided to go for it.
I had to strip the table first.
I used CitraStrip after reading in the comments section in the post that I wrote about stripping my kitchen table that many of you recommend it. Now that I have used it – I agree.
If you are going to strip furniture, this is product to use. It comes in a spray version, too – which is great to use on vertical pieces with lots of grooves.
I used clean cardboard boxes that I found in the dumpster behind my dollar store and a shower curtain liner that I bought inside the dollar store to protect the floor.
I applied the CitraStrip and let it sit overnight. In the morning, the old finish came right off with a plastic spatula and a steel wool pad.
After I removed all the stripper, I went over the table with a rag dampened in Odorless Mineral Spirits. Then went over it again with a damp rag to rinse.
For the table legs: I used DIY chalk paint to paint them white. I used the Calcium Carbonate with Plaster of Paris recipe. You can find more info on how to make and use chalk paint, here: Chalk Paint Recipes and FAQ’s
When the table was dry, I brushed on a coat of the Driftwood Finish.
Note: I did not put a sealer or poly over the stain. I wanted the table to look rough-hewn. If you want to put a sealer over the table it will darken the stain quite a bit. It may not be the look you want. The maker of this stain recommends these two products that will not darken the stain. Safecoat® AcriGlaze Matte by American Formulating and Manufacturing and Bio Shield Wax Finish #39
Update on Sealing the Finish: A reader told me that she used Saman’s Dead Flat Varnish on the table to protect it and it did not darken the color or add shine. You can find it here: Saman Dead Flat Varnish
If you need to seal your piece, you may want to try Rustoleum’s stain in Driftwood. You can read about how I used it in these posts:
How To Make the Driftwood Weathered Wood Finish/Stain:
Pour the contents of one packet into a glass jar with a lid. I wanted a very light stain, so I added 4 cups of water to the powder and mixed it well. (If you want a darker stain, use less water.)
Simply brush the mixture evenly over your surface. Wipe away any excess with a lint free rag.
It dries quickly. Repeat until you have the surface covered.
In this photo, you can see from left to right: bare wood, wet Driftwood Finish, dry Driftwood Finish. As you can see – it adds a grey tone to the wood. It removes the orange tint.
Liming wax (white wax) and greying wax is sold along with the stain. I may wax the table in the future, but for now I am going to leave it just like this. It is not protected and I have to use placemats and coasters to protect the table.
- I did not use poly over the finish. I wanted it to look matte and natural. Poly and most waxes will darken the finish. To protect it you can use two products I mentioned earlier in the post that will not darken it.
- Driftwood Finish has a new product that will seal your new finish and not darken it. It is called Driftwood Final Finish. You can buy it on the DIY Driftwood Finish site.
I used DIY chalk paint and clear wax to paint the underside and legs of the table. I used the Calcium Carbonate Powder recipe to make the chalk paint.
Some Tips When Working with the Driftwood Weathered Wood Finish:
- It will stain your fingers, so wear rubber gloves and protect all surfaces you don’t want to stain.
- Experiment first as the stain will look different on different types and pieces of wood.
- I received 2 packs of stain. I only used one pack and a fraction of the mix for the table. It goes a long way. Cost $12.99 a pack.
- It takes about 24 hours for the color to fully develop, so if you don’t want it too dark – only apply one coat, let dry and then after 24 hours, if you want it darker, apply another coat.
This dining room table was one of my Mom’s favorite pieces of furniture. She enjoyed decorating and I know I got my designing eye from her.
She passed away soon after I started blogging, but I know she would like the table’s new look. I can hear her saying while waving her arms up in the air in excitement…Oooohh!… Ooohhh!… can you do that on something for me. XO
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