How to Create a Weathered Wood Gray Finish

What goes together better than white farmhouse tables and weathered wood? Not much! Here’s how to create a weathered wood gray finish to make your white furniture look rustic.

Get more painted nightstand ideas here!

before and after weathered wood gray finish on white end tables

These Broyhill end tables were beat up and heavily scratched when we got our hands on them.

The old finish was just the typical everyday black finish you can find at almost any furniture store now.

But the turned legs caught my attention from the very beginning.

So let’s dive into how to make your white furniture look rustic by creating a weathered wood gray finish on the top.

It’s amazing what some paint can do for a worn out piece of furniture!

 Before- Black End Tables turned Farmhouse White
BEFORE

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Supplies Used:

White Farmhouse End Tables with Weathered Wood Tops

First things first, these end tables were black, and I wanted them white.

So I painted them white before creating the weathered wood gray finish.

If your furniture is already white, you can skip this step.

How to Paint a Wooden Table White

Prepping for Paint

To start out, we took a few minutes to prep it for paint.

To make sure the paint stuck to the end table, I cleaned the dirt, grime, wax and oil off of the dresser with Krud Kutter.

Then I lightly sanded the whole dresser down with 220 grit sandpaper and removed any dust with a vacuum and a tack cloth.

*Update: The best way to paint furniture white is to use a shellac based primer like BIN Shellac Based Primer before painting. I like to use the spray can version for easy application. And then I like to sand it smooth with 220 grit sandpaper before painting over it.

Painting with Homemade Chalk Paint

Then I made some white chalk paint with this homemade chalk paint recipe and some Behr Ultra Pure White (straight from the Home Depot shelf) latex paint in flat.

I sprayed 4-5 coats of white homemade chalk paint on the tables with my beginner friendly paint sprayer.

Distressing

After the paint was dry, I heavily distressed the legs and base of each table with more 220 grit sandpaper.

How to Create a Weathered Wood Gray Finish

Then I worked on the weathered wood gray finish on the tops of the tables.

I layered multiple colors of paint as well as some wood stain and whitewash. Basically different shades of brown, tan, black, grey and white.

Here’s step by step, how to create a weathered wood gray finish.

  1. A coat of English Tea Party
  2. Dry Brush a layer of Sahara Desert, Suede Gray and Black
  3. Stain with Dark Walnut Wood Stain
  4. Apply a Coat of Whitewash
  5. Seal with a Coat of Waterbased Poly
  6. Apply a Coat of Van Dyke Brown Glaze
  7. Seal with 3 Coats of Waterbased Poly

DIY Weathered Wood Gray Finish

Step 1: Brush on a Coat of English Tea Party

I started with a base coat of English Tea Party from Valspar.

I brushed it on, leaving some white streaks showing through, and then I let it dry.

First coat for the weathered wood paint technique
First coat for the weathered wood paint technique

Step 2: Dry Brush on a Layer of Sahara Desert, Suuede Gray andn Black

Once that thin base coat was dry, I layered Sahara Desert, Suede Gray and Black (all from Home Depot) using a dry brush technique.

How to Dry Brush Chalk Paint

Dry brush painting furniture is when you get a little bit of paint on the tip of your paint brush, and then wipe the paint brush against a paper towel. Your paint brush should have the smallest amount of paint on it.

Then brush it on in light long strokes, all going the same direction.

I overlapped a lot and kept layering the three colors until I liked the “wood grain” the dry brushing created.

how to create weathered wood paint effect
Dry Brush painting weathered wood table top
Dry Brushing

Step 3: Stain with Dark Walnut Wood Stain

I let the paint dry completely (48 hours between water based and oil based products) and then stained the tops with Minwax’s Dark Walnut Wood Stain

(Be careful to not get any stain on the white bottoms!)

I used a couple of lint free cloths to wipe it on and then wipe it off any excess stain.

A little bit of stain really goes a long way because it doesn’t have much to soak into.

Once again, I let the stain dry completely (at least 48 hours because the next product is water-based.)

Wood Stain over Dry Brushed faux weathered wood
Before and after stained weathered wood top
Stained weathered wood end table

At this point, you could seal the paint and be done. But they were a little bit too dark for me.

Step 4: Apply a Coat of Whitewash

So I white washed the tops with a very watered down mixture of the white paint I used on the base of the tables.

I brushed on the watered down paint, and then wiped it off with a lint free cloth.

How to Make Whitewash

I mix waterbased white (or cream colored) paint with water to make whitewash.

I don’t really measure exact ratios.

But I personally like to mix the paint and water to the point that the paint looks like water that it tinted white.

Probably around 1 part paint to 2 parts water. But it will depend on the paint you use.

Step 5: Seal with a Coat of Waterbased Poly

When the white wash was dry I gave each table top a few good coats of my favorite topcoat for paint, Varathane Polyurethane.

Not only does the water-based polyurethane protect the paint, but it made it easier to work with the glaze in the next step.

Step 6: Apply a Coat of Van Dyke Brown Glaze

I wanted the tops to be just a bit more brown than they were at this point, so I finished the weathered wood table tops off with a coat of General Finishes Van Dyke Brown Glaze Effects.

The brown glaze was the perfect product to finish off the layered weathered wood effect!

Step 7: Seal with 3 Coats of Waterbased Poly

To give the weathered wood gray finish extra durability and make it easier to wipe down, I sprayed on 3 coats of my favorite top coat.

The difference with the extra layers of white wash and brown glaze really make a difference in the weathered wood paint effect!

There is so much more dimension now!

Gray and white farmhouse table
weathered wood end table

I know I just mentioned a lot of different products and brands. It honestly sounds harder than it really was.

I used what I had on hand, and you can too! If you’re anything like me (with a lot of extra paint lying around) this is a great way to use up all of that extra paint!

But the more layering you can do, the better in this case!

See how this same method looks with some different products, and on a different table, with The Shiplap Coffee Table with a Painted Weathered Wood Top

I wrote about a similar faux weathered wood gray finish on our kitchen chairs a few posts back too.

gray and white farmhouse table
Grey and white farmhouse table

Happy Painting friends!

weathered wood paint technique before and after

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4 Comments

  1. Hi Natalie.
    Are the three paints you used in this tutorial from Home Depot chalk paint? If not did you make them into chalk paint? Thanks!

    1. Hey! They were just regular latex paint. I didn’t make them into chalk paint or anything.

  2. I know this is an older post but hopefully you’ll see my comment. Attempting this next weekend, and have all the white layers done, so just need to do the weathered top and then seal with the top coat. My question is, do you do the 3 layers of top coat on the whole piece or just the top?

    1. Hey Kayla! I’m so excited for your project! I put the 3 coats of topcoat on the whole thing. Best of luck!

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