Reclaimed Wood Patchwork Multi Color

Submitted by Ana White on Sat, 08/06/2011 - 19:18

Yes, I did.

I took a perfectly good Farmhouse Bedside Table, snatched it right from our bedroom, and gave it what the Ram called the "Most hideous paint job I've ever seen."
But this is not a tale of defeat.
No.  This is a tale of great courage, unending determination. 
And despite great temptation just to paint it all white
This story has a happy ending full of color.
So that's where the orange crayon is.
I've been loving the look of furniture made from different colors of painted reclaimed wood.  Out three barns in separate, complimentary paint colors to tear down and reclaim the wood, I thought I would try my hand at "faking" it.
What do you think?
Shopping List

1 - Wood Project
3-5 Different Paint Colors
Paint Brush
Clear Top Coat
120 Grit Sandpaper

Step 1 Diagram
Step 1

Choosing a Project to Paint

Choose a piece of furniture with lots of different boards and planking. Notice how this piece is a planked top. The more different boards you have, the more opportunities you have to paint different colors and finishes. You can build my Farmhouse Bedside Table with these step by step plans.

If you are working with raw wood, you can prime or use paint with primer in it.  My piece is stained, so I took a minute to lightly sand and remove any residue to enable my paints to stick.  I like to use the paint with primer paints.
Step 2 Diagram
Step 2 Instructions

Finding the Right Paint Colors and Types

If I had to do this finish again, I'd pull colors from the room, for example, this quilt, and use those colors for the finish.  

Notice also with this quilt the white borders and sashing . . . One could do the frame boards in white, and then door faces, aprons and top in multicolors.  Think of it like a quilt  :)
But what I did (my mistakes will save you some time) is just gather whatever leftover paints I had on hand and go for it.  Choose complimentary colors, and choose a base color, in my finish, it's white.
One other note on paints, I used gloss paints because it creates a seal, and then when you apply the glaze, it won't discolor the paint.  But you can also apply a clear coat for flat paint.
Step 3 Diagram
Step 3 Instructions

Painting Board by Board

Then just start painting, painting the entire board as if you reclaimed each board individually. You can either make a plan and stick with it, or just paint random boards.

I thought of painting board types each color, for example, all the 2x2s would be white, the 1x6s would be blue, the 1x12 green and so on. But really, it's up to you and what you want.

Step 4 Diagram
Step 4 Instructions

Perfectionist Need Not Apply . . . Paint that Is 

I just kept painting different colors. You do not need to be perfect or even put an even coat on, but try and keep the separate colors on the separate boards.
Step 5 Diagram
Step 5 Instructions

It's Okay to Make Mistakes

And here's where I thought bright green would work . . . but again, my mistakes are going to save you time.

Step 6 Diagram
Step 6 Instructions

The Hardest Step . . . Waiting for Paint to Dry 

And then I set it all out to dry in the wind. The dark green paint is actually acrylic paint, and it worked great! If you want a specialized color, but only a tiny bit, this could be a great money saving alternative to mixing a whole can of paint.

This step was truly the hardest step. And one of the most important. You have to wait the full 24 hours (as directed on the paint cans) for the paint to fully dry.

If you are not using gloss paints (semi gloss or high gloss or anything that is non porous when dry) you will want to apply a clear top coat to protect your paint from picking up the glaze.

Step 7 Diagram
Step 7 Instructions


When you are sure the entire project is dry, begin distressing the finish. Make sure the paint comes off even, like the finish is time worn. If your paint is not dry, it will come off in clumps, not resembling natural wear.

Distress to the point that you like, avoid over distressing. Concentrate on spots that would be more susceptible to natural wear, most likely edges.

Notice that despite my bedside table being a walnut stain, the sander takes the wood down to the natural wood. We are going to need a glaze to stain the wood.

Step 8 Diagram
Step 8 Instructions

Easy Glazing

Once you are happy with the distressing, apply a glaze (you can either use the specialty stuff or I've used Minwax Express Colors with success to save money) to the exposed wood. The glaze will stain the wood and deposit itself into wood joints, creating the ever so coveted "hand glazed finish." 

 You then wipe off excess glaze with a damp cloth.

This process is very easy and quick - don't be intimidated.

Step 9 Diagram
Step 9 Instructions

What Happens if You Hate It?

But after all that work . . . I just did not like the results of my hard labor. No worries though, the beauty of this finish is in layers of color, so I just picked out what I did not like (the green and bright green) and replaced it with what I did like (the blue and white), followed with distressing and glazing.

Step 10 Diagram
Step 10 Instructions

More Layers = More Character

You can see the green showing through in the left door face where I added a coat of turquoise. This was of course followed by distressing and glazing.

Step 11 Diagram
Step 11

High Wear Areas

I applied extra distressing around high wear areas.
Step 12 Diagram
Step 12

Protecting Your Finish

And then at the end, I applied a clear coat of poly to protect my hard work.
Step 13 Diagram
Step 13

Before and After

Here they are side by side, the exact same Farmhouse Bedside Table, the original with a simple stain, and how it looks today with layers of leftover paint and distressing.
What's your vote?



Fri, 09/19/2014 - 16:09

I am using this technique for a picture frame. I used white paint, sanded, and then used stain rather than glaze. I have found that the stain has stained the paint as well and it is very, very dingy. I noticed that your colors have largely remained intact. Any insight as to why? Is glaze less "adherent" to paint that stain? Is it the white paint that is the issue? Is it the type of paint? I used Behr paint from Home Depot.

Thanks for any help! Looking much forward to your response.




In reply to by elkeheather

Stephen Peters

Sat, 09/20/2014 - 12:06

Hi Elke,

I found the answer to your question:

Ana says "One other note on paints, I used gloss paints because it creates a seal, and then when you apply the glaze, it won't discolor the paint.  But you can also apply a clear coat for flat paint."

One other note on "stain" and "glaze".......... Stain is meant for bare wood to soak into............. Glaze meant to go over a finish and adhere to it. -Hope that helps with your project.