How to make a rainbow tye-die double layer cake {Sawdust and Embryos}
Extend cabinets up to the ceiling and paint a fun color! {Sawdust and Embryos}

Dahlia Stained Artwork on Dining Table

Doing wood stain art is soooo addicting for me. I wouldn’t call it ‘instant’ gratification, but the transformation happens over the course of a couple hours… and it’s so fun to watch it unfold! If you missed my last Stained Art Table time-lapse video, click here!

Stained Rose Artwork on Clawfoot Table {Sawdust and Embryos}

Shortly after posting that video, I was already having the itch to stain again, and Nick and I fell upon this dining table at a yard sale for $10 buckaroos!

Before shot of dining table {Sawdust and Embryos}

I know it appears to be raw wood, but it’s actually a pale yellow LEAD BASE nastiness. But based on some chipping paint on the edge, we could tell it was solid wood. And now that I’m a stripping pro (LOL!), I wasn’t too intimidated by this mess. (stripping tutorial here)

Stripping lead based paint off a table in preparation for the stained art techniqie {Sawdust and Embryos}

I actually stripped it the same day we bought it because I’m paranoid about things like lead-based paint and small children (of which I have 3).

After stripping and sanding the bleep out of it, I started looking for a design to stain onto the top surface. I don’t have an affinity for flowers or anything, but they work so well for this technique because of the soft curves, shadowing, and contrast. I found this dahlia image that I loved for my inspiration (but couldn’t find the original source, so please let me know if you know!)

Dahlia {Sawdust and Embryos}

If you’re new here, I’ll go over my whole process again… I start by printing my image on regular paper, and then laying a transparency over it and tracing with a sharpie. I’ve tried printing the image directly onto the transparency, but I’ve found that it can be harder to see when projecting.

Trace an image onto a transparency, and project onto furniture! {Sawdust and Embryos}

Then, using  my overhead projector (you can often borrow these from your local library), I projected the image onto my table top and traced the lines with a pencil.

Use an overhead projector to transfer an image perfectly onto furniture {Sawdust and Embryos}

A company called Unicorn Spit sent me some of their vibrantly colored water-based stains. I loved the idea of accenting a bit with a bright color, but I also wanted the bulk of the artwork to still look like rich wood. So I decided to try using RustOleum’s gel stain which is water-based… and IT SUCKED. Do not use gel stain for this technique! Ever! EVER!!!!

Stained design FAILURE {Sawdust and Embryos}

I was pretty distraught about how it was turning out, so I stopped and stripped before it got any worse. I wasn’t sure about stripping stain out of the wood grain, but it worked swimmingly and I was able to start over.

This time I went with my tried and true oil based Varethane in Dark Walnut. I wasn’t sure that I could stain with a combo of oil and water based stains, but I decided I would rather leave out the bright colors than have to use ONLY bright colors. And now that I knew stripping stain is doable, there wasn’t any risk.

You’ll have to watch the video to see how it went, but I’ll just give you a little spoiler… IF YOU LET THE OIL BASED STAIN DRY COMPLETELY, YOU CAN TOTALLY STAIN WITH WATER BASED TO SHADE AND ACCENT. (yes I was yelling that. From the rooftops. Because it turned out so awesome)

In the video, the brown stain is Varethane Dark Walnut, the black, white, and aqua are Unicorn Spit. I have to admit I was a little skeptical about these bright stains with them being water-based and all. But they are awesome. The colors are so rich, and you can make them as bright or as muted as you want with my shading technique. It’s called a gel stain, but it’s very watery and easy to spread and shade with, so I’m not sure why they call it a gel stain… but I don’t care either! Can’t wait to play with these colors some more!

Be sure to check out my other stained projects by clicking on each image below. And Click here for a simplified tutorial of a more basic flower image that anyone can do!

Shading with Stain {Gradual Staining Technique by Sawdust and Embryos}_thumb End-table-using-Wood-Stained-Artwork-technique-by-Sawdust-and-Embryos_thumb
Artwork on furniture using wood stain {Sawdust and Embryos} Artwork-using-wood-stain...-its-easier-than-it-looks-Sawdust-and-Embryos
Artwork using Wood Stain {Sawdust and Embryos}_thumb Using-raspberry-juice-to-stain-wood-and-make-awesome-artwork-Sawdust-and-Embryos_thumb

I know some of these more intricate designs look very difficult, but it’s definitely something you get better at the more you do. I know that others can do this too, because dozens of people have sent me pics of their work after being inspired by my idea.

AWESOME stained artwork from our readers! {Sawdust and Embryos}

Amazing right? You should soooo give it a try. There’s nothing to lose if you just grab a scrap piece of wood, a can of stain, and a cotton cloth (or cut up t-shirt!). And if you DO, you know the drill… SEND ME PICS! I can’t wait to see your version!


Thanks for pinning!

Use WOOD STAIN to create artwork on furniture! Tutorial and time-lapse video! {Sawdust and Embryos}

Husbands and Hobbies


Top of the mornin’! How was your weekend?! The girls and I had so much fun making Nick feel special and loved this Father’s Day weekend. He loves that the girls share an interest in his model airplane hobby, and took ALL 3 GIRLS to the local air field. When I was a kid, they made bouncy seats for babies that had little canopies for shade... but I can’t find them anywhere these days! I always bring an umbrella outside with me to keep the sun off Cypress... and then I found this … [Read More...]

Rainbow Tie-Dye Layer Cake

How to make a rainbow tye-die double layer cake {Sawdust and Embryos}

A few weeks ago, I posted a picture of Nick’s Birthday cake to Instagram. The girls are old enough to want to get involved in things like birthdays, so when they proclaimed that they wanted to make their daddy a rainbow cake, I was happy to oblige. And he was just grateful to have cake. Since posting that pic, several of you have begged me to post a tutorial. And since I don’t think to photograph every little thing ‘just in case’, I begrudgingly HAD to make another rainbow cake to document … [Read More...]

Being Present in my own Life


People are always telling me they can’t believe how productive I am, and all that I get done with 3 kids (3 and under). Well I could write a whole post about not watching TV, and enjoying my projects, etc. Blah blah blah...But the truth is, I find myself looking at my phone A LOT. I’ve been feeling really convicted about this lately... especially when my girls are around wishing I was paying attention to THEM instead of whatever I’m looking at on Facebook or Pinterest. For the most part, … [Read More...]

How to Stencil your Backsplash


Well it’s been a week, and I STILL LOVE my chartreuse kitchen cabinets! It was fun to watch the wide array of comments flow in. I think it’s fair to say... you either loved it or ya hated it. And that’s ok! A lot of my design choices are off the wall... it’s just my style. And you still read my blog, sooooo... I love to mix different design genre’s to create my own personal style. If having white walls, white cabinets, and white counters are what it takes to have a magazine-worthy … [Read More...]

Extending Kitchen Cabinets up to the Ceiling

Extend cabinets up to the ceiling and paint a fun color! {Sawdust and Embryos}

Oh man... I’m SO excited to write this post right now! Let’s talk about my kitchen! Recall for a moment what our kitchen looked like just a couple weeks ago. We loved that dark teal with the glossy swirls for a handful of years, but it was just time for a change. I laid out some more details about why we painted the walls white in this post, and it really brightened up the room sooooo much. To be honest, when I painted the walls white, I wasn’t sure what the *#^& I was … [Read More...]

Cutout Silhouette Plaques out of Wood!


If you’ve been around our little blog for a few moons, you might remember that we made wall plaques with the girls’ silhouettes when they were babes. We used slabs of oak and vinyl as a stencil to paint over. (Full Tutorial HERE) I’m in the middle of making one for Cypress, and let’s just say her profile looks a LOT different with all that hair. How did we have bald babies (for the first two years of their life) and then have a little sis pop out with this mop of … [Read More...]

Cinnamon Roll Bread


Hi! Its Meghan from Cupcakes with Sprinkles and I have a really great cinnamon bread recipe for you. Sometimes I feel like I need a cinnamon rolls but they take sooo long to make. When I came across this recipe I had to try it. It was so easy. No yeast, so takes no time to make. It’s soft, sweet, and very cinnamony. Let’s get the things we need and make us some bread! In a large bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, salt, sugar... In a smaller bowl mix together the egg, milk, … [Read More...]

Woodshop Organization Spray Paint Rack


When we bought this house, we mutually agreed that the garage was Nick’s domain, and the house was mine... at least with regards to what goes where. But as the years have passed, we’ve both infiltrated each other’s domain. To Nick’s surprise, he found that he actually did have an opinion about design elements in our home. And to MY surprise, I found that I can build shit. Like with my own two hands. And the garage is my happy place. It’s been fun, actually, watching the dynamic of our … [Read More...]

A Tour of our Homestead!


Holy cow you guys! I’m just now coming down off the high of having a video go viral. Sooooo CRAZY! Thanks to everyone that shared it! Today’s post is a little different than my typical... I don’t normally do the ‘Home Tour’ posts, but my HOME tab above needs updating anyway, so why not share it in a post too?! If you’re stopping over from Charles and Hudson... welcome to Sawdust and Embryos! If our blog title confuses you, feel free to click our About tab for the full story. We’re … [Read More...]