Sawdust & Embryos

Shading with Stain on Dining Table {Succulents}

So lately I’ve been keeping my eye out for old tables at yard sales. The only stipulations I have is that they be sturdy, solid wood, and dirt cheap. This 90’s honey oak pedestal table fell into that category at $20 buckeroos.

'Before' shot of the dining table before it got the stained treatment! {Sawdust and Embryos}

First order of business was to strip the top surface. I used the same techniques from my stripping tutorial to completely remove the finish down to the raw wood grain. It’s a messy job, but somebody’s gotta do it!

Stripping a dining table in preparation for the 'Shading with Stain' technique {Sawdust and Embryos}

The beauty about this is that it also removes the tint from the previous stain… so no more golden orangey yuckyness left! My little helpers took turns working the orbital sander to get it nice and smooth.

Prepping table surface for wood stain technique [Sawdust and Embryos}

Now that I have a gorgeous/raw blank slate of a dining table, it’s time to choose a design to stain on! I actually have a folder on my computer of images that I would love to eventually stain onto a piece of furniture or wood wall art. One of the images in that folder is this:

Succulent photography by Ruby and Luna... inspiration for wood stained table {Sawdust and Embryos}

This gorgeous succulent photography is by the talented Ruby and Luna, who generously gave me permission to used this image as the inspiration for this table!

After printing the image onto regular printer paper, I traced the succulents onto a transparency with a Sharpie, and projected it onto the table top with my old-school overhead projector.

Prepping to do our signature 'Shading with Stain' technique on this dining table {Sawdust and Embryos}

Then I simply traced on the succulent design with a pencil.

Trace on design using an overhead projector {Sawdust and Embryos}

Finally it’s time for the fun part! I crave decorative staining the same way I crave no-bake cookies. JUST LOVE IT. Nick set up the Go-Pro camera on a tripod, and I got to work! The brown is RustOleum Dark Walnut, the black and white are gel stains by Unicorn Spit.

The flies were out of control in the garage that day, and were driving me CRAZY! So I did this table in 3 different sittings. Plus I needed to rest my back… I’m not getting any younger! So that should explain the wardrobe changes in the video. Hehe!

We’ve been getting TONS of questions on Facebook and email about selling our tables and shipping domestically. We’re not thrilled about the shipping hassle, but we’ve done lots of research and gotten it all figured out. So this bad boy is going up on Ebay! Click here if you’re interested in purchasing! Note that shipping alone is $600 (yikes, I know). So I won’t feel bad if it doesn’t sell. Shipping a giant table is crazy-talk! If you live in or around Iowa and want to pick it up, there is an option in the listing for ‘Free Local Pick-Up’. Like totally.

If you’d like to click through our other ‘Shading with Stain’ projects, click on each image below to be taken to that post! (these are in no particular order)

Artwork on furniture using wood stain {Sawdust and Embryos} Wood Stain Artwork {Sawdust and Embryos}
Artwork using Wood Stain {Sawdust and Embryos}_thumb Shading with Stain {Gradual Staining Technique by Sawdust and Embryos}_thumb
Dining table with succulents stained on top! {Sawdust and Embryos} End-table-using-Wood-Stained-Artwork-technique-by-Sawdust-and-Embryos_thumb
Shading-with-Stain-Sawdust-and-Embryos1 Artwork-using-wood-stain...-its-easier-than-it-looks-Sawdust-and-Embryos

If you’re interested in learning this technique for yourself, click here for our tutorial for beginners! I walk you through step by step and give lots of tips!

Shading with wood stain technique - by Sawdust & Embryos

I’ve also done a video tutorial. You have to watch through the time-lapse at the beginning to get to the step by step tutorial.

I know it seems like an intimidating technique, but we’ve had DOZENS of readers email us pictures of their own version that was inspired by us… so we KNOW you can do it!


You can always email me with questions too!

And as always, email us pictures of your projects! There’s no better feeling than knowing we inspired someone to try something new!

If you don’t already, feel free to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and subscribe to our blog here so you don’t miss any new posts!

Beth @ Sawdust and Embryos

Upholstered Ottoman (Diamond Tufting}


There’s just something about posting ‘After pics’ in the Part 1 post that takes all the fun out of writing the Part 2 post. I need to quit doing that! You already know how awesome our Leather Tufted Storage Ottoman turned out… and I have a sneaking suspicion that some of you are actually going to build one of these for yourselves… so I must persevere and  knock out this Part 2! *Deep Breaths* Now that we taught you how to make the base, let’s talk about the tufting of that cushy … [Read More...]

DIY Leather Upholstered Storage Ottoman


When you have a smallish living room like ours, every piece of furniture has to serve a function other than just being pretty. Trust me, the monstrosity of an Exersauser (baby entertainment play-thing) isn’t my favorite feature of our main living space right now, but it serves a very important purpose… so it stays. At least for a few more months. Anyway! We’ve been using that hexagon end table (that we made over a few years back with the white and gold swirls) as a coffee table… … [Read More...]

Embroidery Hoop Pendant Lights


Mondayyyyyy! Wait don’t leave! I’m only so chipper because I’ve had many MANY cups of coffee already. Cypress thinks it’s super fun to get a jumpstart on each day by ‘rising’ bright and early (AKA 4:30am… give or take 5 seconds). It’s not a huge deal because Nick and I are early risers anyway, but 4:30 is pushing it, dear friends. But! The good news is that I have a fun new project that I finally finished and photographed. Oh yes that’s right… just because a project is ‘finished’ doesn’t mean … [Read More...]

Once-a-Month Groceries / Meal Planning


I mentioned in passing on our Facebook page that I hadn’t been shopping for 6 weeks. Well the truth is, we were out of town quite a bit this summer (thus not eating as much food at home)... so it was a little misleading. We typically hit the grocery store every 4 weeks or so. But after inquiries from lots of curious readers and friends, I thought I would share some details anyway! When we moved to our farmhouse in the sticks 7 years ago, it was a bit of shock in many ways. I’ve never lived … [Read More...]

Haven Conference Recap 2015

Sawdust & Embryos

A few weeks back, we left the twins in my sister’s capable hands, hopped on an airplane (with Cypress!), and flew to Atlanta to attend our fave blogging conference... Haven! I was more than a little nervous about how Cypress would do on the airplane. There’s something about being confined with limited space, and being in close quarters with dozens of strangers... and not knowing exactly how your baby is going to feel about it all. For 2 hours. There were a few moments where she got … [Read More...]

Strawberry Graham Icebox Cake Recipe

Strawberry Icebox Cake ...super simple recipe! {Sawdust and Embryos}

Hey!! Its Meghan from Cupcakes with Sprinkles! We have spent this summer in Austin, TX for an internship my husband has and it is hot here! So hot! SO I've taken to making more desserts that don't require heating up the oven. This Strawberry Icebox Cake is so simple and tastes delicious. Its sweet, crisp, and creamy. Perfect for hot summer days! Let get our ingredients... We'll start by hulling and slice our strawberries. Then in a large bowl whip the heavy cream until soft … [Read More...]

DIY Playhouse / Swing Set Update {Part 2}


A few weeks ago, we shared the slow but steady... ok fine, JUST SLOW... progress of the playhouse we’re building from scratch for our girls. As usual (at least for us), it’s turned into one of those things that’s taking 3 times as long as we originally planned. How is it August already? It feels like summer’s gone by like a time-lapse. We’ve found time here and there to put a few hours in on this sucker. And by ‘we’ ... I mostly mean Nick since it’s his design/vision. And, somebody has … [Read More...]

DIY Newborn Photography Prop {Moon Prop}

Newborn Photography Moon Prop Tutorial DIY {Sawdust and Embryos}

A few weeks ago, I was talking to Molly (at Molly Long Photography) about photography props and how expensive they could be, and she mentioned that she really wanted a wooden moon with a place to put a newborn. This got my wheels turning, and I saw an opportunity to play with power tools and use up some scrap wood! This is KIND OF a tutorial. But not super thorough... because I’m sure there aren’t a ton of you that have been dying to make a big wooden moon. But maybe it’ll get your … [Read More...]

Annual Fam Camping 2015


First things first? The winner of our RYOBI Jigsaw Giveaway is Korin! Check your email and send us your info Korin!!! And congrats! ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Recently, on our Facebook page, I posted this... Well, I’m here to come clean and admit that I was actually asking for myself. And a ton of you piped in and gave some awesome tips... including BRING LOTS OF WINE. You read my mind. If I was a good blogger, this post would be a comprehensive guide to camping with small … [Read More...]