franklin co weekend

Using Stain to Make Artwork! {Burn pile Buffet Part 2}

If you missed Part 1 of our Buffet Transformation, click here to read about how we rescued this buffet from a burn pile… stripped, sanded, repaired, primed, and painted!

Before image of the Burnpile Buffet {Gradual Staining Technique by Sawdust and Embryos}
Next is the fun part. You may not know this about me, but I love to draw with charcoal. I love the shading, and the instant gratification of seeing a masterpiece unfold before your eyes. I can’t draw a person to save my life… but I can shade, yo!

I get an inordinate amount of joy from coming up with new ways to make furniture (or a room) unique and beautiful. And I started thinking about how, in theory, you should be able to get the same charcoal shading effect using STAIN on wood. I was realllllllly excited to give this a try! Using this as inspiration for a flower design, I drew out some flower petals lightly with a pencil on the top surface of the buffet. Can you see it?

Using Stain to make ARTWORK

If you’ve ever stained something before, you know that the longer you leave stain on the wood, the darker the finish will be when you wipe it off. We used the darkest POSSIBLE stain we could find so we would have the most contrast.

With that in mind, I started with the center petals and stained each petal, starting at the center and working my way out toward the tip of the petal.

Gradual Staining Technique by Sawdust and Embryos

As you can see I didn’t stain all the way out to the edge of the petals, because I wanted that to be the lightest portion of my ‘shading’. Using a dry cloth and my finger, I wiped away from the stain to allow a smooth transition from the stained portion to the outer unstained portion of my petal. Rubbing it to create that shaded look.

Gradual Staining Technique by Sawdust & Embryos}

Leaving the majority of the stain on the petal to ‘soak’ for awhile, I moved on to my next petal and repeated!

Shading with Stain TUTORIAL {by Sawdust and Embryos}

By the time I got all the way around the center petals (about 5 minutes), I figured it was time I could go back around and wipe off a little more stain on each petal, allowing the stain to gradually get darker toward the center.

Shading with Stain TUTORIAL {by Sawdust and Embryos}

I continued to repeat this process on each petal as I worked my way away from the center of the flower.

Gradual Shading with Stain TUTORIAL {by Sawdust and Embryos}

This next photo is for those of you that think my house is always clean, and that I’m always dressed in something cute.

Gradual Staining Technique {Sawdust & Embryos}

Every 5 minutes or so, I would go back to wipe off a little more from the previous petals.

Gradual Staining Technique {Sawdust and Embryos}

Once I had worked my way all the way out to the edges, staining every petal using my graduated tinting technique, I finally wiped off the remaining darkest stain on the inner part of each petal.

Shading with Stain {Sawdust and Embryos}

Then, the whole piece got a thick glossy coat of poly.

Shading with Stain {Gradual Staining Technique by Sawdust and Embryos}

It’s like a legit piece of artwork. I’m in total shock that this technique has never been done before… because it’s SO easy, and has such a dramatically beautiful effect. I’m pretty stinkin’ proud of myself for coming up with this one!
Shading with Stain (Sawdust and Embryos)

And I love the creamy green color of the body too! And the way the stained flower petals wrap around the edges of the top surface.

Shading with Stain (Sawdust & Embryos)

Are you so inspired? I hope so! You should absolutely try this technique! And send us pictures when you’re done!

Shading with Stain {Sawdust & Embryos}

I’d say this is a pretty epic story of ‘Rags to Riches’, when it comes to this buffet that was tossed into a burn pile. I’m so glad we rescued it and gave it new life! You can just barely tell where the burning had taken place on that corner. But you wouldn’t notice it unless we pointed it out!

Before and After Burnpile Buffet! Gradual Shading with Stain Technique {Sawdust and Embryos}

We hope you’ll have the confidence to give this a try yourself! The following is a video tutorial with even more step-by-step instruction!

For simple instructions on stripping a surface down to the raw wood (in preparation for this staining technique!)… click here!

Bethany {Sawdust and Embryos}



UPDATE! Since writing this post, we’ve done this technique many more times and have some beautiful artwork to show for it! It truly is easier than it looks! Click each pic below to be directed to that post. We also have a video tutorial coming soon, so be sure to subscribe to our blog so you get updates! And feel free to ask questions in the comment section. I’m usually pretty good at responding quickly! BE INSPIRED!

End table using 'Wood-Stained Artwork' technique by Sawdust and Embryos} Gradient Stain Technique {by Sawdust and Embryos}
P4092249 Shading with Stain {Sawdust and Embryos}

 Learn how to make beautiful artwork on your furniture using wood stain... IT'S EASIER THAN IT LOOKS! {Sawdust and Embryos}


  1. Wow that looks great! I only wish I could have artistic talent like that :)

  2. wow, that is awesome!! If i needed that peice I would be all over it!!

  3. That is so gorgeous!! Think you could do a piece with that on the front a la the girls’ changing table? That would be so cool! Because my only qualm would be that “stuff” would go on top and the best part of the buffet would be hidden!

  4. This buffet is gorgeous! If I had room for it and it matched the colors in my house I would buy it. I’m pinning it.

  5. Great idea. It looks lovely.

  6. AWESOME…this is so neat. I’m in love with the green too.

  7. Absolutely gorgeous! What a cool idea!

  8. Oh my gosh – that was soooo worth the wait! It is beautiful! I love the idea of using the wood itself for the art! You make it sound so easy but I know better than that! An absolutely gorgeous piece. You should be very, very proud of yourself!

  9. Anonymous says:

    Please tell me you are going to send the after pics to the original owner. She may want it back!


  10. You are so awesome! I love this!

  11. Wow, you just blew me away! That is sooo Coool… How are you going to top that? Can’t wait to see what you come up with next. Dee from My Painted Stuff

  12. awesome.

  13. Elizabeth says:

    OH. WOWZA. That is beeee-uuutiful. I know thogh I would never have the patience to do that.

  14. best i’ve seen yet! well done!

  15. I. MUST. DO. THIS.
    It came out absolutely GORGEOUS!!

    Not to be too nosy…but how much are you asking for it?

  16. OH MY GOODNESS! That is beautiful!!! You did such an amazing job!

  17. This is truly fantastic. And I am SO inspired. I’m definitely going to try it, maybe even this week! Coolest piece of furniture ever.

  18. SO awesome and I LOVE the front, the handles with the teal just perfect.

  19. Meagan Dobbs says:

    Think you could help me do that to the top of that desk I bought with the cool drawers? I’d do free babysitting or something if you’d just help me get started! I really don’t think I could even draw a flower that looked that good. :)

  20. another genius and incredibly beautiful piece! bravo!

  21. Looks like a piece of art, beautiful!!

  22. I was wondering too, how much are you asking for this beautiful dresser?

  23. Briliant! Absolutely brilliant! I love it!

  24. This is LITERALLY amazing. You are my furniture-transforming HERO. Hats off to you!

  25. Completely mind blowing..

  26. Wow, that looks great. Everytime I read your blog I am more and more inspired. Thank you!.

  27. AMAZING!!

  28. I have NEVER seen such a beautiful piece of furniture! And I agree; you need to email a picture of the finished project to the seller.

  29. Anonymous says:

    This is beyond beautiful…Wow.
    Well Done!

  30. Just wanted to say that I am SUPER excited to see this post! I’ve been looking for ways to extend artistic talent to furniture and this is PERFECT. I cannot wait to put this touch on a piece, I’ll be sure to post back!

  31. WOW! Turned out amazing. Great idea using the stain to create the artwork. I’ll have to try that on a piece one day.

  32. Wow that is gorgeous!

  33. Echoing everyone else, WOW! That is absolutely beautiful. What a great way to hide a flaw so you would never know it was there.

  34. Holy Cow! You did a GREAT job!. I wish I lived closer so I could buy it.

  35. What a unique and beautiful piece! Your blog is officially the first blog that I have joined because I want to continue to follow you and see what your talent brings next!!

  36. YOU are a FRIGGIN GENIUS! Just sayin…

  37. Anonymous says:

    Beautiful and just the inspiration I needed! I have an old oak library table in my basement. I’ve been putting off finishing it because my plans seemed too mediocre. Now I know what I’m going to do and can’t wait to get started!

  38. This is absolutely gorgeous! I am usually a lurker and not a commenter, but time after time with your amazing artistic pieces you blow me a way. Would you consider doing a post for how you sell the pieces on craigslist? I am out in PA and am so inspired by this piece that we just picked up a free bureau off of CL…but am not at all sure how to get it sold (or price it) after we fix it up. Again, AMAZING! Thank you for being such a source of creative inspiration!

  39. AllieD… thanks for commenting! :) We’re so glad you’re inspired! AND… it’s your lucky day! A few months back, we did a post on how to most effectively sell pieces on craigslist! here’s the link:


    We’re don’t really have any advice on how to price things. We’re pretty unsure of that ourselves. But being avid craigslisters ourselves, we kinda have an understanding of the market for furniture in our area… but I’m sure it varies all over the country. I would encourage you to start frequenting the craigslist in your area and learning how others price their items. Good luck with your bureau! Send us pics when you’re done!!

  40. That is ABSOLUTELY GORGEOUS!!! My husband is begging me to try something like this. Thanks for the great inspiration!

  41. THAT is freaking awesome. I can’t wait to try that out myself!

  42. This whole piece turned out to be a beautiful work of art! with a really cute story to go with it! I hope you will send a picture of this to the lady, and especially the man that thew in on the burn pile! Ha!

  43. I just wanted to let you know that you have inspired me to try this out myself only I have done it on a much small scale and did a round side table that I bought off our local Facebook for sale site. It was a learning experience and I am definitley going to be doing this again! Your tutorial was awesome and I have to admit I am very happy with how mine turned out since the extent of my drawing capabilities are stick people! I LOVE your blog and your ideas! By the way we live in neighboring towns!

  44. Robin! If we live in neighboring towns, I want to SEE your creation!

  45. Omg!! Love!!

  46. Angelafshaw says:

    You are a flipping’ genious!!! Wow…love this beautiful technique! Thanks for sharing!

  47. Bethany, I will take a picture and send you a picture of it. I am so proud of myself and now I’m looking for the next piece to do this on. I enjoyed doing it soooo much!! Thanks for the inspiration and your AWESOME tutorial!!

  48. Bethany, that is amazing! You are truly an artist. So gorgeous!

  49. I’m sure since a bazillion people comment on your blog, you will probably never see this lowly comment, but if you do, I think a chevron pattern in this technique would be pretty awesome.

  50. Absolutely incredible! I’m very inspired, and I can’t wait to find something to try this on!

  51. I loved this so much, I tried to do it myself :) However, I did not use the conditioner beforehand and my stain dried way too fast :( Does the conditioner make the stain stay wet longer? I am also using a waterbased stain…is that the problem..or maybe the fact that I did it outside and it was windy and 85 degrees…I have no clue..lol…could you tell me what I did wrong? Thank you and BTW…your work is GORGEOUS!! You are truly an inspiration!!! Mary

  52. It’s hard to know what you did wrong… I’ve only used this technique just this once, so I’m no expert… yet! I’m not sure what you’re talking about with the ‘conditioner’. It could just be a difference in wood. Perhaps the grain was more open and soaked up the stain much faster? Being outside with a breeze can definitely make stain dry faster. I’m really sorry it didn’t work for you! Maybe practice on some scraps of wood?

  53. I saw this on Pintrest, it is absolutly STUNNING! I would buy this in a heartbeat.

  54. What an amazing job you did! Really original and really well done! Love it!

  55. WOW, gorgeous. Seriously speechless, you are so talented!

  56. That is some talented work right there!! Wow! My first time visiting your blog! I am impressed. This is really beautiful and I love how you chose a vibrant turquoise to balance off the dark stains.

  57. Bethany,

    Brilliant idea and excellent execution. You’ve changed my opinion of using stain on woodwork!


  58. Super cool. You’ve just sparked some inspiration in me – thanks!

  59. Anonymous says:

    Way cool..Love your work.. Keep up the great work!!!!!

  60. Anonymous says:

    Did you use the gel stain?

  61. Hi! I love this beautiful piece! you are so creative!!! so i have a couple of question to ask and im BEGGING you to answer me. please! so here is my questions 1. what kind of paint did you use to paint the green part, like is it spray paint, wall paint, etc. 2. what kind of brush did you use (if it wasn’t spray paint) like was it a normal brush or was it a sponge roll brush. please answer me, I’m begging you, ill send you the pictures when i do it. thank you. again, this is gorgeous and your super creative.

  62. Aside from seeing people’s blogs on pinterest when I see something I like, I am not really into the whole blog-o-sphere thing and I’ve never left a comment on someone’s either….


    this buffet you created is one of the most beautiful and creative pieces of art I have ever seen and I just had to tell you. It caught my eye immediately and I just knew I had to try it…your work is beautiful and if I ever get around to finding the right piece of furniture I will show you how your art inspired me.

  63. PS. I stumbled across one of your tables on pinterest and didnt realize it belonged to you until I saw it in the Furniture section! You really are so talented. I hope one day I can have the space to redo furniture like you and make these pieces. Is this your business? Where can I send you a picture of my coffee table that you inspired? It really is a pretty obvious copy though…I hope its flattering rather than rude lol

  64. Shannon, you are so sweet! Thank you for all the complements! We do furniture on the side together as a fun little hobby… and while we make a little side-cash, it’s definitely not a source on income for us. But we have fun, and that’s all that matters! We’d LOVE to see your project! You can email us a sawdustandembryos@gmail.com

  65. Love it! I’m totally going to do this, but with a dresser instead of a buffet…Did you sand the whole thing first? Obviously the top, but the body too or just use primer

  66. On the areas that we paint, we do sand some… just to rough it up. Especially if the surface is glossy-ish. We find that it accepts the primer better and provides longer-term durability. You could also use a deglosser.

  67. Wow! That is some amazing work. I would never want to put anything on top of that dresser so I could show it off.

  68. wow this is absolutely amazing! what an inspiring job.

  69. That looks amazing! How creative and what a gorgeous piece

  70. This idea is breathtaking! I love it. I’ve been starring at a dresser I rescued, waiting to be hit with inspiration. You gave it to me! Thank you!

  71. OMG – that is beautiful!
    Looks like you found something you could really make some money doing. I know I’d pay for that piece of furniture!

  72. Beautiful! I can’t believe you are featured on YHL! I love them (as in, “I read their blog religiously”) and I’m friends with Nicole G. and she always shares your posts on FB. I love cool connections like that :)

  73. Came over from YHL. This is simply fabulous!!!! Awesome job!

  74. This is so amazing! Way to go!

  75. That buffet is lovely. I just saw it on YHL and it thrilled me when I saw it! You did a wonderful job on that flower pattern. I must say, though, you are not the first to come up with that technique. Furniture makers have been painting with stain for 100’s of years, if not more. ha!

  76. I LOVE this!! Wow so creative and turned out just beautifully. Love doesn’t even describe it. :)

  77. Here from YHL……that is absolutely beautiful.

  78. Stopping in from YHL, and holy cow. What a great technique! Way to be inventive! Look great!

  79. This looks great! I also like your painted backsplashes. I’m gonna have to remember that for ours.

  80. That is gorgeous!

  81. This is amazing – you are so talented! (p.s. I am a fellow twin mama)

  82. That is beautiful…and truly unique! Can’t wait to try it next time I refinish some furniture!

  83. Saw this over at Young House Love! It is beautiful!! Such talent!

  84. Anonymous says:

    Linked over from YHL–this is so neat! kudos!

  85. Anonymous says:

    Love it!!!

  86. Anonymous says:

    Wow! You really are an artist. How cool to have your totally personal artwork be a functional piece of furniture. Kudos!

  87. This is absolutely stunning. So much home-improvement DIY stuff can be a little clunky-looking, but this is a true piece of art. Congratulations on something so gorgeous!

  88. I just saw your feature on YHL and amazed at your artwork. This is absolutely beautiful! I know you say that it’s not that hard, but it sure does look hard. Maybe I’ll try a smaller version on end table and see how it goes? Thanks for sharing your beautiful work!

  89. That is the most amazing thing I’ve seen in a while! If you don’t already have a side business selling these, you should TOTALLY start one!

  90. I, too, saw this over at YHL, and I have to say…holy hell that is a wonderful idea and perfect execution! I will definitely have to try this sometime.

  91. here from YHL…that is so PIMP…and I hate that word (for obvious reasons), but it came to mind when I saw this, it’s superb yo! I’m a self-proclaimed artist and I can’t wait to find something to try this on, would you say it was terribly difficult or time consuming?

  92. You’ve done an awesome job! I love the stained petals and the paint job and how it all ties together!

  93. I saw this on YHL and I am so impressed!!! I am really really excited to try this on something!! Pretty Genius!!!

  94. AMAZING!!

  95. WOW!! That’s AMAZING! You are truly talented and you’re work outfit was pretty cool!

  96. I absolutely love this! You’ve got my wheels turning. I’m thinking I’m dining room needs an art piece like this. Thanks for sharing!

  97. Christina @ Floridays Mom says:

    Had to stop over, saw your post on YHL… one of the best things I’ve seen in a long time. Kudos!!!!!

  98. Amazing! You are so talented. I may give this a try.

  99. Linking from YHLa. This piece is stunning! You are very talented. Gotta run and read the rest of your blog!

  100. I so overly inspired right now!!! I just need to find something I can do that to!!

  101. Wow, this is stunning! You are incredibly talented no matter how easy you say it was to do.

  102. Wow, just wow….I love people that think outside of the box. I found your blog today after visiting YHL and I can’t tell you how excited I am to find a new blog to read that I can TOTALLY relate to. I’m a designer, and fellow crafter/diy girl, and my husband and I are also struggling with infertility….I hope our journey turns out as successful as yours!

  103. Anonymous says:

    that is so amazing

  104. SO jealous I didn’t think of this first. I don’t have patience for anything except my weird builds/crafts so I can imagine how long this must have taken!

    I like that it is so reminescent of this rug from Pier 1 though- would be an interesting piece to add in your home as omage to your new amazing piece!


  105. Anonymous says:

    Popping over from YHL – this is amazing, such a great idea and you pulled it off wonderfully!
    Christina P (NS)

  106. Not sure I can say anything that hasn’t been said already, but I got here from YHL and that IS so inspiring! I pinned it. It will probably be another thing I pin and don’t do, but this is really lovely, you *should* be very proud of how it turned out. :) Thanks for the inspiration!

  107. I came here from YHL AND THIS POST IS SO AWESOME!!!! I recently purchased two end tables and i want to do this staining project!!!!! OMGoodness I’m so excited and nervous but
    i promise to send you pics :)

  108. This is gorgeous! You are really talented! I’m visiting from YHL & I’m your newest follower :) Have a great weekend.


  109. Came over from YHL and WOW! That is beautiful! I hope you didn’t have any plans to keep items on top of the buffet because it is too beautiful to cover up. GREAT job!


  110. Came over from YHL and I’m so impressed! I have pinned that fo’ shore! Amazing idea and execution!

  111. One word….STUNNING!

  112. This is crazy beautiful. I have used a product one time that was clear stain that you mixed color into for the stain. I mixed many different colors of stain and painted a child’s chair with it. It is still one of my favorites because the stain just looks so much more beautiful than paint. I am going to do this technique on a table top with birds and limbs. So exciting! Thanks…my daughter found this and sent it to me. I am so glad that she did.

  113. This is absolutely gorgeous! What a great technique…so many possibilities

  114. Your piece really gets my creative juices flowing! Thank you for sharing this with the blog world.

  115. Just the most beautiful piece of furniture and art. Wish I had seen this before staining our home ber. I love working with charcoals too!

  116. I am going to try this on a much smaller scale, on a wooden humidor that I picked up at an estate sale but the top needs refinishing so why not give this a whirl

  117. That looks just like a beautiful black & gray tat. You did an EXCELLENT job on that piece. OUTSTANDING!!!

  118. Anonymous says:

    I am pretty good with refinishing furniture and playing around with it but really struggled with this. I’m pretty frustrated actually! Lol….. you did wonderful!

  119. That is just absolutely gorgeous! It is a work of art. Love the color with the dark stain.

  120. I did this! Great tutorial! Find my pics of a drop leaf table redo on my FB page, Full Moon & Buck Naked. Thanks for the inspiration, Sandy

  121. Shirley Sendgraff says:

    This is absolutely STUNNING!! Love your tutorial and pix!! So inspired to try it soon, I hope, now wheres that nearst burn pile :)!!!

  122. Anonymous says:

    I’ve used this technique on a small wooden cross with cheap brown Walmart craft paint turned out amazing! Love the design of your flower

  123. Nice art work
    CNC Router For Use

  124. Melissa S says:

    I love this and tried it on a round table I have, it came out great. I’m going to try to sell mine and I’m wondering if you would be willing to tell me how much you sold your buffet for or how much you asked for it? How do you go about pricing your things?

  125. I’m going to do this to the top of my new desk! I have a question though and I appologize if it has already been answered…are you using gel stain??

  126. Oh my, this is stunning! I love the technique, and wonder too why it hasn’t been done before. I’ve pinned this because I have to try this! Wish me luck.
    I found you via Brooke’s All Things Thrifty when she featured your coffee table. I love that one too! A new follower.
    Debbie :)

  127. Anonymous says:

    Frigging. Awesome!!!!!!!

  128. Anonymous says:

    absolutely beautiful!!!

  129. That is so unique and lovely! I can’t draw a thing, but with your simple instructions, I have to try this! It is truly stunning!

  130. Soon as I saw this I KNEW I had to try it! I am going to do palm leaves though, I think…I have been taking pictures so I can show you-I don’t know which of the many blogs I stalk led me to yours, but I am so glad! Your SO talented! LOVE LOVE

  131. I was enthralled!! This is awesome! I have my hope chest that has traveled with me for years and is the worst for wear-I got it when I was 17yrs old-53yrs ago! I would like step by step instructions though. Anyway to get them? I’m older and don’t navigate the web as easily as others.

  132. I fell in love w this project. So I did one myself. The stain I used was not the best for this project. But a lil rubbing w steel wool pulled back some of the stain. Thanks for the great idea. The stain was Varathane. It’s impossible to wipe off. Lol.

  133. Wonderful work! I might just try this. I’ve got a few pieces in storage, and in my garage that I could do this to. Thank you. FYI: Varathane is a varnish not a stain. Usually used as a clear coat protectant over stained furniture or floors. Some varathanes are tinted… a 2 in 1 concept, easier used on floors than furniture.

  134. Nice work!!!!!!!!

  135. I am blown away by your work, being the copy cat creative that I am, because I am not creative enough to come up with anything on my own, I decided to try this. I have a beautiful unfinished toy chest for my twins toys that I want to stain. I wanted to practice first so I am using an extra board I happen to have and practice. It’s a good thing I am because I am running into all sorts of problems. My stain keeps bleeding into the other petals. I look at yours and they are so perfectly non bleeding that I have to ask is there something I am doing wrong?? Please please help!

  136. Truly a piece of ART! Just gorgeous!

  137. Totally stunning!

  138. Anonymous says:

    Totally Awesome. Best upcycle, DIY, revamp yet.

  139. I soooooo wish I had an artistic talent like this. You really should be proud:)

  140. I believe someone has been inspired by your artwork without giving credit to you


  141. I absolutely love this technique. I did my countertop in an interesting way using stain and words (things we tell the kids at dinner). I thought it might generate some more ideas for you. We stain lovers must stick together:)


    Take care, and stay creative.

  142. Jen…. LOVE THAT! I’ve been pondering staining with a stencil, and you’ve saved me the trouble of trial and error! I’m pinning this for future projects, and I’ll be sure to link to you when I do!

  143. you can also use art brushes to “pick up” color *stain* lift and wipe brush, gives a painterly look as well as giving you control. i did a small tabletop in this way wipe and stain many years ago. good job

  144. Hi, this is really beautiful…great job. I love the color of the wood and the “turqouis” color, keep up the great work!
    (Feel FREE to post those kind of projects on my FB page: http://www.upcycled101.com)

  145. Anonymous says:

    I have an old 1940 dinning table that is in really bad shape, but I just can’t throw it out because as a family growing up we sat at it at every meal. I want to turn it into an outdoor picnic sort of table. I love what you have done to these pieces. Got any suggestions on how I can do this an make it ‘outdoorable”? I was just going to spray paint it but I think I can do what you did. Anxious to start. Does stain come in colors? Thanks

    • Ooo you should you should! That sounds like a fabulous idea to use it outside! I would just make sure to seal it SEVERAL times with a good oil-based polyurethane. It should hold up in the elements… at least for a good while. As for colored stains, we haven’t used any… but I’ve seen them at hardware stores, so I know they exist! :) Send us pics when you’re done!!!

      • Hi Beth, I just stumbled across your amazing work and I have one question… do you seal all your each piece after you have blended/shaded it? You mentioned above that if you were putting it outside you would seal it with a good oil based polyurethane… do you do that with the indoor pieces as well?

        Thank you. You have completely inspired me :) Your art is beautiful.

        • Hi Terrie! We do seal all of our pieces, but you could probably get away with just sealing the top surface of your furniture (ie dresser top or table top) where it gets the most wear and tear. Keep in mind that, while oil-based poly is the most durable, it does leave a yellowish tint that shows up when applied on white paint. So if you’re sealing a white piece of furniture, definitely opt for water-based sealer. Good luck!

  146. There are a number of items frequently used in wood finishing projects. This list does not include all the supplies needed, but what is most commonly used.

  147. I first saw you guys featured on Young House Love’s Reader Redesign and I just wanted to let you guys know that you inspired me to tackle this project on an old, worn out table that was just collecting dust at my house. Thanks to your idea it’s now being used as a pretty piece of functional artwork! You can check out my post if you want at http://www.2brokebruces.com/2013/04/flower-table.html.
    Love your piece(s) and thanks for the inspiration!

  148. WOW what an awesome project!! I LOVE LOVE LOVE THAT!!!

  149. Now I know my comment is very late but “Damn Bethany, you rocked my freakin socks off!” Like literally. I have this shopping habit thing I do every Saturday at a local thrift store. 50% off almost 90% of the store! No way in hell am I missing that sale. I’m there every Saturday. Ever since I showed him this and pulled out all the stains, rags, buffers, paints etc.. he knows I’m up to something and cringes! hahaha thanks for another new piece to keep me busy for more than 30 seconds! Damn ADHD. I have about 10 different projects that are being worked on right now. Yours is next on a $39 large buffet that someone was very neglectful with. But I’m going to love her up some an make her a home piece that EVERYONE will talk about for years to come! No worries, Girl, I’ll make sure the all know YOU did this and it’s from YOUR blog!

  150. I LOVE these…. thanks so much for sharing this!! Worth all the work you put in! Wow! ~ Andi

  151. i am so in love with what you did i am going to do it to my dining room table, you rock!!!! ;-)

  152. Absolutely STUNNING! I saw a glimpse of this project a few days ago and have been searching for it ever since! Had no idea it was done with stain until finding you today. Definitely pinning as I want to be able to refer back to it. Beautiful work!

    Bev @ Give me a paintbrush

  153. You are just amazing !I will try it too.
    Thank you so much for your idea ^^

  154. That’s gorgeous! I love the contrast of the teal & the dark stain, and the flower design on the top is incredible.

  155. Anonymous says:

    BEAUTIFUL & inspiring! Wondering how you managed to wipe off the remaining stain on the darkest part of the sections without getting any on the places you previously worked on and left lighter.
    Thank you.


    • I just smear away from the lighter area, and very gently because I want the dark spots to be as dark as possible. Sometimes I just blotted, and let it dry a little tacky. After you seal it and it’s all glossy, you won’t be able to tell. If you give it a try, be sure to send before and after pictures! We’d love to see what you come up with!

  156. Just wanted you know that I tried this. I messed up and mine didn’t come out nearly as gorgeous as yours, but I went with it. Turns out I love it.

    Thank you so much for sharing this technique. You helped transform my trash to treasure desk.


  157. This is absolutely stunning! GORGEOUS!

  158. Anonymous says:

    wow. so amazing. i have an old sewing machine cabinet that i could do this for. my husband is an artist, so he can draw and i will do the staining. thanx for this great idea.

  159. I just LOVE what you did! I am working on refinishing an old sewing table right now. I am trying out your technique for the top. I hope it turns out as nice as yours did, fingers crossed!

  160. You know, when someone asked the inspiring Robert
    Frost if he perceives himself as a teacher, he was quoted saying: I am not a teacher, I amm an awakener.

    In my view this blog works precisely the same since it awakens me, and makes my mind work.

  161. christiane says:

    I so love what you have done and tried doing something similar myself.
    I applied the ebony wood stain and immediately wiped the outer edge off. However even leaving the stain on for those few seconds already made the wood really dark.
    Do you think it would help if I applied wood conditioner before staining?

    • Some woods soak up the stain a lot faster. I’ve found that Pine and Poplar are the easiest to work with. Instead of applying the stain directly on the wood, try dipping your cloth in the stain and work your way from the darkest part if the leaf to the lightest. This will give you more control. The good news is that this will take you a LOT less time because you won’t be waiting on any stain to sit. Send me pics when you’re done!!

      • Christiane says:

        Thank you for your quick response.
        I will give it a try. I wa starting to think that I might have to try using different colored stains. Some lighter and some darker but your suggestions sounds easier.

  162. Sharon Miller says:

    I love this look and I’m trying create this on a dresser for our baby girl’s nursery. The only problem I’m running into is drawing a decent flower. I can paint, sew, and do anything else, but drawing is the death of me. Is there a stencil, or could you email a quick drawing and I make a stencil?

  163. wow. This is beautiful! It started out as a piece of furniture that would of sat in the landfill but was re-purposed as a piece of art that will start conversations for years to come:)

  164. Simply amazing.. wonderful job..

  165. Lillie Forsyth says:

    Beautiful! You should rescue furniture like this stain it and sell it. I think it is gorgeous!!

  166. I am inspired! Well, if this wasn’t popular before it is about to become a major trend, thanks for the awesome tutorial!

  167. I was inspired by your work and used this technique on a project of my own…well, sorta. http://chicwiththekoolaidmustache.blogspot.com/2014/01/restore-upcycle-challenge-part-1.html

  168. Karen Henderson says:

    Do not know how I miss this work last year my dearies but you hit this out of the ball park! Just imagine all of the artists that wish that they had discovered this technique. We have to name this technique after you. It will be used for years. I nominate you and suggest you get a patent name for it.

  169. Oh my freaking goodness this awesomly beautiful…. !!! YOU can make SOOOOO much money doing this for a living….. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE THIS…!!! I can go on and on nut I’m sure you heard it all… Great job, Tammy

  170. Appгеciate this post. Let me try it ߋut.

  171. really!!!!!!!!really!!!!!!!too good….i will definetly try this.with what material u make stains?

  172. really!!!!!!!!!!really!!!!!1mind blowing.i will try

  173. You are a true inspiration! I was looking for something to do with a couple of unfinished wood tables I had purchased and came upon your site. I wasn´t quiet able to duplicate your beautiful technique, had trouble with the stain…after a few minutes it would get too sticky to work with, but all in all I really love the look. I`m looking forward to doing it again and getting it right! I´m not sure how to send you a picture but I posted some on my fb, hope you check them out. https://www.facebook.com/valeska.lambert/media_set?set=a.10152335108701155.1073741830.548011154&type=3&uploaded=7

  174. Wow! This looks amazing..Just beautiful. pinning.

  175. What about a video of you doing this?! I would buy a video from you.

  176. I absolutely cannot wait to try this and share it with you! Absolutely amazing!

  177. Love it!!! Totally get the part about being able to shade and not sketch :)
    Just to clarify, you haven’t mentioned any priming under the artwork. Any particular reason?

  178. HI, I love they way your home looks. Its amazing. My husband and I was just looking at this piece and Im so excited to try it. I actually have a coffee table that wanted to do something in color of a lotus but this is such a beautiful idea. Thank you so much for sharing!

  179. OMG. Shut up! That’s amazing!!! I bet I could totally do that.

  180. Kathy B says:

    I’m TOTALLY INSPIRED! In the 60’s my mother antiqued everything – now it’s my turn to strip
    and ATTEMPT your staining techniques! I think the old cedar chest might be a grand place to
    start – not too large, and flat surfaces everywhere! THANK YOU!

  181. I LOVE this idea!! I agree, why didn’t I think of it??? Well I am glad you did and I found it :D
    I started doing different unique things to my furniture, then to my cabinets, and now I am turning it into a business to do for others. I am going to try your technique on one of my dressers that I am upcycling to a T.V. console, do you mind once I get my website up featuring you in my blog?
    Thanks again for the inspiration, keep it coming!!!

  182. This is so beautiful! You have given me the inspiration for a buffet I just picked up at an antique store. One quick question…. What kind of poly do you use and how do you apply it? I haven’t had very good luck applying without horrible brush strokes or if I use spray it doesn’t look even. Maybe a poly tutorial soon…? :)

    • Also, Have you ever done a poppy flower?

    • Hi Poppy! It sounds like the poly you’re using is pretty thick. You could water it down with a bit of mineral spirits, and this would cause the brush-strokes to even out before it dries. I know how frustrating brush strokes are! There is also ‘spray poly’ that comes in an aerosol can, and comes out a very even mist. It goes on really nicely, but we’ve found that it takes a lot of coats to be as durable as a single coat of brush-on poly. Hope this helps! Send pics when you’re done!

  183. I’ve been browsing around your blog. I love this too!! I am so about to share this post. Great work!

  184. Using stain to create art is freaking awesome I’m practicing right now. Love the table



  186. Ok so I really love all of your awesome stained pieces, and have followed your blog for about a year. I was so excited to get featured with you over at Better After. So super cool. I don’t know how you find the time with twins.

  187. Hey! We did this and did the whole picture but the poly wiped it all away. Is there a certain poly we should use? A spray? Or is painted on poly okay? And is there a certain amount of time we should wait?

    • Hi Peyton! i’m soooo sorry that this happened to you. The only explanation is that the surface you were staining on wasn’t fully sanded/stripped down to the wood. Therefore the stain wasn’t soaking into wood grain, it was just sitting on top of a layer of varnish or sealer, and could easily be wiped away since it didn’t have anything to soak into. If you try again, I would use a finish stripper and make sure you’re down to the raw/unfinished wood before you start again. Good luck! Send pics when you’re done!

  188. That is unbelievable! I can’t wait to try it. Thanks for sharing!

  189. Hey Beth, I love your piece and wanted top try it with an end table I have. My question is if there are screw holes and chipped off parts, will the stain grab to wood putty if I fill in the holes or should I try it on a piece that is smoother all around? Any suggestions would be great! Thank you

    • Hi Alexis! I’m excited that you’re going to give this technique a try!! It’s super fun! The thing about wood putty is that SOME brands ‘claim’ that it’s stain-able, but in my opinion it never quite matches and always looks funky… unless it’s in an inconspicuous place. It’s totally up to you though! Please send pics when you’re done!!


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