A Painter in Your Pocket: Let’s Talk Finishes


I hope you had a wonderful Easter holiday.  We went to Louisville and caught some NCAA basketball action, and the weather was absolutely glorious.  A gift in and of itself if you live in the midwest like I do.  Now I’m just battling some sort of sinus thing and my voice is fading fast.  I’m hoping this crud just goes away, because I have stuff to do!  But for now, it’s time for another installation of my Painter in Your Pocket series, this time, we’re talking about finishes.  If you missed my first post in this series – painting furniture – check it out here.  This post contains some affiliate links.

A Painter in Your Pocket: Finishes

I’m talking about finishes today, because they’re top of mind, since I just completed a console table for a client.  It’s fun to play around with finishes, and when I find one that I like, I’m excited to share it with you!  This is a popular type of finish these days, and I see it a lot on furniture pieces, lamps, etc…  My inspiration for the console was from a lamp that the client already had.


Great finish, right?  I certainly love it, and can see what it’s one that you’d want to replicate.  Here is the piece that I was given to transform.  It’s that orangey wood that so many people are trying to eradicate from their homes.



It was definitely a process and a learning experience, doing this piece.  Originally, I thought I could stain it, and then do either a white wash or even a liming wax over the top of it.  However, getting the right shade of stain, was more difficult than I anticipated.  I experimented with some different stains on the bottom of the console first, before trying it on the entire piece.


The stain colors just weren’t doing it for me – even with a whitewash over the top.  I tried stripping the console, thinking I would have better luck working with bare wood, but this stain was stubborn, and didn’t want to cooperate.  After doing some more research, I went back to a technique that I used on my Pottery Barn Lamp Knock-Off – using paint to get the look.  Do you remember this lamp?

So, I got to work using this method.  I used Annie Sloan’s Chalk Paint in Coco, and then did a dry brush technique with Old Ochre.  I actually ended up spraying the Coco color, since there were so many nooks and crannies in this piece.  And yes, I started with spraying the console upside down, to make sure I painted the entire piece.


Here you can see it after I dry brushed it with the Old Ochre.


And I also did a top coat of Flat Out Flat by General Finishes.  Love, love, LOVE this stuff!


Here’s a shot of it outside.  You can see that it’s looking more gray out here, and my client wanted it to be more brown, in keeping with the inspiration lamp.


So, where do we go from here?  After doing some more research, I pulled out my Annie Sloan waxes – both the dark and the clear wax.  I mixed them together and went to work, and knew once I applied it, that I was moving in the right direction.  You can see how it warms it up right away.


I got to put my SurBuf polishing pad to use with it too (attached to my orbital sander) and I love the finished look.

Surbuf Polishing Pads

Annie Sloan Coco and Old Ochre

I made one last tweak to this piece before I delivered it to the customer.  She wanted the white to come through like it did on the lamp, so I added a bit of Amy Howard’s Liming Wax to achieve that look.  Here you can see the top with the addition of the liming wax.  It’s subtle, but gets the job done!

Amy Howard Liming Wax

One more tip if you’re working with liming wax on a wood that doesn’t have a lot of grain (which is key for liming wax – you want to work it into the grain).  You can use a brass brush like this one to help raise the grain in the piece that you’re working on, so that the liming wax has some nooks and crannies to settle in to, giving you the look that you want.  I did this in the stage where I was trying to strip the stain off the console.  Just something to consider, depending upon the wood you’re working with.

liming wax tools-wm

One more look at the before and after –






And after:

Annie Sloan Coco + Old Ochre + Dark Wax


Do you like to experiment with finishes?  The next Painter in Your Pocket post in this series is going to be about paint sprayers – I know a lot of you are looking to jump in with sprayers, and I’m excited to talk about them as well!



  • Reply
    Suzy @ Worthing Court
    March 29, 2016 at 7:44 am

    Thank you so much for all of these tips! I’ve used lots of different methods to get this exact look, but have never been able to pull it off.

    • Reply
      March 29, 2016 at 9:41 pm

      Thanks Suzy! Hopefully you’ll be able to learn from my mistakes. 😉

  • Reply
    March 29, 2016 at 1:08 pm

    I love it! I’m going to attempt that on an old claw foot round table.

    I live in centerville and finally found time to visit the buyouts store (where the old flower factory was) it WA closed and a sign saying everything is sold and we are closed? Do you know if they are permanently closed? Thanks, I love your blog!

    • Reply
      March 29, 2016 at 9:41 pm

      I didn’t know there was a buyouts store where the Flower Factory was? I just recently heard that Flower Factory closed, so I’m wondering if something else is going to go in there, but it’s just not open yet? Is that possible? Keep me posted on any developments!

  • Reply
    Pamela Allen
    March 29, 2016 at 2:14 pm

    This piece turned out beautifully. I would love to do this to my kitchen cabinets, but all the steps are daunting to say the least. The cabinets are that 1970’s orange pine as well. The landlord gave me the go ahead to change the color as long as it’s not white. The problem is, the kitchen is so dark it needs light cabinets. Sigh! I have been living with this dark, orange kitchen for two years. Any ideas?

    • Reply
      March 29, 2016 at 9:39 pm

      So the landlord said you can paint them, but not white? Hmmm, can you go with another light neutral, that’s not white? I’m currently painting some kitchen cabinets for a client, and am going with Revere Pewter (Benjamin Moore). Still light and it will be bright, but not white! Lots of great non-white options out there, but why is your landlord so against white cabinets? Just curious. 🙂

  • Reply
    March 29, 2016 at 2:30 pm

    Jenny, thanks for sharing, it turned out great, nice job! I’m not as talented, knowledgeable about paint or as brave as you to just wing it, gosh I wish I was though.
    I’m sure your client will be very happy!

    • Reply
      March 29, 2016 at 9:40 pm

      Sometimes winging it is the best way to get your feet wet and learn more about paint! I’m getting braver and braver, the more that I work with it!

  • Reply
    Kathy V,
    April 3, 2016 at 11:26 pm

    Love that finish, Jenny. I sometimes challenge myself to figure out how different finishes could be accomplished, but I’m to chicken to actually TRY it. Your willingness to work through this is inspiring. Thanks for sharing the entire process, especially how you corrected your first attempt. You’re giving me courage to give finishing a try.

    • Reply
      April 4, 2016 at 7:17 am

      Thanks Kathy! Sometimes experimenting with finishes can be a bit daunting, and I can be intimidated by it as well. But it’s really rewarding when you finally get the look you’ve been wanting!

  • Reply
    February 5, 2018 at 12:36 pm

    Hey Jenny.
    First off, thank you for all the info. I am familiar with much of the work you take on and am curious about what your opinion is on finish coats. What is your preferred type of paint for kitchen cabinet finishing? I am sourcing materials for painting several banks of Honey Oak cabinets. What type of paint is the most practical? most durable? Easiest to apply? This project needs the best materials. Thanks in advance for input you have.

  • Leave a Reply

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.