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Decorative Painting

wood finishing

by Alan Noel
Professional Wood Finisher



During the last few years we've seen a lot more furniture with decorative paint finishes in the shop. French and Italian furniture seem to dominate with many different techniques employed producing some very interesting effects. Here are some tips to get started.

  1. On large flat surfaces use a short nap roller for even coverage.
  2. After rolling, use a soft clean brush to "tip" the surface. This is re-brushing the surface gently holding the brush straight up and down to the surface using long straight strokes.
  3. Let dry and repeat. This will give the paint a very smooth appearance.
  4. For uneven surfaces paint these with a brush as evenly as possible and then roll any flat surfaces the same as above.
  5. After the initial color, the overall look can be altered or aged using colored waxes, glazes, stains, paints or other color mediums. We've even used dirt off the floor!
  6. For a very natural aged look using a clean rag, wet it with denatured alcohol and use this to melt the paint away on small areas like around pulls, handles, feet etc. for a more natural worn look.
  7. Of course, practice on scrap first to get used to the processes and to incorporate any other tricks you may want to try.


Visiting Atlanta? Attend one of Alan's upcoming highly informative Highland Woodworking wood finishing seminars:


October 13  Secrets of the Scott Antique Show

October 20 & 21  Antique Restoration

November 3  Spray Finishing

November 7  Coloring Wood




Visit Highland Woodworking's Online
Wood Finishing Supplies Department




Alan can be reached directly via email c/o Alan Noel Furniture Refinishing at anoelfurniturere@bellsouth.net.


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