An easy 4-step formula to get the look of driftwood on just about any surface. This method of “making” driftwood is perfect for furniture makeovers and updating home accessories.
If you love driftwood color furniture or having just a few driftwood gray home accessories sprinkled around your home, this formula is super easy and is a budget friendly way to update the decor in your home.
I love a driftwood weathered wood finish, don’t you? I love it because its soft, bleached gray look blends well with anything and everything. However, purchasing furniture that already has that much-desired patina can be pricey! And finding driftwood accessories just isn’t very easy – it seems they get snapped up pretty quickly.
Just because it’s pricey or I can’t find the real thing very often, doesn’t mean that I can’t get the look in my home though. If you know me at all, you know I’m all about budget decorating and using what you already have, so after lots of experimenting with different techniques, I’ve come up with an almost too-easy-to-be-true formula to get the look and you can use it on just about anything!
I used it my faux driftwood formula on the backer boards for the lanterns hanging on my screened in porch. I always get tons of questions about where they came from!
I used it on two parts of the table setting for a summer dining room tablescape. Would you believe that the chargers under each place setting are plastic and used to be shiny gold? And that the piece of wood under the centerpiece is just a scrap of wood that we had lying around. You can’t see it very well, but I gave it the faux driftwood treatment as well.
I used the same chargers as part of the summer shelf display in my breakfast room one year. Notice that the reproduction vintage toolbox and small lamp also have a faux driftwood finish.
I used the formula to transform a black frame and other pieces that were part of a gallery wall. By the way, this wall doesn’t look anything like this anymore! I gave it a total overhaul with a new updated look that you can see HERE.
I get lots of questions about these candlesticks any time they make an appearance in a blog post. I bought them on clearance and they were originally painted red, green and yellow. Now that they look like driftwood, everyone wants to know where I found them!
Using my shiny gold chargers as the example, let me show you just how easy my driftwood formula is!
If the surface of your object is shiny, wipe it down with liquid sander/deglosser and allow it to dry. Liquid sander/deglosser can be found in the paint department of any big box home improvement store.
Paint the object solid white and allow it to completely dry. You can use spray paint or paint from a bottle or can.
Apply any brand of gray stain over the dried white paint. Make sure to keep all of your brushstrokes going in the same direction.
While the gray stain is still wet, apply a coat of any shade or brand of brown stain over it – again keeping the brush strokes going in the same direction. Allow the piece to completely dry. Once dry, seal with a matte sealer, if you desire, but allow the piece to completely dry before using.
NOTE: Depending upon the surface you’re applying this technique to and the humidity level, stain may take longer to dry than paint, but it will dry!
A few tips:
- Any shade of brown stain will work, but I would avoid an ebony or red mahogany shade to get this look.
- If you don’t want to wind up with shiny “driftwood”, be sure that the white paint you use has a flat finish.
- I like to apply the brown stain while the gray stain is still wet. The two kind of meld together and I believe it gives a more realistic look to the finished product.
- I use an inexpensive chip brush to apply the stain. In fact, I use the same brush for both stain colors. You may want to pour some of the brown stain into a separate container if you use the same brush for both colors. That way you won’t “contaminate” the whole can of brown stain with gray stain or vice versa.
- Don’t be afraid to add more gray or more brown to get the look that you’re after. There have been times when I’ve added more stain even after I thought the piece was finished and everything was dry.
- If the overall look of your piece is too dark, try very lightly dry-brushing more white paint on top of the dried stain.
- I’ve tried mixing up the steps for which color to apply when, but I think this method works the best.
Sadly, real driftwood has become scarce along the beaches of North Carolina in recent years. Everybody is on the lookout for it, so if you happen to find some, be sure to grab it! I have several pieces that I inherited from my mom that I would never give up. Yep – real driftwood is that “valuable” to me! 😀