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Reclaimed Wood Patchwork Multi Color

August 6, 2011 |
posted by Ana White
Reclaimed Wood Patchwork Multi Color
Author Notes

Yes, I did.

I took a perfectly good Farmhouse Bedside Table, snatched it right from our bedroom, and gave it what the Ram called the "Most hideous paint job I've ever seen."
But this is not a tale of defeat.
No.  This is a tale of great courage, unending determination. 
And despite great temptation just to paint it all white
This story has a happy ending full of color.
So that's where the orange crayon is.
I've been loving the look of furniture made from different colors of painted reclaimed wood.  Out three barns in separate, complimentary paint colors to tear down and reclaim the wood, I thought I would try my hand at "faking" it.
What do you think?
Plans Used in Finish

What You Will Need

Shopping List: 

1 - Wood Project
3-5 Different Paint Colors
Paint Brush
Clear Top Coat
120 Grit Sandpaper

Step 1

Reclaimed Wood Patchwork Multi Color

Choosing a Project to Paint

Choose a piece of furniture with lots of different boards and planking. Notice how this piece is a planked top. The more different boards you have, the more opportunities you have to paint different colors and finishes. You can build my Farmhouse Bedside Table with these step by step plans.

If you are working with raw wood, you can prime or use paint with primer in it.  My piece is stained, so I took a minute to lightly sand and remove any residue to enable my paints to stick.  I like to use the paint with primer paints.
Step 2
Reclaimed Wood Patchwork Multi Color

Finding the Right Paint Colors and Types

If I had to do this finish again, I'd pull colors from the room, for example, this quilt, and use those colors for the finish.  

Notice also with this quilt the white borders and sashing . . . One could do the frame boards in white, and then door faces, aprons and top in multicolors.  Think of it like a quilt  :)
But what I did (my mistakes will save you some time) is just gather whatever leftover paints I had on hand and go for it.  Choose complimentary colors, and choose a base color, in my finish, it's white.
One other note on paints, I used gloss paints because it creates a seal, and then when you apply the glaze, it won't discolor the paint.  But you can also apply a clear coat for flat paint.
Step 3
Reclaimed Wood Patchwork Multi Color

Painting Board by Board

Then just start painting, painting the entire board as if you reclaimed each board individually. You can either make a plan and stick with it, or just paint random boards.

I thought of painting board types each color, for example, all the 2x2s would be white, the 1x6s would be blue, the 1x12 green and so on. But really, it's up to you and what you want.

Step 4
Reclaimed Wood Patchwork Multi Color

Perfectionist Need Not Apply . . . Paint that Is 

I just kept painting different colors. You do not need to be perfect or even put an even coat on, but try and keep the separate colors on the separate boards.
Step 5
Reclaimed Wood Patchwork Multi Color

It's Okay to Make Mistakes

And here's where I thought bright green would work . . . but again, my mistakes are going to save you time.

Step 6
Reclaimed Wood Patchwork Multi Color

The Hardest Step . . . Waiting for Paint to Dry 

And then I set it all out to dry in the wind. The dark green paint is actually acrylic paint, and it worked great! If you want a specialized color, but only a tiny bit, this could be a great money saving alternative to mixing a whole can of paint.

This step was truly the hardest step. And one of the most important. You have to wait the full 24 hours (as directed on the paint cans) for the paint to fully dry.

If you are not using gloss paints (semi gloss or high gloss or anything that is non porous when dry) you will want to apply a clear top coat to protect your paint from picking up the glaze.

Step 7
Reclaimed Wood Patchwork Multi Color


When you are sure the entire project is dry, begin distressing the finish. Make sure the paint comes off even, like the finish is time worn. If your paint is not dry, it will come off in clumps, not resembling natural wear.

Distress to the point that you like, avoid over distressing. Concentrate on spots that would be more susceptible to natural wear, most likely edges.

Notice that despite my bedside table being a walnut stain, the sander takes the wood down to the natural wood. We are going to need a glaze to stain the wood.

Step 8
Reclaimed Wood Patchwork Multi Color

Easy Glazing

Once you are happy with the distressing, apply a glaze (you can either use the specialty stuff or I've used Minwax Express Colors with success to save money) to the exposed wood. The glaze will stain the wood and deposit itself into wood joints, creating the ever so coveted "hand glazed finish." 

 You then wipe off excess glaze with a damp cloth.

This process is very easy and quick - don't be intimidated.

Step 9
Reclaimed Wood Patchwork Multi Color

What Happens if You Hate It?

But after all that work . . . I just did not like the results of my hard labor. No worries though, the beauty of this finish is in layers of color, so I just picked out what I did not like (the green and bright green) and replaced it with what I did like (the blue and white), followed with distressing and glazing.

Step 10
Reclaimed Wood Patchwork Multi Color

More Layers = More Character

You can see the green showing through in the left door face where I added a coat of turquoise. This was of course followed by distressing and glazing.

Step 11
Reclaimed Wood Patchwork Multi Color

High Wear Areas

I applied extra distressing around high wear areas.
Step 12
Reclaimed Wood Patchwork Multi Color

Protecting Your Finish

And then at the end, I applied a clear coat of poly to protect my hard work.
Step 13
Reclaimed Wood Patchwork Multi Color

Before and After

Here they are side by side, the exact same Farmhouse Bedside Table, the original with a simple stain, and how it looks today with layers of leftover paint and distressing.
What's your vote?
Step 14
Step 15

Love your patchwork

Ana your layers are beautiful and to be honest the brown was boring! Bet Grace loves her new 'quilt table' and now you can make something new for your room.

posted by Jaime (not verified) | on Sun, 2011-08-07 19:41
Ana White's picture

Thank you so much! After

Thank you so much! After putting tons of work into building a project, I'm often too afraid to try a unique finish and "ruin" it but the great part about this finish, is it's always "fixable." Thanks so much, the best part, I truly enjoyed painting this bedside table.

posted by Ana White | on Sun, 2011-08-07 19:43

I did the same with my old

I did the same with my old bathroom cabinets and now it looks great. My girlfriend moved with me and since we had to share the bathroom we needed extra space and I had some old cabinets in the atic.

posted by nicolae | on Fri, 2013-01-04 17:10

Beautiful, beautiful!

Just love it, Ana. It may be "fixable", but you're still darned brave to take your perfectly good night stand and paint, paint, paint! And, it turned out to be just the right thing to do! Love it.


posted by sgilly | on Sun, 2011-08-07 21:35

Love, Love, Love this! I

Love, Love, Love this! I will be trying this on my daughters dresser we made her when she was born. It needs something new. And this is it! Thanks so much for sharing. Love your stuff!

posted by Elisabeth Fox (not verified) | on Sun, 2011-08-07 22:11

The table (and the quilt) are

The table (and the quilt) are GORGEOUS!

posted by Jayme (not verified) | on Sun, 2011-08-07 22:15

Breath Taking

I don't usually use the words "Breath Taking" with furniture but I did when I saw the table. This is absolutely a piece that I need in my home. It makes me want to redo my entire bedroom suit. After 10 years of dark cherry finish, I would love to have this look. Bravo! Question: What grit of sand paper did you use?

posted by HomeSpun-Threads (not verified) | on Sun, 2011-08-07 22:17


Really well done! Looks great. Mind, I'm boring (and - gasp! - not a fan of the distressed look for myself) so I would have left it brown. Looks perfect in her room and with that quilt though! Also, the bit about the crayon highly amused me. :)

posted by leigh7911 | on Sun, 2011-08-07 22:43

I loved this and so glad I

I loved this and so glad I have access to your web site. Happy New Year..

posted by Carol Cranford (not verified) | on Sat, 2012-12-29 14:32


I love your reclaimed-look finish. The best part is, it could be perfect in SO many different ways! It's really beautiful.

posted by Hillary (not verified) | on Sun, 2011-08-07 23:08


I love how this turned out, but what I love even more is that you didn't NOT show the first outcome. That's just how it goes sometimes when painting furniture, so thank you for showing the reality of how things go sometimes...and to not freak out! But to sort it out and try again. It really looks great BOTH ways! :-)

posted by Anneke McConnell (not verified) | on Mon, 2011-08-08 00:08

LOVE! Perfect for my 100+

LOVE! Perfect for my 100+ year old house. Have a modern farmhouse end table waiting for a finish. Think I have finally found it! Thanks for sharing!

posted by Vicki (not verified) | on Mon, 2011-08-08 00:12

Gorgeous! Love it!

Gorgeous! Love it!

posted by heidi s. (not verified) | on Mon, 2011-08-08 00:48


This is so beautiful. I liked the table before, too, but now it's simply amazing. Thanks for sharing this in detail with us. I always wondered how to get a nice "shabby" look and here is the perfect diy instruction...

posted by Guest (not verified) | on Mon, 2011-08-08 00:59
mrgreen's picture

Distressed Wood

Problem I have had with the 'Shabby Chic' look over this side of the pond is that people find over distressed pieces as just that worn out and in need of a sanding and a coat of paint.

They just do not get it....

Lightly distressed or aged pieces are more acceptable.

I do not mind how rough it is but think I would use a couple of colours [personal choice]

On the question of priming some do some don't, if you are going to age something do you really need to prime?

Well I like it that is all that matters

posted by mrgreen | on Mon, 2011-08-08 02:43
debandtom25's picture

I'm in love

Just beautiful. :) Looking at your table make me happy. Now, if I can just get my husband on board with the distressed look . . . .

posted by debandtom25 | on Mon, 2011-08-08 06:00

Oh be still my beating heart!

Any chance you can add some house plans. I'm going to need something with about 8 bedrooms by the time I finish everything I added to my to do list.

posted by Spring | on Mon, 2011-08-08 06:35

Saving this post!

I'll be saving this post so I can remember your technique when it comes time to finish my built in kitchen bench. I love that you detailed all the steps and gave some hints as to what type of paints works best. Thanks!

posted by Heather @SimplyCottageLove (not verified) | on Mon, 2011-08-08 07:57

I just love it! Thank You

I just love it! Thank You for talking about the glazing. I will have to find something I can do this to!!!

posted by Guest (not verified) | on Mon, 2011-08-08 08:45

I just love it! Thank You

I just love it! Thank You for talking about the glazing. I will have to find something I can do this to!!!

posted by Guest (not verified) | on Mon, 2011-08-08 08:46

Prefer the brown...

While your second attempt does look nice, I definitely prefer the original finish. It looked beautiful to me. But maybe I've just got boring tastes.

posted by Guest (not verified) | on Mon, 2011-08-08 09:15

love this!

love this!

posted by Shelly Gonczar (not verified) | on Mon, 2011-08-08 09:17

Looks great!

Looks great!

posted by Sheela (not verified) | on Mon, 2011-08-08 09:40
Ana White's picture

Thanks everyone! You totally

Thanks everyone! You totally made my night, I for sure thought this table had been destroyed. I'm so looking forward to seeing your patchwork furniture!

posted by Ana White | on Mon, 2011-08-08 10:45

Farmhouse bed side table

Looks like some of my furniture from my past (before I was able to afford to purchase new stuff) It brings back many happy memories of working with or on these tables without fear of getting scratches or dings, as they would blend right in. "great Work"....Old is new again....

posted by Darrell from Mississauga (not verified) | on Mon, 2011-08-08 13:07

I love your bed side table!

I love your bed side table! Thank you for sharing. :)

posted by Patty (not verified) | on Mon, 2011-08-08 19:21
mrsstacygreen's picture

I've basically (accidentally)

I've basically (accidentally) started this exact process with the kids bathroom vanity. I've painted it numerous times over the past few years as I really never like the color and then don't use a protective coat. Now I just need to get a little crafty and viola! I'll have a beautiful distressed vanity like your piece

posted by mrsstacygreen | on Mon, 2011-08-08 20:08

Absolutely love it!

Absolutely love it!

posted by peaches76 | on Mon, 2011-08-08 21:03

Love It!

The table looks great! I'm glad orange crayon is all the way over at your house, though. Orange crayon is my nemesis. He always finds his way into my dryer.

posted by Maura (not verified) | on Mon, 2011-08-08 21:35

great inspiration!

In the process of building a home to fit our big family and I have quite the list of furniture for my husband to build (and I plan to learn along as he does it!) I love your tutorial and am inspired to try for some unique and fun finishes! Love your blog and that you are a fellow Alaskan:)

posted by Sonnet (not verified) | on Tue, 2011-08-09 00:05
I Play Outside The Box's picture


WOW....I would have never tried to use different colors...but this is just awesome!

I Play Outside The Box

posted by I Play Outside ... | on Tue, 2011-08-09 02:54
Pam the Goatherd's picture

This has totally changed my

This has totally changed my mind about the distressed look! I've not been a fan of distressing, always thought it just looked old and messy. So I was planning on doing my sewing/guest room in all white furniture. But your table turned out so nicely and it looks so pretty with that quilt underneath, I think I might just do a piece or two in the room with this technique just to give it some interest.

posted by Pam the Goatherd | on Tue, 2011-08-09 14:59

Question about glazing

Ana, I love this paint technique & I am about to try it!! My only question is in regards to adding a clear coat if you are not using gloss or semi-gloss paints...Does this clear coat go on after or before the distressing? In the directions it looks to be before, but it seems the gloss would just get sanded off. Thanks!!

posted by Jessiraynedesign (not verified) | on Sat, 2011-08-27 13:47
handygirl59's picture

Trying this today on $15 Habitat for Humanity restore bookcase

Found a 78"H x 36"W x 16"D bookcase at the restore for $15
Was going to build one but at this price - who can resist
Painted a boring off white but with your instructions and a bit of work - hopefully it will turn out as sweet as yours. Thanks, as always for the info.

posted by handygirl59 | on Tue, 2011-09-06 07:21
Ana White's picture

Best of luck! Looking

Best of luck! Looking forward to seeing pics!

posted by Ana White | on Tue, 2011-09-06 10:34

paint color

This turned out beautiful! I am going to be painting some pieces and this is exactly the distressed look I want to create. Whats the color of the turquoise you used? That is my new accent color for my living room. Also, Do you think you can have too many distressed pieces in one room? I want to be rid of all my dark old furniture in the living room. Would it look bad to distress them the same way and same colors? Thank you!

posted by Guest (not verified) | on Sat, 2012-03-10 17:30
washington4x4's picture

Awesome Job!!!

I love to build stuff, but I hate doing the finish. Great thing about my household, my wife likes to finish anything I build.

posted by washington4x4 | on Sat, 2012-06-02 23:21


I loved your project! One question: you don't have to remove the stain from the original wood?

posted by Kimmy (not verified) | on Wed, 2012-09-12 20:36


I loved your project! One question: you don't have to remove the stain from the original wood?

posted by Kimmy (not verified) | on Wed, 2012-09-12 20:36

Farmhouse Bedside Table

Im looking for the plains on this table, have i over looked it somewhere ??? Your work is amazing, a true gift ! God Bless, Steph.

posted by Stephanie Satterfield (not verified) | on Fri, 2012-09-28 04:31

Multi Paint

Like how that turned out. I will definitely try this out.

posted by Randy D. (not verified) | on Mon, 2012-10-01 16:37

Multi Paint

Like how that turned out. I will definitely try this out.

posted by Randy D. (not verified) | on Mon, 2012-10-01 16:38

I really like the distressed

I really like the distressed look.

posted by Karen Lindsey (not verified) | on Sun, 2012-10-14 21:48


yes. I like it. :)

I'm building the farmhouse bed now. Thank you for sharing you experience and plans!

posted by brianstephen (not verified) | on Sun, 2012-11-04 22:08

bedside table

You are so talented!!! Not only is the table amazing, it gives me the courage to do a few pieces I have rescued from the curb. LOL. Please, never stop sharing your talents for those of us who cannot reimagine our furniture and homes with out people like you.

posted by Paula VanDuynhoven (not verified) | on Wed, 2012-11-14 22:33

Lovely! thanks a lot

I am in love with your site! Thanks for sharing your great ideas and work....great job!

posted by Oli (not verified) | on Sat, 2013-01-19 17:11
BeachBum's picture

Patchwork Multi-Color

I Love this website!!! I'm So inspired :D I'm pretty new at doing/trying all these DIY projects:) I wanted to try this on my daughters' end table, but am having a VERY hard time finding that light turquoise blue on the front left drawer of the table. Does anyone know what color that is? I've looked at Menards, Home Depot, Lowe's, Meijers....I'm so excited to try this:)

posted by BeachBum | on Fri, 2013-05-31 13:58

Adore this!

This is so great--I just found some old wooden chairs/benches to put around the Vanessa's X Picnic Table we just built (love how it turned out!) which we stained a dark espresso. I'm wanting the chair & benches colored--I'm thinking blues & yellows!

My question is how would you make this finish weather proof to be used outside through Nebraska thunderstorms?

Can't wait to post my first brag photo!!!


posted by kmacaitis13 | on Mon, 2013-07-08 17:47

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