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Antique White using Minwax Stain Marker

September 7, 2012 |
posted by Ana White
Antique White using Minwax Stain Marker
Antique White using Minwax Stain Marker
Antique White using Minwax Stain Marker
Antique White using Minwax Stain Marker
Antique White using Minwax Stain Marker
Antique White using Minwax Stain Marker
Author Notes

I have really been enjoying working with Minwax to develop step by step tutorials to help us all finish our beautiful handmade furniture with stains. And the furniture I have been building with these tutorials has become my favorite because I love the finishes so much!!!

But of all the finishing tutorials I’ve put together, this one is my most favorite of all. I cannot tell you how excited I am to share it with you!

Because in this tutorial, I am going to show you how I achieve my favorite finish, Antique White with Distressed Edges, in the simplest possible way. I have a secret distressing weapon! No gloves or mineral spirits required!

I especially love Antique White with Distressed Edge Finish because Antique White is less harsh than a true white, but still brightens any space and goes with pretty much anything. And I LOVE DISTRESSED EDGES because I refuse to be like my Mom and cover the dining table with an old tablecloth to protect it. What’s the use of having a beautiful table beneath an ugly tablecloth? Might as well make natural edge wearing done ON PURPOSE, right??? And distressed edges bring out the character in a project too.

Read on to find out what my secret weapon is!!!! PS - I'll be posting plans for this table next week!!!

Plans Used in Finish

What You Will Need

Shopping List: 

• Antique White Paint with Primer in Semi-Gloss
• Medium and Fine Sandpaper or Sanding blocks
• Brushes for Painting or Paint Sprayer
Minwax Stain Marker in Golden Oak
Minwax Water Based Polycrylic in Spray Can

Step 1


For my project, I started with a sanded table made mostly of pine. But I did have a few 1x16 plywood pieces from shelves painted an off white (leftover from another project), so I used them for the shelves. You can mix different wood types for this finish!

You can remove hardware, or just tape it off.

Make sure the project is free of any sanding residue by brushing or vacuuming with a soft bristled brush. I go the extra step and wipe down with a damp cloth as well.

Most paint brands carry an “Antique White” right off the shelf, or you can have something mixed up. Just pick something with a warm muted undertone. I recommend a Semi-Gloss Paint with Primer in it because it saves a step.

You must use a primer with white, as over time, it will yellow if you do not!

These same results could be achieved with a brush or paint in the can, but I wanted to show you how we spray a project in this tutorial. We always start with the project turned upside down, and paint the hardest to reach areas first.

Then we work our way outwards.

If you were brushing, you would do the same. Paint the underside, hardest to reach place first. Then move outward.

Once the underside is completely painted, allow to dry to touch before you flip over the project.

After you flip the project over, begin again in the most difficult to reach place, and work your way outward.

Finally, paint the top and outsides.

For a vintage white, I highly recommend just one nice even coat of paint. Remember, we’ll be going over the paint with top coat!

Allow the project to completely dry as recommended by the paint can.

Step 2

Distressing Edges

When your project is dry, it’s time to distress! How fun! If you have a small project or for light distressing, just use a sanding sponge or make up your own sanding block!

But for a larger project, you can pull out the power sander! Just be careful when using a power sander to not take too much paint off.

But here’s the problem. When you distress, your edges will not offer significant contrast. You won’t even be able to see the distressing! We have to darken that wood up!

Here’s my secret weapon.

Minwax Stain Marker..

Yes, a stain in a marker!!!! All you have to do is color the distressed areas with the Minwax Stain Marker! For the Antique White, I used Golden Oak. Not too dark, not too light, just right!

There is actually 8 different Minwax Stain Marker colors, ranging from light to dark, so you can customize the wood color to your own personal preference.

You’ll want to shake up the Minwax Stain Marker and depress the point until stain saturates it, and start coloring!

And if you don’t stay inside the lines, no worries, just quickly wipe off with a clean rag.

The Minwax Stain Marker dries immediately, so no waiting and wiping down or any of that stuff.

Ah, much better! You can actually see the distressed edges now!!!

And you can keep the Minwax Stain Marker around to touch up “natural distressing” quickly and easily – inside your house! I can totally see myself touching up furniture five minutes before guests arrive for a dinner party!

Step 3

Top Coat

You’ll need to add a top coat to seal in those distressed edges. I of course turn to my most favorite and durable top coat, Minwax Water Based Polycrylic in High Gloss.

Because this is a table, and lots of hot dinners and painting projects will be happening right on this finished surface, I am going to also add top coat to the painted surface in addition to the distressed edges.

Note that because I am adding top coat over a white paint, I choose to use Minwax Water Based Polycrylic. If you chose the Minwax Polyurethane, it will amber over time, and alter the white color of your project. This could be desirable - or undesirable to you.

I start by sanding the table with a fine sanding block to get the Minwax Water Based Polycrylic to bond with the paint. Then I remove all sanding residue from the project with a brush and wipe the project down with a damp rag.

Then I just spray the Minwax Water Based Polycrylic on the project. I like to do three coats, sanding with fine sandpaper between each coat. Make sure you give the project a couple hours to dry between coats.

Right now I can work outdoors, being careful about overspray and working on nice, dry days. But if you have to work indoors or weather isn't cooperating, Minwax Water Based Polycrylic also comes in a quart and gallon sizes so you can brush it on as well.

The final product is beautiful and durable and so smooth!!!!

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dmcarwin's picture

Great tip!

I will have to try that stain marker! The table looks so beautiful! Also after your info from yesterday's post, I will be pre-ordering your book! Off to to do that now.....

Mindi@ http://mylove2create.blogspot.com/

posted by dmcarwin | on Fri, 2012-09-07 13:53
Ana White's picture

Thank you! The stain marker

Thank you! The stain marker is amazing! Saves so much time and makes NO mess - it's a must try for distressing!

Thank you for preordering the book - so glad it's at such a great price because of everyone preordering!!! Really appreciate the faith in the book and support!

posted by Ana White | on Fri, 2012-09-07 14:08
Jodieth's picture

Love it!

I am so glad to see this distressing with a pen! It will make it so much easier and cheaper. I have preordered you book as well and am so excited waiting for it. Personally I have been following you for a year now and am just now getting up the nerve to try my own project.

posted by Jodieth | on Fri, 2012-09-07 14:12

Paint Sprayer

Hi Ana,
I started following your blog and the Momplex blog a few months ago. I've even got the Kreg Jig on my Christmas wishlist. My first project will be the apothecary media cabinet. Fortunately my hubby is pretty handy, so I'll ask for his guidance if I get stuck but I really want to do this on my own, thanks to your inspiration and plans.

After all that lead-in, I really wanted to ask you what kind of a paint sprayer you are using on this project, specifically the name and model number. It looks much easier to spray a big piece like that then brush paint it.

Keep up the good work and the ideas. I'll be ordering your book soon for more inspiration.

posted by Candice (not verified) | on Fri, 2012-09-07 15:03
Ana White's picture

Hi Candice! I am so excited

Hi Candice!

I am so excited for you to take on your first project! Hope you get a Kreg Jig under the tree!

We are using a Graco sprayer. It works really well and gives a nice even spray finish fast. I don't know if it's the best value though unless you are painting a ton of projects, with the same color. Only in the last year have we started spraying - before that it was all brushed on by hand.

But if you have lots of projects or are building to sell, I'd definitely recommend this sprayer!

Have a great weekend! Ana

posted by Ana White | on Fri, 2012-09-07 15:22
tracysmith's picture

Paint Sprayer

Hi Ana! I've purchased a Graco True Coat sprayer and I love how easy it is to use. What I'm finding though is that when I spray my furniture, it's really rough to the touch. Do you use any kind of additive to your paint to make the outcome smoother? I've sanded the project but I now need another coat so I'm nervous to spray it only to have it rough again. Make sense? Your input on this would be MUCH appreciated!!


posted by tracysmith | on Tue, 2013-07-16 11:24

Perfect timing!

Love this idea, and the timing is perfect! I'm just getting ready to build some jewelry boxes, and one of them will be butter yellow -- this would be a perfect accent for the light color. I'm getting my small building projects done this month, so my garage will be clear to build new things when The Handbuilt Home arrives in my mail box! :)

posted by JoanneS | on Fri, 2012-09-07 15:49

You are a Mind reader!

I have been wanting to build a table exactly like that one and want to finish it exactly like this! I'm off to the store to see what other stain color markers they have. Think I'd like something a little darker. I can't wait for you to post the table instructions. I'm seeing a new breakfast room table in my future! Thanks!

posted by Carra (not verified) | on Fri, 2012-09-07 17:28

Perfect timing

Thank you for this post, we just finished constructing a Hailey Bed and about to start painting it. What a good timing as your tips are helpful. I was going to use a polyurethane and now I know better.

posted by Geraldine (not verified) | on Fri, 2012-09-07 18:48

I want to be handy too!

Your projects and plans make everything you do so easy to understand that sometimes I just think I could pick up a drill and make something...and someday I will and when I do it will be because I am constantly learning from reading all of your posts. Now I know how to easily distress something from using a pen too. Many thanks from a future furniture maker!

posted by Kathleen (not verified) | on Fri, 2012-09-07 19:49

paint brand?

Just curious as to what paint brand you used?
Also, I live in Florida, and I was wondering if the polycrylic you use is durable enough to protect outside furniture in the Florida rain and humid, or if would recommend something else? Or maybe just more coats!

posted by AmyA (not verified) | on Fri, 2012-09-07 21:11
Ana White's picture

Hi Amy! The paint used for

Hi Amy! The paint used for this table is Glidden DUO in Antique White. Love that stuff!

I'd look for an exterior poly for exterior projects, and just keep up with the top coats.

Hope this helps!


posted by Ana White | on Fri, 2012-09-07 22:07


So is the plans for the table in the book?

posted by jessica kennedy (not verified) | on Fri, 2012-09-07 21:24
Ana White's picture

Drop Leaf Storage Table Plans

Hi Jessica, the drop leaf hinge supports didn't make it to Alaska yet so I haven't posted the plans. Hopefully they will show up in the next few days so I can post the plans this coming week. Want to make sure they work before putting plans out there!

Thank you!


posted by Ana White | on Fri, 2012-09-07 22:04

I was just going to ask

... about the hinges. I'm about to move into a smaller apartment, and a small table like this that has some storage and versatility is just the ticket...

posted by Bunnie1978 | on Sun, 2012-09-09 15:59

Thank you! This looks

Thank you! This looks gorgeous! I'm still trying to decide between a black or antique white sideboard. This is pretty convincing!
I think minwax also has the Wipe On Poly. I used it for my bathroom cabinets. It was super easy.

posted by Jessica654321 (not verified) | on Fri, 2012-09-07 21:34
birdsandsoap's picture

I've always distressed this

I've always distressed this way using stain over a painted surface. It's so easy and I don't have to buy a fancy glaze.Stain is multi-purpose that way.

However, the pen look so easy! I'll have to try that one.

I L-O-V-E Antique White paint. All of the trim and wainscoting in our house it painted with Olympic's "Heirloom Lace." It is timeless, crisp and warm all at once. I don't think I could ever get tired of it. I always keep a gallon on hand, because I love white furniture. Makes it super easy for touching up everything in the house too, with one "go-to" perfect shade.

posted by birdsandsoap | on Sat, 2012-09-08 01:54


Hi Ana - I've used this finish on a dresser for my daughter's room. But the end result is not so smooth. Do you sand AFTER your last coat of the polycrylic? I really want to so that it will be nice and smooth... thoughts?

posted by Lisa Bethers (not verified) | on Sat, 2012-09-29 15:14

Advice on A Good Clear Coat

Hi Ana!
I love your website and I love that you have posted such clear and easy to understand furniture plans! I've built the loft bed with book case underneath. My girls love it! And I love being able to fit more furniture in the room by using the space underneath for a desk I re-finished. Now I'm working on a vanity that I sanded and then spray painted with Rustoleum's white paint/primer in one. I'm unclear wether it's oil based or acrylic. I think this could be important to know when I'm shopping for clear coat to protect the white finish. I saw you like the spray minwax... could I use that on top of Rustoleum?
Thanks for your advice!

posted by Katie Jones (not verified) | on Fri, 2012-11-09 10:46


I have just started following your work and love what you do!! I am thinking about changing my china hutch. Right now it is a beautiful golden oak but I am thinking about painting it black and distressing the edges. My question to you is, where do I start? I assume I would need to sand the whole thing but because I want the brown color that is on it now to be the distress color that I would paint it and then just sand the edges. Am I on the right track? When you paint furniture do you always use the semi gloss finish? Thanks for your time in helping me get started.

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posted by Stephanie Ingram | on Mon, 2013-04-15 07:59

Distressed paint adds such an

Distressed paint adds such an interesting and unique finish to wood. I noticed you were using an HLVP paint sprayer here. These are great tools especially for smaller projects that don't require a ton of paint.

posted by paintguy | on Mon, 2013-05-06 09:22
Imadethis's picture


Ana, could you tell me what model number you have for you sprayer from Grayco? Thanks!!!


posted by Imadethis | on Mon, 2013-05-13 10:10

Just MuZzO.. I like the way you do.. Great Work

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posted by muzzo | on Fri, 2013-07-12 05:03

Beautiful! This gave me a

Beautiful! This gave me a good idea with a similar table that I have. www.binaereoptionen.pw

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posted by jemy1 | on Thu, 2013-08-08 07:12
meganrm's picture


Hi Ana, I love this table, and I've been trying to find the plans for it. Have you posted them yet?

posted by meganrm | on Tue, 2013-10-08 12:28

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