Refinished Bergere chair using Driftwood Weathering Wood Finish Before and After

Refinished thrift store chair using driftwood weathering wood finish

Refinished Thrift Store Chair Using
Driftwood Weathering Wood Finish Stain

Refinished Chair with Driftwood Weathering Wood Finish

Refinished Thrift Store Bergere Style Chair Turned Coastal Cottage Chic

I’m using an outdated and rather dark thrift store Bergere style chair and updating it with a beachy driftwood finish fit for any vintage seaside cottage and I’m using  Driftwood Weathering Wood Finish.

This is my second refinished thrift store chair project and turning it into a beautiful piece of furniture to fit my beach cottage.  Like the first chair, this one was purchased for under $30 and it needs to be completely stripped of both its dark finish and outdated fabric. 

Once you find that special chair, here are the materials you will need:

To start, you will need to remove all the fabric.  This may entail removing screws and I had to take the chair apart in order to remove the seat.  Here is what you will need for each step:

Removing the Fabric

  • needle nose pliers for helping to remove staples – and there will be MANY, MANY staples. 
  • flat head screw driver – helps with removing staples
  • patience, patience, patience – removing the many staples is the most tedious part

Stripping the Finish

  • Furniture stripping agent such as Klean Strip Paint & Varnish Remover or other safe stripper
  • steel wool #0000
  • scrapper
  • sandpaper #150, #220 and #320
  • mineral spirits

Refinishing and Re-upholstering

  • Driftwood Weathering Wood Finish
  • Fabric of your choice
  • Piping (optional)
  • Chip brush
  • Drop cloth
  • Spray on glue for foam Elmer’s Craft Bond Spray Adhesive Multi-Purpose
  • Tacky glue (but only if using piping) Beacon Fabri-Tac Permanent Adhesive
  • good quality staple gun
  • staples

Refinished Bergere chair using Driftwood Weathering Wood Finish Before and After

Above is the original thrift store chair

It’s in good condition, but not suitable for a vintage seaside cottage.  I wanted that weathered look that I keep seeing in Ballard Designs and Restoration Hardware.  I am always inspired by the pages of Ballard Designs and they have a Bergere style chair with a weathered finish that sells for $800 or more.  Same with Restoration Hardware.  I know I can recreate the weathered finish with Driftwood Weathering Wood Finish stain AND I can find a fabric that will suit my decor perfectly.

Refinished Bergere chair using Driftwood Weathering Wood Finish Before and After

A key to re-upholstering the chair is to keep all the original fabric pieces, including any padding or backing.  This way you can use them as pattern pieces.  Make sure to mark each piece and even take pictures during the removal process that you can refer back to. 

Refinished Bergere chair using Driftwood Weathering Wood Finish Before and After

Take pictures and mark the pieces.  Once all the fabric has been removed, you can start stripping the finish.

Refinished Bergere chair using Driftwood Weathering Wood Finish Before and After

Refinished Bergere chair using Driftwood Weathering Wood Finish Before and After

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I used an environmentally safe spray-on furniture stripper so as not to have hazardous chemicals seep into the ground water.  This particular stripper took longer and more elbow grease but I’m good with that. There are plenty of environmentally safe paint removers available.  To help remove the finish, I used #0000 steel wool especially in the hard to get areas.

Fully Stripped of Finish and Fabric

The chair completely stripped, sanded and cleaned with mineral spirits.  Any chemical residue from the stripper or original finish will hinder the results of the Driftwood Weathering Wood Finish.  So I need to test the results using the Driftwood Weathering Wood Finish stain. 

Refinished Bergere chair using Driftwood Weathering Wood Finish Before and After

My first chair project turned out darker than I expected because I did not test the results first.  This time, I knew I wanted a lighter and more brown toned finish that would pick up the taupey brown tones in my chosen fabric. I also wasn’t at all sure what type of wood the chair was made from.  Since the more tannins a wood has – the darker the color will be when using the Driftwood Weathering Wood Finish.  It’s really important to test the results in an inconspicuous area first.

Refinished Bergere chair using Driftwood Weathering Wood Finish Before and After

As it turned out, diluting the Driftwood Weathering Wood Finish solution gave me the color I was looking for.  Instead of mixing 1 packet with 1 cup of water – I mixed it with 2 cups of water. 

Refinished Bergere chair using Driftwood Weathering Wood Finish Before and After

Here I am testing the finish against my chosen fabric which is Magnolia Home Indoor/Outdoor Sea Island Spa.  It has a beachy, cottage feel and even looks a bit vintage to me.  The colors are perfect! 

I seriously considered using the Driftwood Liming Wax to give it a lighter finish as I did with my first chair project but then realized I wanted a more driftwood, weathered finish.  A finish that was completely matte like a found piece of driftwood. 

Re-upholstering the Chair

I’ve been sewing since I was 10, but if you are not confident in your sewing skills, this might be where you want to take the chair and original fabric pieces to an upholstery shop to complete the project. 

Cut out all your fabric pieces using the original pieces as templates, which hopefully you saved and marked.  Same with any backing pieces. Sometimes you may need to replace the cushioning or backing pieces.

One thing I learned along the way was to use a spray glue good for closed cell foam such as Elmer’s Craft Bond Spray Adhesive Multi-Purpose to lightly glue ONLY the fabric backing to the foam.  DO NOT glue the actual fabric to the foam – just the backing materials.  This really helps keep everything in place while you are re-covering the chair.

Refinished Bergere chair using Driftwood Weathering Wood Finish Before and After

Another great tip is to fold and press your fabric under about 1/4″ before applying to the chair using a staple gun.  This way, you end up with a nice clean edge instead of frayed fabric edges.  Much less messy.  I also used piping to cover up any exposed staples and Beacon Fabri-Tac Permanent Adhesive to apply the piping.

Refinished Bergere chair using Driftwood Weathering Wood Finish Before and After

Refinished Bergere chair using Driftwood Weathering Wood Finish Before and After

Refinished Bergere chair using Driftwood Weathering Wood Finish Before and After

Final Project

Refinished Bergere chair using Driftwood Weathering Wood Finish Before and After

 

Total Cost for Refinishing and Re-Upholstering Thrift Store Bergere-Style Chair Using Driftwood Weathering Wood Finish

The total cost for this project was about is about $115.00 and that included:

  •  $25.00 for thrift store chair
  • $24 for a 3 yards of fabric
  • $12.99 for the Driftwood Weathering Wood Finish
  • $10.00 piping
  • $13.00 Elmer’s Craft Bond Spray Adhesive Multi-Purpose
  • $6.00 Beacon Fabri-Tac Permanent Adhesive
  • $12.99 environmentally safe paint and varnish stripper
  • $8.00 for incidentals such as staples and sandpaper

Refinished Bergere chair using Driftwood Weathering Wood Finish Before and After

Refinished Bergere chair using Driftwood Weathering Wood Finish Before and After

Driftwood Weathering Wood Finish Birdhouse

Weathered Wood Bird Feeder and Stand

weathered wood bird feeder and stand

Driftwood Weathered Wood Bird Feeder and Stand

I recently added this sweet weathered wood bird feeder and stand to our backyard and aged it using Driftwood Weathering Wood Finish.  I wanted it to match and blend in more with our aged and weathered wood fencing.  Once I had all the materials, it took about 30 minutes to assemble, stain and paint this bird feeder and stand.  Pretty easy actually and now we are thoroughly enjoying watching the many birds frequent the feeder all day long.   Especially Bella, our cat whose morning routine is sitting in front of the back door.  She is completely mesmerized by the visiting wildlife just beyond the glass door.  

Items Needed

  • Bird feeder.  I purchased the Woodlink Cedar Bird Feeder from Amazon – $34.84
  • 18″ Woodlink Audubon Wrap Around Squirrel Baffle also purchased from Amazon – $18.49
  • Driftwood Weathering Wood Finish
  • 1 Vinyl Wrapped Wood Closet Round Pole by Woodgrain Millwork from Home Depot – 1  5/16″ x 72″
  • 1 Galvanized steel nipple from Home Depot – 1  1/2″ x 2″
  • 1  Iron floor flange from Home Depot – 1  1/2″
  • Used Sunbrella stand

I wanted a bird feeder that I could easily move around the yard and into the garage should a hurricane approach.  But I also needed one that would be easy for me to fill and one that fit in with the surroundings.  The more I looked at the two unused sun umbrella stands in the yard, the simplier the answer seemed to be – attach the bird feeder to a pole and insert it into the sunbrella stand.  Seemed easy enough and certainly cheaper than buying a bird feeder pole kit.  If you don’t have an extra sunbrella stand on hand, you can find them at yard sales, thrift stores, Craig’s List, etc. or even cheap ones online.

weathered wood bird feeder and stand
The two sunbrella stands I had on hand.

I found the style birdhouse I wanted on Amazon along with a recommended squirrel baffle.

weathered wood bird feeder and stand

One thing I ended up doing is removing the two wire cages on the ends of the bird feeder used for holding suet cakes.  I did not find that the birds liked them although it was probably the type of suet I was using.  Once I removed the wiring, I applied the Driftwood Weathering Wood Finish to give it age and create my weathered wood bird feeder and stand. 

weathered wood bird feeder and stand
Staining the bird feeder with Driftwood Weathering Wood Finish to match my fencing. Notice I’ve already got the flange and nipple attached to the bottom of the bird feeder and I removed the wire cages for the suet cakes.
weathered wood bird feeder and stand
I now have the weathered look I want to match the fencing.

Home Depot, Lowe’s, Walmart and many other stores all carry poles and the plumbing hardware I needed to attach the bird feeder and to also set it into the stand.  I purchased the vinyl-wrapped wood pole from the closet department and the flange and steel nipple from the plumbing department.  I thought the vinyl would help the wood last longer in the outdoor elements.  Be sure that whatever width size pole that you purchase will fit into your sunbrella stand.  Most stands are adjustable to accommodate various sizes – just make sure you don’t get one too big. 

Putting the Weathered Wood Bird Feeder and Stand and Together

The iron floor flange needed to be small enough to fit on the bottom of the bird feeder and  the galvanized steel nipple needs to fit inside the flange.  The steel nipple needs to fit over the top of the pole so that it can be easily lifted on and off.

Driftwood Weathering Wood Finish Birdhouse
1 1/2″ iron floor flange; 1 5/16″ x 72″ vinyl covered pole; 1 1/2″ x 2″ galvanized steel nipple

The beauty of this bird feeder is that I can lift it up and off the pole easily when I need to refill the seed.  And it sits secure enough on the pole so that I’m not worried about it coming off in any wind.  I’m 5’2″ so the 2″ nipple worked perfectly for me but if you are taller, you can go with a 4 or 6″ nipple and it will really sit solidly on the pole. 

I inserted the pole into the sunbrella stand, adjusted the tightening mechanism and attached the squirrel baffle about 4 feet off the ground.  Then spray painted the pole black to match the baffle.

I then attached the flange to the bottom with screws and screwed the galvanized nipple into the flange.  The bird feeder is now ready to slide over the top of the pole.  That’s it – just slide it over the top.  There is no need to screw or secure it in place.  It will stay on the pole just fine and you will still be able to easily lift it on and off the pole to refill it.  It’s amazingly sturdy even in the wind.

Driftwood Weathering Wood Finish Birdhouse
Attached the flange to the bottom of the bird feeder with screws and then screw the steel nipple into the flange. Slip over the top of the pole. It should fit snuggly but still easy enough to lift on and off.

Fill it and Enjoy the Wildlife

I fill my bird feeder with white millet and it is constantly visited by morning doves, cardinals, woodpeckers and bluejays.  Thankfully, the crows and grackles don’t like millet so they stay away.  The baffle works perfectly to keep the squirrels out of the bird feeder as long it is placed at least 15 feet from anywhere they can jump.  And every morning I have a rabbit or two mingling about the bottom of the bird feeder with the squirrels.  I don’t know if they like eating the millet seed but I now put carrots out for the rabbits.  We have a deal – I give them carrots and they don’t eat my hostas.  So far so good…

Driftwood Weathering Wood Finish Birdhouse
I painted the pole black.
Driftwood Weathering Wood Finish Birdhouse
We changed from a oiled sunflower birdseed mix to a white millet and no more crows or grackles. Just cardinals, morning doves, woodpeckers and bluejays. Plus squirrels and rabbits feeding at the bottom.
Driftwood Weathering Wood Finish Birdhouse
Notice my rabbits. They do enjoy my yard and we enjoy watching them.

If you prefer a more whimsical birdhouse made from actual driftwood pieces in additional to our weathered wood bird feeder and stand, check out this tutorial.

 

Beach Style Decorating Ideas

Beach style decorating isn’t just for coastal beach houses and cottages by the seashore. It can be incorporated absolutely anywhere to soothe the nerves, provide positive energy and lighten the mood. Some simple beach style decorating tips can bring the therapeutic benefits of a vacation at the beach right into your home.Driftwood chair

Start by installing an interior louvre door and painting it a vibrant Caribbean blue or a deep aquamarine. Louvered doors automatically stir thoughts of old casual beach cottages. Next, install some horizontal planking across one wall of the living room or a whole ceiling and whitewash it for an overall beach house ambiance. Continue the aqua colors in accent pillows, comfy throws and an area rug. Toss in the bright orange of a warm beach sunset.

Go boldly into beach style decorating with unusual and unexpected color in the kitchen. Paint the kitchen island an eye-catching sea green and repeat the color in the window treatments. White or shell cabinets and a sea glass backsplash provide just the right amount of contrast while giving you that sand swept beachy feel.

If you’re not that daring, go to the opposite end of the spectrum and make nearly everything stark white. Then paint the wooden floor and the

cabinet doors a subtle sandy color. Easily add some sophistication with the texture of stainless steel appliances and accents. Purchase or create your own accessories with a nautical or coastal theme with using driftwood, shells and sea glass to create the feeling of being near the sea. Hang some artwork depicting the seaside and fill some shelves with picture frames and treasure boxes bordered in delicate shells. Translucent blue glass accents bring the sea inside.

Wall decor made of woven sea grass and random room accents made of wicker strengthen the aura of a retreat by the beach. Driftwood, when adapted as a home decorating accessory, is extremely versatile and lends itself to endless creative ideas. Weathered driftwood can be hung on a wall as is or insert a simple airplant and use as a planter. Equip it with some small hooks and dangle some souvenirs from the beach. Pick up an inexpensive wood-framed mirror and attach small pieces of driftwood around the border.

Gathering several pieces of driftwood that are all near the same length, tie them together with sea grass or nautical rope and stand them on their ends. Use this as the base for holding dried wild flowers. If you have a large section of driftwood, secure it to a wall, attach some hooks and use it as an unusual hat rack. Try making one of our suggested driftwood candleholders or driftwood lamps. Refinish a great flea market find with a driftwood finish by using Driftwood Weathering Wood Finish or one of our alternative homemade techniques.

If you have a pool, construct a backyard open-air cabana. Basically, this consists of nothing but a simplistic frame and a roof-like covering. Add floor to ceiling canvas curtains tied back to each post and create a look that’s as soft as a sea breeze. Add some more lush plants. Fill it with accent pieces that have seaside motifs like palm fronds, shells or marine life.

Outdoors, landscape with solar lighting as a reminder of the sun’s subtle energy. Indoors, adorn a few side tables with a grouping of sand candles.

Lighten up your mood and your atmosphere with beach style decorating. It’s the next best thing to being there.

Creating a Driftwood Finish

If you’re anything like me, you love the look of driftwood furniture. The aged and worn look just appeals to me although most of the pieces I see for sale in the major stores are not actual driftwood but wood that’s made to look weathered, usually with painting techniques.  So I began a quest to find out how I could get that same look at home.  After all, I was experienced at refinishing furniture, painting, staining and distressing – why not try my hand at this driftwood finish look.

And there’s nothing more satisfying than finding a beautiful piece of furniture in a thrift store that someone else has discarded – no longer useful to them.  I’m one of those that can see its possibilities and I’m quick to snap it up, take it home and give it a whole new life.

I found myself a gem of a side table at one local thrift store.  It was perfect.  I stripped off the old stain and finish and had initially decided that I wanted a distressed white look.  After about four months of this distressed white table, I decided I wanted it to look more like a driftwood finish.  I was seeing driftwood tables, beds and lamps, etc. everywhere and I wanted it.

An indepth search on the Internet revealed some very interesting processes that others were using to achieve that driftwood finish.  Some with paint (which I also did and it came out great and you can read that post – Creating a Driftwood Finish With Paint), others with concoctions of vinegar and steel wood and still others using baking soda, tea and coffee.

Along the way, I discovered my own mixture, which I call Driftwood Weathering Wood Finish, and to my surprise, it worked beautifully on that little white table once I had stripped and sanded it again.  But I still wanted to test the other methods I came across so below you will see a video of the five different methods I used on 3 different types of wood – oak, pine and birch.  I will show the initial application and the outcome 24 hours later.

The five methods I use to achieve a weathered wood driftwood finish are:

#1 – Tea – Steeped green tea in 1/2 water for several hours.

#2 – Coffee – Steeped coffee grounds in 1/2 cup water for several hours.

#3 – Vinegar & Steel Wool (3 Cups White Vinegar and 1 steel wool pad – soaked for 45 days, although you really only need to soak it for 24 hours – I just happen to still have a mixture still around from another project);

#4 – Baking Soda & Water (1/4 Cup water to 1/8 Cup baking soda); and

#5 – Driftwood Weathering Wood Finish – which you can now buy here on our website or through Amazon

Watch Video

Creating a Driftwood Finish With Paint

Creating a Driftwood Finish With Paint

Driftwood Finish with Paint

I used this technique for creating a driftwood finish with paint, which I confess I garnered from another website some time ago and unfortunately, I do not remember where.  But, I do remember the process and it worked quite well for me in getting that driftwood look.

I started with just two different driftwood-like colors of flat, water-based latex paint, plus a small amount of  basic black and white artist’s acrylic.  The black and white were just from small tubes of acrylic paint I had on hand for painting on canvas.  You will only need a small amount of the white and black so just buy small tubes if you don’t already have some water based latex or acrylics on hand.

Sherman-Williams Grays Harbor

Sherman-Williams Pavestone

Pick the two colors you want from any assorted flat, water-based acrylic grays, beiges, sand or dark creams at the paint store that you feel will give you the colors and shades to mimic a driftwood finish.   I chose a quart each of 6236 Grays Harbor and 7642 Pavestone latex flat paint & primer both from Sherwin-Williams’ SuperPaint collection.  So now you have Grays Harbor and Pavestone.

But you want to have more colors to work with and in order to achieved additional tints and shades I merely added a little of the white or black to Grays Harbor and Pavestone.  Pour a small amount of Grays Harbor into a plastic cup or container and mix in a small amount of white paint to achieve a lighter tint – we now have Grays Harbor Light.  Do this again using Pavestone as your base and you will create Pavestone Light.

Now pour some of Grays Harbor and Pavestone in yet two more separate containers and add a small amount of black to each to get a darker shade of Grays Harbor and Pavestone.  You now have Grays Harbor Dark and Pavestone Dark and a total of 6 different driftwood colors for creating a driftwood finish.  Truthfully, I believe I only used 4 of the colors on my project but you now have lots of different shades and tints to work with and you can create as many as you want using this method of adding varying amounts of white or black to your base driftwood colors.

cat in bookcaseThis dresser was originally black with a beautiful antique gold stencil pattern but, while it was once one of my favorite pieces, it no longer suited my new driftwood color scheme and beachy style.  I went from British West Indies with its dark woods, burnt orange painted walls and vibrant tropical colors  to subdued sand-toned walls and creamy beach theme with driftwood furniture and accessories.  In the interim, before I decided on trying a driftwood finish using paint, I had given the dresser a distressed white finish.  It was nice but  I knew I could do better.  I wanted that highly sought after driftwood finish and I also really liked a lot of the mirrored furniture I was seeing.  Why not combine a driftwood finish with mirrored drawer fronts?

After mixing my paint colors, the procedure went as follows:

1.            First, I used the Grays Harbor and painted the whole piece.  Since I had never put any type of finishing product on the piece after I had painted it white,  all I needed to do was scruff it up a bit with sandpaper to get some good paint adhesion and paint over the white with the gray.

2.            Next, I took the darkest gray shade Grays Harbor Dark and made it a glaze by adding equal part water.  I used a soft cloth and went over the areas of the legs where you can see the carving so that the darker shade got into the grooves.  Don’t let the paint sit – you have to move quickly and wipe off most of the paint that has not settled into the grooves.

3.            I then made a glaze from the Pavestone base color.  Again, ½ water and ½ paint to make the glaze.  I applied this layer in small areas of the piece with a brush and worked quickly to blend and soften the paint using a soft cloth – taking off quite a bit of the glaze as I went along.  I slowly did this to the whole piece.

4.            The next layer was the Pavestone Light.  Again, I made a glaze of ½ paint and ½ water.  I applied this layer using a very dry brush technique and very long brush strokes with a very light hand.  I didn’t apply a lot – just a little here and there until I was happy with it.

5.            For the final touch, I diluted black paint and a little water and, with a toothbrush and my fingers, I flecked the surfaces of the dresser with just little black specks here and there.

6.            When I was done, I used Driftwood Natural Beeswax Wood Butter to give it a nice soft protective finish.

After several attempts at finding just the right knobs, I finally chose mercury glass knobs from Anthropologie.

I couldn’t be happier with how the finish came out and how the final piece looks.  But I will note two things.  First, as nice as this painted driftwood finish looks – I could have used the Driftwood Weathering Wood Finish and got just as nice if not nicer driftwood finish in a lot less time and without all the paint and cleanup, but, I hadn’t developed the product yet and, in fact, this project inspired me to find an easier alternative; and  second,  having the mirror put on the dresser fronts may not have been the best idea.  While it looks great (I had them done by a local glass and mirror shop), the mirror is very heavy and prone to crack if you put the handles on too tight or if you move the piece a lot like I have.  The mirror on two corners has already chipped and cracked.  I had really, really wanted antiqued mirror, i.e. smoky, aged and distressed but I could not find any locally so that was disappointing.  This piece would have been over the top if I had been able to use antique mirrors as I originally wanted… sigh.

Creating a Driftwood Finish with Paint

Creating a Driftwood Finish with Paint

How to Refinish Driftwood

To me, the beauty of driftwood comes from having its surfaced worn away, bleached and sculpted by the elements.  Real driftwood would never have an intact shiny finish.  I definitely prefer a non-shiny finish in the pieces I create from actual driftwood found along the shore or even furniture pieces I have stripped down, sanded and re-created with a driftwood finish.  Nonetheless, there are times when you may want or perhaps need a protective finish like when you have a tabletop that will get lots of use and will be subjected to water marks if not protected.

I’ve contacted many woodworkers and companies that specifically make finishes in an ongoing quest to find a good product that would ultimately protect the finish while not darkening the color.

A lot of people will use polyurethane on their driftwood furniture or even driftwood sculptures.  This is one of the worst looks in my opinion.  The polyurethane tends to be heavy and makes it look artificial and plastic-like.  So what does one do?

I have found that lighter woods such as pine or birch handle some protective coatings better than others.  And by better, I mean the color you get once you apply the protective finish does not get as dark as other woods, but still gets darker.  I tried a product called High Performance Top Coat by General Finishes in a satin finish and I applied it over the Driftwood Weathered Wood Finish used on a piece of pine, birch and walnut.  I was happy with the outcome on the pine as it was only 1-2 shades darker, but the walnut was 10x darker and even the birch became too dark for my liking. So, I would recommend this finish if your driftwood piece is pine.

I also tried another product called Safecoat® AcriGlaze Matte by American Formulating and Manufacturing (AFM), a company dedicated to safe green products.  I ordered a sample bottle and tried the product on different sample boards of pine, birch and oak over the Driftwood Weathered Wood Finish.  I was very happy with the results considering everything else I have tried produced a very dark finish.  With the AcriGlaze Matte, I could see where I had applied the product but it really didn’t darken it by much and left no shine.  On some samples, I could not even tell I had applied any finish at all.  I am impressed with this product and would recommend it for use on bare driftwood or over a driftwood finish.  The above link will take you directly to Amazon where it can be purchased in quarts or gallons but make sure to get the matte finish.

Here is a description taken from their PDF:

DESCRIPTION: Safecoat® AcriGlaze is a special mixing medium and finish suitable for use in the display, art and show fields. It is mildew resistant, odorless and dries clear. Ideal for restoring old finishes to their original brilliance, sealing and preserving painted work, faux finishing and as an adhesive for paper mache. Dries clear. Available in gloss and matte sheens. USE ON: Clear finish for masonry, brick, plaster, wood, paneling, etc., where a soft low luster finish and sealer is desired. May be used both interior or exterior as a reducer for any type of waterbased paint. Excellent medium for artist colors and universal tints.

After trying many products, we came to realize that the best way to preserve the color of the Driftwood Final Finish Liquid Waxfinish was to use a product that does not contain solvents or oils.  They can be hard to find which is why we also decided to release our Driftwood Final Finish Liquid Wax.  It contains no solvents or VOCs but does contain carnauba wax for a very hard and durable finish, plus it’s in liquid form so it’s easy to apply and the finish is a soft satin finish.  It usually takes about two coats and that depends upon how thirsty your wood is.  Driftwood Final Finish Liquid Wax 

If you still want to finish driftwood so that it is protected and preserved for years to come, and don’t mind the “shiny” look –  read on.

refinishing driftwood

Step 1: Smoothing the Surface of the Driftwood

You will need to begin by smoothing the surface of the wood using something like a 220 grit sandpaper to take off any rough spots. Nature will already have done most of the hard work for you, but there are usually a few spots that need a little bit of extra work. If the particular piece of driftwood you are working with has any sharp or broken ends, then these too need to be sanded away, to create a rounded and smooth surface.

Step 2:  Pre-Treating the Driftwood

Next, you will need to treat the wood before it can be stained – if indeed you are going to stain the piece. For this you can use a wood conditioner, but do not apply it directly to the wood. Instead, soak a cloth in wood conditioner and then rub it into the surface of the driftwood. Once the wood has been generously coated, leave it to dry for 15 or 20 minutes. Some people are tempted to skip this stage and move straight on to staining their piece. Do not be tempted to do this. Applying a wood conditioner is essential to ensure that, when the stain is added, it will create an even finish.

Step 3: Applying the Stain

Time to apply a stain to your wood. You will want to put on rubber gloves for this step, so that you don’t end up with stained hands and, as with the wood conditioner, put the stain onto a cloth first, and then rub in into the wood. Apply any stain with a circular motion and rub it well into the wood. Once applied, leave the stain to soak in for between 5 and 15 minutes, depending on how deeply stained you want the wood to be.

Once you have the color you are looking for, rub any excess stain off using a dry rag, and set the wood to one side for several hours, until the wood is dry when you touch it and no stain comes off when you run your fingers along the surface.

Step 4: Applying Polyurethane

The final stage is to apply two thin coats of polyurethane to the whole surface of the driftwood piece, allowing 6 to 8 hours for the first coat to become dry before applying the second coat.  Keep in mind that applying polyurethane or even beeswax polish will darken your finish considerably.  I would test an area first if possible to make sure you like how dark it will become.

Your driftwood will now last for years and provide you with a wonderful and uniquely sculptured ornament to enjoy.

Driftwood Mid-Century Modern Nightstand Project

Project – Using Driftwood Weathering Wood Finish on Mid-Century Modern Nightstand

Driftwood Mid-century modern dresser

I found this beautiful nightstand at Goodwill for $25.00. I knew right away that it was a good, quality piece of furniture and sure enough, a little online research and “Dixie” furniture company was well known for mid-century furniture pieces. So, my problem is I want a mid-centuryDriftwood projects modern piece with the look of driftwood.  I’ve recently become infatuated with mid-century accessories and furniture – especially atomic art represented by the starburst.

This is my experiment to see if I can successfully combine the two with an updated, driftwood mid-century modern piece.

One of the things I found so special about this little nightstand was the handles – they had little “starburst” like symbols engraved in the metal. I had never seen that before but I thought that was pretty cool.

So my thought in this project is to use a starburst pattern and apply it using a mixture of wood glue and water like you would a stencil. Here is how the project went:

Driftwood Mid-Century dresser

Original piece being investigated by my little helper.

handles

These are the handles with the little “starbursts”

stripping the stain

Stripping the stain

Sanding the finish

Sanding the finish and then removing all the dust with tack cloth.

Sanded

All stripped and sanded and ready for the next step – adding the graphic.

 

Adding the stencil

Adding the graphics.  I used carbon paper and traced the image onto the nightstand.  Then carved around the image with an exacto blade.  The idea behind this was that the Driftwood Weathering Wood Finish would get in the cuts and create a darker outline of the image.

applying the graphic

Once I had the image on the nightstand with the carbon paper – I then used a mixture of Elmer’s glue and water (half n’ half) and went over the graphic using an artist’s brush.  The glue mixture should prevent the stain from adhering and it will give me the graphic on the nightstand.  There are wood glues out there that are specifically made to stain and others that should not take stain.  Another idea might be to use an artist masking fluid.  I suspect that would work just fine and it would give you a lighter graphic.  You should be able to remove the masking fluid and reveal the unfinished wood coming through your pattern.  I wish I had tried masking fluid first but patience is not one of my virtues and I wanted to get started with what I had.  I’ll try it with the next project.

Applying the Driftwood Weathered Wood Finish

I’ve applied the Driftwood Weathering Wood Finish.  One thing I noticed once I stripped the piece was that there were different types of wood used to make this piece.  The legs were a blond oak and the sides I believe were a maple but I’m not 100% positive about that.  The top piece is veneered – so I knew once I applied the Driftwood Finish, the different types of wood would each take the color differently.

Driftwood Weathered Wood Finish on Mid-Century Modern dresser

As you can see, the final piece has a lot of different tones – the legs are much lighter.  But I love how the graphic came out.  Now I have the problem of putting a protective finish on it.  My first thought was to put a coat or two of the Driftwood Beeswax Wood Butter but I quickly nixed that idea.  I realized that putting the wax over the cuts in the pattern would leave bits of wax in the cuts – like you get when someone does a poor job of waxing your car.  Thankfully, I realized this before I went ahead with putting on the beeswax.  But it does need some type of protective finish.

I’ve decided to put a matte polyurethane coating on the top at least.  I’ve applied the polyurethane to the top and sides and it really darkens the finish quite a bit – more than I think I want.  So I’m hesitating about putting the polyurethane on the front over the graphic – I’m afraid I’ll lose the graphic.  I may decide to use the Driftwood Liming Wax on the whole piece.  I suspect that I will lose the graphic if I do but I may be brave and do it anyway.  I will post pics if I do.

I think I have at least achieved my driftwood mid-century modern look that I was going after.

Follow-up – I decided to sand the polyurethane off and apply the beeswax wood butter instead to the sides and top.  The beeswax wood butter actually made the sides and top just as dark as the polyurethane so my only alternative is to leave it as is with a darker top and sides than I want or move on to trying the liming wax.  I decided to go with the liming wax and I’m happy with that.  It lightened up the top and sides a bit.  In the picture below, I have not applied to the Driftwood Liming Wax to the top yet – just to the side.

Liming wax applied to side