sweet pickins home about sweet pickins contact sweet pickins sweet pickins portfolio shop sweet pickins sweet pickins in the press sweet pickins is available for refinishing custom refinishing with sweet pickins favorite projects our home Image Map Sweet Pickins Policy Sweet Pickins FAQs

{layering paint technique}


I recently refinished a classic pine sofa table for my friend Katie.  She wanted it black, but when the table was distressed she wanted red to show through.


cream dresser and black side tables before 001


hutch and sofa table 001

Since the table wasn’t red to begin with, and the wood was already stained i started off by painting the table red (sorry no pic).  Then, when that was dry, i painted the table black (New Black by Valspar).  I waited for it to dry and then got out some sanding blocks.

I used a 220 grit sanding block and then rubbed through the black paint to show the red paint underneath.  In some spots it went down to the natural wood underneath – and that is fine, it just adds more depth :)

hutch and sofa table 003

hutch and sofa table 005

hutch and sofa table 010

hutch and sofa table 011

Then i finished it off in a coat of poly so that you cant see the sanding marks – otherwise on the black paint the finish can look a little dull and show little scratches, the poly will take care of that.

Also, if this table weren’t already stained and raw wood, you can paint the table black, sand through where you want it distressed and then wipe on some red stain – i have done that before as well.

How easy is that to show a little character with some layered paint?! And think of all the different combinations that it can be done in.   Love it :)


23 Responses to {layering paint technique}

  1. Whytney May 16, 2011 at 3:56 pm #

    Table is perfect in black! Love it!

  2. Shabby Cowgirl May 16, 2011 at 3:56 pm #

    You did a beautiful job. Lucky friend. Classic black and red, just love it!

  3. NicoleLynn May 16, 2011 at 3:57 pm #

    Looks great! Love it! Great Job! =)

  4. Christa @ Stories of a House May 16, 2011 at 4:53 pm #

    I love layered red and black! The table looks like a completely different piece!

  5. Pete @ smithy's Painted Furniture May 16, 2011 at 6:39 pm #

    Hi, this looks really beautiful, great technique!

  6. Korrie@RedHenHome May 16, 2011 at 7:35 pm #

    Lovely work! I like it so much better now.

  7. KellyH May 17, 2011 at 12:32 am #

    Looks Great! Love the red peeking through!

  8. Kim @ A Brush of Whimsy May 17, 2011 at 3:05 am #

    I'll bet your friend loves it! Great tips, too!

  9. Geezees Custom Canvas Art May 17, 2011 at 3:03 pm #

    WOW…looks beautiful!

  10. Katie May 17, 2011 at 8:22 pm #

    I love it!! Thanks Sausha for giving me the entry table I wanted but, frankly, was too lazy to do myself. Plus, you did a much better job that I ever could have done! I've already received many compliments.

    Thanks for being such a great neighbor and friend!

  11. georgiagirl July 23, 2011 at 1:50 am #

    What kind of paint do you use? I have a desk coming to me soon and I want to paint it turquoise. I love the layered look – what color would you suggest underneath?

  12. Anonymous August 28, 2011 at 3:10 am #

    I really LOVE this!! I want to do this to my kitchen table and chairs, but I just have a question, do I need to sand or prime before painting it?

    Your work is fabulous; you are one amazing woman!!

  13. tracie February 12, 2012 at 10:42 am #

    I did this on a dining table but I still have stroke marks from foam roller. How do I get rid of those or prevent them if I try again? I used an enamal latex paint from Sherwin Williams and they told me I do not need a top coat. Should I use one anyway? I like look of roughed up edges it gives the table more dimension.

    • Sausha @ {Sweet Pickins} February 20, 2012 at 4:00 pm #

      you could try watering down your paint a little to make it thinner to try and hide the roller marks, or try using a foam brush. If the piece is going to get a lot of use and you want to keep it the way that its looking then i would use a top coat, if you want it to get a little more distressed then just skip it!!

  14. Julie May 8, 2012 at 8:40 am #

    Do you spray, roll, or brush your furniture? and do you use latex or enamal? I just built an entertainment center and the piece of furniture turned out great, however I’m having a really hard time with the paint looking absolutely perfect. We primed it since it was bare wood and we were painting red… then used a foam roller… I have a funny matted finish instead of a smooth finish I would want… Plus it is sticky which I plan to add a poly to harden that up… I just don’t know what to do so it is perfect in the future.

    • Sausha @ {Sweet Pickins} May 15, 2012 at 7:20 pm #

      i use a paint sprayer for most all my furniture

      The only reason i could think it would be sticky is if you used an oil based paint and it hadnt dried yet? I use all water based products

  15. Mary October 14, 2012 at 12:10 pm #

    Would you recommend buying a sprayer if I want to do a dining table? I don’t want to see brush or roller strokes. Any paint recs? I was thinking of doing the top of the table in black and then legs and chairs another color…maybe using chalk paint. Any advice? Thanks!

    • Sausha @ {Sweet Pickins} November 20, 2012 at 8:30 am #

      yes, i would for sure recommend a sprayer – if your just going to use it for one or two projects, i love the kobalt sprayer from lowes, its only about $50 and runs off an air compressor

  16. Cori February 1, 2013 at 12:09 pm #

    I love all the stuff you do! I wish I lived close so I could buy some of your stuff. But I don’t, so I am finally attempting to refinish an old hutch from my husbands grandma. I want the same look as this table…red base with black on top. Do you recall what color red you used? Also, it looks like you sanded, but not in all spots…any tips on sanding. My hutch looks like it’s oak with maybe a clear coat an top. Thanks in advance!!

  17. Holly February 6, 2013 at 12:53 pm #

    I love your work! I have been thinking about painting a stained/glossy finished coffee table black, but didn’t know if it would be too one dimensional. This layering technique will make this piece so much more interesting!! I’m just making my list of things to buy – you said you used valspar – new black paint. Did you get this in a semi-gloss latex? Does it matter what finish/brand for the red color underneath?

    Thank you in advance. I loved looking at all of your pieces – you are very talented!

    • Sausha @ {Sweet Pickins} February 8, 2013 at 9:11 pm #

      i dont recall the sheen of paint that i used, either a semi gloss or a satin is good. As far as the red, just whatever color you like :) And for that one i would go with a satin or eggshell, that way your top layer of black will stick :)

  18. jeffrey nelson August 20, 2016 at 12:12 pm #

    hello, i just came across your post, the table looks cool. did you brush or roll your top black coat? you can’t see any paint marks. great job!!!

    • Sausha @ {Sweet Pickins} October 17, 2016 at 2:38 pm #

      i sprayed everything!

Leave a Reply