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You are in for a treat here! Let’s learn Shape Painting Art with Stain. This weekend, at the Haven Conference, I got the chance to meet Nick and Beth, the authors of the blog Reality Dream. They are a DIY duo and it was a privilege to sit and talk with them for a little bit while at the conference. 

When I first saw Beth’s amazing shade technique I begged her to guest post to share it on here. Sit back and be amazed. 

She even says it is easy enough that I can do it! 

That, my friends, is a coffee table Beth painted and then shaded with stain.


Shade Painting with Stain

Hey IC readers! My name is Bethany, and I co-author (with my man-boy Nick) DIY/family blog Reality Dream! We have WAY too much fun building, painting and creating together… all with our twin 2-year-old daughters in-tow .

We’ve been chugging away at making our house a home, and love sharing tutorials and furniture transformations along the way!

When Beckie invited me to guest post, I was completely flabbergasted and so excited! I mean, this is the BIG TIME right here! She is such an inspiration to me, and has really been a pioneer to pave the way for this crazy DIY blogging ‘industry’. You don’t come by creativity like that just anywhere!! UGH, I could go on and on.

But let’s got down to business, because I have an amazing technique to show you today! I decided to try my hand at ‘shading with wood stain’… and well, let’s just say IT TOTALLY WORKS.

Shading with Stain - Gradual Staining Technique by Sawdust and Embryos}

After doing that (above) Buffet, I knew I had to try this technique again because I loved it so much! I did this in an evening, and you can too… NO JOKE.

I know it looks all intricate and impossible, but just please trust me! Let me show you how!

Grab a bargain to restore

We started with this basic coffee table (below) that is a dime-a-dozen. I think we picked it up for $10 at a garage sale. Since there was nothing special about it, I knew it was the perfect candidate to give this a try.

If it flops, we can just paint it turquoise. That seems to be everybody’s backup plan, right?!

shading with stain

Since I had dabbled in shading with stain and knew it worked, I was excited but a little nervous to try something more intricate. But what’s there to lose, right? A $10 coffee table that you can find in any dorm room?

When using stain, you always need to have a surface that’s raw smooth wood. So I stripped her down real quick, and sanded till she was smooth as a baby’s… cheek.

Preparing surface for Staining Technique
I did a google image search for ‘lily’ and sketched out the outline of a lily that I liked using a pencil.

You can hardly see it here, but you get the point, right?

Prepping your surface for Shading with Stain Technique

Then, using a craft paint brush, I started applying stain a little at a time.

Using Stain to make artwork

Similar to drawing with charcoal, you just scrub it to smear (shade) it.

You’ll know where to shade, because you’ll choose a direction that the ‘light’ is shining on your flower.

So on the side of the light, there will be NO STAIN, and it will gradually get darker toward the opposite side of each petal.

Shading with Wood Stain

painting with stain

Keep at IT

The whole time I was doing this, I kept saying… ‘this is NOT turning out!’. But I just kept going, because what’s there to lose? A $10 coffee table?  There was no turning back!  …

But then I stepped back and said SNAP! Not bad sister!

And patted myself on the back.

Gradient Stain Technique

After sealing it with a glossy poly, it really deepened the shade of the stain, but I like it this way too!

And we chose to paint the base a glossy black, because we wanted the top to really stand out!

Artwork using Wood Stain

Of all the furniture we’ve done, this one is one of my favorites. Nothing gives me more joy than making something tragic look AMAZING. It’s so satisfying!

If you decide to give this staining technique a try, definitely check out the more in-depth tutorial here.

DIYMasonJarMosaicBacksplashTutorialPART1SawdustandEmbryos_zpsf1833f20Make Your Own StencilHand Painted Flower Dresser
Glossy SwirlsEasy Upholstered HeadboardPaint your backsplash {Sawdust and Embryos}

HUUUUUUUUUUUGE thanks to Beckie for letting me take over her blog for the day. You da best, my friend!!

Bethany {Sawdust and Embryos}

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  1. Amazing….I didn’t know this could be done. Your flower is so beautifully “painted” and detailed.
    Jamie |

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