Potterybarn Black Paint Finish Tutorial

{Please enjoy this 2011 post re-run while I'm away on Christmas vacation}
This project was my first video tutorial.  It was originally intended to be an instructional tool for some clients.  Had I known this video would reach over 35,000 viewers on You Tube, I would have done a spell check before posting it.  I guess I'm just keepin' it real.  This post turned out to be a ton of fun.  I received a few before and afters from readers that applied this technique to their own pieces.  It's humbling to realize that people really do read this blog.  Thank you.

Here is the original post:

Have you ever longed to achieve the perfect black paint finish?  Like the worn black finish on Potterybarn Furniture?   

Well, I have.  After years of trying different techniques,  I finally got it down.  Just in case anyone else has the same longing, I put together a quick video tutorial.

This video demonstrates my technique for turning thrifted furniture pieces into Potterybarn quality furnishings with the perfect worn black finish.

(Please  click on the frame if you need to view it larger).

The furniture piece used in this tutorial was not a thrifted item.  It was actually a client project that was in pristine condition (it definitely did not stink :)  )  
It still however, represents the basic painting technique.
Do you have any secrets for getting the perfect black?

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  1. I love this dresser. I actually have it pinned so that I can copy it with a dresser my mother in law gave me.


  2. beautiful dresser and a great tutorial! thanks for sharing!

  3. Hi Sarah, the dresser is absolutely gorgeous. I wish I could find items like this and not have to pay a fortune. Thanks for sharing and Happy New Year. I have recently found your blog and am now following you, and will visit often. Please stop by my blog and perhaps you would like to follow me also. Have a wonderful day. Hugs, Chris

  4. Hi, I just wanted to let you know I gave this post a little shout out on the Blog Guidebook - have a great day!

  5. LOVE this-- do you have this tutorial written out somewhere? I can't seem to find it on your website, and I would love to just have it in front of me instead of watching the video and grabbing screenshots of the steps. :)

  6. Beautiful!
    I just bought a piano with curvy legs and lots of detail work-- but it's made of light oak color. I think i'll use this tutorial to refinish it instead of stripping/staining it. THANKS!

    I found your blog on pinterest!

  7. Have you tried old fashion milk paint forthe disressed look?

  8. Hi! I absolutely love this look! I am attempting to do this to my chairs; however, I am running into a little problem. I am to the step where I am using the stain marker and it will not dry. It seems sticky/tacky and it has been on there for at least 24 hours. I am using the same products you referred to in your tutorial. I even tried to put the wax over it to see what would happen and it wiped it off:( Could this just be the weather or am I doing something wrong? Please help! Thanks so much:)

    1. Hey Catherine, I'm not sure what the cause of the tackiness is. I did not have the same issue, my stain dried without a problem. My advice is to try another stain marker…maybe you got an old one? Just a guess. I think it would be worth a try. Best, Sarah

    2. Catherine,
      One possibility is something is causing a slow cure rate. My understanding is if temp is too cold or humidity is too high, stain will cure slowly over several days. Easiest solution is to wait several days or a week before applying wax. You could also try leaving a fan and/or dehumidifier in the room for a few days (maybe just overnight), and/or using a hair dryer for say 30 minutes, before waxing.

      Great site. I am new to DIY and sites like this are a huge help. I followed your technique on a wine rack as an xmas gift. Easy process with great results. This will likely be the first of many furniture projects. Thanks so much.


  9. I love it and I plan to do this technique on furniture that I painted white for my daughter's nursery. She is 9 and I want to update it so not so cutesy and little girl. Does anyone have comments on durability for a kid room. I wondering if a coat of polyurethane would be a good idea for furniture that might take a bit more abuse then just sitting and looking pretty in the hall. thoughts? experience?

    Thanks for the great tutorial!! Jessica

  10. Do you any suggestions on how to accomplish this look when you are starting with an unfinished piece of furniture?


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