How to get the faux unfinished wood look on any surface

Happy Monday! Some people do not like Mondays but I do. I like to think of Mondays the same way that I think of the new year. The start of the year is so full of excitement and hope and so is my Monday. This Monday, I am kicking the week off with this darling little horse. This horse did not always look like this. I bought it at a goodwill for $3.00 a year ago and loved it but the finish just kept disintegrating on me and so, it was time that I fixed it. I needed to do a tutorial on my faux unfinished wood look and this was the perfect opportunity.

I love a nice antique wood carved horse. They scream elegance! I have one that I found at Ross for a few dollars a few months ago. My dream is to one day own a real giant antique horse. In the meantime, I shall make do with what I have. My goodwill horse got a makeover with paint and stain. This is the exact same method that you would use to make a fake unfinished wood. This is the method that I used on the dining room chairs and the Large hymns sheet music. On this little horse, the finish looks slightly different than it does on the chairs but I think that is because of the substance underneath and not because of the method. In other words, because the horse is ceramic, the finish doesn’t look as much like wood but like a gorgeous antique statue.






For this project, you will need your own version of the following:

  1. Something that you want to give the unfinished wood look
  2. spray paint (only use if your item is not already wood and/or have a really slick finish. Spray paint sticks to anything)
  3. White paint
  4. gray paint
  5. stain (color of your choice)

My little horse started out like this:002

It seemed that it could not keep it’s finish and so I helped it along by scraping it down to force all of the semi-loose finish off.

004After that, I spray painted it. The logic behind starting out with spray paint is this: Spray paint sticks to anything and other paints stick to spray paint. If I Followed this method, I could ensure that my new finish is much more sturdy. I used textured spray paint to give it some texture.


I did a light coat of spray paint. Once that was dry, I did a coat of white paint.



Followed by a coat of gray paint.



I dried brushed each of those coats of paint. This means that I used as little paint as possible on the brush which leaves a thin layer of paint. This allows you to layer the paint. layering means that you are able to see some of the bottoms colors in spots of your piece. Once this process was done, I did the same thing with a coat of stain. I used a little brush to get in the cracks. This time, though, I used a cotton cloth and a tiny amount of stain. The coat of stain should be so thin that once you are done, if you wipe your finger over the stained piece, you should not feel stain on your finger.



I repeated the staining process until it was my desired shade.




horseThis is exactly how I achieved the wood look in my Restoration Hardware inspired sheet music. As always, experiment to see what works best for you using this basic idea. I think you’ll find that this is very simple after you’ve given it a go.

I hope you found this to be helpful. I do love to hear from you. So, comment away!

If you like it, Pin it!

horse (14) feature

Many blessings,


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24 thoughts on “How to get the faux unfinished wood look on any surface

    1. Thank you so much miss Kitty! I think he looks classy too 🙂 thank you so much for coming over to encourage me!

    1. Thanks so much Meg! I feel like i use stain all the time! I love it! thank you for taking the time to comment. it’s a huge encouragement to me!

    1. Thank you for the compliment and for taking the time to tell me! I think he looks elegant too 🙂 have agreat day!

    1. he does look classy doesn’t he? My husbs hated the other finish especially since it was falling apart and so I am thankful that he came out ok! Thank you so much for taking the time to comment Sam! have a good day!

  1. Hi Vanessa,
    You’re so creative! The dining chairs look incredible!!!
    When you have a moment, would you please share the brands and colors for the paints and stain that you used on your dining room chairs? Also, did you sand the wood on the chairs first or prep it in any way?

    Can’t wait to try making the Hymn wall art. Love that song. 🙂

    Thanks so much for sharing your talents!

    1. Hi Gloria, thank you so much for the compliments! The gray on the chairs is “intellectual gray” by Sherwin Williams and the stain is Minwax gel stain in the color “Walnut.” This stain is very thick so, I applied a little bit in a section and rubbed it up and down until it spread enough that I could still see some of the paint underneath. I did not sand the chairs first because I turned the paint into chalk paint by adding a mixture of 1 teaspoon of plaster of paris and 1/4 cup of water and then taking that mixture and mixing it with about a cup of paint. This turned it into chalk paint. When you use chalk paint, you do not need to sand first. However, if you have time to sand, go ahead and do as that will result in a much more lasting finish.

      1. Thanks so much for taking the time to supply the info about what you used and about how you made the chalk paint. That will be a big help to me. I think I’ll practice on some scrap wood first.

        You have a heart for hospitality that I’m sure is a blessing to many. So happy that I stumbled upon your blog. 🙂

        Be blessed!

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