Hello Friends! I’ve been getting lots of questions and requests for a tutorial on how I do my “faux” chippy barnwood paint technique on my pallet frames. Yes you heard me correctly- they aren’t real antiques or even real reclaimed barnwood! Shock, I know! But with three little ones, I am not wanting to risk lead paint exposure for the real deal. And while you know I am a sucker for milk and chalk paint, I am always trying new techniques to get the most authentic looking finishes on my furniture builds. So today I wanted to share my plaster painting technique, and how I get the chippy barnwood look on a DIY budget. No milk or chalk paint needed!
Disclaimer: There are affiliate links in this post, but I only share things I love and think you will too.
If you are wanting to see how I build my DIY pallet wood frames, you can check out the DIY in this post HERE.
When I built these wood frames I automatically knew that I wanted the wood to steal the show, but I also wanted them to look like they had big solid sheets of paint still stuck on them. I really didn’t know how I could get this look with real paint… so after looking over all the supplies I had in my paint stash, it hit me to try using wall plaster. You know, the stuff you patch nail holes in your wall with? This stuff is super cheap, and worst case scenario I could always easily sand or wash it off if I didn’t like how it turned out.
I couldn’t believe how well it worked! So here’s application process below.
First start off with your wood in the condition you want it to show through in. So if you want to stain it, do so before hand. I just used pallet wood, in it’s natural state.
I have found that it helps to look at photos of authentic chippy paint pieces when you are doing this finish. Find one that you want your wood to look like, and try to mimic the way the paint flakes off.
When applying the plaster, gently scrape it in one direction, and sort of swirl it so that it looks like big strips of paint about to chip and flake off.
If you want there to be some heavy looking faking going on, splatter your plaster knife sporadically, sort of patting it along.
And if you want lots of little chippiness on your barnwood, really splatter it on there, adding layer upon layer of plaster until you have a flaking milk paint look.
I think the thing about this process vs something like milk paint is that you can literally slap it on raw wood and control the finish. Where as with milk paint, or even chalk paint, when adding on top of raw wood you have to seal it beforehand, or run the risk of your paint being soaked up and bonding to it permanently (which =’s no chipping…. waaaah!)
Since I work with a lot of raw wood, and build my own pieces instead of varnished furniture, this method works great to get that antique reclaimed wood look. And it’s super fast. Like it takes just a couple minutes from start to finish.
I do recomend taking a step back every now and then while applying your paint to makes sure the DIY chippy barnwood paint is looking just right.
Sometimes less is more… and sometimes you just need to go at it and pat it down for a super chippy look.
So there you have it- that’s my plaster painting process for DIY chippy barnwood. Let me know if you try out this technique on your furniture. And just so I’m clear, this in no way replaces my absolute fan girl love of milk and chalk paint! They will always have a special place in my heart.
In addition to these frames from my fall dining room tour (tour HERE, free printables HERE), I used this method of plaster painting on another very special piece that I built. I can’t wait to share that one with you all soon!
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