How to Use Wood Stain & Over Paint Techniques to Age

Creating a faux aged finish on furniture, cabinets or even walls is a great way to add depth and character to a space. Applying stain over paint is an excellent faux aging options, but it does require you to follow some very specific rules in order to ensure a proper finish.

Chest with antique finish

The good news is that, done properly, the stain-over-paint faux aging technique comes out beautifully every time.


Consider distressing your piece before painting. Distressing can add to the antique appeal of the project.


Use caution if the piece you plan to treat has been previously painted. Oil-based paint and stain cannot be applied over latex paint. If the piece has been painted with latex paint, be sure to strip the paint completely and clean the surface thoroughly before beginning your project.

  1. Lightly sand the entire surface of your piece to be treated. Be sure to sand with the grain of the wood using long, sweeping strokes.

  2. Tapered paint brush
  3. Paint the entire surface of your piece using your oil-based paint. Be sure to mix the paint thoroughly before opening. Allow the paint to dry for 24 hours.

  4. Shake and open your oil-based stain. Hold a paint brush in one hand and a rag in the other. Dip your paint brush in the stain and swipe a thin layer onto the surface of your piece to be finished. Immediately after making the brush stroke, swipe the stain with your rag. If you wait too long to wipe the stain, the paint underneath will become sticky and ruin your finish. Repeat the paint and swipe process until the entire surface of the piece has been coated. Allow the layer of stain to dry for 24 hours.

  5. Antique finished wood
  6. Repeat Step 3 as many times as you like. Each layer of stain will create added depth to seams, cracks, and veins in the wood, thereby increasing the aged appearance. Be sure to allow ample drying time between each layer of stain.