This is probably the number one question I get--how did you paint that, what is your paint technique? Honestly, I am not sure I have a technique, but I will attempt to share with you what I do. However, I do have a disclaimer: I have been painting furniture for a dozen years. My style or technique has evolved and changed and developed over those years, and I am sure it will continue to do so. I also believe that I might have a knack for it, it comes easily and naturally to me--how I paint a particular thing is often a feeling or instinct. So, with that said, here you go:
*This post contains affiliate links*I am showing this on a piece of pallet wood--all wood and furniture is different and take the paint and stain differently. As I discovered with my accidental finish on my pallet coat hook shelf, if at first you don't succeed, keep playing and trying. I sand the wood usually a little before painting to get some of the rough spots off, but not too much as the roughness helps add to the character. I most often use what is called a chip brush. These are inexpensive, natural bristle brushes that typically cost under $1. I like them because they do not cover completely, and are cheap enough to replace as needed.
As I have said many times, I slap some paint on. I usually paint several boards at once, starting with the lightest color of paint I am using.
I do not clean off my brush between colors, but I do brush it on wood until most of the color is gone. I do use a different brush for red or if the colors aren't going to blend well. Hint-- I keep a separate brush that I use only for red paint in case it doesn't get completely cleaned out.
I wait a bit for the paint to dry. It isn't always completely dry when I paint the next layer, it depends on how impatient I am. I only painted 2 layers for this tutorial, but I have done up to 5. I do not completely cover up the first layer. For my pieced pallet things I have being painting mostly just one color since they are so colorful.
When the paint is dry (again, mostly dry anyway), I sand it--sometimes a lot, sometimes very little. I most often us an 80 grit sandpaper or whatever is on the sander.
I then use a stain,most often MINWAX over the top. I have found some of the pallet wood takes the stain really dark so I have been using something a little lighter like Early American or Provincial. I ran out of those a few days ago, so I am using dark walnut.
I cover the paint/piece of wood completely. Notice, I use a chip brush for this too. Wipe the brush off on a rag and one will last you several months.
After putting on the stain, I wipe it off with a rag (a piece of an old t-shirt). Note--stain rags should be put in a bucket of water and not reused. I throw them out on trash day. A friend's garage caught on fire from 4 stain rags left on a pile of trash--use caution!! And drumroll please...the finished results:
I do not always put a clear finish on my pieces. However, have I mentioned that I might be impatient at times? I often use a clear spray to finish pieces because it dries the stain just about instantly. I also use a finish if it is an outdoor piece.
Some of you have asked what colors of paint I use. Honestly, it changes always--sometimes I use cans of latex I have and sometimes I grab some craft acrylic paint. I often mix colors that I have bits of. If you see a particular color you want to know about, leave me a comment and I will let you know if it has an actual color name I can give you :). Hope this helps.