I am working on a bar/entertainment center and had an idea to make the facial boards (1 x 8) that will run the length of the front look like tarnished bronze.

My initial thoughts are

  • Apply a metallic gold/bronze/copper paint
  • Apply a gel stain over the top to make it appear tarnished
  • Apply a clear coat, poly maybe, over the top

Can this be done, has anyone attempted something similar that has worked. If so can you share a picture of the results?

I am looking to create an effect similar to this:

enter image description here

  • 5
    How is finish application not about woodworking?
    – James
    Nov 17, 2015 at 17:02
  • 2
    I agree, I see no reason to close.
    – grfrazee
    Nov 17, 2015 at 17:09
  • 2
    Finishing a project is the most important part!
    – bowlturner
    Nov 17, 2015 at 17:17
  • 1
    Sorry, forgot to leave a comment about why I voted to close. We can't (and shouldn't try) cover every possible finish here just because it can be applied to wood. This is a general paint-finish question, not directly tied to woodworking, that can be better answered in a different venue (maybe DIY or one on decorative painting effects).
    – Graphus
    Nov 18, 2015 at 14:26
  • 2
    Check out m.pneumaticaddict.com/54uqg52/articles/37385/…. He does it on metal but it starts with a layer of chalk paint so you could do it on wood too. He writes that you can prep wood with a glossy gold paint first. Looks like a good basis for experimenting.
    – Jason C
    Nov 19, 2015 at 1:41

2 Answers 2


Jason's link in the comments was a really helpful starting point and introduced me to chalk based paint which is interesting to work with.

What I ended up doing is the following:

  1. Prime the board with bin (any oil/alcohol based primer will do). Spray paint is a pain to work with in terms of evenness and bleed through. Prepping the board with this stuff helps you get an even coat. Sand well once dry.

  2. Spray the board with metallic gold paint, 2 - 3 coats as needed. Looking back I probably should have gone with a bronze/copper/brass color. The gold was shiny and metallic but more subdued than what I was looking for.

  3. Apply the chalk based paint. Slap it on like a first grader, sloppy and uneven, don't even worry about brush stroke direction. Knowing copper for example, tarnishes green I used a dark green color.

  4. As the chalk paint begins to dry get a damp to wet rag (more wet will remove more paint) and rub down the chalk paint removing as much or as little as you want.

  5. Clear gloss. Spray three or four coats of clear gloss, go light, make sure it goes on even and doesn't run. This gives the boards you are working on some dimension.

  6. Lightly sand

  7. For my topcoat I ended up going with something rather dark. I used a hammered brass finish. Spray to taste, I tended to spray where I had left more chalk paint behind.

That's it (ok it admittedly took a while) but the effect turns out pretty well and having done it once I have ideas for how I would get different effects now.


enter image description here

enter image description here

enter image description here

  • The close up shots make it look like a horrible first-grader paint job, but from a distance, it really does look good! Congrats on diving in and getting it done.
    – FreeMan
    Mar 17, 2016 at 16:34

If yo try to rub it with sandpaper, and then put Pledge: Cedar wood spray on it and let it sit, then you can apply a gel stain to it.

  • 1
    Do you have a photo of what this might look like and some more details on the application technique?
    – Jason C
    Dec 13, 2015 at 15:01

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