How to Use Clay Paint to Refinish Furniture

If you’re like me, you probably have some furniture in your home that you just wish you could afford to replace. As time has gone on, not all of our pieces suit our style anymore and recently I researched different methods to refinish furniture because frankly we don’t have the money to replace everything I would like to. The piece I wanted to change first is our dining room table, we bought it from my cousin years ago. It is a harvest table and the legs were a forest green milk dip which means that it was a dark green with some wood showing through.

The thought of sanding this table overwhelmed me, it is very high quality and I really didn’t want to ruin it. I finally decided to try out a clay-based paint called Cottage Paint which I happened upon in a local paint store. Cottage Paint claims that with this product, there is no sanding, stripping or primer needed so I was eager to try it out. I figured the worst that could happen was that I’d have to sand the table down which was what I’d have to do anyway.

Refinish Furniture the EASY Way with Clay Paint

how to use Clay Paint to Refinish Furniture

The first step was to clean the table and I have to admit that the legs were pretty gross. With two dogs running around it constantly, there was a bunch of slobber under there. I used simple water and soap and was sure to dry it completely.

Next I applied a coat of Cottage Paint Acrylic Wax to protect the existing paint. I wanted to ensure that I’d be able to use it to poke through the new white paint to create an aged look.

refinish furniture wax application

The wax has a thicker consistency and in hindsight I could have used a cloth to apply. It was easy to work with and dried in about 15 minutes.

Once it was dry, I began with my 1st coat of the Cottage Paint in Cottage White.

cottage paint refinish furniture

This stuff is AMAZING, there was no odour and no dripping. It’s a water-based clay paint that adheres to almost any surface and has fantastic coverage. I allowed the first coat to dry for approximately 20 minutes and it was ready for the second coat.

In between my 1st and 2nd coat, I snapped this photo to show you how little I had to prep for doing this project. Because this is a thicker paint I simply put some paper down to protect under the legs and the drawer. EASY PEASY.

refinish furniture clay paint during

Once my 2nd coat had dried, it was time to get a damp cloth and begin wiping the edges where I wanted some of the darker paint to show through to create the aged look. I just ran the damp cloth gently over the areas I wanted the effect, and voila it was beginning to be something beautiful.

refinish furniture wiping off cottage paint


Once I’d finished aging the table with the damp cloth, I applied the Cottage Paint Varnish in Flat to protect it. This took very little time and dried in about 20 minutes.

refinish furniture table after side


We now have THE most beautiful table I’ve ever owned and I’m so proud I decided to take the chance! I highly recommend using Cottage Paint products, they have some fantastic tutorial videos and the products are simple to use. They made me look good over here folks!

table after



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13 Responses

  1. Very inspirational – I have the exact same table and I was going to pitch it because I hated the green after awhile – I think I’ll bring it back to life!

  2. I love your table!! you did an awesome job on it, I really like the aged white better than the green, you’re such a great DIY’er!!

  3. I’ve heard of milk paint and chalk paint but this is a new one to me. I’m interested because I have a couple of pieces of furniture (cheap stuff) that I’d like to do up to look better and fit into my home colour wise too. The fact that this sticks to practically any surface is marvellous and just what I need :-)

  4. I wish that I had seen this before I decided to paint my coffee table because I am not 100% pleased with the results. Your table looks beautiful!

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