How I Painted A Handcrafted Table Black Without Black Paint

Last week I made the proclamation that no new paint would be coming into the workshop until all the old cans were empty. My sister asked me to paint a handcrafted tiered table her husband recently inherited and she wanted it painted black.

There was only one problem, I didn't have any black paint. Determined to make it happen, in this post I'm going to share how to paint furniture black when you don't have any black paint.

How To Paint Furniture Black Without Black Paint

How I Painted A Handcrafted Table Black Without Black Paint

Black Handcrafted Tiered Scalloped Table Makeover

This is what the table looked like before...

Handcrafted Tiered Scalloped Table Before

I fell in love with the scalloped tier and curvy legs.

Handcrafted Tiered Scalloped Table With Curvy Legs

But especially the hand-hewn edge along the top.

Handcrafted Tiered Table With Hand Hewn Scalloped Edge

Prepping for paint

The table had a lacquer finish and so in order to give the paint some bite, I roughed up the finish with a mouse sander and 80-grit sanding pad. Next, I gave the table a good scrub with vinegar and water.

Painting the table NOT black

In my stash was half a can of Annie Sloan Chalk Paint™ in the color Graphite, a dark charcoal gray.

I tell ya before I applied the first brush stroke, I looked upward towards the heavens and asked out loud to whoever handcrafted this table (assuming they've passed) to please forgive me for what I was about to do.

I painted two thin coats, meaning I added a bit of water to a milk-like consistency and sanded with 220-grit sandpaper between coats.

Handcrafted Tiered Table in Graphite Chalk Paint

Distressing the paint

I ran 220-grit sandpaper along the edges allowing the paint to remove where it may without forcing the distressing. I love the contrast between the black finish and blonde wood peeking through.

Handcrafted Tiered Table Distressed

Turning the gray paint black

It's actually pretty simple to do.

The secret...

Handcrafted Tiered Table Turned Black With Wax

...apply Dark Wax. With a small wax brush in circular motions (like applying hand cream) with and against the grain of the wood and waited about 30-minutes.

It was a beautiful day and if you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen the photo I posted of me relaxing on the deck mid-day. Why sit in a dark basement workshop watching wax dry when you can be enjoying 30°C (86°F) temperatures outside.

Black Handcrafted Tiered Table

I wiped the excess wax with a lint free rag.

I should note a couple of things. Normally you apply a coat of clear wax first before applying dark wax. Also, with dark wax, you work in manageable sections and wipe away excess wax immediately.

I wanted the wax to be as dark as possible and so waited 30-minutes before wiping away the excess. I wouldn't wait any longer than this or it will be difficult to remove - as it was it took a bit of elbow grease.

Once the excess wax was removed, I buffed the wax using my go-to horsehair shoe brush to a matte finish. Like shoes, the more you buff, the shiner the finish.

Handcrafted Tiered Scalloped Table with props

One would assume this table was painted black, don't you think?

Handcrafted Tiered Makeshift Black Table

Handcrafted Tiered Scalloped Table Before and After
Of course, there is always the option to buy some black paint but if you're in a pinch, this trick will get the job done.

I quite like black painted furniture and have done a few makeovers using black paint. Like this Black Map CoffeeTable and this Black Waterfall Hutch. The hutch is currently for sale in my booth at the Blue Jar Antique Mall for any locals that may be interested.

You will find this project shared at these fabulous link parties.



  1. Looks fabulous, Marie! Annie Sloan's dark wax is a winner! And you're awesome in transforming this table!

    1. Thank you so much Gail! I was thrilled with the results of this lovely handmade table. Any dark brown or black wax will turn dark grey chalk paint black. I love playing with color waxes to deepen or soften chalk paint colors.


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