My Handpainting Technique & Why I Do It

If you would like to see the time-lapse video of the hand-detailing you can check that HERE on my YouTube channel. Make sure to create an account & subscribe so you can be notified whenever I post a new furniture makeover!

Lets be honest EVERYONE and their kids are painting furniture these days even if they aren’t doing it as a business or for resale. They could just be doing it to spruce up an old family piece or to test out the furniture makeover waters. Either way you would be hard pressed to find someone hasn’t tried their hand at it at least once.


It’s really easy to find a step-by-step process on how to DIY anything and if you can get the same look yourself vs. buying it then why not try?



This puts me between a rock and a hard place as someone that does furniture makeovers as a small business AND produces content on how to do it.

A little self-destructive maybe but I really do LOVE documenting and sharing the journey of each piece with everyone.



I doubt every person that reads my blog or subscribes to my YouTube channel is going to attempt to do what I do but it might give some the confidence to try. That being said, how do I keep people interest in purchasing my designs vs. wanting to try DIY’ing it themselves?


Easy… I just make the designs more difficult to achieve.

Half joking but a lot of what I do today is a little harder to do from what I was creating back in 2015 when I first got started.

2015 me – Slap some paint on and put a price tag on it.

2019 me – Think through the look I want to achieve with each piece, meticulously paint, stain, or upholster and document the whole process with pictures or video.

Sometime’s there’s a piece that I just want to be reckless with just to see what happens. I can’t put 20 hours into everything I work on plus I need to keep my booth stocked with something. Overall I am much more thoughtful about the process than I used to be.

All of this build-up just to explain why I do these very time-consuming, handpainted-detailling furniture makeovers.


It started with The Faux Bone Inlay Dresser that I completed back in 2017 for the Zinc Vintage Market where I completely cover a black painted piece with these tiny vines, dots and dashes. I have continued with the same technique on several other pieces since then and its always well received and met with the question: “Is this stenciled?”


“Nope! All done by hand with a small brush.”


You can check out the The Faux Bone Inlay Dresser post to see exactly how I accomplish this look but I’ll break it down really quick here.

  • I use chalk for a rough sketch of lines.
  • Using an artist brush I follow the chalk lines with little strokes to create vines across the pieces.
  • Then I fill in empty areas with more vines, dots, dishes or abstract flowers.
  • Give the whole piece a very, VERY light distressing (120 grit sandpaper) so that it doesn’t look too new.
  • Cover with a protective coat.





How long it might take me to complete this look depends on the size of the piece. For reference, the 5 minute time lapse video I just posted of the process shows me working on a buffet but it took about 15 hours to complete the hand-detailing alone.

In total the piece took 20 hours to complete from start to finish.


So why do I do this to myself?

  1. Not many people are willing to invest that kind of time into a DIY.
  2. Its more than just a painted piece of furniture. There is an artist element.
  3. Higher resale value because it is such a unique piece.


Your sales are 100% what will keep you in the furniture makeover business but if people stop buying from me because it looks like they could it themselves then I need to heighten designs a little.

More power to someone that can do it though!

When I do a hand-detailed piece I might not be able to get as many pieces out as quickly as I would like but the uniqueness is there. These pieces never last long in my booth.



I used this same logic when I realized that if I wanted to continue making sales I need to do more upholstery makeovers others. More on that topic later.


For my fellow creative business owners, have you noticed a difference in your furnitures sales due to the DIY craz? How have you kept sales up?

For my Hobby DIYers out there, when do you opt to buy vs. DIY?

Would love to hear your opinions! Please post your thoughts below!




Also you can check out my latest YouTube video of me implementing my handpainted detail work HERE. Please make sure to create a YouTube account and subscribe so you can get notified when I post a new video!