Easy DIY Light Wood Finish

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Simple (and quick) way to give your piece a pale, DIY light wood finish! Natural looking finish without the orange hue!

Hello friends! I hope you had an amazing weekend! We had planned to go to our beach condo for the weekend but decided to stay home and work! Ha!! Fun fun. No, but needed! We cleaned out and purged a bunch and it feels like a huge weight lifted off my shoulders. Don’t you love that feeling??

Today is Trash to Treasure Transformation Tuesday and I’m sharing a brand-new makeover!

This MCM piece that is part of my latest haul here.

furniture pieces before

The round wood table.

If you missed the other makeovers I’ve completed, you can see them here:

Easy DIY Light Wood Finish

I’m going to show you how to create a nice, light finish (without the orange hue of many wood finishes). It’s the same finish I used on the drawer fronts of this dresser I recently made over.

pale colored wood drawer fronts

Keep in mind that different wood varieties will each finish a little differently. You can find all the details on the dresser makeover, here.

I’ve done quite a few light, pale, pickled and bleach finishes in the last few years (with varying techniques for each).
Here are some of them:

Today I’m getting a similar look with a very different application.


I recently restocked the Driftwood Stain & Finishing Oil but it is my top seller. I sold the last can today. I have more on order and it should be here soon. Sign up to get an email when it comes in here.


Here is how my little table looked before I began.

dark stained old wood table

Dark stained, kind of beat up … all over.

And found this on the underside of the table.

Mobel Mann round topped table label

So I had never heard of this furniture brand before. I looked it up on the web and didn’t find a whole lot.
From what I can tell, it is a German manufacturer dated around the 50’s-60’s.

Upon further investigation, I did find this website that tells pretty much their entire history. (and how they eventually sold to Wal-Mart! Go take a read here)

Mainly because of the mid-century modern clean lines I knew I didn’t want to paint it and put floral transfers and such on it.
I decided fairly quickly that I would sand it down and “bleach” it out.

And after having done my son’s dresser I linked above, the drawers in the pale wood shade, I decided this was the perfect piece to try that out on again. This time not just drawer fronts but an entire furniture piece.


I sanded the whole thing. I considered just doing the top but really felt this entire piece needed to be sanded and done the same.

half of the round table top sanded bare.

Look at that beautiful wood underneath! I HATE (really hate lol) sanding but I LOVE seeing that pretty wood revealed every single time!

table sanded down to bare wood

Once it was all sanded, I wiped it down very well to remove all dust.

natural wood looking orange when damp

There’s that orange. It’s almost always present in some form or another.

Oh! Two things I want to mention. The top is veneer and had chips. And then chipped more when I sanded in a few places. BOO!

orange hued wood with edges

See it?? I simply sanded it smooth and went along my way.
I decided we would call it character on this old piece!

chipped edges smoothed

I hoped it would not be that visible when I was done. And I hoped it just went along with the less fussy, unpolished look of the piece.

And the second thing, the shelf under the top is a different color of wood. Not sure why they did that on a stained piece except they stained it dark so maybe it really didn’t matter. But with a light finish, it will be noticeable. I almost switched gears again but again decided to leave it like it was meant to be that way. And I’m totally okay with how it turned out!


As I usually do with raw wood, I used a pre-stain wood conditioner first.
Then, just as I did with the dresser drawer fronts, I used my White Stain & Finishing Oil first.
Applying well into the wood and then wiping back within 20 -30 seconds or so.

legs and shelf with white stain, top undone

You can see in the photo above how the white neutralizes some of that orange nicely. I’ve done the second shelf and legs here.

Here is how I apply it, just rubbing it in well like below.

covering top with white stain, taking away the orange

Then wiping most away. (although, the white stain alone is very pretty!)

Here you can see where I’ve applied the white stain on the left and the orangey finish to the right.

half white stained half not

Isn’t it lovely how well it takes that orange out???

Once done with that, I leave it to sit for a day or two. Then I come back with PART 2.

PART 2 is Driftwood Stain & Finishing Oil.
I simply apply it all over in the same way, then wipe most away. You can see below where I’ve applied on the right over the white stained finish. (haven’t wiped back yet though)

half with white stain, half with driftwood

Once wiped back, it leaves the perfect hue. (and tones any of the “white” that might be too white as we are not going for a white-washed finish here)

wiped away the excess driftwood

See the difference?

Rub on…

applying driftwood to the top

I think I forgot to take a photo to show how it looks after I’ve wiped that back. But you get the idea of how it tones the color a bit.


Since the Stain & Finishing oil has finish included, there is no need to do anything else to seal it.


finished table

See that second shelf a tad bit darker??

finished second shelf up close

Isn’t that a gorgeous finish??

up close of table edge side

Now, I did title this as “Easy” because this finish is probably the easiest finishes I’ve done.
BUT we all know that sanding is not necessarily hard but it’s certainly no fun and does add time to the project.
However, once the sanding is done, you will have little work to do to complete this project.

top view of finished table

And look up close that those chipped areas…

showing chipped edges up close now obscure

chipped edges up close unnoticeable now

Exactly as I’d hoped!! Yippee!!
They blend because of the stains I used. And add a little character too, right? Yep.


So, this table is two-toned but not on purpose!

finished table styled with aqua vase and gold bowl

aqua vase and old book on table

top view of table styled wtih old book, gold bowl and aqua vase

(I love old books)

Anyway, I see this little table used in a coastal-styled home. But I imagine it could go with quite a bit too.

front view of table styled

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial today! And I really hope you try it! Let me know if you do.

PIN it to save it!

Simple (and quick) way to give your piece a pale, DIY light wood finish! Natural looking finish without the orange hue! artsychicksrule.com

Don’t go yet! Hop on over and visit my friends’ makeovers too…

(Jen recently moved into a new home and is taking a break right now so I am sharing an oldie from her archives below)

trash to treasure before photos

  1. Confessions of a Serial DIYer
  2. Prodigal Pieces
  3. Salvaged Inspirations
  4. Girl in the Garage

I’ll see you later this week with another fun furniture makeover!

UPDATE!! See it here now!!



      1. Hey Leslie! Yes, I got ya! I do want to do more pieces like this too and most definitely will. But I will still share the floral/words/transfers ones to show people how to use them. :) I love those too but I understand that not everyone likes those in their homes. xo

  1. Oh I just love the simplicity of that cute wee table. I absolutely adore that stain. One of these days I am going to try it!!!

  2. Looks great! I would like to try the stain and finishing oil sometime, sounds like a great product! I bet it sure wasn’t fun sanding that lower shelf! Thanks for sharing!

    1. Hi Nancy! I’m a huge fan of your work, and you don’t disappoint. I liked the little table its beautiful and simple. However, I am partial to the painted pieces with the transfers, especially the floral ones and the french writing ones…keep up the great work!

      1. Hi Debora! Thank you! And also, thank you so much for letting me know! That is exactly why I will keep doing them and things like this too… because not everyone likes the same thing. I love to show a variety of makeover styles. :) xoxo

  3. Looks beautiful!! I would love to see more painted pieces & less decals. I do realize that this is your space to do as you please too! 😂 I just want to do more updating.

  4. Nice table remake. It’s interesting that the lower shelf was made from a different wood. Decades ago I wanted to strip my childhood French provincial bedroom set and keep it in the natural wood. I asked the furniture store rep if it could be done. He said that one of the reasons why case goods were painted (in my case it was that antiqued white) was because the manufacturers used different wood species in a piece and it could become a mismatched mess. (This was in the 70’s.) I never did the project. I read the Mann article. He sold out to FedMart & in TX I remember shopping at those stores when I was a teenager.

    1. Thanks, Robin! I know, isn’t that weird?? Especially in a piece that was stained originally. But I guess because it was a dark stain it wouldn’t show? Who knows.
      And oh wow, that’s neat, I’ve never heard of FedMart! I thought the article was interesting though. Love learning the history of things!

  5. Hi Nancy! I really enjoy your makeovers like this. They encourage me to go forth and try things I ordinarily wouldn’t do. I have a random question… My daughter picked up a rocking horse on a “buy nothing” group. It needs help, and I do too! She thinks I can do anything when it comes to helping out a project in need. Lol The wood need touched up and I’m okay with that, but the poor guy needs a new mane. Any ideas? Can I send pics for you to give me some ideas as to help this poor fellow? My granddaughter would appreciate it one soon I hope. Thanks for any help you are able to give.

    1. I am so happy to hear that, Connie! Yes, please send me some photos. I think I have an idea but want to see what it looks like first. nancy @ artsychicksrule . com

  6. Hi Nancy! I love.the way this table turned out. I have some of the Driftwood stain and I love it. I have a dining table I am going to use it on. Thank you for Sharing

  7. I usually love the dramatic nature of painted pieces with decals, decoupage, etc., but I absolutely adore this piece!

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