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Washing In The Details with Graphite

Transforming a Dated Dining Set: The Key is in the Details

Dining Set before washing with Graphite Chalk Paint ®

We needed a pretty display table for our workshop and this set came across our path. Nice lines, definitely useable, but both the finish and fabric are way too dated. We decided to transform it using old white and graphite colored paint.

This set with the glass top would be perfect for it. We wanted a soft, light and airy finish so as to not interfere with the fineness of the Toile. A Graphite base would work…. but what to do with the chairs? 

Base painted with Graphite and finished with clear and dark waxChairs painted with Old White but needing a bit more pizazz

The soft tones of Old White for the chairs was perfect, but didn’t quite pull together the base and fabric. We decided to deepen just the linear details with a Graphite wash.

Needed Tools:

Tools to use when doing a Graphite Chalk Paint wash

  • a bowl of water
  • a fine brush
  • lots of clean rags
  • a spray bottle with clean water
  • a water-tight tray or bowl for paint
    (French Fry holders work great and are available locally at Gordon Food Services and Amazon
  • a good dab of Graphite Chalk Paint ®

Steps for washing in details using Graphite:


  1. water added to paint containerSpray a bit of water into the paint. 
    I prefer not to stir it up. I find it easier to control the thickness by dabbing with the brush and adding additional paint or water as needed.
  2. Lightly spritz the surface of the area you want to highlight. You want the surface nice and damp, but not dripping wet.
  3. Using the fine brush, dip into the paint and draw a smooth swash of paint along the crevice. You can steady your hand by touching your pinky to the surface as you go.
  4. Don’t panic! The paint will bleed a little into the damp surface and won’t look great.
  5. Grab your clean rag and wipe quickly. 
    Before the Graphite Chalk Paint ® wash

    Before adding Graphite

    After Graphite Chalk Paint ® wash

    After adding Graphite

    After wiping the Graphite Chalk Paint ®

    After wiping Graphite

6) Check your work – Is your line darker or lighter in color in certain spots? No worries, that’s why we didn’t stir the water/paint combo in the beginning. Use your fine brush and touch up.

7) Work in sections that you can control – What do I mean by that? Don’t attempt to dampen all of the areas you want to highlight at once. When doing a wash, you have to work quickly. Also, watch for overspray when using the spray bottle. Have a piece of cardboard handy to block areas you’ve already done.

8) Choose your areas to highlight, but don’t overdo. Stand back from your work, or maybe even leave it overnight. Taking a fresh look will give you a better idea of the direction you want to go.

Checking the details against the fabricapplying the Toile fabric to the chair seatsA stencil design added using Graphite Chalk Paint ®

 After taking a second look, we felt the chairs needed just a bit more Graphite. Stencil designs were added to the back and to the crest. 

The finished set in place

The finished dining set with new Toile fabric and matching finish in Old White and Graphite Chalk Paint ®


I hope you enjoyed this little Graphite Wash tutorial. We’re pleased with how the set came out. As always, thank you for following us and don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions at all.

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