I started by sanding this piece as if I were going to paint it by removing only about 80% of the existing finish.
I then randomly dry brushed on CeCe Caldwell's Vermont Slate.
Over Vermont Slate and the remaining stain that I didn't sand off, I stained with 3 heavy coats of Dark Walnut by Min Wax.
Between the existing finish, Vermont Slate, and the Dark Walnut stain, I had a great variation of color that created a faux rustic look.
I then sealed it with Polyurethane and allowed it to dry over night.
Next, I started my swirls.
I free handed them with white chalk- keeping a damp rag on hand for when I needed to wipe off and re draw.
Once I was satisfied with my swirls, I used a ruler to mark every half inch.
After about one ruler of half inches, I gave up and started eyeballing it.
Then, I used an itty-bitty drill bit to make a hole at every half inch mark- making sure to only drill deep enough to keep the nail head straight and leave enough room for the point of the nail to actually nail into the wood.
(make sure that the wood you're nailing into is thicker than that length of the nail head).
This was my 1st swirl- I didn't wipe off the chalk before applying the tacks.
Not much of a big deal, it was just a little difficult to wipe the chalk from between each tack.
So, the next time I knew better and finished all of the holes before I moved on...
I love the contrast between the rustic dark wood and the shiny silver nail heads.
I used 13 packs of 48ct tacks. That's 642 holes drilled and 642 tacks hammered. I think I have about 12 hours in this piece so make sure you have some time to invest if you decide to take on this DIY.
This was actually a really fun project.
I variated between drilling holes and nailing in studs working in two or three hour increments over a period of 3 days. Taking long breaks to do other things and making this a side project helped with the monotony.
Also, with each tack that I hammered in, I got a little taste of what the finished product would look like and that kept me going. I lost sleep over the anticipation of this piece but I think it was well worth it.