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The Smoky Pearl Furniture Painting Technique

Kelly Jenkins


Searching for an interesting finish to WOW! your guests or furniture painting clients? 


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The “Smoky Pearl” is a unique, gorgeous painting technique that is sure to impress & will keep you on your toes as you paint! The key to the finish is the Maison Blanche Black Lime Wax, it creates a translucent layer of color that settles into character & that WILL alter the paint color (especially over a light tone… don’t fall in love with your existing color yet!) We recommend experimenting with a small sample board to learn how to work the products to achieve a look you’ll love! 


We’ve tried many other products to achieve this look but cannot replace the same smoky, pearlescent, evolving finish. I HIGHLY recommend trying this product, here’s a link to the Maison Blanche Black Lime Wax.


Want to watch this on video? Scroll down!



Chalk Paint- Our favorite is Maison Blanche Vintage Furniture Paint 

High quality brush (ClingOn! Brushes or Purdy)

Sandpaper Pads

Maison Blanche Black Lime Wax

Wax Brush

Clean, White Rags

Rub N Buff Gilding Waxes (sample pack)



5-in-1 Painter's Tool

Denatured Alcohol

Shop Towels

Microfiber Cloths(for dusting)

Toolset with Power Drill

Plastic baggies

BIN Shellac Primer

BIN Clear Schellac Primer

Painters Tape

Paint Cups



Want to see more of our Essential Furniture Painting Supples? Download it here!




No one likes prep work but it IS necessary to achieve incredible results.  Start by removing the hardware (place everything in a plastic baggie, label & put somewhere safe!) Be sure that your piece is clean (we like to use a mix of Denatured Alcohol & water) and sanded enough to allow your paint to adhere nicely. 


The “Smoky Pearl" is a textural, interesting finish and becomes even more beautiful when your piece has some dings, dents & character. This is a great finish for an old piece with a lot of history. No need to sand the entire piece smooth, but you may want to fill large holes and knock down any major issues. A quick sand all around with a medium grit sandpaper will take care of the rest.


Depending on the existing finish & desired outcome you may want to seal with a shellac based primer to ensure you do not have any bleed through issues. This BIN Shellac Primer is an incredible product, but keep in mind that if you choose to distress, the white will show through. If you want to avoid introducing white into your finish, this BIN Clear Schellac Primer functions the same but is CLEAR!! This product has it all… blocks tannins, stains, creates a great surface to build you finish on! Yes... it is pricy & super hard to find, but it will save you soooooo much frustration in your painting projects! There’s nothing worse than finishing your piece then discovering bleed through issues that make you start all over again!


Once piece is dry, use the Painters Tape to mask off the drawers, cabinet openings & anywhere else you would like to avoid painting. Masking is an additional step but I love creating clean, crisp lines & know that our clients appreciate the attention to detail as well. 




Pour a bit of your paint into a smaller container (like these Paint Cups) which will fit nicely in your hand. You want to avoid painting out of the paint can for a number of reasons… primarily because it is cumbersome and dipping your brush that is (potentially) contaminated with whatever grime your piece has picked up in its lifetime could introduce undesirable factors into your paint. Opening up the can for your next project & discovering that it has spoiled is a terrible waste! Avoid the issue & just pour a bit into a smaller container, I love using these Paint Cups.


We are looking to create texture with the Smoky Pearl finish. Use your high quality brush (our favorites are ClingOn! Brushes or Purdy)  to lay a coat down on your surface, then rough it up a bit… I like to use a crosshatching pattern to create additional layers of interest in this finish. To create a texture that looks intentional (not messy) ensure the texture is consistent all over the piece. Depending on your existing surface, paint, color & technique you may need 2-3 coats in this manner to guarantee complete coverage.



Let dry then grab a Sandpaper Pad and give the entire piece a quick swipe to smooth, then return to the sand the areas that you want to be a bit lighter to create highlights. The smoother the area, the more wax will you be able to pull off that spot (& the lighter it will look). Keep in mind the wax will sink into the texture & corners to create shadows and depth.



This is where the magic happens! Grab your Maison Blanche Black Lime Wax, Wax Brush & lots of Clean, White Rags. Plan your approach to tackle one area of the piece at a time, you may want to start with smaller areas to establish your technique before moving on to large surfaces. 


Simply coat your wax brush in the Lime Wax then rub on the area in a fairly uniform manner. Apply the product into the panel and be sure to get it into the details, cracks & crevasses. Then take your rag and start rubbing the excess off… move quickly throughout the process. Remember that you want the wax to build up in the texture & details. Once you’ve removed the majority of the wax, start focusing on defining the details, you want to leave wax in the texture & corners to create that gorgeous shadowing effect. If you remove too much, simply reapply and try again.


Continue this process throughout the piece. Be sure to cycle through your rags and constantly check to ensure your application is constant across the entire piece.


Let dry a few hours, then complete the finish by buffing with a Clean, White, Lint Free Rag to increase the sheen and leave a silky smooth finish! The finish that the Maison Blanche Waxes create is incredible, buffing won’t take much effort at all! 

The hardware can quickly updated by using the Rub N Buff Gilding Waxes. They’re available for purchase individually but I appreciate the sample pack as I like the flexibility to choose or alter the color in the workshop. It also cuts the cost per tube significantly.  

Once hardware is dry, reassemble your piece, remove the painter’s tape and enjoy the fruits of your labor!



The “Smoky Pearl” technique is one of our most popular finishes, it is easy to accomplish & creates an incredibly unique piece of furniture! 



Will you be trying it? Please share your comments & pieces with us, we’d love to see what you create!


Happy Painting! 


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Want to watch the video? Check this out!


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  • Hi Kelly, I just finishing watching your tutorial which is very informative. Thank you for sharing your expertise. I’ve never worked with chalk paint before nor have I watched any other tutorials on chalk paint. I am looking to achieve a smoky antique grey finish. The project I’m working on is a hand made unfinished wood statue base. I’m concerned that the Hurricane color might be a little to green to achieve the grey color I am seeking. I’m looking on the Maison Blanche site and I’m wondering if I should go with Dove Gray or the Franciscan Gray instead of Hurricane used in the video. I know you warned not to pick/fall in love with the color which I think would achieve the final outcome I’m expecting. In this particular case would you stick with the Hurricane or one of the other colors I mentioned to get the end result I’m seeking?

    Thank you again for sharing your knowledge, I look forward to your expert opinion.


    Amy White

  • I just watched the video on the smokey finish. Can you use the smokey finish with a blue chalk paint?

    Cathy Neller

  • Thank w I watch a lot of videos but yours was very understanding and very enjoyable to watch hope to see more of you

    Corinne Lynch

  • Your demonstration & instructions were very helpful and informative. Thanks!


  • What a great video. You’ve answered many questions that were holding me back from doing some really neat painting techniques. I’ve looked at some videos already, but they were not as informative and detailed as yours. Thank you!

    Jolene Christensen

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