How to Stipple Wood: A Beginner’s Guide

Stippling wood is a popular technique used to create textured finishes on furniture, cabinetry, and other wooden surfaces. This guide will show you how to stipple like a pro using simple tools and techniques.

What is Stippling Wood?

Stippling involves applying a series of small dots or stipples to the surface of the wood, creating depth and interest. The size and spacing can be adjusted to suit your taste and project style.

Tools Needed

  • Paint roller or brush

  • Paint tray

  • Sandpaper (120-grit)

  • Small paintbrush or stippling tool
  • Clear coat or polyurethane

Steps to Stipple Wood

  1. Prepare the surface: Clean, sand, and apply primer to smooth and dry the wood.
  2. Apply first layer of paint: Use a paint roller or brush to apply an even coat of paint to the entire surface. Let it dry completely.
  3. Stipple the wood: Use a small paintbrush or stippling tool to apply small dots or stipples to the surface, adjusting size and spacing as desired.
  4. Apply additional layers of paint: Repeat step 3 until desired effect is achieved, letting each layer dry completely before applying the next.
  5. Apply clear coat or polyurethane: Protect the stippled finish with a clear coat or polyurethane after the final layer of paint dries.

Tips for Successful Stippling Wood

  • Use a light hand to avoid over-wetting and creating runs.
  • Experiment with different size and spacing of stipples.
  • Use high-quality paint and clear coat or polyurethane for best results.
  • Sand gently after each layer of paint to smooth imperfections.


Stippling wood is a simple yet effective technique that can add depth and texture to any wooden surface. With the right tools and techniques, anyone can create a beautiful stippled finish on their next DIY project.

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