All Hail the Brown Sharpie


recently let my toddler color the furniture.

Don’t worry, she just used…a brown sharpie marker.

Bless the woman from Pier One who first instructed me in the ways of masking imperfections with this miraculous little guy.

Hubs and I were making our first real, married furniture purchases and the chairs I loved (and still do, many years later–how’s that for miraculous?) had some minor flaws.

They were the only two left in the store, so the saleslady just whipped out her brown sharpie, marked on the spots, rubbed a bit, and-presto-all better!


These chairs have withstood kittens, countless nights of hosting dinners, and toddlers being toddlers. Periodically, when I notice the stain wearing thin or the (what I think is water hyacinth) chipping off, I just grab the sharpie and go to town.

How to use it:

1.) Mark the sharpie on the spot that’s worn thin.

2.) Rub it a bit with your finger or a rag.

(Admittedly, I have been known to spit a little on my finger when rubbing the ink in to make it more natural-looking. Admittedly, I have been known to use spit to clean other things/small people).

3.) Step back and be amazed!


This trick works on wood or any other material that has a dark (espresso-ish) stain. I’ve done it on banana bark woven chairs, our dining table, picture frames, lamps, chair legs, my legs…j/k. If something has a more ebony finish, switch to Brown’s cousin, Black Sharpie.

Rather than replacing an item that’s showing signs of wear, I’d rather try to repair it or refinish it.

(Or, just leave it. Wear is a sign of use and love. Would you rather have furniture unused by family and friends?)

Granted, I sometimes have to be reigned in from tackling projects that aren’t really worth the time–the free but poorly constructed dresser is no longer free when you count the time and money spent on refinishing it and the new dresser you have to buy a year later when it falls apart. Wisdom from the Hubs.


But, where it’s worth it to do a quick fix, I’ll whip out Brown Sharpie any day.

BONUS: Put those kids to work! Just quickly rub the spot after they mark to blend it in. Pretty sure Bun thought “where is my real mother?” when I gave her a free pass with Brown Sharpie the other day.

Happily coloring the furniture
Happily coloring the furniture

About Jenn

Jenn is a mommy of three and wife to her best friend. She enjoys good books, dinner guests, elevenses, and proper apostrophe use.

  • What?!?!? That’s amazing. And WHAT?!?!!? Is that lil Miss Jules with long, big girl hair? What happened? She’s so big so fast.

  • Yes! Give Moses a marker and let him go to town. And yes, she’s gotten huge. And smart. And a lot of preferences. 🙂

  • Andrea Russell

    I miss my Julsie!!! 🙁

    • She misses you and your fantastic hairdos!

  • Brenda Venable

    What a practical Mommy you are and Julia will following right along in your footsteps. When will you let Rowan have the brown marker? 🙂

    • When I want more than the furniture colored. 🙂

  • Seriously?! That’s incredible. Love all the hacks salespeople have and then we can use at home.

    And, I love your chairs. =) I would keep them for years on end too. =)

    • No kidding on the salespeople hacks. I would have been terrified to try something like that if the lady hadn’t shown me. 🙂

  • Jennifer G

    So funny. I have done that too. On our coffee table. Except I didn’t know about the brown sharpie, we used a regular marker so it is time to do it again. Gonna have to go buy a sharpie 🙂

    • Do it! It’s magic :).

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