"Farmhouse Table" Used gel varnish remover to strip off most of the varnish. Barn wood look came from varnish not being fully removed; whatever is left behind will appear lighter when a dark stain is applied. Heavily sand areas that you prefer to look darker.
1000 Life Hacks -- I love these tips! "Rubbing alcohol will remove pen marks & ink stains from pretty much anything." Someone else added: "It will also remove dried paint from wood floors and counter tops."
Here is an example of stencilling where no paint is used. Rather, you stencil with varnish, and then stain. The stain doesn't 'take' to the place where the varnish is (so it comes out clear wood color). This is delicate and pretty. I want to paint a loom.