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How to distress wood furniture

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  • How to distress wood furniture

How to distress wood furniture

How do you paint furniture to look distressed?

Prepare Your Space. Start by laying down drop cloths and preparing the area. Sand and Clean the Piece. Sand the surface of the piece. Paint the Piece. Apply Wax and Top Layer of Paint (Optional) Distress the Piece with Sandpaper and Steel Wool. Apply a Stain (Optional) Protect the Finished Piece with Polyurethane.

How do you make wood look distressed?

softwood & hardwood boards Step 1: Choose the Wood ” Step 2: Rough Up the Wood ” Step 3: Stab and Scour the Wood ” Step 4: Scrub the Surface with a Wire Brush ” Step 5: Sand Down the Sharp Edges ” Step 6: Create a Vinegar Treatment ” Step 7: Apply the Treatment to the Wood ” Step 8: Apply a Coat of Light Paint ”

Can you distress wood with spray paint?

While there are tons of techniques out there, the easiest is way is so simple: spray paint and a sander. Yes, that’s it. Here is how to distress furniture with spray paint and a sander to get that awesome vintage look. After it’s painted , lightly rub with sandpaper.

How do you whitewash furniture without sanding?

Here are 5 Ways To Paint Furniture Without Sanding : USE A MINERAL PAINT. Mineral paint is very similar to chalk style paints in that no prep or prime is required. USE MILK PAINT + BONDING AGENT. As I already mentioned, the antique desk in this post was not prep- sanded . USE A BONDING PRIMER. USE A LIQUID SANDER /DEGLOSSER.

What is the best paint for distressing furniture?

Yes you can distress furniture paint with regular flat latex paint . It’s a budget friendly alternative. A flat latex paint is easy to sand and you can use my vinegar and water distressing technique . You can layer two colors, and create lots of the looks if you use flat latex paint .

How do you make wood look rustic GREY?

To age new wood to a natural silvery gray, to grey -brown or black patina (depending on the wood ), let a small piece of steel wool (or a few non-galvanized nails) sit overnight in ordinary white vinegar, then dilute the vinegar solution 1 to 1 with water. (If you used 1/4 cup of vinegar, add 1/4 cup of water.)

Is it better to brush or spray paint furniture?

Spray painting is faster than brush painting . Most spray paint is oil-based and provides a more durable finish than latex paint . Spray paint dries much more quickly than brushed-on paint . Spray paint is easier to apply on furniture with spindles, small pieces, or intricate nooks and crannies.

It’s interesting how what might have been unfashionable in the furniture and decor world 60 years ago is all the rage now.

Nowadays, individuals will go out of their way to modify existing pieces to look ‘rougher’ or make it a point to hit every thrift store within a 50-kilometer radius to find just the right ‘one of a kind’ piece for their home or renovation project.

How to distress wood furniture How to Distress Wood Furniture

If you’re into the look but aren’t into poring over old furniture in a thrift store or you shopped for hours and have hauled home some new pieces, read on.

We’ve put together a comprehensive guide to distressing your wooden furniture.

Get Prepped

First thing’s first. We don’t advise ripping out the sander in your living room with abandon. Here are a few things you should make sure you have available to make your DIY project a success:

  • Paint (color of your choice)
  • Paintbrush
  • Sanding paper & steel wool
  • Rags/tack cloths
  • Drop cloths (can be old towels in a pinch)
  • Polyethylene
  • Stain (not 100% necessary)
  • A candle (not in a jar or container)

Get Started

This is doable in any space, but you’ll want to make sure you clear the area of anything you don’t want to accidentally get dirty.

We recommend sanding outdoors or in your garage, but certainly, you can sand and finish indoors. However, make sure you have proper ventilation and a good vacuum or drop cloth to collect dust.

Step One

Sand your piece. If your furniture is unfinished, you only need to lightly sand. If it has paint or stain on it already, you’ll want to spend more time on it. When you’ve completed this, wipe it down with a tack cloth or rag as best as you can. Make sure there’s no dust left behind.

Step Two

This one is pretty simple. Paint your piece of furniture and allow it to dry. Some DIY’ers like to do two colors, to give the illusion of ‘old’ paint peeking through the ‘new’ paint.

If you only want the wood to peek through, leave it at just one color. A second coat is optional but not necessary.

Step Three

This step goes hand in hand with step two. If you’re going for a ‘two-color’ look as mentioned above, wait for your base coat to dry. Then rub your candle over areas that would naturally ‘distress’ before others. These include edges, spots where you’d put plates and cups, and areas that nick or scratch easily.

After you’ve done this, paint it over with your second color. The wax will prevent the second coat from fully adhering to the base coat – doing a lot of your work for you.

If you aren’t doing a two-toned look, you’ll (of course) skip this step and go straight to sanding.

Step Four

Time to do the actual distressing work! Use your steel wool and sandpaper to rough up where you applied the wax to reveal the paint underneath.

If you opted for wood underneath only, you’ll use sandpaper and wool to reveal the wood.

This step is completely up to personal preference. Make it as distressed as you like! Wipe off excess dust and paint flecks with your tack cloth.

Step Five

You can take this time to apply a stain if you wish (be sure to use a straight line motion instead of circular) or skip right to sealing and protecting with polyethylene. Allow to dry completely, and voila! You’ve distressed your furniture!

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How To Distress Wood Furniture Coffee Table

Distress wood furniture – Firstly, clear the area where you need to work on your project. It is best to do this outside on a flat surface. But if you do it right, so make sure there are no unsafe objects around. Second, add tarp on the floor, place the wooden piece on top of the tarp and put your goggles on. Third, use hammer, chisel and chains for emergency tree. Bang along different areas of the piece of furniture to add indent into the wood.

Next steps about how to distress wood furniture is, use the chisel to remove small pieces of wood, which makes it look old and worn. Use chains to add stress marks smacking of the piece of furniture all the way around with the chain links. Fourth, gently sand the distressed areas along the surface to make it smooth and flush with the rest of the furniture. Fifth, clean the furniture with mild detergent and warm water on a sponge. Wipe it out completely before dying.

Blue How To Distress Wood Furniture

How To Distress Wood Furniture Bedding

How To Distress Wood Furniture Design

Let it sit for about an hour or two, and then you know that it is completely dry. Dampen a cloth and pour a small amount of liquid stain on it. Swipe spot up and down a specific area of furniture, and then quickly wipe with another dry cloth. Do this until all the furniture has been spotty. Allow to dry for 24 hours. Last, apply a thin layer of clear acrylic to seal the stain. Use sponge or foam brush for easy application and let it dry for 48 hours before using the furniture. And steps by steps about how to distress wood furniture were end.

How To Distress Wood Furniture Dining Tables

How To Distress Wood Furniture Idea

How To Distress Wood Furniture Little Desk

There are many different ways that you can change the look of the furniture you have, or other objects. One way is by doing distressed wood finishing. When you do a distressed wood finishes, you really give yourself a chance to have a stunning piece of furniture comes to life before your eyes.

How To Distress Wood Furniture Painting

How To Distress Wood Furniture Rustic

How To Distress Wood Furniture Steps

Depressing is a way to make something made of wood, or of almost any other material, it looks like an older and older. It is usually regarded as decorative art, because you change how the item looks, to make it more enjoyable for your eyes alone. Also, distress wood furniture which looked at as a finishing technique, because it was something you did that led to the final design of the furniture.

How To Distress Wood Furniture Style

How To Distress Wood Furniture Trick

Distress Wood Furniture Antiquing

Although it is called distress wood furniture, it’s actually the opposite of finishing, because you take a final product that looks new, and doing things to it to make it look older and more depressed. When you are depressed piece of wood, you deliberately made him look older. This may mean that you destroy or manipulate this time finishing on the object, to make it look less than perfect. You can do this with sandpaper, and also with something like paint stripper. Sometimes, you may remove several layers of paint, but not all, so there may still be seen a coat of paint over wood fiber underneath.

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  • How to distress wood furniture with white paint

How to distress wood furniture with white paint

How do you make white painted wood look distressed?

How to Distress Furniture in 6 Easy Steps Materials and Tools. Prepare Your Space. Start by laying down drop cloths and preparing the area. Sand and Clean the Piece. Paint the Piece. Apply Wax and Top Layer of Paint (Optional) Distress the Piece with Sandpaper and Steel Wool. Apply a Stain (Optional) Protect the Finished Piece with Polyurethane.

Can you distress furniture with regular paint?

Yes you can distress furniture paint with regular flat latex paint . It’s a budget friendly alternative. A flat latex paint is easy to sand and you can use my vinegar and water distressing technique . You can layer two colors, and create lots of the looks if you use flat latex paint .

How do you make wood look old and distressed?

softwood & hardwood boards Step 1: Choose the Wood ” Step 2: Rough Up the Wood ” Step 3: Stab and Scour the Wood ” Step 4: Scrub the Surface with a Wire Brush ” Step 5: Sand Down the Sharp Edges ” Step 6: Create a Vinegar Treatment ” Step 7: Apply the Treatment to the Wood ” Step 8: Apply a Coat of Light Paint ”

How do you whitewash painted wood?

Clean it with alcohol or a mixture of water and vinegar with a 1:1 ratio. This not only cleans your surface but it also dries out the surface so the wood absorbs the paint more efficiently. If you want the final look to be rustic like this coffee table you can begin painting after sanding with the 60 to 80 grit paper.

How do you make white paint look old?

Make The White Paint Look Old To age the white paint I used Caromal Colours Toner. This is one of my favorite DIY products. The process to make any paint color look old is as simple as brushing the toner onto the paint and then wiping it off with a damp rag until you get the desired effect . Easy as pie.

What kind of sandpaper do you use to distress furniture?

Use sandpaper to “distress” After all your hard work to achieve a smooth and even finish , it’s time to grab some fine sandpaper (220 grade) and start to “distress” the finish to add the appearance of age. Sand the newly painted area.

How do you whitewash furniture without sanding?

Here are 5 Ways To Paint Furniture Without Sanding : USE A MINERAL PAINT. Mineral paint is very similar to chalk style paints in that no prep or prime is required. USE MILK PAINT + BONDING AGENT. As I already mentioned, the antique desk in this post was not prep- sanded . USE A BONDING PRIMER. USE A LIQUID SANDER /DEGLOSSER.

How do I paint shabby chic?

If it’s varnished, use sandpaper or a good quality paint and varnish remover. Apply a coat of water-based acrylic primer – This simply gives your furniture a smoother finish, making it easier to work on. Because it’s a shabby chic project, you don’t need to be neat. Even if you’re rubbish at painting , you’ll be fine.

Table of Contents

Prepare Your Space. Start by laying down drop cloths and preparing the area. Sand and Clean the Piece. Sand the surface of the piece. Paint the Piece. Apply Wax and Top Layer of Paint (Optional) Distress the Piece with Sandpaper and Steel Wool. Apply a Stain (Optional) Protect the Finished Piece with Polyurethane.

How do you make dark wood shabby chic?

How to Shabby Chic Dark Wood Furniture Step-by-Step Clean furniture thoroughly. Prime with 2 coats of BOSS. Paint with 2 coats of white or muted color. Highlight details by dry brushing white paint or waxing. Distress (optional) Seal with 2 coats of clear coat or wax.

How do you make dark furniture lighter?

How to Lighten Up Space Around Dark Furniture Enhance with drapery or accessories. Let your wall color speak. Focus on your ceiling color. Ambient lighting. Illuminate with natural light. Embellish the space with artificial foliage. Dress your shelves to bring some contrast. Coloring room accessories with bright shades.

What kind of sandpaper do you use to distress furniture?

Step 3) Distressing Once your final paint coat is dry, you can start distressing it with fine-grit sandpaper. You can start with 180 grit sandpaper to see how you like the look, but feel free to experiment with other grits. The higher the number, the finer the sandpaper.

What is chalk painting furniture?

Chalk Paint® is a decorative furniture paint specifically designed by Annie Sloan to be easy to use, quick, and reliable. Chalk Paint® very rarely requires any preparation, such as sanding or priming, and can be used indoors or outside, on just about any surface.

How do you make wood look old with vinegar?

Iron vinegar on cedar – cheap, easy and fast! Soak some steel wool in white vinegar for a few hours or a few days – the longer it steeps, the darker the aged effect will be. Use 0000 steel wool (shown here) so it breaks down even faster in the vinegar.

How do you make new wood look beat up?

This technique is subtle, so it’s done after sanding. Place a wire brush at an angle on the board and run it with the grain. This will dig out the softer wood between the grain and give the surface more texture, which really helps make new wood look old. Wire brushing is more effective on soft woods such as pine.

How do you change dark wood to light?

Wipe away sawdust from the wood using tack cloths. Apply a light color of gel stain to the wood using a natural brush. Immediately wipe the gel off the wood using rags. Wash the light gel stain from the brush using mineral spirits. Let the light color of gel stain dry for four hours.

How do you whitewash dark wood?

The Best Way to Whitewash Wood Stain the wood (or leave it raw for a light finish). Mix 2 parts white paint (flat latex or matte acrylic both work fine) with 1 part water. Brush on the water/paint mixture in the direction of the wood grain. Use a clean rag to wipe off the paint in the direction of the wood grain.

How do you lighten antique furniture?

To do this, mix 1 part vinegar to 3 parts water in a bowl and apply this mixture using a new paint brush (or cleaned out paint brush) all over the areas the bleach was applied. You’ll also notice after applying the bleach, that the piece of furniture may feel rough again.

How can I change the color of my wood furniture?

Method 1: Change Wood Color with a New Stain Remove the existing finish completely by sanding or stripping. Determine the wood species. Determine the undertone of the wood stains you are considering. Choose a wood stain that will either complement or counteract the existing undertone to get the look you want.

How do you lighten dark wood stain?

If the wood is too dark, soak a clean cloth in turpentine or mineral spirits and rub the wood firmly and evenly along the grain. This will lighten the stain but not remove it.

Can you distress already stained wood?

Go with stain if you want the really rustic look. Go with paint if your design style is more modern. I stained the wood first, then used paint to create the distressed marks. You can really change up the look by using a few different paint colors to distress.

Do you have to use chalk paint to distress?

TECHNIQUE. If you are going for a distressed look or antiqued finish, chalk paint works really well for that. You can distress with latex too, but chalk paint has a matte finish that is just a little more conducive to creating the aged look. If you want a modern sleek look go with latex.

Does chalk paint scratch easily?

When chalk paint isn’t properly protected and sealed it can chip and scratch pretty easily. So what’s the best way to keep chalk paint from scratching? Applying a liquid topcoat is the best way to keep chalk painted surfaces from scratching.

How do you make wood look distressed?

Liquids: White vinegar, stains, and paints are three types of fluids you may want to use for faux-aging wood. Vinegar creates a silvery-gray appearance. Stains darken the wood and highlight mechanically distressed areas. Paints can be applied in two coats, then sanded down for a weathered effect.

How do you darken wood naturally?

You can darken wood without using commercial stains. You can use natural products like vinegar or apple cider with steel wool pads or rusty nails. A combination of any of these can create a strong, effective yet non-toxic stain that’s good for the environment.

How do you distress furniture with vinegar and chalk paint?

Fill a spray bottle with vinegar and a smaller portion of water. After you have painted and allowed the furniture to dry, spray on the vinegar solution. Use a rag (or something a bit more abrasive) to rub the furniture and to remove some of the paint.

These are easiest ways to make tables and chairs perfectly imperfect.

How to distress wood furniture

It can be hard to achieve the right balance of “heirloom chic” when you’re decorating your house, especially when you’re short on cash and want to use old things that don’t look, well, old. But another way to add a little refresher is to look around your house and find furniture that needs a little rehabbing—you can reupholster an old chair, perk up an old sofa with new throw pillows, or trade out a coffee table for a new ottoman. Or you can go the opposite direction and distress some furniture that looks a little too “new” for your taste. If you’re down for the easy task, here’s what you need to know:

What You’ll Need to Distress Furniture

  • Sandpaper
  • Paintbrush
  • Candle
  • Steel wool
  • Rags
  • Drop cloths
  • Paint(s)
  • Polyurethane

Step 1: Protect Your Space

Lay down the drop cloths in the space where you plan to get down to business.

Step 2: Protect Your Hardware

Remove the hardware (knobs, pulls, handles, etc.) from the furniture that you plan to distress.

How to distress wood furniture

How to distress wood furniture

Step 3: Sand Your Furniture

Thoroughly sand the piece. Really put some effort into this step—especially if it’s been painted or polyurethaned before. Once the surface and the corners have really been sanded, you can wipe it down with a rag to get all the dust and crusties off.

Step 4: Paint Your Furniture

So you have to make some decisions before you start the process. When your painted piece is distressed, do you want to see wood (or whatever state it’s currently in) or do you want something completely different—like a different paint color—when it’s distressed? The answer is going to affect this step. If you’re cool with seeing whatever is currently there, go ahead and paint the piece and allow to dry. If you want to see a new color when you finally distress, paint the piece in that color and let it dry.

Step 5: Wax Your Furniture

Apply candle wax to various places on your piece of furniture and then paint the entire piece your second color. Don’t worry: Paint won’t stick to the waxed areas, so it’s going to be easy for you to remove so you can see the first coat. But that means you need to be extra mindful of where you apply the wax. Don’t do too much in one area, and don’t neglect corners and edges.

Step 6: Go to Work with Sandpaper and Steel Wool

Once everything is totally dry on your furniture, you can start the distressing process. If you used two colors, use steel wool to remove paint in the waxed areas and follow up with sandpaper in other areas for varying degrees of distress. If you just have the single color, you can use sandpaper to to distress the paint and show off the wood beneath. Once you’ve achieved the desired effect, remove dust with a rag.

Step 7: Polyurethane Your Furniture

In order to protect your one-of-a-kind craftsmanship, paint on a layer of polyurethane. Once it’s completely dry, put back on all of your hardware (or add new hardware for a completely new look!) and invite friends and family over to admire your craftsmanship.

How to distress wood furniture

While many homeowners want their wood furniture to have a brand new, flawless appearance, the use of weathered and distressed wood products has become an increasingly popular trend. But how is this vintage look created? There are several methods that are used to achieve a rustic style.

Hand distressing is a popular way to make your furniture look weathered and distressed. There are multiple ways to create different looks. Using a hand planer is a great way to create ridge lines in the furniture, without them being clean. After doing this you can either leave the ridges as is, rough, or you can take sand paper and give the ridge lines a smooth rolling feel.

Other things you can do by hand is wearing the edges with sand paper, for a medium distressed look or a hatchet to give it a rough sawn look. Doing it this will give the piece a heavy distressed look. Taking a wire brush is also another way to get a unique distressed look.

Mechanical distressing is used to mimic the appearance of rough-sawn or wear-damaged wood. Cutting the wood’s surface with an older framing blade is perfect for achieving the rough-sawn look, while chisel tips and scratch awls are typically used to add stylistic scratches and nicks to achieve a worn appearance on doors and other wood products.

It’s best to exercise caution with any of these methods for distressing and weathering wood (or better yet, leave the work to the pros). Different types of wood may react differently to these techniques, which is why it is always a good idea to use a test piece prior to attempting to alter the appearance of your wood products. If you love the distressed look, let Swiss Valley Furniture be the ones to create a timeless piece for you.

Whether you love the rustic charm of ‘lived-in’ furniture pieces or want to cover up your lacklustre painting efforts, distressing painted furniture is a great way to add charm to your home!

But, before you get started, if you want to distress a piece that has primer underneath, you need to make sure that the primer and the paint on top aren’t high contrast with each other. In other words, if you have a piece that’s painted black and you used white primer, you should think twice before you distress.

How to distress wood furniture

Because the sandpaper has to cut through the primer BEFORE it gets to the wood finish underneath, there will be areas where snippets of the primer will be exposed (and nothing you can do about it…) The same applies if you are painting over a previously painted underneath. The above piece had gray primer and the layered look is on purpose.

How to distress wood furniture

This piece above has more distressing than the average piece – it’s all about personal taste!

How to distress wood furniture

Before you get down n’ dirty, find the least noticeable place on your cabinet/furniture and just tap the sander to the edge of it to see how it removes the paint.

If the paint gets gummy – it’s too soon, you need to let your paint cure enough before sanding. (Curing time varies depending on coats of paint and humidity). Most pieces are ready to be distressed 24 hrs after the final coat.

If that paint gets a ‘peeled’ kind of look rather than a ‘worn’ look, then you did not prep well enough. If you did not properly your paint will strip off faster than a showgirl. What to do then? Keep on sanding, get all of that paint off and start again.

How to distress wood furniture

And now on to distressing your furniture or cabinets…

STEP 1

Remove the handles if you haven’t painted them, this will make it easier to manoeuvre your way around the doors. Yes, you could remove the hinges and take the doors to the garage, however, I hate taking things off of hinges more than I have to as it can be a bugger to rehang them straight and without stripping the holes unnecessarily, so think twice about it.

STEP 2

Using 150 grit sandpaper, place the palm sander on an approx 30-degree angle – just enough to hit the edge without scuffing the surrounding areas. Do not put any excess pressure on the sander and basically let it do the work for you. Run it over the edge once at a rate of about 1 edge (30″) of framework every 5 seconds.

Keep a tight eye on the angle of the palm sander. If it’s on the wrong angle, it can scuff up the paint and if you waver too much it can skid off and put a blemish on the finish – just go smooth and steady.

How to distress wood furniture

Once you get the hang of things, you can practice slightly rocking the sander slightly to blend your distressing into the paint and widen the path of your distressing. However, to start – just keep her straight and steady.

Be prepared to go through quite a bit of sandpaper as this type of edge sanding really wears the paper away. Once the sandpaper has a lot of paint on it, you’ll want to get a fresh piece.

STEP 3

Wipe away the dust from all of the cabinets so you can see where any scuffing is. Use your leftover paint and paintbrush to feather out these areas and blend them in.

How to distress wood furniture

*Take it easy on the distressing, you can always add more after the fact and it’s more difficult to fix it after it’s done.

Are you ready to learn how to distress furniture? Jenn, Creative Team, is here for Part 2 of her ‘How to Paint Furniture’ series! She is going to show us her awesome distressing furniture technique. Enjoy! -Linda

How to distress wood furniture

In Part 1 we talked about sanding, priming, and how to paint a smooth, undistressed finished. Today I’m going to show you one of my favorite methods for painting and distressing furniture to give it that perfect aged look.

Distressing Furniture

How to distress wood furniture

I want to start by going back to prep though and touch on something we didn’t the last time: stripping furniture. A common mistake I think a lot of people make in painting furniture is thinking that you can just paint over the old paint, the sand through the new layer of paint, and the old layers of paint in the places you want distressed and get the same look. I wish, but not so much. If you just want to distress edges and corners, you’d be just fine to paint over the old paint, but if you want the “all-over distress,” you have to do a little work and get back to the bare wood, which is where stripping comes in. Bottom line: you’re not going to get the paint-on-wood look unless you paint over the bare wood. Something else to note: the color of the wood does not change when you paint over it, so you can’t paint over a piece of cherry wood and expect to get that dark looking finish. If you want the dark finish, you’ll have to restain the wood before you paint.

This table started out black, with white primer underneath, which by the way, if you’re going to paint with dark paint, it’s best to use a tinted primer. Because there was so much paint, it would have taken just short of FOREVER to sand all of the paint off. Enter: paint stripper. Essentially, sanding roughs up a piece so paint will stick and stripper gets rid of it so you can start from square one. Stripper is as simple as spreading it on (I like Citristrip or Jasco), letting it dry until the paint starts to bubble or flake, and then scraping it off and repeating if necessary (the directions are on the back of the bottle). If you’re not stripping a flat surface, you can use a stiff bristled brush to scrape off the paint from crevices. On this particular table, I didn’t sand the bottom at all since I knew I wasn’t going to be distressing it as much as the top, and the paint, which we’ll talk about in a minute, works great without sanding.

How to distress wood furniture

Once it’s stripped, do any necessary sanding to get the rest of the paint off.

How to distress wood furniture

Next comes staining. I used to be afraid of staining, but it’s really the easiest, most fool-proof thing in the world. Dip a rag in the stain and just rub it on in circles. Let it sit for a bit and then wipe it off with a dry rag in the direction of the grain. (This picture is before wiping off the excess.)

How to distress wood furniture

Let the stain dry for at least a few hours (overnight is best) and then let’s get onto the fun part: paint!

My favorite paint finishes for furniture are flat or satin. If I’m distressing furniture, I always mix my paint with tile grout. 1 cup paint to 2 Tbsp unsanded tile grout. It creates a super thick paint that gives amazing coverage with no sanding, no priming, it distresses beautifully, but once it cures is almost indestructible. In fact, I used it on a desk for my daughter well over a year ago and it’s still going strong, which is quite the feat with a three year old.

How to distress wood furniture

Mix the grout WELL into the paint until you get a thick, milkshake consistency. If the paint starts to harden up and get too thick, you can stir in a little water.

How to distress wood furniture

Get just a small amount of paint on the end of the brush and paint in long strokes. It should feel a bit like dry-brushing, and there will be places where the paint doesn’t adhere to the wood and I leave those parts, because that gives the distressed finish in the end.

How to distress wood furniture

It’s really a matter of how much distressing you want. As you paint over the surface, paint more or less on to get the look you want. Just be aware of thick brush strokes. Most of the brush strokes will correct themselves with this paint, but if you have a spot that’s particularly thick, brush over it and even it out.

How to distress wood furniture

If you’re wanting more coverage, like I did on the bottom of this table, paint several in thin coats, letting each one dry before adding another, until you get the finish you want.

How to distress wood furniture

To add more distressing on the edges, just sand with a fine grit sandpaper. Fine grit is important because more coarse sandpaper will leave scratches and it won’t look natural.

How to distress wood furniture

When I distress, I always keep in mind where wear and tear would have naturally occurred, like on the edges, bottoms of table legs, around keyholes and handles, etc. And that’s it. If this is your first time painting furniture, I’d recommend starting on something flat like a dresser that gives you a lot of even surfaces to work with and get a feel for it.

How to distress wood furniture

You can see a few other projects where I’ve distressed here and here.

What techniques have you used in distressing furniture?

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How to distress wood furniture

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Guest Blog #62, Entry #497, April 16, 2011

Happy DIY Saturday! One of the latest trends in home furniture is buying wood furniture that looks old or distressed. In interior magazines, blogs, and cable network home and garden/DIY programs, homeowners are spending thousands to get this look in their home.

Today, I thought I’d show you how to turn your favorite wood furniture into a distressed replica, at a fraction of the cost!

Distressing wood furniture can beautify your interiors

Here’s a a video from DIY Network showing how to distress a black cabinet. Then read how my Guest Blogger from ‘My Blog Guest’ gives you tips for distressing on your own.

How to Distress Wood Furniture

Distressing is a great technique to use whenever you want to artificially produce the warm, cozy look of old, well-worn furniture. This technique is great for wooden chairs, dressers, bureaus, tables, and even beds. All you need to begin distressing the wood are some tools you can usually easily find around the house: a hammer, several pieces of sandpaper, a mallet, a drill, a wood file, a wire brush, and a sock filled with hard objects such as nuts or bolts. Which of the tools you’ll end up using for your particular project will depend on the look you are going for.

Although the aim of distressing wood is to create an authentically aged, antique and shabby finish, it’s important not to overdo it, otherwise your furniture piece might end up looking like trash instead of a valued antique!

Also, you’ll want to focus your distressing efforts on the areas of your furniture that normally receive the most wear and tear, including the tops and edges of chairs, table feet, tabletops, and rungs on rocking chairs or stools.

Weathered look furniture can cost a fortune in a retail store

Process overview:

Let’s say you want to distress a rocking chair. Begin with the arms: use a fine grain of sandpaper to remove some of the existing paint/stain along the sides of each arm. Don’t take off too much of the finish, and sand only with the grain of the wood.

Then, use a wood file to sand down the ends of the chair arms; again file only in the direction of the grain, and don’t overdo it – all you want is a subtle curve. Use your mallet to add a few dents to the sides of the arms. Use restraint; if you hit too hard, you might break the arm of the chair! Use the mallet on the chair legs, too.

Get out your drill, and make four or five small holes in the back of the chair; you might want to put them in a cluster, to simulate a woodworm infestation. Use sandpaper to lightly sand down the base of the seat, and carefully make some scratch marks along the back of the chair using your wire brush. Finally, rub down the entire piece with some wax to seal the exposed wood.

And voila – you now have a distressed masterpiece that looks like an authentic beloved antique!

This post was written by the editor of a house painting website who also provides room color scheme tutorials and offers advice about choosing interior paint colors.

How to distress laminate furniture

I picked up this old TV stand at the local Goodwill store for about $20. I wasn’t sure where I was going to use it but I immediately regretted buying it when I brought it home. What am I going to do with an UGLY forest green laminate TV stand. WHAT was I thinking. So it sat in my side hallway for a couple of months until I figured out what I was going to do with it. I got a brain wave and decided to use it for one of our rental cottages and replace an antique cabinet that the TV previously sat upon.

Here’s the before in ALL it’s uglyness.

I initially painted it brown because I was going to distress it by sanding the edges and showing the brown through the paint. This technique works when its wood furniture – not so much when it’s laminate. I’m not sure why I painted the inside of the DVD cabinet was this shade of blue. I think I was still trying to figure out what the heck I was going to do.

Then inspiration must have hit me. I painted it an aqua blue to match the aqua in the curtains of the cottage. I used my own recipe of chalk paint and interior latex aqua paint. I applied two coats using a foam brush.

To create the “distress” look, I wrapped a clean lint-free cloth around my finger and carefully distress the areas where I wanted to stand out. I used my favorite finishes, Miniwax Wood Finish in Jacobean stain.

One of my favorite finishes for wood (or laminate) furniture. Miniwas Wood Finish in Jacobean stain.

Since the TV stand is in a beach cottage, of course the knobs needed to be “beachy” too. I splurged and paid $5 per knob – a special order through Lowe’s. I love how it looks.

Here’s how the space looked when we first bought the cottages. You would wonder why we bought them.

Here’s our first makeover of the space. A fast and low budget makeover to get it ready for the rental season.

And here’s how the TV stand looks now with a new look this season. The picture was taken pre-fish-knobs. I was waiting for the order to come in.

Check out my post How To Update Wood Paneling to see how we transformed the walls.

Are you ready to tackle a piece of laminate furniture now and give it a distressed look?

Debi Collinson is a Designer. She renovates “fixer uppers” to flip or to rent. She staged houses for 10 years. She has seen houses at their best and their worst. Debi passes on her knowledge to help people Add Value to their Home while making their home a stunning retreat at the same time.

Which means we get all the benefits of a beautifully worn finish without any of the gritty sandpaper/paint residue!

Wet distressing chalk paint checks off all the boxes.

– It’s easy!
– It’s quick!
– And, there’s nothing to sweep or dust or vacuum up afterwards!!

If you are a lazy DIY-er like me then you’re going to enjoy this furniture distressing tutorial!

Plus, I’m going to let you in on a little secret.

The distressing marks you’ll get when you wet distress look so much better than when you use sandpaper to distress your furniture. 😉 Wet distressing really does give you the BEST distressed look for your antique furniture.

WHAT IS WET DISTRESSING?

How do you wet distress a piece of painted furniture? It’s easy!

In short, to get a naturally weathered painted surface with the wet distress method, you take a damp cloth and gently rub back your recently dried chalk paint.

Wet distressing allows the water to slightly soften the paint so you can then slowly wipe it away.

Once the chalk paint has been removed, it will reveal the original wood finish underneath or any underlining paint colors you may have applied.

It’s easy to run a damp rag along your furniture edges when you’re wet distressing. You can also gently rub any flat surface on your piece to create some fantastic natural looking age!

And honestly that’s the BIG difference. Sandpaper can’t do that for you!

Sandpaper will give you what looks like chicken scratches.

I’m slightly deviating here. But, here is one of my very first furniture makeovers. It was a painted farm table that I tried to distress using sandpaper. Promise not to judge!?

I can laugh at myself now but after you take a peek at it you’re going to nod and say, “Carrie, you’re right! THAT is a great example of what sandpaper chicken scratch looks like.”


It’s also a prime example of how you SHOULDN’T distress your furniture!. 😉

Alright, on with THIS furniture makeover!

Here’s what I started with. A lovely library style farmhouse table.

It was love at first site.

I loved her curvy base and her scrolly and chunky legs.

She had a beautiful cherry finish, but she was scratched up quite a bit along the sides.

Some of the grooves were rather deep and not in a cute “that adds character” kind of way.

So, I decided to paint this antique furniture piece but in a way that would still pay homage to her original wood finish. Choosing to distress the painted table and reveal some of her beautiful wood grain seemed like the best of both worlds.

Distressing chalk paint is a fantastic way to make wood furniture look rustic and in my humble opinion, wet distressing furniture is the best way to make it look as natural as possible!

Here are the supplies I used to wet distress this farmhouse desk.

How to distress wood furniture

There a million different ways to age a piece a furniture. I have used probably a dozen different techniques and products to achieve my desired finishes, so today I thought I would share with you 7 ways that I age and distress furniture.

Paint Remover

This technique works if the piece has been repainted numerous times over the years. Using a paint stripper and wearing protective gear, generously apply the stripper over the entire piece and follow wait time on the instructions. Using a scraper remove the old paint. Depending on how many layers a piece has and the look you are trying to achieve, will determine if you need to do multiple layers of stripper.

Here is a dresser that I used this technique on:

How to distress wood furniture

Find the details from the post here: Unexpected Elegance

Dry Brushing

In my opinion this technique is one the easiest and requires the least amount of supplies. To do this technique you just want a very dry brush and lightly go over the surface. Keep some paper towels handy to wipe off excess paint when needed.

For the cabinet in the picture below, I used some leftover latex paint from a bedroom we had painted.

How to distress wood furniture

Sanding

This is exactly how it sounds! You can use a sanding block, piece of sandpaper or hand sander, depending on how distressed you want the piece. The key to making it look authentic is to sand places that would have worn naturally over time, like near handles and edges.

The piece in the picture below, I used a finer sandpaper with a hand sander.

How to distress wood furniture

Vaseline

For this technique you add petroleum jelly over areas that would generally be worn naturally over time BEFORE you paint the final paint color. You will need to have a base coat in either a contrasting color or stain. Once you have paint over the Vaseline, let it dry completely then lightly sand over the areas.

Here is a good post that demonstrates this technique: How to Distress Paint with Vaseline

Antiquing Wax/Glaze

To add age to your paint, you can use a glaze or antiquing wax. This technique is all about working quickly. You want the product to go on easily and be able to remove most of it, with only a hint of the color left. This will give you the look of the paint turning color over time and naturally wearing.

Here’s a good example and quick tutorial for using Annie Sloan paint with the dark wax: sincerely, sara d.

How to distress wood furniture

Annie Sloan Chalk Paint

This is more of a product than a technique. I’ve learned that you don’t really want to be a perfectionist when using this paint. The more you “slop” it on the the better it looks…in my opinion.

This is a bookcase that I used two different colors of Chalk Paint and lightly sanded.

How to distress wood furniture

To see more details of this transformation: Unexpected Elegance and to find out more info on the paint: Annie Sloan Chalk Paint

Milk Paint

This paint comes in powder form and you add water. This paint can also give you very dramatic results and different techniques you use. I have seen people get really creative with how they take the paint off (tape, scraper…)

Here is a link that can answer any questions you might have about this product and where to purchase it: Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint

How to distress wood furnitureKnowing how to distress furniture comes in handy when you want to blend new or handmade furnishings with vintage or antique furnishings. Specific DIY distressing techniques provide nearly unlimited alternatives to sprucing up old pieces, customizing garage or estate sale finds and upcycling thrift store or free-on-the-curb furniture. If you want to add a timeless air to your own belongings, this guide helps you get the makeover results you want by defining different distressing styles and providing step-by-step guidance for how to distress furniture.

Defining Distressed Furniture

Distressed furniture refers to pieces that have been deliberately weathered or damaged to give them an older appearance. Many methods exist for adding the look of wear and tear, with some requiring sandpaper, paint strippers and various distressing mediums. Finished pieces typically exude vintage flair in cottage or shabby-chic rooms or bring rustic beauty to farmhouse or country-style spaces. Additionally, distressed furniture techniques imbue furnishings with one-of-a-kind style to help you personalize your home decor. While wood proves especially well-suited to distressing techniques, other materials also handle it well, including:

  • Concrete
  • Glass
  • Metal
  • Stone
  • Plaster
  • Plastic

Styles Well-Suited to Distressing

Many styles of furniture take well to distressing techniques, making them a flexible way to enhance furnishings. Simple weathered wood frames offer a beautiful way to accent old-fashioned photographs, while primitive buffets and sideboards fit flawlessly with lodge-style home decor. Adding signs of wear to newly built mid-century modern tables helps them pair perfectly with the real deal, and imbuing antique bedroom suites with a patina helps them mesh well with treasured family heirlooms. Distressed furniture runs the gamut from farmhouse and country to rustic and nautical, providing nearly limitless options for customizing your living space.

Decorating with Distressed Furniture

Decorating with distressed furnishings can be as elaborate as entire rooms filled with themed furniture or as simple as adding an accent piece to contemporary home decor. For example, farmhouse kitchens benefit from wire-brushed bakers racks and whitewashed or pickled cabinets, while sitting rooms may only require a crackle-finished urn to complete a classic look. Whether you want to make over your whole home or just bring a touch of hominess to certain spaces, learning how to distress furniture and furnishings adds a useful skill to your home decor tool belt.

How to Distress Furniture

The steps you use when learning how to distress furniture are fairly simple and straightforward. Typically, this DIY project begins like any other with preparing your space and cleaning your piece, but actual distressing techniques vary, depending on how you want your final result to look. This furniture distressing tutorial walks you through many common techniques so you can decide what’s best for your DIY project.

Preparing Your Work Area

Before you start your DIY distressed furniture project, you need to prepare your work area. First, tape off any portion of the piece of furniture you’re distressing with masking or painters tape, then put down a tarp or drop cloth to protect your flooring.

Cleaning and Sanding the Surface

Once you’ve prepared your space, it’s time to clean the wall, object or piece of furniture you wish to distress. An easy way to remove all the dirt and grime, especially on actual old pieces, is by using Tri-Sodium Phosphate. When you’ve wiped the surface down completely, fill any holes and sand down any rough spots that don’t work with your distressing aesthetic. If you spot any metal stains and want to remove them, consider using Oxalic Wood Bleach by the Real Milk Paint Co. before you move on to the furniture painting step.

Distressing Wood Via Damage

While many furniture distressing techniques are designed for use after painting, most makeovers require damaging the surface before you paint. You can start by using imperfect wood for DIY projects that’s already distressed to a degree, or you can choose woods that mar easily and damage them yourself. Soft woods in particular take well to wire brushing, and you can do this by attaching a wire brush to an electric drill and using it to create deeper grooves in the surface to mimic the look of weathered barn wood. Other techniques include beating the wood with a chain to leave subtle indentations or hitting it with a rag filled with sharp nails to add small yet deep divots. When you get the results you require, move on to the painting phase.

Painting Your Piece

Before painting the piece of furniture you want to distress with Real Milk Paint, consider the results you want. For instance, if you want a layered paint effect, you may want to mix both hues at the same time, adding our Anti-Foaming Agent to the first batch you’re using while letting the other color settle naturally. Our Real Milk Paint powder mixes at a 1:1 ratio with water, so you can quickly mix up as little or as much as you need, and if you want to use it on patio furniture or landscaping elements, our Outdoor Additive gives it extra resistance to mildew and bleed through from wood knots.

Once you’ve mixed up the formulation to the consistency you require, you’re ready to paint. To get a smooth surface without brush marks, use a foam roller, and to get a traditionally painted look, use standard paintbrushes to complete the task. Real Milk Paint dries quickly, so you don’t have to wait long after painting the first coat before adding the second one. If you’re using layering techniques, hold off on that second coat, though, until you’ve distressed the area to your satisfaction.

Adding Distressed Effects

Myriad ways exist for DIYers to achieve distressed furniture effects, depending on the results you desire. It helps to consider the entire piece before deciding which distressing techniques to use and gather the supplies you require before you begin.

If you are wondering how to distress furniture, then you should know that not all furniture can be given that look. Worn, vintage and antique furniture has a way of making your home look warm and attractive. However, vintage furniture is not only very hard to find but can also be quite expensive. So, what do you do if you want to achieve a vintage look for your furniture without having to spend a fortune or spend a lot of time trying to find antiques? There is one way, and it is known as distressing furniture. By effectively distressing furniture you will achieve a look that will add the feel-good factor to your décor. Below are a few steps showing how to distress furniture effectively.

Choose the right piece of furniture to distress

You certainly don’t want to distress all the pieces of furniture in your home. For a good antique effect, you want to maybe distress one or two, and picking the right one is the most essential step in the process. The other reason you need to take extra care when choosing the right furniture to distress is that if this is your first time doing this, you don’t want to ruin your most expensive or most prized pieces of furniture. Follow the next steps on how to distress furniture with a test piece and if you like the result, then you can replicate the process for your other more expensive pieces of furniture.

Step One – sanding the furniture

In order to do this effectively, you can use coarse-grit sandpaper, which can be found in the hardware section of many of the major retailers near you. If the furniture that you intend to distress is unfinished, then you will only need to sand until you achieve a smooth surface, which shouldn’t take very long. If, however, the piece of furniture is already finished and has a coat of paint on it, then you can sand away most of the finish, leaving only a little bit. Leaving some of the finishing on the furniture will help add flare to the finished product. After sanding you will then have to wipe down the entire piece of furniture with a cloth to remove the dust that may have accumulated as a result of the sanding process.

Then, make sure that you also sand the edges of the piece as this will create a worn look, which is the main point of the process of how to distress furniture.

Step Two – add cracks

Using a chisel and hammer, add cracks to the wood being distressed. You can do this by using the hammer to tap repeatedly on the wood using the chisel until a crack appears. But you must remember that cracks will only appear along the grain and so you should be positioning the chisel along the grain for maximum effectiveness. You can then use the same hammer to add a number of depressions onto the wood whenever you want them to be.

How to distress wood furniture

Step Three – add holes and scratches

Using a wire brush add light scratches to the piece of furniture for an authentic aged look. You may choose whether you want to add the scratches before or after you paint the piece. You can then use a drill to make small holes on the surface of the furniture and you may even drill a few holes closer together to simulate insect damage.

Step Four – replace any metal parts

At this stage of how to distress furniture, your furniture should be getting an antique look except for one thing; the metal handles. You will want to replace these with other older and less shiny looking ones to complete the effect. You can find these at your local antique hardware store or online.

Step Five – Finish up

The final step is to apply a finishing wood stain. You should, however, remember to apply the stain in the direction of the wood grain only after wiping your furniture clean.

The process involving how to distress furniture is easy. However, choose a piece of furniture, which is not looking so good and may need a lot of maintenance. By distressing it you will have it for a long time while giving it an antique look. Don’t go overboard with this effect, as there are some pieces that look great without the distressed look.

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How to distress wood furniture

How to distress wood furniture

How to distress wood furniture

How to distress wood furniture

How to distress wood furniture

How to distress wood furniture

Trying to distress wood & got results like you took a hammer to it? Cause you did? I’ve tried that too. Here’s how to distress wood without a hammer.

How to distress wood furniture

I adore the farmhouse style and create DIY projects using distress wood. Rarely do I use actual barn wood because we live in Arizona. Barn wood isn’t as plentiful as other areas. When you do find old boards they tend to be expensive. So, I’ve used several ways to create my own distress wood using new cheaper pine boards.

This post contains affiliate links. I may make a commission for your purchase at no extra cost to you. Think of it as a friend letting you know where I found a product I use, love or want. Click here to read my full disclosure policy.

How to distress wood furniture

The farmhouse style is here to stay for a while. Why do I think that? The list of my reasons the farmhouse will stay.

  • The look of the farmhouse shows up in other styles. Both minimalist and modern styles use reclaimed wood and industrial farm elements.
  • Pinterest is overflowing with farmhouse ideas.
  • People are clambering to add farmhouse to their homes. I receive emails all the time from readers looking to switch to the farmhouse look.
  • It’s cozy, casual and inexpensive.
  • It can be feminine and masculine.

Aging wood with Tea and Ironed Vinegar

Aging wood instantly is by far my favorite. I’ve used it in hundreds of projects and many times along with other paint techniques. It’s inexpensive and with extra procedures the results are different.

How to distress wood furniture

Chalk-Based Paint and Ironed Vinegar

Paint with chalk paint then ironed vinegar or after? I have found that using ironed vinegar over chalk-based paint gives the paint a dirty look. I don’t like that. But using chalk-based paint on top, then sanding to reveal the “old” wood is incredibly beautiful.

Chalk-based paint to age wood

The popular chalk-based paint also works to give an aged distress look to the wood. This is the result I achieved in aging wood using chalk paint. The possibilities are endless.

RELATED: chalky paint then ironed vinegar

How to distress wood furniture

How to distress wood using wax

Waxes are easy and fun to create distress on wood boards and your thrift store wood finds. My favorite wax is the one I make. You can apply dark wax first in areas the piece would naturally have wear and distress. Or apply wax on top of the paint. White wax or liming wax as a chalky white look to the wood. This is the whitewash wax I make. It’s easy to make and much cheaper than waxes you buy.

How I use wax to distress wood and paint: I apply dark wax in areas that wear, around dents and nicks. Then paint with two coats of paint When the paint dries, I sand the areas where I waxed to reveal a deeper color of the wood. Plus this makes sanding to distress easier because the paint doesn’t stick as well to wax. My final step is to use an artist brush and apply dark and white wax into crevices, nooks, and crannies. If the piece will have heavy use, I will go over everything with clear wax.

RELATED: sanding furniture tips

Working with old barn wood or reclaimed wood

There’s nothing better than working with real barn wood…except the dust. It smells of old. If the smell is any indication to the life the wood had, it was a hard smelly life. My uncle gave me old wood from Oklahoma on my last trip home. You would have thought he gave me gold. I created a shelf for a TV that helps hide the wires. In the post, I share cleaning tips to read before working with real barn wood.

Sanding painted furniture to distress the wood

I do not like sanding wood. But I can get lost in time when sanding to distress furniture paint. This post shares my tips on sanding and distressing.

How to distress wood furniture

A collection of favorite painting and distressing tools I use.

How to distress wood is a collection of posts. Remember to check back as I update the group with more ideas.

I wish I could create DIY projects without sawdust! Achoo!

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How to distress wood furniture

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How to distress wood furniture

There a million different ways to age a piece a furniture. I have used probably a dozen different techniques and products to achieve my desired finishes, so today I thought I would share with you 7 ways that I age and distress furniture.

Paint Remover

This technique works if the piece has been repainted numerous times over the years. Using a paint stripper and wearing protective gear, generously apply the stripper over the entire piece and follow wait time on the instructions. Using a scraper remove the old paint. Depending on how many layers a piece has and the look you are trying to achieve, will determine if you need to do multiple layers of stripper.

Here is a dresser that I used this technique on:

How to distress wood furniture

Find the details from the post here: Unexpected Elegance

Dry Brushing

In my opinion this technique is one the easiest and requires the least amount of supplies. To do this technique you just want a very dry brush and lightly go over the surface. Keep some paper towels handy to wipe off excess paint when needed.

For the cabinet in the picture below, I used some leftover latex paint from a bedroom we had painted.

How to distress wood furniture

Sanding

This is exactly how it sounds! You can use a sanding block, piece of sandpaper or hand sander, depending on how distressed you want the piece. The key to making it look authentic is to sand places that would have worn naturally over time, like near handles and edges.

The piece in the picture below, I used a finer sandpaper with a hand sander.

How to distress wood furniture

Vaseline

For this technique you add petroleum jelly over areas that would generally be worn naturally over time BEFORE you paint the final paint color. You will need to have a base coat in either a contrasting color or stain. Once you have paint over the Vaseline, let it dry completely then lightly sand over the areas.

Here is a good post that demonstrates this technique: How to Distress Paint with Vaseline

Antiquing Wax/Glaze

To add age to your paint, you can use a glaze or antiquing wax. This technique is all about working quickly. You want the product to go on easily and be able to remove most of it, with only a hint of the color left. This will give you the look of the paint turning color over time and naturally wearing.

Here’s a good example and quick tutorial for using Annie Sloan paint with the dark wax: sincerely, sara d.

How to distress wood furniture

Annie Sloan Chalk Paint

This is more of a product than a technique. I’ve learned that you don’t really want to be a perfectionist when using this paint. The more you “slop” it on the the better it looks…in my opinion.

This is a bookcase that I used two different colors of Chalk Paint and lightly sanded.

How to distress wood furniture

To see more details of this transformation: Unexpected Elegance and to find out more info on the paint: Annie Sloan Chalk Paint

Milk Paint

This paint comes in powder form and you add water. This paint can also give you very dramatic results and different techniques you use. I have seen people get really creative with how they take the paint off (tape, scraper…)

Here is a link that can answer any questions you might have about this product and where to purchase it: Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint

How to distress laminate furniture

I picked up this old TV stand at the local Goodwill store for about $20. I wasn’t sure where I was going to use it but I immediately regretted buying it when I brought it home. What am I going to do with an UGLY forest green laminate TV stand. WHAT was I thinking. So it sat in my side hallway for a couple of months until I figured out what I was going to do with it. I got a brain wave and decided to use it for one of our rental cottages and replace an antique cabinet that the TV previously sat upon.

Here’s the before in ALL it’s uglyness.

I initially painted it brown because I was going to distress it by sanding the edges and showing the brown through the paint. This technique works when its wood furniture – not so much when it’s laminate. I’m not sure why I painted the inside of the DVD cabinet was this shade of blue. I think I was still trying to figure out what the heck I was going to do.

Then inspiration must have hit me. I painted it an aqua blue to match the aqua in the curtains of the cottage. I used my own recipe of chalk paint and interior latex aqua paint. I applied two coats using a foam brush.

To create the “distress” look, I wrapped a clean lint-free cloth around my finger and carefully distress the areas where I wanted to stand out. I used my favorite finishes, Miniwax Wood Finish in Jacobean stain.

One of my favorite finishes for wood (or laminate) furniture. Miniwas Wood Finish in Jacobean stain.

Since the TV stand is in a beach cottage, of course the knobs needed to be “beachy” too. I splurged and paid $5 per knob – a special order through Lowe’s. I love how it looks.

Here’s how the space looked when we first bought the cottages. You would wonder why we bought them.

Here’s our first makeover of the space. A fast and low budget makeover to get it ready for the rental season.

And here’s how the TV stand looks now with a new look this season. The picture was taken pre-fish-knobs. I was waiting for the order to come in.

Check out my post How To Update Wood Paneling to see how we transformed the walls.

Are you ready to tackle a piece of laminate furniture now and give it a distressed look?

Debi Collinson is a Designer. She renovates “fixer uppers” to flip or to rent. She staged houses for 10 years. She has seen houses at their best and their worst. Debi passes on her knowledge to help people Add Value to their Home while making their home a stunning retreat at the same time.

Shabby Chic, Distressed, Aged, Farmhouse and French Country furniture. What do all of these styles have in common?

How to distress wood furniture

Technique 1: Hand and Electric Sanding

Hand sanding tends to be the most used form of distressing. It is fairly easy, especially with chalk paint formulas that distress very well unlike a latex paint that is rubbery when sanding.

It is easiest to use a sanding block to distress furniture, sanding blocks are easier to hold in the palm of your hand. You can also use the sanding block long after it has worn out by wrapping a piece of sandpaper around the block.

Tip: Clean your sanding blocks with water after each use by gently rubbing together with another sanding block.

After you have finished painting your furniture piece, lightly sand places where distressing would naturally occur with a medium to light grit sandpaper, like a 220 grit or higher. Start by sanding the edges of drawers and the body of the furniture, then work your way towards the raised details. It is better to start with minimal sanding, step back and look at the piece and continue to sand as needed. It is much easier to sand more than having taken too much off and need to paint over.

How to distress wood furniture

If you want a really heavy distressed piece of furniture or wood, you are better off using an electric finishing sander, otherwise, it would take too much elbow grease to remove this much paint by hand sanding. Make sure the item is completely dry since you are using a power tool to remove paint, it will come off very easily if it is not completely dry.

Tip: Use fine grit sandpaper for the finishing sander and don’t push with a heavy hand. Sometimes it does not take much pressure to remove the paint, especially on the edges.

Technique 2: Wet Distressing

Using a lint-free cloth, lightly dampen the cloth and start rubbing on the areas you would like to remove the paint and distress. Wet distressing works really well with a freshly painted item.

Tip: Use baby wipes to wet distress, works great because they have the perfect amount of moisture.

Technique 3: Resist Distressing

How to distress wood furniture

Resist distressing occurs by using vaseline, beeswax, candle wax or any type of oil-based products. Resist distressing works great with a 2 tone distressed look. Paint your base coat and let dry completely. I like to cheat when I do a 2 tone distressed look. I don’t paint the entire item in the base coat, I only paint in the areas I want to distress. This saves time and money on paint products. Apply the oil-based product of your choice to the areas on the item that you want distressed.

Tip: A little vaseline goes a long way, you do not have to apply a lot of the oil-based product.

Paint the topcoat and let dry. After the topcoat is completely dry, use a lint-free cloth and wipe down the item. As you are wiping the item, the paint does not adhere to the areas where the oil-based product was applied.

Technique 4: Brush distressing (Naturally Worn)

How to distress wood furniture

The above piece was naturally worn by distressing with a paintbrush. On items that I know I will be distressing, I like to do a brush distressing. Brush distressing occurs when you don’t paint the entire piece and distress afterward, you distress as you go by controlling the paint that is painted on the furniture.

You can achieve this look by using very light coats (2 to 3) and a blending paintbrush. Make sure the brush you use is made of synthetic materials, they do a better job of applying a smooth blended finish. The natural bristle round brushes are great for waxing.

Want to see this technique in action and learn how with step by step details? I teach this technique in my online furniture painting video, How to Distress Naturally,

Technique 5: Milk-Paint Distressing

How to distress wood furniture

Using milk paint is a fun way to distress a piece of furniture because you never know the end result. There are many types of milk paint on the market; Miss Mustard Seed, Old Fashion Milk Paint, Amy Howard, and Sweet Pickens. All pretty much work in the same manner by mixing the dry milk paint powder with water, painting the furniture and watching the drying process as the milk paint begins to chip and distress in different areas on the furniture. This is the one method that is hard to control the amount of distressing. Sometimes it is too much or way too little and you may need to help it along with the other methods above.

Sometimes you can even use a glaze to achieve a distressed look. How to glaze furniture is for another post and you can check out my “How to Glaze Furniture” online workshop for an in-depth, step by step process of glazing furniture.

#1 Advice – Look at a lot of old aged, naturally distressed furniture and pay extra attention to the details and the areas in which the distressing happened naturally over time. The last thing you want is a spotted piece of furniture with random marks of distressing.

Good luck with your distressing techniques and don’t be afraid to try something new. What is your favorite way to distress?

How to distress wood furniture

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March 16, 2013 by Jackie

Sometimes, old furniture just has more character. And well, we can pretend new furniture does too, after we weather it!

There are a few different methods to weathering furniture.

Method 1

This works wonderfully for pallet wood or other wood tables, chairs, furniture, etc. You will need:

Break up the steel wool and put them in a jar with vinegar. Let it sit for 36 hours. After the steel wool has all but dissolved, brush it on the wood you are trying to weather. After it has dried, you can continue to distress it by sanding in the areas that you want. Tip from White Lace Cottage.

How to distress wood furniture

Method 2

dark stain or glaze

This is a good option for painted furniture. After the final coat is painted and dried, take the sandpaper and rub it along the edges of the moldings, and any other character pieces on your furniture. When it is as distressed as you would like, use the stain or glaze to rub over the rest of the piece, giving the undercoat the look of being weathered or tattered. Apply a coat of polyurethane over the top of the stain or glaze. This will take any “stick” off of the furniture that was created by the stain or glaze. This makes furniture last longer anyway, and the end result is A-maz-ing!

How to distress wood furniture

Method 3

Spray the wood with oven cleaner (as long as it is lye based) and then spray the wood with a layer of white vinegar. This technique will produce perfectly aged gray wood. This is the most natural way, as the lye is actually a corrosive substance.

How to distress wood furniture

Method 4

An old paintbrush

Before painting over your furniture, apply petroleum jelly to the piece. Paint over the petroleum jelly. Paint doesn’t adhere to Vaseline, giving it a weathered look. Here is the full tutorial from Salvaged Inspirations.

How to distress wood furniture

Method 5

This method is way less invasive than using a stain. Use the paintbrush to apply the coffee, it will age the white of your table, while keeping it white! Here is the full tutorial from Killer B Designs.

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How to distress wood furniture

Distressed furniture is newer pieces of furniture that have been conditioned to have the appearance of older pieces that have seen a moderate amount of use. The process for distressing furniture often depends on the style, the amount of distressing that is desired, and whether the piece is painted or stained. Just about any type of wooden furniture can be distressed with relative ease. Even painted furnishings made of metal can be distressed using a couple of specific methods.

The simplest way to create distressed furniture is to make use of small grain sandpaper. With brand new pieces that are sporting an original coat of paint, it is necessary to apply another coat. Painting furniture with another coat of a different color makes it possible to prepare the piece for distressing. Once the new coat is dry, use the sandpaper to gently thin the topcoat around the angles and any carvings in the piece. The idea is to allow the underlying coat to peek through the topcoat here and there, as if the paint were time worn.

The same basic approach can be applied to stained and varnished wood furniture as well. However, instead of painting furniture with a new topcoat, the object is to use steel wool or sandpaper to gently rub away some of the finish at strategic locations around the piece. For example, if the piece has a beveled lip around the surface, that is an ideal place to apply a light sanding and provide an aged look. Carved legs also offer excellent opportunities to use the steel wool or sandpaper to gently age the look of the piece.

Another way to create distressed furniture is to use lengths of chain that are several different sizes. This idea works especially well with wooden pieces such as dining tables, wardrobes, and coffee tables. To create the look of years of accumulated nicks and dents in the surface of the wood, use the length of chain like a whip and strike the surface of the wood. This action will leave small marks in the grain and give the new furniture an appearance of having seen many years of use. The dings can be filled in with stain, which will help to enhance the overall aged look.

It is important to note that in addition to knowing how to distress furniture, it is also a good idea to know when a particular piece is a good candidate for distressing. If the newly produced furniture is styled after furnishings from several decades back, it will probably look natural to distress the piece. However, if the design of the furniture is of more recent vintage, distressing the piece is likely to look artificial and out of place.

Distressed furniture can create a warm feeling in a room by conveying a sense of continuity with the past. However, care must be taken to not overdo the treatment. The idea with distressed furniture is to create a look that appears to be from years of loving use, not the appearance of a piece of furniture that has been greatly abused.

After many years in the teleconferencing industry, Michael decided to embrace his passion for trivia, research, and writing by becoming a full-time freelance writer. Since then, he has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including , and his work has also appeared in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and several newspapers. Malcolm’s other interests include collecting vinyl records, minor league baseball, and cycling.

After many years in the teleconferencing industry, Michael decided to embrace his passion for trivia, research, and writing by becoming a full-time freelance writer. Since then, he has contributed articles to a variety of print and online publications, including , and his work has also appeared in poetry collections, devotional anthologies, and several newspapers. Malcolm’s other interests include collecting vinyl records, minor league baseball, and cycling.

January 5, 2015 by Denise – 104 Comments

Hi there and welcome back – I can’t believe the holidays are behind us and 2015 is here! Don’t you just L-oooo-V-e the ‘feel’ of a new year with all the possibilities that lie ahead!

I told myself no painting or blogging over Christmas break, but I just couldn’t stay away from my studio. M-M-M and I took some time to reorganize the furniture inventory and clean-up a little. When I came across this cute salvaged desk, I thought it was the perfect piece for a quick holiday project – and as usual, I wanted to try something new. 😉

What I envisioned for this outdated desk was a pop of color and a heavy distressed finish. To reduce sanding time and speed up the distressing process, I used Vaseline to distress the entire piece. And before I reveal a few tips I learned and show you how EASY it is to distress with this Vaseline technique, here’s the before and after and a few close ups. CHARMING!How to distress wood furniture

How to distress wood furniture

How to distress wood furniture

Until now, I’ve been most comfortable distressing furniture by hand. the good ‘ol fashion way, with elbow grease and sandpaper.

However, when trying to create a distressed or chippy look with more than one paint color, it takes a little patience to sand down just enough to reveal the original 1st coat of paint. Along with patience; a high grit sandpaper and a light hand is required or else you end up sanding through all the layers of paint right down to the original wood surface.

This time, rather than using sandpaper or leaving the milk paint do it’s random chipping thing, I thought I’d try distressing with Vaseline to make my chipping and distressing easier to control.

Look at this finish! I’m wondering… what the heck took me so long to try this.

How to distress wood furniture

Here’s what I used.

:: First Coat Miss Mustard Seed’s Typewriter mixed with Bonding Agent

:: Top Coat Miss Mustard Seed’s Lucketts Green

:: Vaseline or any brand of Petroleum Jelly will work

:: A cheap Paint Brush

:: Shop Towel or Old Rag

How to distress wood furniture

Below is the desk after the first coat of milk paint was applied in Miss Mustard Seed’s Typewriter. LOVE this black. It’s a soft muted antique black. Much softer than a lot of blacks on the market and great for any furniture you want to give that old antique look. I look forward to doing another piece entirely in this gorgeous black.

How to distress wood furniture

Notice how I wasn’t too particular about getting full coverage. I added the paint a little heavier around the areas I wanted to show dark black and left other areas showing a little wood. This gives the piece even more dimension and character.How to distress wood furniture

After my base coat was dry, I applied Vaseline only to the areas I wanted chipped and distressed. I used my fingers. Dug in. Grabbed a blob. Applied. No special skills required here guys!

Just be aware of WHERE your applying your petroleum jelly.

I applied it where the desk would naturally wear more quickly with everyday use. The corners, legs, around the drawer edges and the pulls. For good measure, I added a little to the top, bottom and sides!

How to distress wood furniture

After applying the Vaseline, (which I always have on hand because I love slathering my feet in it and throwing on a pair of fuzzy-wuzzy’s prior to going to bed) I painted the desk in MMS Lucketts Green Milk Paint.

I painted normally as if the Vaseline wasn’t even there. The only difference is I used a cheap dollar store brush. A good idea if you don’t want to get any petroleum on your good brushes.

How to distress wood furniture

You can see the Lucketts Green repels and does not adhere properly when painted on top of the Vaseline. Excellent… this is exactly how it should look!

How to distress wood furniture

I played around and discovered I can achieve two separate distressed looks when using Vaseline. When I wiped off the paint before it had dried, it gave me a softer distressed look. I can compare this distressed look to what you get when you wipe away brand name chalk paint with a damp cloth. A smooth and soft edged distressing.

When I waited until the entire piece was 100% dry, I took a shop towel and started wiping away and this created a defined chippy distressed look. Just depends on what your going for. I enjoyed using both on this desk.How to distress wood furniture

I’ll definitely be using the Vaseline distressing technique again because it’s VERY EASY. SUPER, SUPER EASY!

I can’t wait to use this technique again. This is a great distressing method when you want complete control of the ‘chippy’ when applying milk paint. It can also be used with ANY other type of paint you enjoy painting with!

Here are more after’s of the re-styled desk. It’s been waxed in Annie Sloan’s natural wax and the hardware has been re-finished to compliment this piece.

How to distress wood furniture

How to distress wood furniture
How to distress wood furniture

How to distress wood furniture

Have you ever distressed your painted furniture using Vaseline? What do you think of this distressing method? I always love to hear your thoughts so feel free to chime in!

And don’t forget to join me for tomorrows Quick-Tip-Tuesday… first one of the year!

Good to be back – I missed you guys!

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on May 2, 2019 &middot Leave a Comment

We love nothing more than salvaging an old, worn piece of furniture and giving it a whole new life with some paint or stain. Not only does it keep the piece out of the land fill, but you end up with a one of a kind piece that has more character than anything you can buy in a store today. As much as we want to give our pieces a modern update, we often want to keep, or add, a slightly aged or distressed feel to a piece. Here are 5 ways you can age or distress already painted furniture:

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1. Distress with sandpaper

This technique is really as easy as it sounds. Once you’ve painted your piece in the color of your choice, take a fine or medium grit sandpaper and lightly sand the surface in areas where natural ware would occur (edges and corners). Avoid the temptation to sand the flat middle bits or the piece tends to look overly worked and artificial.

2. Removing paint layers

If you are fortunate enough to have a piece that has multiple coats of paint already on it, you might want to consider removing some layers to reveal the coat(s) or wood surface underneath. Time to experiment! Try sanding and see what you can reveal below. If this isn’t as dramatic a look as you want, you can apply a paint stripper to soften the top layers and scrap or wipe off paint in some key areas.

If you don’t have paint layers to work with already, you can add your own – and then remove them. This is a great way to add a dramatic color without having it become overwhelming.

3. Dry brush to distress already painted furniture

Another way to age a piece of furniture is to use a “dry” brush – a brush with a very small amount of paint on it – to apply another color coat. The goal is to keep this coat very light and uneven across the piece. Typically the color to be dry brushed is lighter than the basecoat. This is a great technique for achieving that beachy look which is popular these days.

A good quality paint brush, such as these, will help the paint not to come off too patchy and give you a more even, weathered look.

4. Whitewash to age painted furniture

Whitewashing is similar to dry brushing. Both involve applying a top coat in a way to allow the base coat underneath to show through. To apply a whitewash, add water to paint. Yep, it’s that easy! You can start with equal amounts of paint and water. After brushing the mixture on, wipe it off gently with a damp cloth. You can repeat this process until you get the desired look. You can read more about colour washing here.

5. Wax or glaze to distress already painted furniture

You can also use a dark wax or glaze to age a painted wood piece. This technique is especially effective on pieces that have a lot of little details you want to bring attention to.

Wax can be applied with a brush or a rag. The role of the dark wax in this application is to give the piece some age, not act as a protective coat. We therefore recommend sealing the piece first, either with a polycrylic coat or clear wax. Apply the wax all over the piece, working in small sections at a time. Spread it on, wait a couple minutes and wipe it off with a lint free cloth. If you’ve waited too long and the wax isn’t wiping off (maybe you’re like us and you try and fill those couple minutes with laundry, loading the dishwasher and a couple minutes turns into 10 or 15 minutes), just add more wax on top and it should wipe off.

Similarly, you can apply the glaze with a rag or brush. Leave it on for a few minutes (until it starts to look a little dull) and then wipe it off with a lint free cloth.

These are just 5 ways you can age or distress already painted furniture. And, of course, you can combine them to create all kinds of aged goodness. There are other techniques, but these are the ones we have tried with some success. Don’t over do it! There is nothing less attractive than an overly distressed piece. Personally, we try and keep our aging and distressing to a minimum. I sometimes admire a good chippy piece, but it’s not really our aesthetic.

How about you? Which techniques give you the best results? We’d love for you to let us know how you distress wood furniture and leave your comment below.

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Hello and welcome! We are Stuart and Iris, the husband and wife team behind Three Coats of Charm. When we’re not chasing around our three young kids, you can find us sanding, priming and painting our next furniture piece. Here we will share with you some of our project as well as DIY tips and tricks. We also want to hear from you and hope this will be a space where we can share ideas and find inspiration.

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Hello, were so glad you’ve found us! Stay a while and read about our adventures refinishing furniture. We have lots of Do It Yourself tips and tricks to share with you. Read More about us…

Introduction: Distressing Wood Furniture for an Antique Look

How to distress wood furniture

How to distress wood furniture

How to distress wood furniture

We built this simple rustic bench for our mudroom, which is the main entry to our house, since no one uses the front door. For the complete instructions on building the bench itself (sorry no photos but feel free to comment with questions!) visit my wife’s blog, http://thekieffercollective.com/2013/09/08/bench-fest/. This Instructable is just about the antique finish she did for it.

Step 1: “Aging” the Wood

Since nothing screams “newly built!” like sharp corners and edges, the first step is to soften all those hard lines. We’re trying to make the wood look older than it is, and anyone who’s moved a few times knows that the corners are the first things to get dinged up. So start by taking a hammer and hitting the corners and edges of the seat and legs. Then, I took the hammer and dropped it from about 18″ above the seat, to add in gouges and nicks to the seat top. You can also take the claw end of the hammer and drag it along the surface for longer scrapes and scratches. Since this bench was made from pine lumber, the wood was soft enough that it didn’t take much force to soften the edges and corners, but if you’re working with a hardwood like cherry or oak, then you’ll need to apply a little more force.

Step 2: Adding the First Coat of Paint

We used two coats of contrasting paint to make the bench look like it had been painted over in the past. So we went with white underneath, and then added the turquoise on top of it once it was dry. We just used paint we had on hand that was leftover from painting the new baseboard trim and back door to the mudroom. We used Behr Premium Plus Paint + Primer in One in Satin finish. You don’t want anything glossy since it’s supposed to look aged. You can do additional “old layer” coats if you want, or stain the wood before applying the white coat.

We applied the white paint with a 2 1/2″ angle Purdy brush, literally just slapping it on. It doesn’t have to cover every single spot of exposed wood, since you’re going to paint over the entire thing in the next step. Be sure to get it on the legs, too.

Step 3: Adding the Second Coat of Paint

Once that first coat is completely dry, you can add your second coat with the other color. This will be your “main” color for the piece of furniture you’re working on. Go over the white areas you just painted and fill in the spots where there’s still bare wood showing. You want to leave some of the white exposed, so that it shows through as if the top layer has worn off through the years. Below is a close-up of one of the corners that has been hammered, then covered with the second coat of paint but still allowing a little of the white underneath to show through.

In the photo, you can see there’s a little bit of shine from the satin finish paint. Don’t worry, we’ll take care of that in the next step.

Step 4: Sanding and Distressing

We used 220 grit fine sandpaper to scratch up the surface of the whole piece of furniture, to sand out the sheen from the satin paint. Then, we went around the edges and quickly rubbed them with the fine sandpaper to expose the white paint and the raw wood underneath. CAUTION: When using sandpaper quickly, it heats up fast and can burn your fingers, so wear work gloves during this step!

The more you sand, the more of the raw wood underneath will show through; sand lightly and you’ll just expose the paint underneath. Vary the amount of sanding you do in spots, since not all edges wear evenly. Think about how the piece is used in day-to-day life. I sanded the front edge of the seat, the corners, and the front edge of the cross beam at the bottom (kids like to put their shoes on things!) more than say, the underside of the seat or the back of the legs. You don’t want a perfectly straight or even wear on the edges.

Step 5: Finishing Up

Once you’ve got the distressing looking the way you want it, wipe the whole piece down with a clean dry cloth to remove excess sanding dust. You can finish it with a coat of Paste Wax (we like this stuff from Minwax, which we used on the Farmhouse Table and Console Table projects), or a low-sheen polyurethane. Or not coat it at all, like we did, since it’s not going to be subject to a ton of wear and tear and we don’t have kids. As you can see, one of our “kids” is checking out the new piece of furniture.

It’s a great addition to our mudroom, and will be handy this winter when we have to put on boots to go walk the dogs or feed the chickens in the snow.

For more how-to projects and photos of renovations we’ve done so far, check out my wife’s blog at thekieffercollective.com.

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