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Distressed about Distressing

I'm planning on fixing up some hand me down pieces of furniture I received to give them new life by sprucing them up with some new paint.  Anyways I absolutely love the look of distressed furniture, but am not quite certain how to get that look.  I was wondering if anyone had any advice/ instructions on how to get my desired effect.  Thanks!

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Posted 2011-06-20T19:27:29+0000  by Munchkin83h Munchkin83h


The sky’s the limit with what you can do. Here are just a few:


Crackle effect – where the painted surface looks cracked and aged, revealing colors beneath.  Achieved by base coating with a flat paint (the color you want revealed through the cracks).  Apply over the base coat with either crackle medium or a thin mixture of wood glue/water.  After the crackle layer has dried, apply your top coat of flat paint (different color) and let dry.  You will notice that as the top coat of paint dries, it slides over that crackle layer and separates.  Rub stain or glazing over parts of the dried top layer to give an aged effect.  Finish the piece with a clear coat of polyurethane.




Antiqued - where the surface looks like it has years of use.  Simply paint a base coat of satin finish paint and let it dry.  Brush on gel wood stain or colored glazing and immediately wipe off.  Wiping off a little or a lot depends on your desired end result.  Finish with a clear coat of polyurethane.




Aged – where there is the appearance of worn off paint and several different layers below.  This is achieved by simply base coating the piece and letting it cure for several days.  Then taking sandpaper and distressing the edges by sanding down to the raw wood. 




   If you would like to see something different than seeing the wood below, then basecoat with the desired color and let it cure.  Paint over the top of the dried layer with the top coat (satin finish).  While the paint is still wet, take a plastic putty knife and pull off the wet paint on some of the edges – revealing the base color beneath.  Finish with a top coat of polyurethane.


Green Antique Distressed Door.jpg

Martha Stewart has a great painting kit that will ease you in.




I hope this helped you get inspired a little.  Please post before/after pictures of your decision.

Posted 2011-06-20T20:27:55+0000  by Kevin_HD_ATL

Hello Munchkin and Welcome Back!


I hope the chairs you inherited from your sister look outstanding!


On your current project, you will want to use a primer (the Cover Stain left from the chair project will work well), a base coat of either satin or semi-gloss paint over the primer, and faux glaze to add the accent color.


Glaze can be applied using a throw-away brush and wiped off before it dries using cheese cloth, a terry towel, or lint-free rags. The closer you get to the dry time for your glaze (totally dry in about thirty-minutes), the more glaze that will remain on the surface of your furniture.


Kevin's reply provides you great information about several different techniques.


In the community, several other members have asked for detailed steps on projects similar to yours.


Here are a few links that provide videos and step-by-step instructions to help you imagine your process.


Faux Finish Trim and Cabinets


WOW! Martha Living Metallic Glaze


Important steps include:


1) Create demo pieces and use them to establish a consistent timeline for all of your pieces ... this ensures that you create a similar look across the full set of furniture.


2) Take time to execute one or two pieces at a time ... because you are working with a rapid-dry media, you don't want to get so far ahead that you lose control of the timeline on any given piece.


3) Above all else, realize that this is an art project ... create a look that is pleasing to your eye!

Posted 2011-06-21T14:38:21+0000  by Pat_HD_ATL
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