how to antique (and distress) furniture with paint

Let me preface this wee tutorial with a disclaimer: I ain’t claiming to be no painting expert. So please bear that in mind before you send me an email asking a question about a painting project. Generally, I will answer you with: I don’t know. I am very good at researching crap on the interweb. I am also very good at asking questions at my local Benjamin Moore store. I am not afraid to try new things – you shouldn’t be either. However, should you ruin a piece of your furniture whilst attempting to distress/antique it… well, I’m not taking responsibility. Sand ‘er down and try something else. For heaven’s sake, I cannot manage you and the Cat Farm. When in doubt, check with someone who is an expert.

Alright. Moving on. This little how-to guide is for antiquing and distressing with paint. There are many methods out there, and some of it is dependant on whether you are working with a painted piece, natural wood or some man-made product. I was working with pre-fab/painted pieces from Home Sense, thus this tutorial is for working with similar items. So don’t be sending me questions about other types of projects, people. I can’t help you. There are tons of tutorials on distressing and antiquing online. Have a look around, settle on something you like and give ‘er a try. I mixed a couple of methods to find something I was comfortable with and figured I’d get me some awesome results. Also, some tutorials online will guide you through a super distressed (i.e. kick the crap out of your furniture) look. I didn’t want to go that far, so I did not whack my furniture with chains or gauge it with screwdrivers. I just wanted it to look a bit distressed on the edges and corners. You know, cottage chic. You could, should you so desire, hire some neighbourhood kids to really work your table over.

Here’s the before: cat pee yellow, pre-fab tables from Home Sense – aka new master bedroom bedside tables.

how to antique & distress furniture with paint | movita beaucoup

how to antique & distress furniture with paint | movita beaucoup

Here’s the after: drying in the craft room.

how to antique & distress furniture with paint | movita beaucoup

Sand the b*tch. This applies to pretty much any painted project. You want to rough up the surface so your primer will stick to it like peanut butter to the roof of your mouth. You don’t need to use anything too coarse – unless you want the piece to look super rustic. I’d stick with a medium or fine sandpaper – you can ask at your hardware store if you aren’t sure. You can sand by hand or with a sander. Follow the grain of the wood (if possible). For pre-fab surfaces you might have to use your imagination. My pieces, for example, were made of some sort of space-aged material with futuristic paint, so I sanded it following an imaginary grain. Be sure to wipe the sanded furniture down thoroughly with a tack cloth or damp rag – you want to make sure you get rid of all the debris before painting. You can even vacuum the crevices to be extra sure you’re debris-free.

Prime. I like Zinsser 1-2-3 Bulls Eye. It sticks to everything and really stinks up the place. There are many great primers on the market – check around. There are primers for wood, and primers for laminates, etc. Shiny stuff needs good bonding power, so be sure you’re using the appropriate primer if you want your hard work to hold up over time. And make sure you follow the manufacturer’s directions and allow for enough drying time.

how to antique & distress furniture with paint | movita beaucoup

Fake it (when necessary). Because my pieces couldn’t be sanded down to wood, I decided to create a fake, wood-like surface. I settled on Benjamin Moore’s Fairview Taupe (because after staring at 500 browns for two weeks the colour bearing the name of my hood – Fairview – seemed appropriate). I used Benjamin Moore Collection 310 Interior Acrylic Latex Paint in a pearl finish. This base colour is what will eventually be revealed when you distress the furniture – like the base coat under a crackle medium. Browns tend to lend themselves to fake, wood-like surfaces. However, you could use brilliant pink for all I care. I applied two coats and allowed for the proper drying time before proceeding to the next step.

how to antique and distress furniture with paint  |  movita beaucoup

Wax on. Using a candle, rub wax onto the surfaces where you’d like to see some of your fake wood exposed. Edges, the bottoms of legs, corners and knobs/handles are all places that would normally see some wear and tear. For these pieces, I did a fair amount of distressing/revealing. I have another piece on the go that will have a lot less fake wood exposed. It’s really a matter of taste. I looked at about a million photos online – favourite blogs and decor sites, and then settled on the look I wanted.

how to antique and distress furniture with paint  |  movita beaucoup

Brush off floofy bits. Use something like a paint brush to gently clean the surface of those waxy bits the candle left behind – they’ll get stuck in your top coat otherwise. Don’t brush to hard – you’re just trying to get the excess bits off.

how to antique and distress furniture with paint  |  movita beaucoup

Paint ‘er up. For my top coat(s) I used Benjamin Moore’s Aura Satin Waterborne Interior Paint in Martha Stewart’s Pure White. I’m just like that. That’s right Benjamin Moore, I’ll take your awesome paint, but I’ll take it Martha style. Aura is a little thicker than other paints and it dries fast – you don’t want to over-work it. It has great coverage – I’ve used it on walls and furniture. You can apply it over and under any other latex paint. The great thing about Aura is that you can retouch months later and the colour should blend perfectly. (That’s what they say anyway.) Granted, with a project like this, re-touching won’t really be an issue, as I’m going for an aged look. I’m just saying Aura is pretty cool. Anyhoo, if you’re nervous about trying Aura, stick to your regular latex. I had to apply three coats of white to cover my dark brown. If I hadn’t planned to apply an antique patina, I probably would have applied a fourth coat.

Remember, you’re better off applying multiple thin coats than a couple of thick, drippy ones. You can apply your paint with a bristled brush, a foam brush or brush and roller – everyone has different preferences. If you go the roller route, edge like you would if you were painting a wall – do the edges, tricky bits and corners first, and then roll the flat surfaces with the roller. Oh, and if you’re using a foam roller, don’t bear down on it – it creates lines and imperfections. Let the piece dry before heading to the next step.

how to antique and distress furniture with paint  |  movita beaucoup

Wax off. Using something like 2.0′s golf ball cheese knife, gently scrape your top coat(s) of paint off your previously waxed areas. This will give you that distressed look. You don’t want to remove your base coat, so scrape gently, my friend. Step back from the piece as you are working. Stop when you’re happy.

how to antique and distress furniture with paint  |  movita beaucoup

how to antique and distress furniture with paint  |  movita beaucoup

how to antique and distress furniture with paint  |  movita beaucoup

Brush off paint bits and sand. Gently sand the exposed fake wood edges.

how to antique and distress furniture with paint  |  movita beaucoup

Antique. Essentially, you’re going to make an antique glaze. Far cheaper than buying glaze, and the results were just as good. I used water. It came from my kitchen tap and was free. I mixed a tiny bit of the Fairview Taupe (dark brown base colour) with a fair amount of water. I made it super runny – probably one part paint to three or four parts water. As I added water I tested the runniness on a piece of cardboard. I really didn’t want anything too thick. The idea of this glaze is to add some patina, not to completely cover the beautiful top coat you’ve just finished. I applied a wee bit at a time with a foam brush to the furniture, and then wiped it down with a lint-free cloth. I followed the grain of the wood and worked in small sections. Brush on, immediately wipe off. Brush, wipe. In some areas I wiped more, in some I wiped less. The secret here is to use a light hand – you can easily apply a second coat to darken it. I ended up using a damp cloth for the wiping to help me achieve the look I wanted. I also used the damp cloth for some of the application. I played around a bit. You can let some of the colour settle into ridges and wood detailing – it will lend itself to an aged look.

how to antique and distress furniture with paint  |  movita beaucoup

how to antique and distress furniture with paint  |  movita beaucoup

how to antique and distress furniture with paint  |  movita beaucoup

Protect. I have been using Minwax’s Polycrylic Protective Finish (water-based) in a satin finish. It is also available in a gloss. I have read a lot of posts on the internet that recommend applying a wipe on poly over painted furniture. However, when I contacted Minwax, they said they couldn’t guarantee there wouldn’t be an interaction between the paint and the poly and that the wipe on stuff can sometimes yellow a bit. (I told you I was good a researching stuff.) You’re very intelligent – you decide. I figured if I was going to spend a week painting the tables in 100% humidity I wasn’t about to try some rubbing on some crap that might ruin my work.

how to antique and distress furniture with paint  |  movita beaucoup

So, if you do as I did, brush a product like the poly (pictured above) on carefully. It’s much runnier than paint, and can drip all over the place. You don’t want to over-work this stuff – you’ll see brush strokes. Some people use foam brushes and rollers, so that’s an option you could explore. Don’t shake the can of poly – it should be stirred so you don’t get bubbles. Also, the poly appears foggy in the can, but it goes on clear. Again, read the can and follow the instructions.

how to antique and distress furniture with paint  |  movita beaucoup

how to antique and distress furniture with paint  |  movita beaucoup

There you go. Now, here’s the tough part. I don’t put anything on my newly painted surfaces for at least 48 hours. This requires an incredible amount of willpower. Then be ginger with it for about a week – watch out when you’re moving the piece around, etc. I think it takes about a month for a piece to be fully cured. But that’s just me.

Note: Some people sand between coats of paint/poly. I didn’t for these pieces, as I was going for an aged look. However, you could lightly sand between each coat of paint and poly with very fine sandpaper if you’d like a really super-awesome finish. Don’t forget to wipe away the sanding debris before applying additional coats of paint and/or poly.

333 Responses to how to antique (and distress) furniture with paint

  1. photographyfree4all July 19, 2010 at 12:19 pm #

    Thanks for this information!

    • movitabeaucoup July 19, 2010 at 12:31 pm #

      Thanks for stopping by!

      • Anonymous October 30, 2011 at 7:03 pm #

        Very helpful, unfortunately I have already applied a coat of paint to an old farm table, without waxing anything. I did not know about that step but think I can sand and get the look anyway. At least I am hopeful. Bought the same polycrylic finish, did you notice any yellowing?

        • movita beaucoup October 30, 2011 at 7:56 pm #

          No yellowing – that’s why I bought the brand I did. I’m sure sanding will do wonders!

      • Lina December 30, 2012 at 4:19 pm #

        Glad I found your post. Loved it. Very helpful and funny too :)

    • Anonymous May 21, 2011 at 9:28 am #

      Thanks for the information. I’m about to destress my first couple of pieces and this is the results I’m looking for.

    • sallie October 16, 2011 at 6:46 am #

      Easy to understand, your tables look fab, I am going to take all of your advice when i manage to get up off the sofa lol

      • movita beaucoup October 16, 2011 at 7:18 am #

        Maybe I should do a tutorial on how to get up off the sofa…

        • Pocket Full of Posies June 18, 2012 at 6:50 pm #

          Lol! Definitely need that tutorial but I’ll probably procrastinate reading it!

    • Cara Badalamenti November 15, 2011 at 4:50 pm #

      Great info Movita! My mother just bought an antique free-standing cupboard with roosters painted on it (yuck!). Your post has helped me to give the piece a solid antiqued finish in a beautiful dusty turqoise. Two thumbs up!

      • movita beaucoup November 16, 2011 at 4:39 pm #

        Yay! I’m so glad it worked out. (For the cupboard, not the roosters.)

      • Barbara March 21, 2013 at 4:46 pm #

        Sorry you don’t like the roosters! Sounds like mine, and I LOVE my cupboard. It goes great with my eclectic cottage style I am going for….

  2. Delilah July 19, 2010 at 12:39 pm #

    thanks for this. been wondering how to do the same for an old book cupboard.

    • movitabeaucoup July 19, 2010 at 12:44 pm #

      Oh, I bet it would look great on an old book cupboard. It really hides imperfections and adds a wee bit of character to older pieces… or those without much character to start with!

  3. Adam Day July 19, 2010 at 12:49 pm #

    Sweet! I know what I’m doing when I get home. Thanks!!

    Check us out at Road Rage with A & A

    • movitabeaucoup July 20, 2010 at 7:52 am #

      So ambitious. When I get home I usually flop on the couch and make lists of what I SHOULD be doing…

  4. Jason Hartong July 19, 2010 at 12:59 pm #

    Excellent information. It makes sense that a cheese knife would work on creating all those fantastic wear marks.

    http://www.chicagonorthshorehome.com

    • movitabeaucoup July 19, 2010 at 1:57 pm #

      And really, what else can you do with a GOLF BALL cheese knife?

      • Stephanie Barnhart January 22, 2012 at 9:14 pm #

        When I first read about the golf ball cheese knife, I started to get all plexed up thinking “what is that? It sounds like a fancy dimpled knife-type apparatus.”. Then I saw the photo and laughed. Turns out I have four similar implements in my home, except they’re hula girls. I’ll have to try them to see if there’s a marked differance between golf balls and hula girls. :)

        • movita beaucoup January 23, 2012 at 1:22 pm #

          I’m thinking we could get published in some sort of scientific journal with this implement testing…

  5. provenremedy July 19, 2010 at 1:18 pm #

    Thanks, great tips ;)
    Gruß,
    Roberto – http://provenremedy.wordpress.com/

  6. Brooke July 19, 2010 at 1:29 pm #

    That looks fantastic! We have some old pieces that started out as nice junk but have become old junk. But I’m always hesitant to paint them. I need a little push.

    • movitabeaucoup July 19, 2010 at 1:54 pm #

      Consider yourself pushed! Thanks for the comment.

  7. rohitmaiya July 19, 2010 at 1:31 pm #

    Nice information, but I would like to say that it looks old more than antique.

    I thought antiques are those which are not only old but something which looks royal and feel like treasuring it.

  8. Evie Garone July 19, 2010 at 1:45 pm #

    I like, it’s pretty, kinda shabby chic …Good for you on your hard work, you’re a better person than I!! Congrats on being Freshly Pressed!! Work on!!

    evelyngarone.com

    • movitabeaucoup July 19, 2010 at 1:59 pm #

      Thanks, Evie!

      • Gpelu May 18, 2013 at 6:11 pm #

        Thanks Movita my wife has wanted to try this on a table for 2 years, with your post I was able to take the risk and it came out beautiful!!! We did notice some yellowing when we applied the sealer but we were able to wipe it off. I think it might have been the stain bleeding through. Thanks so much for the info.

        • movita beaucoup May 21, 2013 at 8:14 am #

          Yippie! So glad it worked out – thanks for stopping by to let me know!

  9. Moscato Mama July 19, 2010 at 1:56 pm #

    This gives me great ideas for my living room! Thanks for sharing! :)

  10. Noor July 19, 2010 at 2:09 pm #

    Ha, I had never heard of this…buying new furniture and making it “old.” Nice Job!
    -Noor
    http://noor724.wordpress.com/
    :)

    • movitabeaucoup July 19, 2010 at 2:11 pm #

      My mother would say the same thing. But you should have seen the original colour. So, so bad…

  11. oasis July 19, 2010 at 2:26 pm #

    Good job.I like woodworking.Thank for share.

  12. Tracey Leigh July 19, 2010 at 2:43 pm #

    I love it! I find your commentary to be the best perhaps!

    dinner, dresses, decor, and dessert

    http://traychic.wordpress.com
    http://traychic.wordpress.com
    http://traychic.wordpress.com
    http://traychic.wordpress.com

  13. nunin July 19, 2010 at 2:48 pm #

    Good work and good idea.I love it.

  14. lifeintheboomerlane July 19, 2010 at 2:48 pm #

    That was pretty impressive!

  15. sayitinasong July 19, 2010 at 2:49 pm #

    I am very impressed with the end result, especially if you have never attempted that before! Not that I have by the way….I am absolutely and completely useless when it comes to any sort of DIY…so much so I have had to stop even attempting any as I get so frustrated and then quit mid-way and end up with a huge mess…lol.

    • movitabeaucoup July 20, 2010 at 7:57 am #

      I was a bit worried about the huge mess factor, but let’s face it, you can blame someone else. That’s the huge bonus to antiquing and distressing – no one else will tell you. Just say some dude from yesteryear dropped it or left that gob of paint on the back leg.

  16. Nelka July 19, 2010 at 3:11 pm #

    I love it. Thanks for sharing. I’ve done all kinds of distressed pieces in the past, but I have never used wax before. I can’t wait to try it out.

  17. movitabeaucoup July 19, 2010 at 3:15 pm #

    Thanks so much, everyone, for your comments. Day has been made.

  18. nigne July 19, 2010 at 3:25 pm #

    thans for great sharing

  19. Lakia July 19, 2010 at 4:06 pm #

    I actually like to do this… haven’t in years, but it’s really cool and fun

  20. blogergal July 19, 2010 at 5:04 pm #

    Thanks for this post, it came just on time.

  21. Robert Bain July 19, 2010 at 6:16 pm #

    I feel like my mom owes me an apology for all those bad things I did to her nice furniture to make them look like this in the past – Using a coaster under your drink will never make your furniture cool.

    • movitabeaucoup July 19, 2010 at 6:56 pm #

      So true, Robert. You are obviously a very wise man. And your mother really should thank you for your past efforts.

  22. goldenpast July 19, 2010 at 8:12 pm #

    Cool!
    I might give this a try! :)
    Thanks for the post!

  23. oriav July 19, 2010 at 8:46 pm #

    GREAT WORK!…

  24. emmalina73 July 19, 2010 at 8:48 pm #

    Brilliant tutorial, really helpful. This is something I’ve been wanting to try. Plus you make me laugh!

  25. peopleyou July 19, 2010 at 9:14 pm #

    nice work,Welcome return visit!
    http://dayquote.wordpress.com

  26. gmomj July 19, 2010 at 9:16 pm #

    I had a “fabulous distressed” dresser I managed to sell to a vintage store for a couple hundred dollars.

    It was an old dresser sitting in my backyard that I kept forgetting to put out for bulk trash.

    It was dumb-as-a-rock luck that someone happened to see it.

    One person’s trash is another person’s treasure.

    Go figure.

    Anyone want to buy the backseat of a Chevy?????

    Kudos for your post.

    http://gmomj.wordpress.com/

  27. sandyc06 July 19, 2010 at 9:21 pm #

    fantastic, thanks for this information

  28. sandyc06 July 19, 2010 at 9:23 pm #

    nice info,,thank you so much

  29. brambleoak July 19, 2010 at 9:36 pm #

    Thanks for sharing this. I love to refinish old, found pieces of furniture and you’ve given me some great new ideas.

  30. missbikinibitsy July 20, 2010 at 12:48 am #

    thank you! i love it.. but i can’t make it alone :D

  31. lovelywoodenhorses July 20, 2010 at 1:42 am #

    Thanks

  32. Nike Air Max July 20, 2010 at 1:45 am #

    I love to refinish old, found pieces of furniture and you’ve given me some great new ideas.

  33. Antiques July 20, 2010 at 2:09 am #

    But even as nature matures your furniture, the wood and the product will remain structurally sound for years to come. Antiques

  34. Olivia July 20, 2010 at 2:30 am #

    You have a great way with words. I do paint my woodens, but never tried the rustic look. Will now do.. I do have a few of those cute pieces handy…

    Cheers..!!

  35. zerohundred July 20, 2010 at 2:48 am #

    I loved the way you wrote this! Informative AND funny! Those things don’t go together enough to satisfy me, but your post did and I applaud you for it.

  36. sammyswarf July 20, 2010 at 3:45 am #

    Lovely finish. If you want a more contrasty, grainy look, I’ve found that attacking the top coat with an old ‘curly spring’ type pan scrubber works well Just remember to go with the grain.
    botchityourself.wordpress.com

    • movitabeaucoup July 20, 2010 at 8:01 am #

      Great tip! Now, if only I had an old curly spring type pan scrubber…

      • Anonymous December 5, 2012 at 6:06 pm #

        SOS pad, after rinsing the soap of course

  37. enjoydomain July 20, 2010 at 5:03 am #

    good info!

  38. jgottling July 20, 2010 at 5:13 am #

    I just love old furniture particular shabby chic … wonderful blog :-)

    Love Jessica

  39. maxi July 20, 2010 at 5:28 am #

    Thank for information.

  40. webdesign groningen July 20, 2010 at 6:25 am #

    that’s amazing! i love it! Just like i love the “Riviera Maison” style. I’ll bookmark this one for sure ;-)!

  41. Dan C July 20, 2010 at 6:43 am #

    nice advice, i had some old stuff lying around, didn’t really know what to do with it, i got some new ideeas now.

  42. Brittney Schiff July 20, 2010 at 6:53 am #

    hmm.. I have that same cheese Now I just need a piece of furniture to try this out on…

  43. ovidiudinica July 20, 2010 at 8:31 am #

    Very nice

  44. Lori July 20, 2010 at 8:38 am #

    You have given me some great ideas for a cheap-o, pressed-paper (dare I call it wood?) computer desk I have sitting upstairs. I could actually make it look like furniture if I follow your advice. Thanks so much for this information, and for your humor. I so enjoyed reading!!

    • movitabeaucoup July 20, 2010 at 9:09 am #

      My fake furniture looks totally real now. I’m basically a frickin’ Geppetto.

  45. Tomcat in the red room. July 20, 2010 at 9:02 am #

    Couldn’t you just distress furniture by shouting and swearing at it; maybe telling it you’re having an affair with its wife?

    • movitabeaucoup July 20, 2010 at 9:06 am #

      Dude, that’s a great idea, but I just couldn’t deal with the tears.

  46. Hannah Nicholls July 20, 2010 at 11:26 am #

    Amazing post!

    I signed for a new apartment on saturday, and it is this beautiful old 1800s maison de maitre, but all my furniture is shiny brand new type stuff – totally wrong for the apartment, but I can’t afford to buy new stuff.

    Now I know what I need to do! Hooray!

    • movitabeaucoup July 20, 2010 at 11:41 am #

      Fantastic! Good luck in your new place…

  47. JoAnna Federer July 20, 2010 at 3:34 pm #

    oh wow! this is such a great tip. i love this look on furniture but its so hard to find furniture that already looks this way but still matches everything else i own. Im ready to give this a try! :) thank you!

  48. Fuck Perez. July 23, 2010 at 9:04 am #

    This is freakin’ AWESOME.

    Good from you.

  49. Anonymous July 23, 2010 at 3:33 pm #

    i really like your blog these things i like to do is bake , food recipes, and refinishing furnature…!!! so i decided to follow thanks for your great recipes and tips on beautiful furnishings. =)

    • Anonymous July 23, 2010 at 3:35 pm #

      the last comment is from here.. I am new at this

  50. Mr July 29, 2010 at 4:11 am #

    This trick with candle was great:) If you had some 3 layers with paint before painted you should use building dryer to get paint of using 500 C hot air.

  51. Demir Leather August 5, 2010 at 4:48 am #

    I love this Do It Yourself article!! I have plenty of old furniture at home so I will be taking up your advice. I hope mine end up looking as great as yours!

    • theblissfuljourney August 8, 2010 at 9:55 am #

      Ooo… what a great idea!!! I can’t believe I never thought of this. Good on ya mate!

  52. geboortekaartjes August 16, 2010 at 5:32 am #

    what a brilliant idea:)

  53. butterflyangel September 16, 2010 at 7:24 pm #

    Thank you for a very good guide. I am currently redecorating in a cottage and wanted a corner tv stand for my husband’s monstrosity of a tv that wouldn’t cost an arm and a leg yet blend well in the cottage. I finally found a brand new unfinished piece to do the trick but painting is required.

    Your guide was so detailed that I am going to try this out on the new tv stand. Thank you for taking the time to write about this AND including step by step pictures to make following this very easy

  54. Scot September 28, 2010 at 12:35 pm #

    I liked the candle wax idea. But I suggest maybe a Furniture paste wax a darker colored one or add color to that and wipe in on your furniture for the aging effect. On Furniture I also prefer oil based poly since it gives a tougher protecting coat but that is me.

    • movitabeaucoup September 28, 2010 at 8:46 pm #

      I figured there was no point buying a furniture paste wax when I could use paint and water. No extra cost as I already had the Fairview Taupe paint. I’d rather spend the money on my next can of paint! (Read: I’m cheap.) Minwax recommended the water based poly, but I can’t remember why. Thanks for the suggestions!

  55. Zenaida Zafar October 17, 2010 at 11:37 pm #

    been following ur site around a few days. really enjoy your posts. btw i will be conducting a research relating to this topic. do you know other good sites or perhaps forums where I can get more information? thanks in advance.

  56. hernia November 3, 2010 at 5:05 am #

    thank you we did a table !

    • movita November 3, 2010 at 7:36 am #

      Wonderful!! I hope it turned out fabulously!

  57. Wendy January 6, 2011 at 3:01 pm #

    Thanks so much for posting this great How To DIY, Love it! Now to tackle my new TV Buffet that we picked up by adding 2 pieces of unfinished furniture together. Thanks again for your easy to work with instructions!!! :)

  58. Susan S February 10, 2011 at 8:56 pm #

    I love your directions and especially the pics….this is just the push I needed for working on an old desk. I am going to be bold and try an olive green but not sure what color to put under this. Any suggestions???
    Thanks again

    • movita February 10, 2011 at 10:37 pm #

      I would go with a dark brown, unless you’re painting over wood. If you’ve got a wood surface, I’d expose that (i.e. skip the dark brown coat and just wax the wood surface). But if you’ve got a non-wood or painted surface that you’re covering, I’d use a dark brown so it looks more like wood when you scrap away your top coats. Good luck!

  59. Inspire Me Heather February 12, 2011 at 9:31 am #

    Hi there! Your tutorial is fantastic and I linked it to my sidetables project post – great stuff!

    • movita February 13, 2011 at 9:52 am #

      Thanks so much – and thanks for sharing my post with your readers. Happy painting!

  60. Sara February 16, 2011 at 3:56 pm #

    Thanks for the great post! I’ve been trying for days to achieve a distressed look on our new maple kitchen cabinets. It’s been very difficult because sanding the edges takes it down to the bare maple too quickly. I was missing a key ingredient: wax! I’m off to try it right now… One question: what’s your opinion on covering the entire surface with a thin layer of paste wax (Miniwax makes this product)?

  61. Sara February 16, 2011 at 4:01 pm #

    I forgot to mention: I’m starting with unfinished maple, adding a dark slate blue/grey paint, and finishing with a lighter grey/blue. So, I’m hoping that the “reveal” will be the slate color, not the wood.

    • movita February 16, 2011 at 10:53 pm #

      I haven’t used paste wax – just the candle method. So I really can’t help you out there. If it were me, I’d do a prime coat if necessary, then a coat or two of the reveal colour, wax where you’d like to reveal, paint the top coat and then reveal the base. Basically just what I did in my tutorial! But that’s only because that’s my chosen method. I hope it goes well – there are lots of tutorials out there. Just go with what you feel most comfortable with, and start with a door to experiment. Easier to sand just one door and start again if things haven’t worked out… Thanks for stopping by!

  62. steelcitykitchen April 14, 2011 at 6:58 pm #

    Best description I’ve found by far of how to distress furniture, can’t wait to try this out myself – just need a nice long sunny weekend so I can do it outside. Thanks for putting this up!

    • movita April 14, 2011 at 8:30 pm #

      You are so welcome! Thanks for stopping by…

  63. Ewan McCaffrey April 15, 2011 at 1:16 pm #

    thanks for this post !
    happened to fall upon it yesterday – got some lifeless pieces of old furniture that could do with a re vamp !

    • movita April 15, 2011 at 8:15 pm #

      Do it! I’m currently deciding which pieces of my old crappy furniture will be attacked next. You know, so I can make them look old and crappy…

  64. Cheri April 15, 2011 at 7:55 pm #

    Some helpful tips but best of all I love your sense of humor. Made me laugh out loud!
    Thanks!

    • movita April 15, 2011 at 8:15 pm #

      Thanks, Cheri!

  65. miraesto May 3, 2011 at 4:38 pm #

    This is the best instructional guide I have seen yet. Exactly what I was looking for! Thanks for taking such comprehensive photos for the steps involved! Most guides I see just gloss over most of the steps and show like two photos. Your guide was entertaining to read as well. I will be tackling this project asap! Thanks!

    • movita May 3, 2011 at 9:26 pm #

      Thanks so much for your kind words! I had a lot of trouble finding good tips as well, and figured compiling some info for other people might be useful… turns out I was right! I hope your project turns out well!

  66. Anonymous June 14, 2011 at 2:05 pm #

    Beautiful! Great tips, the wax worked like a charm! It saves a lot of time and anxiety over ruining a piece you’ve just spent a week repairing, stripping, sanding and priming! I’m am antique broker, I spend a lot of time refurbishing furniture, I’m always looking for new tricks, and ways to simplify, this was a big help!

    • movita June 14, 2011 at 2:11 pm #

      Yay! I’m so glad it worked out for you!

  67. reader June 15, 2011 at 9:05 am #

    If you also wrote mystery/how to books you’d be at the top of my summer reading list.

  68. Amy June 20, 2011 at 6:06 pm #

    Forgive this ridiculous question…….
    Did you let the paint dry before you start scraping?

    • movita June 21, 2011 at 9:25 am #

      Yes! (And that wasn’t a ridiculous question.)

  69. Michelle June 21, 2011 at 1:36 am #

    Excellent tips! I am going to try it….. stand by for questions and melt downs!! ;P

  70. bookgal June 28, 2011 at 8:00 pm #

    I like the candle idea…shucks, I just spent $10 on Johnson’s Wax! grrr!

  71. Madelyne July 6, 2011 at 3:24 pm #

    This totally helped. All the other websites were running together and had few pictures.

    • movita July 6, 2011 at 4:33 pm #

      Thanks, Madelyne! Good luck with the painting…

  72. Anonymous July 7, 2011 at 11:35 am #

    WOW. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this and I am off to start my own project. My car is in the autoshop for the next couple of days and the only place I can walk to is an ACE hardware store so I figured I would make good use of my time and make some of my P.O.S furniture into something worth looking at. Many thanks.

  73. Kelda July 11, 2011 at 9:33 am #

    Just found your site and I am so excited! I am doing this project with an old dresser that we are pretending is a buffet in our dining room. The classiness of having a cheap old dresser in the DR is really starting to get to us – so we decided to make it look like an even older dresser. Thanks for the help! I will post pics!

    • movita July 11, 2011 at 8:13 pm #

      Oh, I can’t wait to see the pictures! I bet that old dresser is doing to be the star of the dining room…

  74. Sarah July 11, 2011 at 5:55 pm #

    Do you wait for the top coat to dry completely before removing the wax, or scrape it off while the paint is still somewhat wet?

    • movita July 11, 2011 at 8:09 pm #

      Let it dry completely, and then scrape. I think if you do it when wet, you will get smears, etc.

      Good luck!

  75. Maggie July 14, 2011 at 11:59 am #

    How wonderful to find this post! My mother and I have a project we will be starting shortly… Thank you so very much for sharing your knowledge!

  76. Anonymous July 15, 2011 at 11:40 am #

    You’re funny!

  77. Kerry July 20, 2011 at 5:08 pm #

    DIY that’s actually entertaining! May not actually distress any furniture, but had a wee chuckle reading your advice. Nice one.

  78. Anonymous July 22, 2011 at 10:30 am #

    Good stuff. Getting ready to try this on a wall mounted bar shelf tonight. I really like the wax idea.

  79. Carol July 22, 2011 at 4:41 pm #

    Gotta big ole high boy I’m gonna lay this on once it’s not 100 degrees and 100% humidity. Just happened across your site today and I’ll be back for tips and entertainment!

    • movita July 23, 2011 at 8:15 am #

      Thanks, Carol! Probably best not to do a project like this when it’s sticky… bleck.

  80. Kelly July 27, 2011 at 11:51 am #

    I’ve just started sanding down a dining room hutch I inherited from my Gram…
    In searching online, this is the best put together instructional I have seen, thank you for the great and useful info! I can hardly wait till it’s done now…a distressed turquoise makeup counter for my in home studio. :)

    • movita July 28, 2011 at 8:39 am #

      Oh, I think a distressed piece in turquoise would be a winner!

  81. Kelly July 27, 2011 at 12:44 pm #

    Very informative and humerous! Thanks for taking the time to research and share!

    • movita July 28, 2011 at 8:38 am #

      You’re very welcome!

  82. steve guilmet July 27, 2011 at 10:00 pm #

    This is a GREAT entry. I have been finding that people are looking for a creative way to add furniture to their decor cheaply. I think this is the way to go. Something they can do with their existing furniture to give it a face lift I am going to directly link this in my blog. I think it is well done and worth the traffic for you. Thanks so much!

    • movita July 28, 2011 at 8:38 am #

      Thanks, Steve! Very flattering indeed!

  83. Skye Shirley July 30, 2011 at 10:03 pm #

    Thank you so much for posting this tutorial! My boyfriend and I did this today and our dumpy nightstand now looks amazing! You can check it out at http://www.waldenpoetry.tumblr.com, though I won’t post until next weekish. Thank you!!

  84. Anonymous August 3, 2011 at 1:22 pm #

    posted it on my blog. thanks a ton!

  85. zaproszenia ślubne poznań August 8, 2011 at 6:58 pm #

    There is obviously a lot for me to discover outside of my books. Thanks for the great read :)

  86. James August 9, 2011 at 12:26 pm #

    Amazing write up!! I plan on surprised my gf with like a 3 stair step stool thing so she can put up candles and picture frames and whatever nick-nacks girls can’t live without. But I wanted to do this type of painting to give it that weathered distressed look cause we live on the beach. Light colors blues and creams. I will be referri g back to this article when I reach this point in my project!! Awesome!! Thanks again!!

  87. marion caird August 13, 2011 at 9:38 pm #

    Jeeeeesuz ! I think you are abby fabby! Fixed on to google in the hope I’d find a few ideas and HeY I find your website and all the subsequent comments. You are indeed a star and should go public. Instead of the usual tuts. you make it fun and realistic. You have certainly given me the confidence to have a go. Pure dead brilliant!
    I have attempted loads of DIY in the past with varying success, but I’m pretty sure, following your guidelines, this next project will blow my family away. Thank you so much.

    • movita August 14, 2011 at 11:29 am #

      Here’s hopin’ you slay your family with your awesomeness!

  88. Erika August 18, 2011 at 2:27 pm #

    SO GREAT to read this. Thanks! If I wax way too much with the candle and then only scrape some of those areas, are the areas I waxed but chose not to scrape going to be super delicate and more likely to have the top layer come off from regular wear? Does that question make sense?

    • movita August 18, 2011 at 3:56 pm #

      I suppose there’s some risk there, but I did a protective coat at the end of the project, which probably helps. I guess my best advice is to wax carefully and if you’re going for a distressed look, don’t worry about chips!

  89. digitalgoatfarm August 20, 2011 at 3:17 pm #

    After reading other tutorials on line, I think your method is the best. I will definitely try this to give new life to two ugly dressers. Thanks!

    • movita August 22, 2011 at 9:11 am #

      You’re welcome! Good luck with the transformations!

  90. Amanda Green Van Horn August 24, 2011 at 12:38 am #

    1) I love you! You write how I think :). 2) Stoked about trying this out. I bought a dresser at a yard sale for $10 that I can’t wait to antique! I was thinking black base coat, red top coat? After seeing yours, though, I may change my mind! Maybe red base, white top. Or vice versa. Anyway. Thanks for this!! Can’t wait.

    • movita August 27, 2011 at 8:00 am #

      Thanks, Amanda. I love you too. No lie.

  91. Sarah LM August 29, 2011 at 10:55 pm #

    I found a couple of old chairs on the side of the road today. I think I will try your method on them! Do you have any advice on distressing with multiple colours? I guess trial and error will do the trick! Good thing they are free. :)

    • movita August 30, 2011 at 9:06 am #

      Trial and error would be the best bet. I can’t advise you on multiple colours, because I haven’t tried it! Good luck!

  92. Jody September 13, 2011 at 12:25 am #

    Great info! I have a 80′s pressed wood headboard that is pretty cool looking, but ugly in its current fake wood finish. I’m looking forward to repainting it into a shabby chic look similar to yours. I can’t wait to get started!

    Jody

  93. Bonnie September 20, 2011 at 3:59 pm #

    This is just what I am looking for. Thank you so much.

    • movita September 20, 2011 at 11:09 pm #

      You’re welcome!

  94. Anonymous September 20, 2011 at 8:40 pm #

    So excited to start my project! One question…if I am going to reveal the natural wood do I need a base coat as you put on before the brown (your reveal color)? Or just go straight to the top coat. If I do need a base coat do I wax under both the base and top or just one?

    • movita September 20, 2011 at 11:00 pm #

      Well, if you put on a base coat, THAT is what will be revealed. So just do what you need to the original piece (sand?), then proceed without the base coat.

      • Anonymous September 23, 2011 at 10:31 am #

        Thanks!

  95. Office Chairs September 22, 2011 at 10:32 am #

    Thank you so much for sharing the tips! You seem to be extremely talented and creative. I’ve been holding on to some antique office chairs for awhile now and really would love to re-furb them, seeing as they are in absolutely horrible condition now I dont think it would hurt the value.

  96. maryloo September 25, 2011 at 2:29 pm #

    sounds ok, but havnt got time for all that stuff,

    • movita September 25, 2011 at 7:05 pm #

      Thank goodness you had time to make that comment…

  97. Anonymous September 25, 2011 at 9:45 pm #

    This was worth all the time I’ve spent searching! Love this. After looking everywhere for a used, specific sized floor cabinet, I had to settle for the only one I could find that fit specific dimensions and $$. Similar to your project, it’s white laminated wood. I’ve been trying to figure out how to give it some character and make it fit a rustic western decor. This is it! And thanks to your great instruction and illustration, I believe even I can do it.

    I’m hoping to get some color ideas since this is a first for me. I’m considering a barn red as a base coat, under a cocoa brown glaze. Too dark maybe? Should I use a more desert tan or something over the red? (I’m a big chicken about making bold statements.)

    (The interior will be a tan color with retro shelf paper or red bandanas since it will have glass inserts in the doors to display my True West antique ceramic dish set, and Montana Brands dishes. Both are tan with brown deco., and the True West have cowboys with touches of red, blue, and yellow.) It will sit on tubby little legs on a circular sawn wood floor. Ceilings and wood trim are rough blue pine lumber. Kitchen cabinets are hickory.)

    Thanks for a great tutorial!

    • movita September 26, 2011 at 9:04 am #

      I’m so glad you’re going to try this! Your ideas sound great. I guess I would focus on the main colour – pick your top coat according to what will look best in the space. Then you can go a little crazier with the base coat, as you can select how much of that you want to reveal. I don’t think the cocoa brown sounds too dark, but I like dark, rich colours. I think you should select your interior colour according to whatever you put on the outside – make it the same as the top coat, base coat, or a variation of one of those. I’d suggest doing the exterior first and then finalizing the interior colour. It all sounds wonderful!

      • Sue Marxer November 21, 2011 at 2:59 am #

        Woo-hoo! I finally finished my first real “antiquing” job, and thank you so much for your inspiration. I ended up using a blue over brown, and learned a few things along the way regarding flat vs. glossy, and quality of paint, and much more. But it turned out the way I wanted. Much more primitive than yours, but fits the decor perfectly. Here’s a link to the blog I just pictured it in if you’re interested: http://saddlescenes.blogspot.com/2011/11/cowboy-carpenter.html?spref=fb

        • movita beaucoup November 21, 2011 at 9:55 pm #

          I’m so glad it worked out – it really looks amazing!

          • Susan Marxer November 21, 2011 at 11:01 pm #

            Thank you, and thank you for your kind comment on my blog. That means alot coming from my “instructor”! I tried to leave a followup there, but it won’t let me, so just wanted to let you know I did an edit to include a link to this blog as my main source of info. Sorry I didn’t think to do that when I originally posted it!

            • movita beaucoup November 22, 2011 at 8:17 am #

              Totally sweet and completely unnecessary! But I appreciate it just the same, grasshopper.

  98. Anonymous October 15, 2011 at 11:35 am #

    Looks great and I love your directions..:)
    Finding pieces of used furniture, to distress and “antique” is one of my most favorite things to do. I am so not a professional and tend to go about it in a similar way that you described..
    Thanks for the wonderful tips and tutorial! I am currently on the hunt for bedside tables and am planning a big bedroom redo..
    Thanks for the ideas!

    • movita beaucoup October 15, 2011 at 10:07 pm #

      Well, thanks for stopping by! Good luck with the bedroom reno (send pics)!

  99. Anonymous October 24, 2011 at 9:48 am #

    thanks! My garbage-pickin’s table will be transformed!

    • movita beaucoup October 24, 2011 at 2:23 pm #

      I’m bettin’ that garbage-pickin’ table will be looking very glam!

  100. Anonymous October 27, 2011 at 12:14 am #

    HI, your tutorial sounds very easy! But! was wondering, if i could apply this to my iron bed as well?

    • movita beaucoup October 27, 2011 at 6:12 am #

      This tutorial is for wood and similar surfaces. Iron is a totally different thing, and would require different paints. I’d advise against using any of the products I mentioned in this tutorial on your bed! Perhaps ask at a paint store – they could probably recommend some great stuff, including spray paints (which would go on iron more evenly). Good luck!

  101. home staging October 31, 2011 at 1:40 am #

    After chosen piece of furniture, you will need to prep the surfaces to be painted. Paint shows the great look of furniture. Without painting the furniture cannot be long lasting. Paint increases the value as well as life of furniture.

  102. Frank Anderson November 4, 2011 at 5:09 pm #

    Great info. I have just purchased an antique (probably late 1800′s) wooden wheelbarrow. It is pretty much all the same color…..a light brown. I have seen others that have some red, green or blue paint on the surface that looks very nice. How would you go about doing this without making it glossy at all? I want to have it look like it was originally one of those colors but that has just gone dull with age and use.

    • movita beaucoup November 4, 2011 at 5:56 pm #

      Hi Frank, I’m sorry to say that this is beyond my area of expertise! I’ve only used the method I’ve outline above on furniture. Perhaps try asking at your local paint store. Flat paints, of course, are gloss free, so that might be an option. If you’re putting the wheelbarrow outside, you’ll also have to consider that. I hope it works out! And I’d love to hear how you make out…

  103. Blondie November 16, 2011 at 4:34 pm #

    I just found you, and what a joy! I purchased a circa 1950′s telephone table last week and am researching how to repurpose or refinish it. Great information here.

  104. Meg November 17, 2011 at 7:48 am #

    Thanks so much for sharing… I have read a lot of furniture fix-up blog posts… and I liked yours because it sounded real… you are just one of us… seeing something you want to try and doing it… I have my first piece sitting in the dinning room… waiting for the next step… I am making a dresser that is missing some drawers into a piece with 2 shelves and 2 drawers…. So you live in Fairview, UT? If that is the location… Do you know Nancy and Steve Hansen? Steve is the cousin to my ex Mother in Law…

    • movita beaucoup January 23, 2012 at 9:27 am #

      No, I don’t live in UT. I live in Halifax, Nova Scotia! (It’s awesome.)

  105. Angie November 19, 2011 at 9:42 am #

    I recently just got into “Country” decorating, and i have several wood shelves that have been stored in the basement with what I thought to be no use…. Untill I read your blog! Amen! I am now going to distress my own shelving! Thank you so much for your very helpful information!

  106. Jen November 30, 2011 at 10:12 pm #

    Do you recommend this technique for a table, chairs and hutch? I really like the look but I don’t want to over do it.

    • movita beaucoup December 1, 2011 at 9:51 am #

      That’s really personal preference. I just did two bedside tables, that was enough for me, and the tables didn’t even match. I guess you have to decide if you want everything to be matchy-matchy or not!

  107. Anonymous December 5, 2011 at 8:43 pm #

    Thank you too. Great pictures, great step by step and you are funny which is a bonus. I bought a 4 piece bedroom set and a mirror that is painted a deep chocolate brown for $150.00. I have been trying to decide what to do to it. I do not think it is wood cause it is abnormally heavy. This makes me think, I can just skip a few steps. I can start with waxing the corners etc and then painting it a white and after drying scrape, sand, dry and poly it.. Thanks. I think I will have a pretty nice set after I do this since now it is just a nice huge set that looks painted brown now!!! :)

  108. Arghavan December 14, 2011 at 3:09 am #

    Very beautiful. Can you please send me more picturs. I realy like to learn. I am a painter and I like to paint my furniturs.
    Thank you so much.

  109. Megan December 18, 2011 at 9:45 pm #

    I just refinished my great-grandparents bathroom vanity! I love it and it’s all thanks to you and your wonderful advice. Thanks again!

  110. Irene Uhlemann December 27, 2011 at 8:39 pm #

    Hi from Dublin, just the information I was looking for. Easy to follow.. am going to get to work on a few pieces I have.

  111. Anastasia December 28, 2011 at 10:12 pm #

    Thanks for sharing, was just thinking about trying this method…

  112. Cara January 10, 2012 at 1:31 am #

    easy to understand and my piece turned out awesome! I am not artistic or crafty and have never done anything like this before so I’m so proud of myself. Thankyou for all the little details you included and for not making it a complex process!

  113. Deena Williams January 10, 2012 at 10:29 pm #

    I have a question about using the candle wax. After you wax and then paint the top coat, how do you remember all the places you waxed when it comes time to scrape it off? Does it show through the top coat??? I totally want to try this and you tutorial is awesome!!!

    • movita beaucoup January 11, 2012 at 8:43 am #

      I only apply the wax to edges and corners – pretty easy to remember. If it doesn’t get scraped off, I don’t worry. I just scrape those areas until I’m happy!

  114. Dawn January 17, 2012 at 4:18 pm #

    This was by far the most interesting AND informative I’ve read. Which makes me happy because I have been researching this on my phone and my eyes hurt. This held my attention enough to write something which I neve ever do. So thank you! Dawn

  115. Anonymous January 18, 2012 at 10:46 pm #

    Hi there. Love your work! I’m wanting to do something similar. I’m making a headboard out of an old wood door. The door is in impeccable shape, and is a finished wood. Do you think i need to prime it first, and put a base coat? Or do you think i would be fine to start with the antique white? Thanks for your input!

    • movita beaucoup January 19, 2012 at 6:35 am #

      Without knowing the finish, that’s a tough question to answer. (I’m not a painting expert!) I tend to prime everything. I guess it depends on what the base coat is – if it’s oil, you can’t put latex over it, for example. If the paints won’t clash, then you could probably skip the primer. Also, if you like the colour of the base, that would help, as it’s the colour that will be revealed. Hope that helps. Good luck!

  116. Roy M January 24, 2012 at 1:37 am #

    Great Information. This will help my customers. Looking to distress some lanterns as well.

  117. Lu January 31, 2012 at 1:00 pm #

    Thank you for addressing what to do if you’re not working with real wood furniture! Yours is the only DIY I’ve found that solved the problem. Thank you sooo much!

  118. Tania February 3, 2012 at 4:00 pm #

    Great post! Just what I was looking for and you are too funny.

  119. Anonymous February 8, 2012 at 7:44 pm #

    You are just too funny! I have not only learnt, I have also laughed my way through your item!!! I have 3 pieces of furniture waiting for me to start. My hometown of Christchurch, New Zealand has suffered through over 10,000 earthquakes from September 2010 to the current date; we sure have our share of cracked furniture we can turn into something wonderful :)

    • movita beaucoup February 13, 2012 at 1:03 pm #

      Well, I hope you are able to transform some pieces! Stay safe…

  120. pswinz@yahoo.com February 13, 2012 at 12:53 pm #

    I just thought I’d say that it looks like your painting skills are about a thousand times better than mine. This furniture looks great! I hope to be at your level someday. I practice quite a bit but nothing comes out looking the way I want it lol.

    • movita beaucoup February 13, 2012 at 1:08 pm #

      Keep at it! I’m no pro – I just go slowly. Like, really slowly…

  121. VICKIE, PANHEADVIC February 14, 2012 at 10:02 am #

    HELP! MY SON BROUGHT ME OUT A NICE WOODEN CHAIR. I SANDED IT DOWN, AND PRIMED IT. LET DRY. I SPRAY PAINTED IT A BRIGHT YELLOW. WELL WHEN I WENT BACK TO LAQUER IT, ALL YELLOW CAME OFF.SHOULD I HAVE USED PAINT FROM CAN W\ BRUSH? DON’T USE SPRAY PAINT. WAS IT THE YELLOW COLOR. OR COULD IT HAVE BEEN TOOO COLD IN GARAGE?? I COULD REALLY USE SOME ANSWERS PLEASE.
    VICKIE,

    • movita beaucoup February 14, 2012 at 10:12 am #

      I really don’t know, Vickie. I think you’d have to talk to an expert – which I am not. I suspect your paints were not compatible, but I’m not sure. I haven’t used spray paint on furniture, but I know other people do. Temperature may have also been a factor (look on the cans for the recommended temperatures). Perhaps try calling a local paint store – I’m sure they would be happy to advise you, and would be familiar with the products you are using.

    • Lisa Parker Gaddy March 25, 2013 at 4:29 pm #

      Vickie, I’m no trained expert , either, but I can say this. I spray paint A LOT. But I have never found any brand of spray paint in yellow that is worth a shite. All the other colors are good….but no yellows work for me. And I’ve bought every brand from the Walmart to the top dollar ones. I’ve heard other spray painters mention this. Must me something about the pigments used to get the color. BTW, the only things I use spray paint on are iron,brass, some resins, and ceramics. Regular paint is best for wood.

  122. Leanne Smit February 20, 2012 at 11:29 am #

    Thanks very much for this simple and well explained brief. I am about to distress my first piece of furniture and very excited about it. Trying so hard not to rush with my excitement and short cut, so I get the best results.

  123. Inessa Stewart February 21, 2012 at 3:58 am #

    Hey there! actually laughed out loud at “kick the crap out of your furniture”:)You did a pretty neat job for a non-expert. No, please, make that awesome. The bedside tables look great! A special mention for the fun-filled way you explained them. You do have a gift.Thanks and keep going!!

  124. Adam February 22, 2012 at 6:51 pm #

    Nice Article. You are also funny.

  125. Anonymous February 29, 2012 at 11:30 am #

    THANK YOU!!! AWESOME AND FUN TO READ!!!!!

  126. Caroline March 3, 2012 at 9:03 am #

    Very informative and I love your writing style and sense of humor! Do you think this method would work on Ikea furniture? It is fabricated wood with laminate finish.

    • movita beaucoup March 4, 2012 at 8:12 am #

      I haven’t tried it with Ikea furniture. If it’s a laminate surface, there are paints that are made specifically to cover laminate, and I’d probably go that way. Ask at your local paint store – they can point you in the right direction!

  127. Erica L. Holt (@WoodlandPhotog) March 4, 2012 at 12:10 am #

    omg, you are sooo funny! and I learned a lot from your article! thanks! :)

  128. Hope March 12, 2012 at 7:50 pm #

    Hysterical and Helpful!

  129. Lisa March 14, 2012 at 2:06 pm #

    Even if I didn’t want to distress furniture, I would have read this. You crack me up lady! I am doing a round frame to start that I will put a mirror in. On to night stands from there. Thanks for the great info!

  130. Deena Williams March 14, 2012 at 9:14 pm #

    Movita, I am going to try your technique on a chair that is already stained. I want to paint it just like you did the table above. If it is stained, do I need to paint an under coat (the brown) or do I just prime over the stain? Thank you so much.

    • movita beaucoup March 14, 2012 at 9:19 pm #

      It depends on what the stain is, and if there is a protective coat. If you apply primer, the natural wood won’t be revealed, as it will be covered by the primer. If your paints are compatible with what is already on the chair, then you don’t need to prime, and you can just wax and reveal. But, unless you’re sure of the base, this could be tricky. If your paints aren’t compatible, you’ll get peeling. Anyhoo, I’m not an expert, so I’d recommend consulting one before you start. As stated in the tutorial, I can only advise if you’re doing as piece exactly as I did – and I wasn’t working with real wood. This is a food blog, after all!

  131. Robin March 27, 2012 at 7:29 pm #

    One of the best tutorials I have come across yet!! Thanks so much for sharing!

  132. Anonymous April 1, 2012 at 4:42 pm #

    I have been researching how to distress furniture for months and this is by far the most detailed and easy to understand tutorial I have come across. Thank you for being so thorough and giving the specific materials you used. I am very excited to try this out.

  133. Ian April 7, 2012 at 10:14 pm #

    Thanks for the legwork, my fellow Haligonian.
    I’ll give’r a go.

  134. Nthabiseng Maputle April 16, 2012 at 5:11 am #

    liked it very useful

  135. Brenda April 25, 2012 at 6:53 am #

    Hi.
    thanks I have found your blog very useful as I am about to re-decorate my daughters bedroom and re-vamp some old bits of furniture i.e an old chest, book case, and bedside table. Hopefully, when she gets back from University in Nottingham she will love the new bedroom.

    I have one problem in that the products you mention are not available in the Uk so I will have research those

    Brenda

    • Jason May 10, 2012 at 8:16 am #

      Hi Brenda,
      Did you manage to source the materials in the UK , I would be very interested where you purchased them from (the protective finish) as I also live in the UK.

  136. Jason May 10, 2012 at 8:21 am #

    BTW this is by far the best distressed furniture post I’ve found, only hope I can do it justice.

  137. Claire Poole May 24, 2012 at 12:07 pm #

    I enjoyed your article(and your sense of humor)…..I new at this and am already hooked. Thanks for the tips!!!

  138. Tracey May 24, 2012 at 6:09 pm #

    I have to admit this piece is not only extremely
    Helpful in achieving exactly the look I seek;
    But is about the funniest thing I have read
    In a long time! You have quite a way with
    Words! I will sure pass this along!

  139. ali May 27, 2012 at 7:26 pm #

    i’m very new with this and don’t want to screw up this nice piece of furniture i have purchased. I have a bright blue dresser that I want to distress but i want the main color to be teal. do you have a suggestion on what color paints look best for that? you used a brown and a cream/white, i am curious what might look best for a teal outcome

    • movita beaucoup May 27, 2012 at 7:29 pm #

      I haven’t worked with teal/blue – sorry. I wouldn’t feel comfortable advising on something I haven’t seen, and haven’t tried myself!

  140. Stacy June 4, 2012 at 9:47 am #

    Best tutorial online for this technique and not only that but you are very entertaining.Im sharing this on FB and bookmarking it for myself.Thanks much!

  141. Terri June 4, 2012 at 2:48 pm #

    Your tables look great and you made it so simple. Thanks! I’m sharing this one on my FB page https://www.facebook.com/simpletreasures2u

  142. Jeanne garro June 9, 2012 at 5:29 pm #

    The very best “how to” on this subject….and I’ve researched a lot! Very clear instructions AND fun to read! Awesome job. Thank you!

  143. Anonymous June 10, 2012 at 10:28 am #

    Loved, Loved the instructions – and the entertainment value of it to keep me from falling asleep before I got the job done!! About to disress a room of furniture for a new look and this is exactly what I needed to know. Thank you so much.

  144. Valerie June 12, 2012 at 12:52 pm #

    I have been working on refinishing a bed found at auction. All is well…..except working with the polycrylic. I started with sponge ‘brush’ and gentle hand – saw ‘stop/start’ lines. Then went to a good quality brush – still see lines. Not overbrushing. I’m ready to scream in frustration. Any suggestions?

    • movita beaucoup June 14, 2012 at 10:13 am #

      Sorry, Valerie – without seeing your piece and/or knowing what products you’re using, it’s difficult to say. My start/stop lines faded into the piece. Maybe you’re using too much or too little poly on the brush? I’d recommend asking an expert – maybe some genius at your local paint store…

  145. Anonymous June 13, 2012 at 8:57 pm #

    Will this work if the furniture is already painted purple?

    • movita beaucoup June 14, 2012 at 10:16 am #

      That’s too little information. As stated in many comments above – it will all depend on what material the furniture is made of and what type of paint is currently on the piece. My tutorial is for working with prefab furniture, and doing the exact steps I did. Outside of that, I’m not really able to help. I don’t feel comfortable advising people on things I haven’t seen and/or tried myself!

      If you are in doubt, get in touch with an expert in your area. Perhaps someone at your local paint store can give you some suggestions. Key is making sure your paints are compatible – so be sure to give them as much information as you can when you’re picking up your products!

  146. Ananomous June 13, 2012 at 9:04 pm #

    would this same thing work if i painted a purple dresser cream and then distressed it?

  147. Tarah Reiff June 19, 2012 at 10:29 pm #

    Thanks for this! It was EXACTLY what I was looking for and I can’t wait to get started tomorrow morning!

  148. Angela June 20, 2012 at 12:32 pm #

    You wrote a great example of how to distress wood, for my project.

    Thank you

  149. Chonna June 26, 2012 at 3:34 pm #

    I am so glad I found this. Been looking for the right read for quite some time to distress my entry table in the living room. I can’t wait to get started!

  150. Leslie June 27, 2012 at 3:57 pm #

    I just found an old whiskey cabinet that I’m turning into a buffet for my kitchen. I am super excited to have found your post. I can’t wait to try the directions you gave! And you had me cracking up with your humor. Thanks for such a wonderful posting.

    • movita beaucoup June 27, 2012 at 4:54 pm #

      Well, you are most welcome! I hope the cabinet re-do goes swimmingly…

      • kim July 2, 2012 at 11:45 am #

        Just bought an old dresser that I want to distress-a bit. I found your info very helpful but am wondering about the last step: the protective application. What is this for, I know it’s to protect but from what? Fading? Just curious. Thanks.

        • movita beaucoup July 2, 2012 at 11:50 am #

          Damage – chipping, for the most part!

          • Lisa Parker Gaddy March 25, 2013 at 4:37 pm #

            Which is why I’m skipping it on my first (today!) distressed project. Old windows to hang as a headboard. Sadly, there won’t be much chance of them getting damaged hanging there. Alas and Alack. Plus there’s hardly any chance of using poly and not having 3,786 cat hairs dried into it before it’s cured.

  151. Patti July 4, 2012 at 10:28 am #

    Never took on a project like this before! I used your directions on my daughters white victorian furniture and i’m very pleased with the results! I painted it green. I painted her bed, dresser, desk and nightstand. Gave her room a Vintage look.

  152. Patti July 4, 2012 at 10:41 am #

    http://www.roomzaar.com/rate-my-space/Girls-Rooms/teen-vintage-bedroom/detail.esi?oid=28735736 Here are the results on hgtv rate my space thanks!

  153. Veronica July 8, 2012 at 2:00 am #

    Thanks a bunch, i followed easily and really enjoyed the humor. I’ll avoid the “brilliant pink” … Not that you care ;). Your pieces look great!!

  154. Anonymous July 14, 2012 at 4:37 pm #

    I just picked up a few dumped pieces at the dump. Great pieces. Someone else’s trash… Can’t wait to follow you instructions. Great post.

  155. laurie July 20, 2012 at 4:14 pm #

    Awesome job! Beautiful work. Wanting to do this on an old dresser but it’s already a dark wood so I wouldn’t need to do the dark coat correct? Wanting to do a dark red with the dark distressed look, any suggestions?

    • movita beaucoup July 21, 2012 at 8:37 am #

      Sorry, Laurie. I’ve only done the technique with pre-fab furniture. So I really can’t advise!

  156. Deadmeat July 21, 2012 at 8:05 pm #

    Nice page, i just used this info to make my 50 inch plasma tv look “rustic”.
    … maybe should have just done the back and sides and NOT the screen, you live and learn.

    Now onto the DVD player

    • movita beaucoup July 24, 2012 at 4:08 pm #

      This is probably the best comment I’ve received on my blog. Ever.

  157. Anonymous July 23, 2012 at 11:00 am #

    You are a scream! Thanks for the entertaining and thorough instructions. Pics are quite helpful and good too (despite your disclaimer). I pinned you on Pintrest but I will remove since I saw your note about re-blogging. I suppose it is the same thing? Blog on with your bad self.

    • movita beaucoup July 24, 2012 at 4:10 pm #

      Thanks for your comment! Pin away! Re-blogging is this weird option wordpress gives people that allows them to re-post another blogger’s work – text, photos and all – without permission. It appears on their blog as if it is their own work. Very annoying. Pinterest, on the other hand, is absolutely fine by me, and I always appreciate the shout out!

  158. jo July 28, 2012 at 2:42 am #

    Enjoyed your instructions! I think this is the 1st step-by-step guide that I’ve read completely. I hate reading but you made it so entertaining! I learned a lot and found out what I’m doing wrong! I’ll start another project tomorrow and do it your way! Thanks so much for the help!

  159. Kat August 1, 2012 at 5:08 am #

    that is a pretty cool article! Love the in depth coverage and the pics as well. great post on how to antique furniture. wish i’d had seen it earlier :)

  160. Alethea August 25, 2012 at 9:01 pm #

    This is awesome! I’ve already started sanding down my table to antique :-) question: after you wax the wood and paint the top coat does it matter if you don’t scrape off every part you waxed? I feel like I might need to make a diagram of where I waxed so I don’t forget and ruin it!!
    Thanks for any suggestions! I’m super excited about this project!
    Alethea

    • movita beaucoup August 26, 2012 at 9:32 am #

      You know, I didn’t worry about it very much. I only waxed around the edges and corners (so no diagram required), and I figured that if anything else chipped off later it would add to the authentic distressed look! I haven’t had any problems thus far, and we’ve had the tables at our bedside for over two years.

      Good luck – let me know how it goes!

  161. Candoochi August 31, 2012 at 6:12 am #

    AMAZEBALLS! can’t wait to get stuck into mine, hope it works out as per your pics, thanks for the tips! and the humour!

  162. melody friend September 12, 2012 at 1:44 am #

    Seriously BEAUTIFUL work. Killer! I wonder … can I do this Technique over stained wood?

    • movita beaucoup September 12, 2012 at 6:00 am #

      I haven’t tried it, but I’m sure you can. It’s really a matter of finding compatible paints – ask your paint store experts for some advice! Good luck!

  163. KaRon September 24, 2012 at 1:58 pm #

    @ Melody Friend, I just painted over stain this past weekend and it really looks great. Prior to painting I sanded the stained finish as much as I could then I used 3 coats Rust-o-leum enamel paint. It’s drying this week and next weekend I am going to sand the egdes to show the stain for a distressed look. I came acorss this blog afterwards, so I didn’t know to use wax before painting. I plan on sanding the edges lightly until the wood stains starts to show. This is my first attempt on a project like this, so far I am pleased with it.

  164. KaRon September 24, 2012 at 2:00 pm #

    Great instructions, I enjoyed your article!

  165. Heath October 4, 2012 at 10:37 pm #

    I followed these directions for a cheap old desk and it looks awesome now. I painted the fake wood color with a kelly green on top. Thanks for the tutorial!

    • movita beaucoup October 5, 2012 at 5:43 am #

      Yippie! Thanks for stopping by to let me know. I bet the kelly green looks AMAZING!

  166. Granny Lala October 7, 2012 at 11:54 am #

    Good Heavens! I have a very old vintage dresser that over the last 40 years has turned into what you picture as your finished product. I was thinking of doing it over because it looks so tacky and worn, but I hadn’t realized that some people actually LIKE that look.

  167. Barbra Stewart October 25, 2012 at 12:34 am #

    Enjoyed the tutorial.

  168. Monica November 4, 2012 at 9:32 am #

    Thank u SOOO much

  169. Sharell November 17, 2012 at 1:13 am #

    I have read a BAZILLION tutorials and blogs about painting furniture and cabinets… and your information is AWESOME and SIMPLE! Thanks for dumbing it down for a rookie like me! =)

    • movita beaucoup November 17, 2012 at 7:30 am #

      Yippie!! (And you’re welcome!)

  170. Anonymous December 5, 2012 at 6:00 pm #

    Great stuff! I like the information, and the raw blunt humour. Jolly good show!

  171. Angie Newsom December 12, 2012 at 9:51 pm #

    Excellent website, Great info!!!! Thanks for sharing!!!!!

  172. Lexy December 18, 2012 at 10:05 pm #

    Awesome. Very enjoyable read. This will be a first to distress furniture for me. Now I have a “Hoozer” to attend too!! :)

  173. Lyn January 6, 2013 at 9:24 pm #

    If I didn’t know better, while reading your responses and painting tutorial above, I’d swear it was Ellen talking! You have a great talent there gal! You’ve got that same quick, dry wit. Thanks for the tips on the furniture. I’m wanting to start painting some outdated furniture I have stored and wonder about starting with a piece that is stained and/or lacquered (or however you spell it!) Strip it first? Thanks!

    • movita beaucoup January 7, 2013 at 6:29 am #

      Lyn, my tutorial is for working with prefab furniture, and doing the exact steps I did. Outside of that, I’m reluctant to advise. I don’t feel comfortable advising people on things I haven’t seen and/or tried myself! In the past, if I’ve painted over an existing finish, I’ve sanded the piece well before starting and then primed. You can scroll through some of the comments above – some people have tried painting right over the stain with good luck.

      If you are in doubt, get in touch with an expert in your area. Perhaps someone at your local paint store can give you some suggestions. Key is making sure your paints are compatible – otherwise the paint you put on top will bubble and peel off. Be sure to give them as much information as you can when you’re picking up your products!

  174. tallhipsterkate January 6, 2013 at 10:09 pm #

    This helped me a lot, I like that you didn’t feel the need to thwack it with chains or drag a crowbar over it to make it look old. I just painted my night stand and I can’t wait to see how it turns out! Also your writing is really funny :)

  175. Amanda January 7, 2013 at 4:13 am #

    This has helped us out tremendously!!!!! I am so relieved. My husband and I were having nightmares over this furniture…creating a weathered beach look…everything we tried didn’t work and we were really racking up the costs! Your technique has worked perfectly and it goes soooooo much faster. Thanksfully we can have our dining room back sooner than later. Thanks for posting all of this…you have no idea how much you have saved my 7 kids from parents with their hands stuck to their foreheads! Ha! Cheers from Australia! Amanda

    • movita beaucoup January 7, 2013 at 6:30 am #

      I’m so glad to hear this – yippie!

  176. matt January 8, 2013 at 1:01 pm #

    Thank you for sharing this, the before and after difference in the items of furniture is quite dramatic. I have always loved painted furniture but have never thought of cleaning up antique furniture in this way. Thanks again. http://www.paintedfurnitureco.co.uk/

  177. Lorey January 14, 2013 at 7:25 pm #

    You’re so awesome. I love your choice of words! And good advice

  178. Jean Carson January 18, 2013 at 3:45 pm #

    Thanks for your tutorial, very informative, loved the photos, good to get a handle on the look. cant wait to get started on the wall unit and bookcase.

  179. Sparkled Whimsy February 5, 2013 at 5:27 pm #

    This is by far the best tutorial out there on how to distress with dark and white….thank you so much for ending my seemingly endless search! :)

  180. eliza February 15, 2013 at 3:08 am #

    this is a fantastic tutorial… i have been wanting to do my bed and side tables for so long but didn’t have a clue. i reckon i’ll be fine now and i’m not as scared to just follow my own instincts with it. thankyou!! :D

    • movita beaucoup February 15, 2013 at 5:31 am #

      Yay, Eliza! I hope it turns out well – send pictures!

  181. christineefreeman March 7, 2013 at 11:04 pm #

    I just got here via Pinterest. (The new evil empire.) I wanted to compliment you on your distressing. Nothing is more sad than “leopard” distressing. Your pieces are distressed where it would actually happen IRL! Beautiful.

    • movita beaucoup March 9, 2013 at 10:00 pm #

      Thanks! And I agree: leopard distressing is very, very sad.

  182. Anonymous March 9, 2013 at 6:30 pm #

    Once i got thru all the disclaimers LOL your article was more detailed than others I read. Thanks

  183. Anonymous March 9, 2013 at 6:50 pm #

    how do you remember where you applied wax and if you apply too much. will the paint come off eventually in places you didn’t scrape?

    • movita beaucoup March 9, 2013 at 9:59 pm #

      As stated in the comments above, I didn’t worry about it very much. I only waxed around the edges and corners, so it wasn’t really hard to remember where the wax was. Also, I figured that if anything else chipped off later it would add to the authentic distressed look – that’s really the point of distressing. I haven’t had any problems thus far, and we’ve had the tables at our bedside for about three years. You might have noticed that I also used a protective finish, so I’m sure that helps – I’d recommend using it if you’re worried!

  184. amusingmother April 21, 2013 at 1:59 am #

    Who knows if you even read comments on these old posts but WOW. I absolutely love your commentary. It’s a bit how I explained to a friend how to make rolls. AND I don’t feel intimidated or overwhelmed by my project. THANK YOU!

  185. Anonymous April 22, 2013 at 3:25 pm #

    Love your post. Can’t wait to try – have an old cupboard that will get the works!

  186. wannabeabaker June 3, 2013 at 2:47 pm #

    I googled how to distress/antique furniture…fell in here. Awesome! I even think I can do this ;-)

    Thanks!!! (Movita Beaucoup-bookmarked!)

  187. FrivolityOnTheEdge June 4, 2013 at 12:45 pm #

    Love the candle/wax tip! Will definitely try this on my next project. Looks great!

  188. Anonymous June 10, 2013 at 4:38 pm #

    hey! so we follow these steps for a dinning set. the two green chairs worked great, and for some reason the white ones are not chipping. we think its because we applied too many coats (it was necessary to completely cover the brown). any ideas oh how we can save these pieces? thank you!

    • movita beaucoup June 10, 2013 at 8:40 pm #

      I’m glad you had at least some good results, but I really can’t advise on your white pieces, as I’m not an expert. It could be any number of things – perhaps too many coats of paint, but that seems odd. Perhaps there wasn’t enough wax applied? I really can’t say. I used a really good quality white paint – three coats – and had no trouble revealing the brown paint underneath. You could try sanding the paint off in areas make it look distressed – or beating the crap out of the chairs… but there is always some risk involved. I’m sorry I can’t be of more assistance – this tutorial was published almost three years ago, and I’m primarily a food blogger. (Thus, I prefaced this tutorial with a boatload of disclaimers!) Paint products are continually changing, so you might want to ask for advice at your local paint store. Good luck with it all!

  189. Kim Carlson June 13, 2013 at 3:17 am #

    Awesome tutorial. You have a great eye! Beautiful results. I need a writing desk so I plan to buy a console table on CL and distress it. After looking at your pallet table, I almost want to go to HD and buy the wood and make it myself…but I will prolly rein in my exuberance and stick with refinishing. ;-)

  190. Julie June 17, 2013 at 10:54 pm #

    I did it!!! Followed your directions and it looks awesome!!! Thanks so much. I saved a very nice but totally out of style Thomasville bedroom suite from going to the Goodwill…. and me about $3k :-)

    • movita beaucoup June 25, 2013 at 7:20 am #

      Yippie! Glad to have been of assistance, Julie!

  191. movita beaucoup June 25, 2013 at 7:19 am #

    Great information on primers for those of you getting ready to start a new project!

    http://knackstudios.com/its-prime-time/

  192. Anonymous July 2, 2013 at 10:23 pm #

    i am in the midst of doing this project and found your blog helpful. how long did you wait for your paint to dry. i have heard dont wait too long because it will make it harder to sand all the way up to waiting 24 hours? just wondering your thoughts :)

    • movita beaucoup July 3, 2013 at 6:06 am #

      I had no trouble removing paint – if that’s the part you’re referring to – as the wax is meant expressly for this purpose. So, I let everything dry fully before proceeding to the next step (according to dry times on the paint cans I was using). I often let hours and hours go between steps – as life got in the way – and had no trouble whatsoever. Wet/wetish paint + sand paper doesn’t seem like a great idea to me, but I’m not a painting expert. (I’m a food blogger!)

      Hope this helps.

  193. Eldora924us July 3, 2013 at 1:22 pm #

    I am doing this to my vanity (old teachers school desk I’m converting into a vanity with a vessel sink) this weekend (Happy Independence day to me!! :-)). I bought the paint yesterday & found your blog today! One quick question… oh wait, you said no questions… oh well, what the heck, how much wax do you use? Rub it across the area once? Twice? Thrice?

    Loved your blog! Great sense of humor in covering your bases!!

    • movita beaucoup July 3, 2013 at 8:48 pm #

      I didn’t use wax, so I really can’t answer – sorry! Good luck with your project & Happy Independence Day!!

  194. natasapant July 26, 2013 at 12:10 pm #

    I think that is the most useful tutorial from all these that I have read for distressed furniture :):):) But I have a question…. what is this Fairview Taupe that your mention in the end? Is it some kind of paint?

    • movita beaucoup July 26, 2013 at 12:50 pm #

      It’s the colour of the base coat and was also used to make the glaze.

  195. jayjaymullinslee July 26, 2013 at 7:50 pm #

    You totally cracked me up! I laughed out loud several times and my husband came to see what was wrong! I love your furniture re-do and am going to do the “exact” same thing on a bedroom suit and redecorate the room in a cottage chic style. I will send you a photo when finished…hopefully by Christmas. :) Thanks for all of the details and especially giving me a good dose of laughter today. Please, keep it up!

  196. S. Adkins August 8, 2013 at 10:23 am #

    I absolutely love your tutorial. The casual voice you chose to use is hilarious, and makes it super fun to read. I kinda feel like if I met you, we would hang out. Haha. Not in a weird way.

  197. Jennifer Keller August 8, 2013 at 7:18 pm #

    HI there!! Great information. I’m about to do my first piece ever…I bought an old bed frame and would like to antique it a turquoise…with black underneath…it’s for my 13 yr old daughter! What are your thoughts on the colors??

    • movita beaucoup August 8, 2013 at 7:40 pm #

      I say: whatever makes a 13 year old happy is your safest bet!

  198. Alicia August 25, 2013 at 5:47 pm #

    That’s gold! I’ll probably never actually pull my finger out & give it a go but what a laugh I had reading that! Thank you!

  199. brettopace September 11, 2013 at 8:24 am #

    Reblogged this on Handles and Hinges and commented:
    Some smart tips on creating a distressed look from Movita

    • movita beaucoup September 11, 2013 at 8:29 am #

      Though I always appreciate a shout out, I would prefer it if my blog posts weren’t reblogged. This is stated in my copyright info and on my about page. I just work so darned hard on my posts that I believe they belong here and not on someone else’s blog. I hope this doesn’t offend.

  200. movita beaucoup October 10, 2013 at 8:20 am #

    Comments on this post are now closed – if you are searching for answers to your painting questions, scroll through the post and/or comments. If you don’t find what you are looking for, I’d recommend asking an expert at your local paint store!

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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