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Decorative Paint Technique: Distressing Instructions

Distressing is the modern approach to creating a timeless treasure.

More in Decorating

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  • Time

    Day

  • Price Range

    $50 - $100

  • Difficulty

    Moderate

Highlights:

Step 1: Distress the Wood

To distress your furniture, gather together some hardware and tools. Here are some example of what to use: Hex bolts tied on a wire, a wire brush, chains, nails, screws, hammer and chisel. Practice distressing on scrap wood before distressing your furniture piece.


Step 2: Mix Tint and Stain

Mix one squeeze of universal tint into the wood stain, and use a brush to apply it to the entire piece. Let dry thoroughly. This latex stain mixture dries fast and isn't as toxic as oil. It also seals the wood so it can be painted later.

  • Universal tints never dry unless mixed with another agent. If you spill some on the drop cloth, throw it away or cut out the stained area.

  • Paint with the grain of the wood to alleviate brush marks.

Step 3: Apply Black Paint

Mix eight parts of black paint with one part water and sparingly brush the mixture on with the grain of the wood where desired. The brush should be practically dry, which will mean less sanding for an antiqued look later. Let dry.

Step 4: Mix Paints and Glaze Then Apply

Mix one part of your first latex paint with one part glaze and one part water. In another container, mix one part of your other latex paint with one part glaze and one part water. Lightly brush the colors onto the same areas as desired.

Step 5: Sand Down the Paint

Once dry, use sandpaper (or a wire brush in hard-to-reach areas) to remove portions of the paint and stain in areas you'd expect wear and tear to be.

Step 6: Finish with Steel Wool and Wax

Use steel wool and wax to shine/scuff the entire piece, which will add instant age.

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Resources

  • wax (Original, Dark Brown) from Briwax
    universal tint (Burnt Umber) from Cal-Tint by Degussa
    clear latex interior wood stain from Pratt & Lambert
    latex glaze (Studio Finishes 405) from Benjamin Moore
    latex paint, eggshell sheen (Black 2132-10, Lafayette Green HC-135, Covington Blue HC-138) from Benjamin Moore

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