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How to Apply a Distressing Technique to Wood Furniture

Give furniture an antique look, for a fraction of the cost of purchasing antique furniture, by applying a distressing technique.

More in Painting

  • Time

    Day

  • Price Range

    $50 - $100

  • Difficulty

    Easy to Moderate

Highlights:

Step 1: Apply Stain to the Wood

There is nothing like a fine, worn antique to really give your home that warm, comfortable feel. But as you know, antiques are often expensive and fragile. Using these distressing techniques, take a piece of unfinished furniture and create the look of an antique for just a small fraction of the cost.

Apply a stain to the wood, selecting a stain that is a similar color to the antiques you have seen or have in your home.

Step 2: Use Sandpaper to Create a Natural Wear

After the stain dries, use a fine piece of sandpaper to duplicate the natural wear which occurred, studying the antique to show you wear to sand off some of the stain.

Step 3: Apply Dents and Scratches

Apply a few dents and scratches...carefully and precisely with a file or nail. For excessive wear, such as on the end of a runner, use a file or a chisel.

Step 4: Apply Furniture Paste

For an antique finish, soften furniture paste wax over an electric (no flame) hot plate, then stir in oil based stain; apply to the furniture with a soft bristle brush, let dry, then buff, leaving dark paste wax in joints, grooves and carvings to imitate decades of wax and dirt buildup.

And that's it -- always keep in mind that the three most important steps to distressing a piece of furniture are:

  • Study the type of antique you want to duplicate to see what kind of wear actually appears and precisely where.

  • Apply your signs of age sparingly and carefully to create an accurate replica.

  • Apply dark paste wax over the stain to recreate the hand-rubbed look of an antique.

  • Following these steps will give you a piece of furniture that everyone thinks is an antique...only you will know the truth!

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