How to Antique Furniture with Glaze or Stain

How to Antique Furniture with Glaze or Stain

Add a Beautiful Antique Patina Using Wood Stain or Antique Glaze

Using wood stain or antiquing glaze is one of the most effective furniture aging effects that you can utilize to antique a piece of furniture. There are so many options with these two. You can take a piece of furniture with shiny, brand new paint, and add decades or centuries of natural-looking aging in just a matter of minutes, and the results are incredible.

Antiqued Cabinets with Antique Glaze or Stain


Depending on the piece you are working on, using stain or glaze can be a tedious job, but the results are well worth it.  Antiquing furniture with stain or glaze will add a darkened patina to the top of your piece, and creates the appearance of dark buildup in any crevices, lines, and design work your piece may have.

So what is the difference in the two? Truth be told, not much, but there are some minor differences. Both essentially perform the same function and perform it well. Wood stain is very thin and can be a little messier to work with. Glaze is generally thicker, will finish a bit darker, and sometimes is more of a paste. Both come in multiple colors and shades. Stain tends to work better if you are working on a flat surface, but glaze is our preferred choice when working on anything with design carvings, lines and crevices. The glaze attaches itself down in those surfaces and ridges very well with very little running, and gives your piece a fantastic, authentically aged finish from another era.

To show you how to do it we will take a look at some kitchen cabinets that we were recently working on for a client of ours. We glazed all of their cabinets using M.L. Campbell Vintage Alkyd Glaze in a ‘Raw Umber’ color. The cabinets were a brand new, pure white, and they wanted them to look antiqued to add some character and aging.

What You Will Need

How to Antique Furniture with Glaze or Stain-2

Antique Glaze or Wood Stain – In the picture you can see the Campbell Glaze and also the Valspar Antiquing Glaze. You do not need both of these. We are just showing you some of the available options. Both are great choices.

Foam Brushes – You can use regular brushes, but these foam brushes are excellent for flat surfaces, and for getting the glaze to stick in crevices. Plus they are very cheap so if you don’t get one cleaned in time, it’s not a big loss.
Clean Dry Cloths/Rags – We recommend soft t-shirt or sheet material cut into smaller pieces. Lowes sells a bag of pre-cut t-shirt material cloths for about $2. They work very well with glaze and stain.

Wax/Polyurethane or Other Sealant – Minwax Furniture Paste works well or you can use something like Polyurethane for a higher gloss and stronger finish.  We used the Minwax on these cabinets.
Mineral Spirits – Mineral spirits will be needed to clean up any glaze or stain that goes awry, fix mistakes, and sometimes you just may need to start over – Don’t feel bad, it happens.

How It’s Done

Start by cleaning your piece VERY well. Warm water and a mild soap or detergent can be fine if it is dirty. You can also use a cheese cloth. Whatever is needed, just make sure it is clean.

When the piece is clean and dry, mix your glaze (or shake it well), and dip your foam brush in. Now begin applying the glaze to the surface. It will look awful at first, and will be very dark, but don’t worry.


How to Antique Furniture with Glaze or Stain-3
Wait a few seconds. How long you wait depends on how dark you want your finish to be. The longer you wait the darker it will get. But don’t wait too long. It will also begin to dry and will be hard to remove. 10-15 seconds should be plenty for most projects.

Use a Smooth Hand and a Clean Cloth For Best Results
Now take a clean cloth and begin wiping the antique glaze or wood stain off.  It will take a little practice to get the feel for this.  Just work with it.  You have at least 15 minutes, and maybe more depending on humidity, climate, and temperature so just work with it until you get the look you like.   Apply more glaze if you take too much off, and use the mineral spirits to clean up mistakes or remove the glaze all together.

How to Antique Furniture with Glaze or Stain-4


Get Your Groove On

Next you want to start working the glaze/stain into any grooves, lines, design work like in the first picture at the top of the page.  This is where the best effects are made with antique glaze and stain. On this cabinet door you can see we had some nice grooves to work with, and this is where the foam brushes come in handy.

How to Antique Furniture with Glaze or Stain-5

Dip the brush in the glaze and use the pointed tip to work the glaze into the grooves. Wipe any runs, and wipe back some of the glaze in the grooves if you get it darker than you like using a nice, clean, dry cloth.  Just work with it until it starts looking authentically aged.  Go with your instincts.  You will know when it looks right.  The keys with this technique are being patient, and working with it until you get it right.

How to Antique Furniture with Glaze or Stain-6


Let it Dry, then Seal it

We would generally recommend waiting at least 24 hours, but 48 would be better. Just make sure it is fully dry before sealing the piece.  If the piece is not completely dry you will wipe off your lovely new antiqued patina when you try to apply the wax or polyurethane.  This will cause a big problem and will ruin your work.  Just be patient and make extra sure that all of the glaze/stain is perfectly dry and will not wipe off when you apply the sealant.

Now that your piece is completely dry, go ahead and seal it with wax or polyurethane and you are all set.  If you are using furniture wax, just apply with clean, dry, lint-free cloths (t-shirt material works great).  Apply in a circular motion and cover the whole piece.  Wait at least 15 minutes, then buff the entire piece with a new, clean cloth.  The more you buff, the higher the finish shine will be.

Pro Tip:  Wax will easily build up in grooves, crevices and design work so keep your eyes out for that and use a Q-Tip or something similar to easily remove it.

Using wood stain is the exact same process as the glaze. Just follow the steps above if you want to use stain.


Antiqued Cabinets with Antique Glaze or Stain


We hope you have enjoyed this free tutorial on how to antique furniture with glaze or stain.  It is a very time consuming job, especially if working on a large project like cabinets, but learning this technique alone can save you literally hundreds, possibly thousands of dollars.


The Definitive Guide To Homemade Chalk Paint Recipes

The Definitive Guide To Homemade Chalk Paint Recipes

Homemade Chalk Paint Recipes

If you are a DIY junkie and love to paint furniture, then most likely you have at one time or another made, or thought about making, your own chalk paint.  If so then you know that there are several DIY homemade chalk paint recipes out there, and unless you have tried them all it can be difficult to know which one is the best.  Perhaps you are just now hearing about chalk paint for the first time and wondering what it’s all about.

3 chalk paint recipes

The Opponents Square Off!

Either way you have come to the right place.

We have received this question on numerous occasions from various readers, and until now we were unable to fully comment on which chalk paint recipe is the best – if there is one at all.

As many of you know we already have an awesome guide on how to make chalk paint that was one of the first posts we ever put on the site.  However, our guide is for the Plaster of Paris recipe, and it works wonderfully, but we had not tried any of the other recipes out there.

So, Angie and I finally decided to get back to testing and take an in-depth look at the 3 main DIY recipes for chalk paint.  We understand there are other ways of making chalk paint besides just these 3, but we didn’t want to get too out of focus.  So we decided to lock in on the main 3, as these are the ones we get asked about the most.

We tested:

  1. Plaster of Paris
  2. Unsanded Grout
  3. Baking Soda

In each section we will give you the recipe that we used to mix the paint.  Please note, however, that there are many recipes out there for all three versions.  Some will say use more or less of the main ingredient, or more paint, or hot water, etc. so do not take our recipes as DIY law.  The Plaster of Paris recipe below is the one we give in our how to make chalk paint tutorial and what we use on every piece of furniture on our site.  We use it because it fits our purposes the best.

The other two recipes we kind of came up with on our own by trying to duplicate the consistency of the plaster recipe so that it would be a fair test between the three recipes.

So if you use a different recipe or come up with a different mixture on your own that works for you then perfect.   The purpose of this post is merely to examine all three side-by-side using similar mixtures.

For paint we picked up a gallon of Wal-Mart Oops paint for $5.88  – Nice!

Let’s take a look at what we found out.

**NOTE:  These recipes yield 1 cup of paint each.  If you need more paint for your project adjust the recipe(s) accordingly


Plaster of Paris 

Plaster of Paris chalk paint recipe

If you need Plaster of Paris you can order it here:

chalk paint plaster of paris


How To Make It

First you mix the plaster and water together until you get a smooth consistency with no lumps.

plaster of paris mixture

Next  mix the plaster and water mixture into the paint and stir well until all of the mixture is dissolved with no lumps; make sure the paint is as smooth as before.

chalk paint recipes

Plaster of Paris Chalk Paint Recipe



Then we painted our test piece and set it out to dry.  One coat did the trick and we were ready to go.

The picture to the right is the test piece after it dried.  As you can see there are some dark splotches in the test piece of wood that bled through the paint.  This is due to the very light paint color we used for the test.  If we were painting a real piece of furniture we would have needed one more coat to cover these completely.




  • Less than $7.00 for the large box of plaster at Lowes



Our Take

If you have been reading our blog long you know what we think of the Plaster of Paris chalk paint recipe.  It is an extremely solid recipe.  We use it a lot.  It goes on smooth, covers well and exhibits all of the characteristics that chalk paint is known for such as no priming or sanding, sticks to most any surface and so on.

For this test the plaster recipe performed as expected.  It dried fast and left us with an excellent chalky patina on our test piece.  Perfect for distressing.

The Plaster recipe is perfect for any distressed furniture or furniture painting project where chalk paint is applicable.   It is versatile and easy to use.

No matter your project you can not go wrong with the plaster chalk paint.  It works well on just about anything and has never let us down.

However, we’re not stopping there.  Up next………….unsanded grout!



Unsanded Grout 

unsanded grout chalk paint recipe

 unsanded grout chalk paint recipe

How To Make It

First mix the grout and water together to form a paste.  The powder is very fine but has a semi-rough consistency.  This will not appear or feel as smooth as the plaster of paris but make sure all of the grout is mixed thoroughly.

unsanded grout chalk paint recipe


Unsanded Grout Chalk Paint

Next, stir the mixture into your pre-measured latex paint and mix well.  Be sure all of the mixture is dissolved into the paint.

We found that the grout seemed to turn the paint into a jelly-like consistency.   It had an even jiggly movement to it.  We tried to get a picture of it, but none of them really showed what we mean.

The picture to the right is our test piece painted with the unsanded grout chalk paint.



  • Less than $5 for a small tub.  A 10 LB bag is about $30 or so.  You can purchase online here:

Our Take

The final grout chalk paint had a medium-thin consistency and a gritty feel to it as it went onto the test piece that we painted with it.  This was quite different from the smooth plaster recipe, but it still worked very well.

It seemed as if the grout chalk paint did not paint onto the piece smoothly like regular paint, likely due to the consistency we mentioned above.  However, after working it onto the piece a little bit it really began to spread and cover the piece well.

The paint dried quickly, perhaps a little quicker than the plaster but not by much, and would go on pretty much any surface with no prep work.

The final result was a very nice textured-feeling patina.  The grittiness of the paint gave the test piece a very chalky finish with a rough texture.  More of a chalky finish than the plaster recipe.

All in all we were happy with the grout recipe.  This is a very good recipe for Shabby Chic and distressed furniture projects.  It will distress easily.  This recipe would be perfect for anything where you want a textured and rough look and feel, or are looking for a faded, chalky patina.


And now, last but not least, it’s Baking Soda time!



Baking Soda

baking soda chalk paint recipe

baking soda chalk paint recipe


How To Make It

Mix the water and baking soda together until it forms a paste.   If you’ve made it this far in the post you already know to make sure the baking soda dissolves completely.

Next, take your mixture and mix it thoroughly into your pre-measured paint.   Make sure all of the baking soda paste dissolves completely into the paint.

Baking Soda Mixture

Things Get Tricky

Now,  here is where things got interesting with this recipe.  In researching the baking soda recipe I found most others who use it tended to mention that the baking soda chalk paint was quite thick.  This was not what we found at all!

As a matter of fact the second the baking soda paste hit the paint it thinned the paint so much that it could hardly be called chalk paint.  It was really more of a wash.  VERY RUNNY and not what we were expecting.

Again, we thought perhaps it was weather related so we made sure the paint and baking soda sat in room temperature for a few days before trying again.  The second attempt yielded the same result.

Please watch this short video where I show you the consistency that we got using this baking soda recipe to get more of an idea of what we ended up with.

 Baking Soda Consistency Video


Baking Soda Finished

We painted the test piece and it went on, as expected very thin.  It was really more like a wash treatment than painting,  but it still stuck to the test piece quite well.  It still exhibited the usual chalk paint characteristics and covered with no sanding or priming.

This is very interesting since, as we said before,  other people do not tend to have this same result.

****UPDATE: 07/05/2013****

Well, we were testing these different recipes so we had to go with what we had.  We painted the test piece and it went on, as expected very thin.  It was really more like a wash treatment than painting, but it still adhered to the test piece quite well.  It still exhibited the usual chalk paint characteristics, and covered with no sanding or priming.
However, since we knew many others did not get this result when we began working on our book we decided it was time to take up the baking soda recipe once more and see if we got a different result.  
If you have read our blog or asked us questions on some of our posts you have probably heard us say “It’s Best to Test”.  We say this often because it is so true and this baking soda recipe is such a great example of how it pays off to test if you get an odd or undesired result.

So, for the re-test we chose a completely different paint from a different manufacturer, different color and mixed at a different store.  The result was the complete opposite of the result in the first test.
The paint was chalky, thick and was easy to work with.  The paint went on exceptionally well and covered the entire piece in just one coat.  The consistency was a little thicker and chalkier than the plaster recipe.  This was more in line with what we had read on other blogs and websites where the baking soda recipe was used.
So, what was the problem?  Well, in general it was the paint we used.  Specifically, it is a little harder to tell why it thinned out, but we have a theory.  The paint we used was found in the ‘oops’ section of a local paint supplier, but the can did not say why it was an ‘oops’ paint.  While most ‘oops’ paints are mis-tints it is entirely possible that the paint chemicals themselves were mixed incorrectly.  If so, it is reasonable to think that the improper mix of chemicals in the paint caused a strange reaction when the baking soda hit it.

We will never know exactly what happened, but it raises the opportunity to stress the importance of testing when unusual things happen as you paint and distress furniture.  Trying different paints, different paint makers and even different stores can yield different results so keep that in mind as you work on your projects.


  • 0.50 cents for some baking soda.  Can’t beat that!


Our Take

You can see in the picture to the right how thin the paint went on.  If we had wanted to get a more thorough covering we would have needed to apply several coats.

The baking soda recipe is still a very good option for many different projects.  Anything needing a thin coat, where you want to see the wood grain in a piece, this recipe may be a good choice.

Keep in mind, however that we tested with a very light green colored paint.  If you are using a darker color you may get very different results, especially when it comes to being able to see the wood grain underneath.  As always, test your paint mixture before applying it on your project piece.  

If you are looking for a way to thin your paint into a wash, this seems to do the trick quite well, and will still give you that chalk paint patina.  If you are looking to do a white wash project this could be a very good option for you.

As always test different things and feel free to report back here with what you discover, and how your projects turn out.



3 chalk paint recipes final

It would be difficult to say that any one of these chalk paint recipes is ‘better’ than the others.  Each recipe has its own consistency, feel, application, look  and purpose.   You would be absolutely safe using any one of the three in any project where chalk paint would be used.

Still, you would need to think about your particular project and decide what kind of patina you are looking for before deciding which to use.  I think that the plaster of paris recipe is probably the most standard, basic and universal type of homemade chalk paint of the three.  If I were going to use only one of these recipes on every piece I painted, I would use the plaster.  In fact, we have been using it on so many different pieces for so long and it works on everything.

In order to keep a good spectrum of tools in my arsenal I would definitely keep the grout and baking soda recipes handy and bring them out when the project demands it.

I recommend the grout recipe whenever a more textured look or feel is desired.  Also if you want a very chalky finish the grout recipe is the way to go.   The baking soda recipe would go well when a thin coating or wash look was needed, or in a project where you want to see some of the wood grain, though this effect could vary depending on the type and color of paint you are using as noted above.

Well!  I think that about covers it (no pun intended) for now.  We’ve gone over a lot of info, but we hope this has given you a lot of great information to help you as you decide which chalk paint recipe may be the best for you and your next furniture painting project.

Before you go remember that we are VERY interested to answer your questions, and especially to hear how your projects and testing of these recipes in the past or future turn out.

So leave a comment below and if you like this post share it on social media with the buttons below.   Thanks for joining us!  We hope this has been helpful.

Angie and Chris

Don’t forget to check out Cozy and to shop for beautiful, elegant, distressed furniture by the craftsman at Aidan Gray, Zentique and more!

Learn how to antique furniture with antique glaze or wood stain with our free tutorial


How To Build A Brick Book Shelf

How To Build A Brick Book Shelf

how to build brick book shelf

We shared recently some pictures of our two new brick book shelves that we built in one afternoon for less than $40.00.  We told you we would be sharing a tutorial on how to build a brick book shelf for your own home so here it is.

Yes, most people could probably look at the shelf and see how to make your own, but we do tutorials here as you know, so we wanted to put together this quick tutorial to show you how we built these beautiful brick book shelves.

Now, there are of course a million ways you can do this project.  You can use many different types of bricks, material for shelves, stain colors or paint, different sizes to fit your needs, etc.

We chose this particular style and size to fit the needs of the room we put them in so be sure to do the same.  Take this information and be creative.





What You Will Need

  • Bricks – Choose Your Own Color, Size and Style – For ours we used simple red bricks from Lowes $0.49 each.  We used about 40 of them but this will vary depending on the size book shelf that you are building
  • Shelving Board – We chose 3/4 x 6 shelving board from Lowes
  • Skil Saw or Hand Saw – Unless you buy your shelving board already pre-cut in the size you need
  • Wood Stain – Choose your color – We mixed Minwax Dark Walnut and Golden Oak together to get the shade we were looking for
  • Sandpaper – 150 grit
  • Foam Paint Brush or Clean Cloth
  • Furniture Wax or Polyurethane
  • Clean Cloths

Step 1

how to build brick book shelf

Cut the shelving board into 2 foot sections (remember this is what we did on this book shelf.  If you need a bigger book shelf adjust according to your needs)

Step 2

how to build brick book shelf

Use sandpaper to smooth and round the corners and edges of the board.  This step may be optional, but we do this whenever we cut shelving board.  The smooth, rounded edges give it a very nice, professional looking finish.

On this step we used an electric sander, and if you have one it is highly recommended.  It will save you a ton of time and effort.  However, if you don’t have one it is not mandatory.  You can sand it by hand.

Step 3

how to build brick book shelf

Use foam brush or a clean cloth to apply the wood stain to the newly cut and sanded shelving board.  Apply liberally and wipe off the excess to quicken the drying time

When the stain has completely dried, seal the shelves with furniture wax or polyurethane.  We used Minwax Furniture Paste.  Wipe on with a clean, cloth.  Let dry 10-15 minutes then buff with a new, clean cloth

minwax furniture paste












Step 4

how to build a brick book shel

Assemble your bricks and begin stacking them to put the shelves onto.   For ours 2 bricks on each side of the base was sufficient as we were making small book shelves.  On a longer book shelf you may need to add more to the sides or middle for stability.

***Stability is everything on these and it pays to go slowly.  We’re not using mortar or any kind of sealant so the bricks are merely stacked. You do not want this bookcase coming down on a curious toddler

As you can see on ours we used 6 bricks on each side of each shelf.  Doing it this way you could not go any higher than 2 shelves and maintain stability.

If you want to go higher than 2 shelves then put the appropriate amount of bricks needed to allow room for your books on the bottom shelf then subtract at least 1 and maybe 2 bricks per side for each shelf as you go up.

So for example on our bookcase we have 6 on each side for each shelf.  If we were going higher we might do 12 total bricks on the bottom shelf, 10 on the next shelf up, then 8 on the next.

This will all depend on what size bricks you are using, how long and how tall the shelf will be.  Just play with it and do what works for you.  If it’s unstable then it’s unstable.  Keep trying until you get it pretty stable.  You don’t want to take a chance of it toppling over.

Final Product

That’s it really.  It’s very easy and very cheap to make.  I personally don’t know where you could get a bookcase with more character and rich, rustic style for so little money and effort.

how to build a brick book shel


How To Make Custom Distressed Wooden Signs

How To Make Custom Distressed Wooden Signs

If you saw our last post you saw that we have been busy at work making some really cool distressed wooden signs for Christmas.

We have really had a blast creating these little signs.  They are easy to make and they can say anything you want them to say.  The only limits are your imagination!

So, now we come to the fun part, where we show you exactly how we make these signs so that you can do it yourself.  There are a lot of different ways you can do it and we certainly encourage you to experiment and find new and better ways to do it for yourself.  This tutorial just shows the method that we use and have found to work the best for us.

So, let’s get to it.

Here’s what you will need

  • Paint – 2 or more colors (we recommend using Chalk Paint – the official kind or the do it yourself kind that you can make cheap using our free recipe HERE
  • Paintbrushes – 1 large standard brush and 1 small lettering brush
  • Wood Slab: We used a simple pine 1×6 board from Lowes cut into 2 ft sections but you can use anything that will fit what you want your sign to look like
  • Writing Pen
  • Word Processing software, printer and paper:  We used Microsoft Word but any word processing program will work.
  • Sandpaper, Steel Wool, or Sanding Block:  You don’t need all 3.  Any of these will work
  • Furniture Wax And Cloths – We used Minwax clear furniture paste or you can use our dark wax recipe or other similar furniture wax

distressed wood signs


1) Prep And Paint The Wood

I like to do a little sanding to the edges of the board to make them rounded and smooth and not so shard and jagged.  I think this really makes the sign look better but it’s up to you.

Next paint the board.  On this one we are doing a red bottom color that we’re going to distress down to so we start by painting the board red

distressed wood signs


2) Vaseline

distressed wood signs vaseline

After the bottom coat has dried take some vaseline and smear it on the places that you want to show under top coat color (that we will paint on a little later).  The vaseline makes the top coat of color come off super easy later on so be careful where you put it. (If you want more info this method is detailed in full in our tutorial “Chalk Paint and Vaseline Method”

Add it wherever you want the sign to show wear but we recommend focusing on the edges and sides.  Then add some in other places, but don’t add really big smear marks on the front and sides as it can sometimes come out looking unnatural.

*NOTE: You can skip this part or you can use candle wax instead of vaseline.   Both of these substances make distressing much easier but you can choose not to use them and just freehand distress with the sandpaper later on if you wish.

3) Top Coat Of Paint

distressed wood signs

Now add your top coat of paint and let it dry.


4) Lettering

distressed wood signs

Ah!  Here is the tricky part you may be saying, and while it is the most tricky part of the process it is MUCH EASIER than you think!

Now, how you choose to do this is up to you.  We are not professional artists so this method is likely going to be for those of us who have a shakier hand than those with more skill.

If you have artistic ability and can paint the letters by hand please do so.   You can also choose to use stencils for your lettering.  That is fine and a little less time consuming than the method we are going to show you, but with this method you have access to nearly limitless font type and size possibilities so we really like doing it this way.

What you will need is a word processing program like Word or similar.  Just make your page orientation set to “landscape”, type your letters and then adjust the font size so that it takes up about 2/3 of the page (if you are using a 6 inch board like us).  Of course you can adjust this to fit your sign or you taste.  Remember the page will typically be 11 inches long so remember that when you are adjusting your letters.

After you get them the way you like you can go ahead and print the letters.  You may not get it exact the first time, but we have only had to reprint one time.

distressed wood signs

Next, line up the pages so your letters are where you want them to be on the sign.  Then tape the pages to the board.  We used standard painters masking tape, but anything will work okay.

Make sure the paper is flat and tight against the board with no bulges

Now take your ballpoint pen and trace the letters (with considerable pressure but it doesn’t take much)

distressed wood signs

When you are done, remove the paper and you should be able to see the indention of the letters in the wood.  Sometimes it depends on the paint color, wood and lighting to see it good but if you put enough pressure when writing you shouldn’t have much trouble.

Here is a picture of our letters after the tracing

distressed wood signs

Now you are ready to paint the letters with your small lettering brush.  It doesn’t have to be a specific type of brush just something small enough to go around the letters.

Now, again unless you are an artist this may look a little shaky at first and you may have trouble staying in the lines, but don’t worry.  When you distress the letters that shaky, imperfect lettering is really going to look authentic so hang in there and do your best.

Remember old signs were hand painted and not always by great artists so that’s the look we want anyways.

distressed wood signs

distressed wood signs


5) Distressing

Now. take your sandpaper, steel wool or whatever you have and begin scuffing the sign.  If you used vaseline or candle wax it will come off pretty easily.  Just start sanding and work at it until the piece is how you want it.

distressed wood signs


6) Waxing/Finish

When you are finished distressing you can apply a finish.  We used Minwax furniture wax on this one, but on some of our other pieces we used our secret dark furniture wax recipe.  You can get the recipe FREE HERE

distressed furniture wax



See, that wasn’t so bad.  Just add any type of hanging hardware to the back and you will be enjoying your new sign in no time.

distressed furniture wax


Thanks for coming by to see our latest tutorial.  We hope you enjoyed it.  Please come back often.

Angie & Chris

Learn how to antique furniture with antique glaze or wood stain with our free tutorial

Dry Brush Method

Dry Brush Method

Well, if you saw our recent post called “An Old Blue Chair” then you have already seen the chair we are going to talk about in this tutorial.

We painted this chair using a technique called the “dry brush” method and it really is an amazing way to add a beautifully distressed patina to a piece of furniture.

We found this old chair in a barn.  It’s a very simple laminate chair but we thought it would make a good test cases for dry brushing.

old chair before



* Chalk Paint :  You can buy the Annie Sloan version or you can make your own using the easy recipe we use.  Get the free recipe here: Chalk Paint Recipe

-You will need two colors.  On this we used a Williamsburg blue and a basic pure white latex.  You can also use additional colors if you wish.  On this one we decided on only two.

*Paint Brushes

* Finishing Wax (or other finishing material such as polyurethane).  We actually made our own dark wax on this one and we’ll be sharing the recipe in a future post.  However, you can use a basic wax like Minwax furniture paste.

*Sand paper, steel wool, electric sander, etc for distressing.  We just went with good old sandpaper on this in about 120 grit.

* Clean Dry Cloths



The first step was to simply clean the chair up of all the dirt and debris.  No other prep was needed on this piece.


Next, we painted the entire chair in our base color.  Which color you choose to put on first is up to you and according to what look you are going for but we were really pleased in how the dark color on first and dry brushing the lighter color on top turned out.

After the chair dried it was time to begin dry brushing the white on.

Now, when we say dry brush we mean it!  The drier your brush is the better.

Here’s how you do it:

Barely dip the edge of the brush just on the surface of the paint.  Using the paint on the lid of the can is a good idea also

   Wipe the brush with a paint rag of some sort.  Wipe it really good until you brush is very dry.  It’s probably best to test it on a scrap piece of wood or something similar to make sure it’s not too wet.

What you are trying to achieve with this technique is the look of old paint showing through a newer coat.  You don’t want thick, wet brush strokes or the effect will be greatly diminished or even ruined.

With the “dry” brush begin lightly brushing the piece in the areas you want it to look distressed.  Remember you can always do more later so start slow.  You will begin to get a feel for the brush as you go.

It’s always a good idea to do a little, step back and look and then go again.  You will know what looks right when you see it!

On this piece we first focused on curves and edges to really bring the white paint out.

On the back beams and legs a light up and down motion gave the best effect.


***TIP:  A great little tip for getting an authentically worn look around curved areas is to take the flat part of the brush and lightly go around the area in a downward motion as we did on the rim of the seat (see picture)


Well, after we finished with the dry brushing of the white it was time to let it sit and dry.

Here was the chair after drying and before waxing

before waxing



Next we added a little distressing to the chair to really give it an authentic look.  Just using sandpaper we went around focusing on distressing the edges, corners, ridges and raised areas.



Now, we mentioned earlier that we used a dark wax that we made ourselves.   We’ll be updating this post with the recipe in the near future but until then you can use a clear wax or buy a dark wax like the one that Annie Sloan sells.



After the wax was applied, dried and buffed out here is the newly old blue chair!

after waxing



Now it has a new home and provides a sitting area for our favorite monkey’s favorite monkey 🙂

distressed chair


Well, let us know what you think.   Please leave a comment and be sure to if you like it.

Thanks guys.   We hope you have as much fun as we did.

Angie and Chris

Chalk Paint And Vaseline Method

Chalk Paint And Vaseline Method

In this tutorial we are going to show you how we distressed a tall dresser we had in our house with chalk paint and vaseline.  The dresser is about 55 years old, had some deep gouges in the side but was in still pretty good shape.

We had an idea that this would make a good distressed furniture piece.

We decided to go with a barn-type red that we already had around the house that would work well in the room we were going to use it in.   I apologize that I can’t tell you the exact color on this one.  We had it a while and just aren’t sure of the exact color.

Anyway here we go!


distressing supplies

  • Chalk Paint – You can buy this from Annie Sloan or you can make your own with our VERY simple recipe here:  How To Make Chalk Paint
  • Paint Brushes
  • Steel Wool Pads and/or medium grade sandpaper
  • Finishing Wax – On this piece we used MinWax Paste Finishing Wax but you can also use Annie Sloan’s waxes made especially for chalk paint or you can finish it with a fast drying polyurethane or some other similar finish
  • Rags
  • Vaseline or Candle Wax – on this piece we used vaseline



Here is the dresser before we began.  Very simple with a light stain.

dresser before


You don’t normally need to do any sanding prep with chalk paint but this piece had some deep gouges on the side that we needed to sand out.  You can see them on the side in the below picture.

Of course we could have left the gouges in tact to keep a little character on the dresser but they were accidental deep scratches and not very appealing to us so we got rid of them, but you decide what you want on your piece.

dresser before



We went with a two color distressing technique where we have a different color than the color of the wood stain to show under the top coat so we used a Williamsburg blue on the bottom coat to cover any areas that would become exposed by the distressing.

We did not use chalk paint on this bottom coat, just a standard latex interior flat.

adding blue undercoat  blue undercoat


After the blue had dried we began applying vaseline anywhere on the piece that we wanted to show under the topcoat later on.

The vaseline makes the top coat of paint practically fall off with ease so apply it wherever you want to distress the piece later.  You can almost wipe it off with a rag so you have to be careful where you put it.

Don’t overdo it though.  The vaseline smears easliy and can leave you with larger exposed areas after distressing that you may not want.   If you want larger areas exposed then apply the vaseline accordingly.

Focus on corners, edges, raised areas and around high traffic areas such as handles and knobs.

adding vaseline  vaseline on the edges

Again, always feel free to make the piece you are working with your own.  Wherever you want the piece to show signs of distressing is where you should put them.


Next we began painting the dresser with the top coat of red chalk paint.  It took two coats to cover but that’s pretty typical with reds.

applying the red  top piece painted red



After your paint has dried you are ready to begin distressing.  We used a medium grade sandpaper and #3 steel wool.   You can use what works for you.  You can use sanding blocks, etc.   We focused on the top of the dresser for a heavier distressing than we did on the bottom piece.  We applied lots of simulated paint peeling, scratches and scrapes.

Begin on the places you applied vaseline.  The paint in these areas will easily peel off.  Add other distress marks as desired.  Remember to focus on corners, edges, high ridges, raised areas and high traffic areas such as knobs and handles.

Just use your eyes and your instinct.  When you see something that looks good you will know it.  Just trust your instinct but always go slow.  You can always distress more if need be.


Use a cheese cloth or damp cloth to clean the sand and dust caused by the distressing off of the piece.  Now you are ready to finish.   We used natural color MinWax Furniture Finishing Paste on this piece.  Apply with a clean, soft rag in circular motions.  Use a wax brush to get in between any small crevices or design work if needed.

After 10-15 minutes of drying buff the piece with a clean, soft rag.  The more you buff the more shine you get.

Applying Wax




Well, here it is.  This piece looks amazing and much better in person than in the pictures.  We hope they do the piece a little justice.

Finished Red Dresser

Finished Top

Final Bottom


Well, thanks for stopping by.  We are always available to answer any questions you may have.  Just leave a comment.