In this tutorial we are going to show you how we distressed a very simple living room end table.
WHAT YOU WILL NEED:
- 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.
- Vaseline or Candle Wax (on this one we used neither but it is up to you if you use them – it is MUCH easier if you use one of them but we were trying to get a very scuffed look so we chose not to)
To fit the color of our living room we decided to go with an olive shade of green.
Alright, here is what she looked like before we got going. This was sitting beside our couch for general use as an end table when we decided to give it some life by making it look beat up.
Now, the key to a distressing furniture is scuffing down on the top coat of paint to reveal one or many older coats of paint underneath. You can achieve this a few ways. You can just keep the original finish on the piece and simply paint over it, you can paint a bottom coat with one color or wood stain (which will be revealed when distressed) and then apply a top coat in another color, or you can simply paint the areas of the item that you are going to distress and then apply a top coat (to see this check out our dresser/hutch tutorial)
On this item we liked the blonde stain and just decided to put the top coat of olive green right over it.
The great thing about distressing furniture with chalk paint is that it is so easy to use. It requires no sanding and no prep work. We literally took the items off of this table and began painting.
So get your brushes and your chalk paint and begin painting.
We decided on this item to only use one coat of paint. Depending on the look you want and the paint you are using you may want to do another coat. The green covered fairly well on the first coat and we wanted to see some brush strokes for a really authentic look so we stopped at one.
Now, let the paint dry. How long really depends. Could be 2 hours, could be 4 but we were good to go in less than 2.
Now that you have the item painted and dried you are ready to begin distressing. If you remember, on this piece we did not use vaseline or candle wax which helps the top coat of paint peel off easily so we just decided to begin scuffing the paint with the steel wool and sandpaper and just working the item one area at a time.
Paint naturally wears off of furniture on raised edges, corners and high traffic areas such as around handles and knobs, so you’ll want to scuff the paint off in these areas. You can, of course, distress the item in any place you wish but focusing on these areas will give it a very natural look.
The great part about the distressing process is that you can become the artist and make it your very own. Just start slow, however, and get a feel for how the item is coming together. You’ll know what looks right when you see it. Don’t overdo it at first.
Try to think of how an old piece of furniture ages and peels naturally. Get some pictures of actual distressed furniture items and see where the wearing has occurred. Chances are those marks will look good on your piece as well.
We chose to distress the edges and raised ridges of the columns. We also added some random scratching and scraping on the top as well.
Remember, how much distressing and what you distress is up to you. Just have fun!
Now after you have finished with all of your distressing work you will need to clean it up. You can use a tack cloth to do this but we just used a lightly damp cloth to clean the dust from all the sanding and rubbing. Make sure you get it nice and clean.
Now you are ready to put on your finish. We highly recommend using some kind of a wax or polyurethane finish as this will protect the paint from dirt and grime and chalk paint has a tendency to get dry and flaky. The wax finish will help avoid this.
Get your wax out and begin to apply with a clean, soft cloth. Apply in circular motions over the entire piece. You can also use a wax brush to help you apply the wax if you wish.
After the wax has been applied let it dry 10-15 minutes. Then you can begin buffing it with a different, clean, dry, soft cloth.
The more you buff it the more shine you will get go with whatever look you wish to achieve. We did a light amount of buffing as we wanted a lighter, more hazy finish.
And Viola! There it is. Here is what the table looked like after the wax coat.
THE FINISHED PRODUCT
Well, here it is. We were very happy with the outcome of this piece. It worked well for our living room. In other tutorials we will share some different methods for getting different kinds of wear marks, stains, etc but we hope you enjoyed this. If you have any questions feel free to leave a comment.
Thanks for looking. We hope this has been helpful. Good luck on your items!
Angie and Chris