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Have you ever looked at an old wooden furniture piece in your home and wondered what you might do with it? Or Do you get anxious when you think about distressing it? Distressing chalk paint furniture is a simple and inexpensive way to give your furniture a stylish look.

Distressed furniture is intentionally weathered, or damaged to give it an older updated look. This distress chalk paint furniture technique is popular among DIYers, and it is also used by Annie Sloan, the creator of chalk paint products. This is because it gives painted items a distinctive look.

The purpose of this article is to explain distressing, what to use to distress chalk paint, how do you distress furniture with chalk paint, two color distressing with chalk paint and much more. Also, we’ll give you some tips for distressing chalk painted furniture so that you can add it to your home décor.

With our experience and instructions, I’ll show you how to distress chalk paint furniture that will look gorgeous as home decor.

Distressing Chalk Paint Furniture

Why chalk paint is a good choice for distressing Furniture

People often ask this question: What paint to use for distressing furniture?

Like mineral paints, chalk paint is one that is specifically made for furniture and home decor. There are a few reasons why chalk paint distressing works so well:

  • Distressing chalk paint is a simple way to create a vintage or shabby chic look.
  • A key feature of chalk paint is that it adheres to most surfaces.
  • It is also quite porous, which means that it absorbs many of the sealants used to complete the project, creating a smooth finish.
  • It’s easy to distress chalk paint without damaging the base since it has a matte finish.
  • Chalk paint dries quickly. So you can distress the paint within a few minutes after applying it.

People have their own preferences when it comes to creating a rustic, classy antique look on painted furniture. We will take a closer look at a few of the most popular methods to get you started.

Helpful Resource: Discover the top recommendations for brushes for chalk paint in our comprehensive guide.

Steps To Consider When Distressing With Chalk Paints

distressing furniture with chalk paint

Before you get started, remember these points:

  • Chalk paint is an easy way to distress furniture and it only requires basic painting skills.
  • The best way to paint is at room temperature. So make sure that the weather is not too cold, otherwise the paint will take longer to dry.
  • Chalk paint behaves differently from oil-based and water-based paint, so it may take some practice to achieve the look you desire.
  • Sandpaper is also needed for scuffing and removing paint when manually distressing a piece.
  • You can prepare the furniture piece by cleaning it to remove dust.
  • We have already discussed the cleaning process in detail so here’s a guide to clean furniture before painting.
  • Before painting, make any repairs to the piece that need to be done.
  • Choose a place with good lighting so you can work comfortably. It is important to look at how the previous paint color shows through the top coat of paint when you are using a layered painting technique.

How do you make chalk paint look distressed?

There are several ways to use chalk paint to create a classy old look, some of which do not require using sandpaper.

Materials Required:

  • 180 grit sandpaper, or a sanding sponge
  • Chalk Paint
  • Paint brushes
  • Polyurethane
  • Drop cloths
  • Wet Rag
  • Clear or Dark wax
  • Stain (Optional)
  • Vaseline (Optional)

Manual distressing

A method of manually distressing furniture with chalk paint can give it a vintage or weathered appearance. Generally, the process is done by painting a base coat and then a top coat. But make sure to wait for each coat to dry completely.

You can use 180-220 grit sandpaper to distress the piece in the desired areas. The top coat is sanded to reveal the base coat. Many surfaces can be treated with this technique, including concrete, wood, and metal.

Two color distressing with Chalk paint- Easy Instructions

Two color distressing with Chalk paint
Two color distressing with chalk paint

How to layer and distress chalk paint?

  • Apply chalk paint:

Use a chalk paint brush to apply the chalk paint layer as a base coat in any direction. Brushes can help you apply quite a thick coat.

  • Second coating & Sanding

After the base color dries, use a clean chalk paint brush to add the second color in a thin layer so that you can sand through it easily. Let this coat dry completely.

  • Apply Clear or dark wax

You can then use a rag or lint-free cloth to apply clear or dark wax.

  • Remove Excess Wax

If the wax is still wet, wipe it off with a cloth until you reach the desired appearance.

If the wax is left in cracks or blemishes, it gives a vintage look. However you can also use a chalk paint wax brush to get into any desired carvings or details easily.

Make sure the cloth is lint-free before wiping any excess wax away.

  • Distress the piece with Sandpaper/ Sanding sponge

You can begin sanding it after your wax coat has dried to the touch. Now, you can use a wet cloth/wet rag,180 grit sandpaper, or a sanding sponge to create the distressed look.

You need to sand the top coating so the base coat can be seen. The method you choose for sanding depends on the furniture you’re painting and the distressed look you want on it.

You should focus on edges and corners – or any other areas that are likely to see wear and tear naturally. You can also get high quality sander for this purpose.

  • Clean up the sanding dust

Remove any sanding dust and when you’re happy with the amount of distressing.

  • Seal the Surface With Polyurethane

You can apply clear wax, polycrylic, polyurethane as a final coat. It will perfectly seal and protect chalk painted furniture.

The wax must be allowed to dry completely, which usually takes two weeks.

Tips On Distressing Chalk Paint

  • Practice on a small area of any object before distressing the entire piece.
  • Using chalk paint to create a distressed paint effect is simple, but what really makes it beautiful is the way you choose your colors and sand the piece afterwards.
  • Your brushstrokes and the way you sand back the edges and the desired areas will make your piece stand out.
  • Adding a bit of distressing effect to chalk painted furniture or other items can make a big difference, but too much can create an unbalanced appearance. So, distressing shouldn’t be overdone.
Before Distress Chalk Paint Furniture
Before Distress Chalk Paint Furniture
After Distress Chalk Paint Furniture
After Distress Chalk Paint Furniture

How can I distress furniture without sanding?

Distressing furniture without sanding is possible through several methods, including:

  • Distressing with paint: You can apply a base coat of chalk or milk paint and let it dry completely. After applying the different colors of paint, wipe it off with a cloth to expose the base coat and create a distressed look.
  • Distressing with vinegar and steel wool: Soak steel wool in vinegar and rub it on furniture. As vinegar reacts with wood tannins, it creates a distressed appearance.
  • Distressing with wax: Wax the furniture and then use a plastic bag to distress the surface.

It is easy to use these methods to give furniture a distress look without sanding it.

Different methods On How to Distress Furniture With Chalk Paint

Distressing Chalk Paint With Wet Rag

Allow chalk paint to fully dry before painting another layer.

To distress chalk paint using a wet rag, you would first need to apply the paint to your surface and let it dry completely. After the paint is dry, gently rub in areas where you want a distressed, worn look with a damp/wet rag. Wet rags will remove some of the paint, revealing the underlying surface and giving it a vintage look.

How To Distress Chalk Paint With Dark Wax

Distress Chalk Paint With Dark Wax

You should begin by painting your surface with chalk paint and letting it dry completely.

Next, apply a clear wax or a white wax to the surface then use dark wax to edges, handles, crevices, and corners.

how to distress furniture with chalk paint and vaseline

distress furniture with chalk paint and vaseline

It is possible to distress a surface with Vaseline and chalk paint by applying Vaseline to some areas of it before painting. Paint will adhere to surfaces without Vaseline coatings, but not to ones with Vaseline coatings.

As soon as the paint is dry, the Vaseline can be wiped away, revealing the original underlying color.

It is important to note that this method is not an officially recognized technique. The result can be undesirable and can affect the paint finish. So, testing on a small surface is recommended if you don’t have much experience.

How to distress furniture with chalk paint and stain

Distressing furniture with chalk paint and stain involves several steps:

  • To start, clean and sand the furniture piece to remove any dirt.
  • Allow the chalk paint to completely dry before applying a second coat.
  • Using sandpaper or other distressing materials on handles, edges, corners, and highly trafficked areas of the room will create a classy antique and aged look.
  • Put the dark stain on the entire piece with a brush or rag. After that you can use clean rag to remove any remaining stain. Don’t rub in a circle, but in a straight line.
  • Once the stain has dried, use sandpaper to lightly sand certain areas of the piece so that some of the paint underneath can be seen.
  • After that, you can apply polyurethane or wax to give the piece a natural shine and protection.
    Clean off any excess wax with a dry cloth.
  • Now, you can remove as much heavy dark wax as you need to achieve the desired level of distressing.

Conclusion On chalk paint to distress furniture

Distressed chalk paint furniture gives any wooden piece a vintage look. Compared to other paint and stain products, chalk paint has a higher degree of versatility for distressing projects. You can distress a piece of indoor or outdoor painted furniture with a wide variety of chalk paint colors (white, black or any other) and textures. Hopefully, this guide on Distressing Chalk Paint Furniture will help you transform your furniture into something beautiful. So are you ready to use chalk paint to distress furniture for yourself?

FAQS On Distress Chalk Paint Furniture

How long after chalk paint can I distress?

It is recommended to wait at least 20 to 30 minutes after applying chalk paint before distressing. If it does not feel completely dry, then let the paint dry longer to make distressing easier and produce better results.

What happens if you don’t wax chalk paint?

A chalk paint surface that is not waxed is more likely to scratch and scuff. Furthermore, the paint may not be as durable or as polished as it should be. In addition to protecting the surface, wax also gives chalk paint a smooth finish.

Can you distress chalk paint with water?

Yes, it is possible to distress chalk paint with water. You can simply apply chalk paint over the surface. Once the paint is dry, apply a second coat. A damp cloth or brush should be used to gently rub and soften the edges of the paint, creating a layered, distressed look. In other words, with wet distressing, the water softens the paint so you can remove it slowly with a damp cloth.

Martina Hitchcock-Holapaints writer

Martina Hitchcock

Martina Hitchcock is a versatile author with expertise in different fields. As a paint sprayer expert, she has in-depth knowledge of paint spraying techniques, tools, and equipment. Martina is also an experienced home remodeler who has worked on various projects, including kitchen and bathroom renovations, flooring installations, and room additions. Her knowledge of home improvement and remodeling is extensive, and she enjoys sharing her insights and tips with readers. You can follow her on Facebook.

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