5 Top Tips for Distressing Painted Furniture

I thought I would share a few simple tips to make sure your furniture painting project is as good as possible first time. I've had a bit of trial and error over the past couple of years that I've been painting furniture and each one was a chance to learn how to get the best distressing results depending on the finish I was after, so here goes:

5 Top Tips for Distressing Painted Furniture by Tiddler & Fox

1. Always clean the piece before you start. I use sugar soap for this, applied neat on a sponge and then I wipe down the piece of furniture throughly to remove all the grease, dirt and dust that gathers on vintage furniture - you'll be amazed at what comes off! This gives the best surface for paint to adhere to ensuring you get a good finish when painted.

2. Use good quality brushes. I invested quite a bit in the best brushes you can buy for applying chalk paint and it paid off. I get a good finish first time and it makes the painting process quicker and easier and therefore much more fun!

3. Let paint dry in room temperature. This way it won't dry too quickly or too slowly and the finish will be much more even.

4. Depending on the type of distressed look you are after, there are various 'tools' you can use:

Sandpaper block - easier to handle than a sheet of sandpaper, this is a good way to take off large areas of paint on say, edges, excellent for achieving that shabby chic look.

Distressed painted chair

hand painted distressed shabby chic table

Wire wool - excellent for achieving a subtle and very naturally 'aged' look on furniture or as its also known, that chippy look.

A wire brush - I read about this somewhere recently (sorry, I can't remember where!) but thought it a brilliant idea for achieving a naturally aged look too.

A wet rag - I use this technique to take off chalk paint on ornate picture frames, such as the two shown below, or anywhere where you want to expose large areas of colour underneath. Don't wait for paint to dry for too long, it's best to use this technique when paint is only just dry, otherwise it's much harder to remove.

Wet rag distressed hand painted picture frame

Large Ornate White Painted Picture Frame

As with all these, start with gentle pressure and built up areas of distressing to achieve the look you are after. Taken off too much? Just re-paint and start again.

5. Finish your piece with a coat of wax. Depending on the finish you are after, use clear wax to bring out the colour of the exposed wood or base colour or coloured wax to really bring out the details on a piece. 

I hope these tips are useful, let me know if you can add any more to my list in the comments!

Until next time x

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