5 Steps to Distressing Antique, Vintage, or Modern Furniture--WITHOUT the Stress!

5 Steps to Distressing Antique, Vintage, or Modern Furniture--WITHOUT the Stress!

5 Distressing Tips

Ancient alchemists spent hundreds of years perfecting their craft of transforming common metals into gold, silver and other precious metals. Now YOU have the ability to turn back time on any of your favorite furniture pieces in just five simple, stress-free steps. Follow, enjoy, and repeat!


Step 1: Have a vision; create your story.

Painting furniture is easy. BUT the real trick is painting furniture to tell a unique story that transcends the boundaries of time and space. With Caromal Colours' Artisan Collection paint (which we carry!), you can bring your vision to life with texture, tone and a timeliness touch not found with other lines of paint. Imagine the final result of your furniture without limits.
Ask yourself the following questions: What era is it from? Which part of the world is it from? Who painted it? Where will it live in your home? Will it match your other decor?

Step 2: Bring your vision to life with texture.

Once you have a vision, it's time to apply the base coat. One of the coolest features of applying Caromal Colours' textured base coat is that it can be applied to just about anything, without any stripping, sanding, or priming! It bonds easily to raw or painted wood, metal, tile, glass, brick, stone, or even laminate and plastic. All that, plus you can paint over an oil, varnish, urethane, or latex surface.Next, clean the surface with mild cleaning solution and then let it dry completely. Once dry, apply the base coat any way you like--including using a small brush, roller or other painting tool.
  • Tip #1: Apply a thin base coat and over-sand it to create a look that appears weathered by wind and time.
  • Tip #2: Apply a thick base coat and sand only around the edges to create a look that appears to have many layers of paint with minimal wear and tear over time.
Do not worry about how little or how much paint you apply, or the strokes by which you apply the paint. It will come together in the end. Let the base coat dry. ;)

Step 3: Sand until satisfied (but beware!).

Think about the story your envisioned to tell at the beginning of this exercise. Now begin sanding in areas where you want the piece to appear distressed. Remember, the more you sand in a certain area, the more distressed that area will appear. Focus on those parts and sand accordingly.
  • Tip #1: Use 220 grit sandpaper for mild sanding and 80-100 grit paper for more dramatic distressing.
  • Tip #2: Try not to "over-sand" too much or you'll have to reapply the paint. Keep your vision in mind and let that drive your creation.
  • Tip #3: Feel free to add dings or bangs with hard household objects like keys or tools to create the impression your furniture has "been through the ringer".
Lastly, use a soft brush or cloth to wipe away any loose dust from sanding.

Step 4: Tone your timepiece.

The final piece of the puzzle in your story lies in the toner. The heavier your use of toner, especially in crevices, will create a more dramatic contrast effect. You can also create a darker "stain" contrast effect by applying toner to areas that have been sanded down to raw wood.
  • Tip #1: Use a chip brush, larger brush, or roller to apply the toner depending on the size of your surface.
  • Tip #2: After you apply toner, you can use a soft cloth to wipe some of it away until you get your desired effect. A damp cloth removes more toner.
  • Tip #3: Use a dry cloth to smear the toner and remove less of it.
You can always apply a second (or third) layer of toner to specific areas to distress further.

Step 5: Sign, seal, deliver.

Once you're satisfied with your creation and all the toner has dried and settled, you can seal the surface of your timepiece using any topcoat you desire. For example, you might use wax.
That's all there is to it! Now get to it and enjoy transforming time in just five simple steps.