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How To Distress Wood

How To Distress Wood

How To Distress Wood

What is distressing wood? Distressing wood is a technique where the grain of the wood is highlighted or emphasized.

The goal is to create a distressed look that makes the piece unique.

Distressed wood has become very trendy over the last couple of years.

Many furniture makers are using it to add character to their pieces.

There are several ways to distress wood. In addition, some techniques include sanding, staining, burning, and waxing.

Each method creates a different look. If you want to try distressing lumber, here are some tips.

What Is Distressing Wood?

Distressed wood

Distressing wood is a technique where we highlight or accentuate the natural characteristics of wood without harming its structural integrity.

Use this technique to make your furniture more exciting and individual-looking.

There are many ways to distress wood, including:

  • Sanding with fine grits of sandpaper (40 - 100) from the grain until dull with no visible scratches.
  • Waxing (with carnauba on softwoods such as mahogany and pine)
  • Burning with an oil torch
  • Staining with stains in dark colors like espresso brown
  • Using stains in lighter colors like walnut or cherry
  • Combining techniques together for a variety

Distressing wood can also repair uneven surfaces on existing wood furniture.

Distressing lumber can help to hide flaws in the wood. It will not remove any imperfections but may reduce their appearance.

Distressing wood gives us another way to use our creativity and utilize materials that would otherwise go to waste.

How To Distress Wood?

Distressing wood involves highlighting the wood's natural characteristics by removing parts of the surface.

  • Step 1: Clean Your Furniture Pieces With A Soft Brush
  • Step 2: Apply Rubbing Alcohol On A Small Area Of Fine Grit Paper And Wipe Off Any Dust Or Grime
  • Step 3: Start At The Top And Work Downward While Rotating The Piece In One Direction Only
  • Step 4: Repeat Steps 1-3 For All Surfaces That You Want To Distress
  • Step 5: When Finished, Take A Sharp Knife Like A Stanley Knife And Cut Into The Surface Around The Outside Edge Until Dull
  • Step 6: Remove Rough Edges Using The Sharp Knife Once Again
  • Step 7: Now Begin With Very Fine Grit Sandpaper From 40-60 Grade & Sand In Circles Moving Downward As You Go
  • Step 8: Continue On To Even Finer Grades If Needed
  • Step 9: After Sanding, Wash The Furniture Piece With Soap And Water
  • Step 10: Optional: Add Wax.
  • Step 11: Finish With An Oil Stain Or Sealant
  • Step 12: Let The Furniture Dry Before Attaching Hardware

How To Distress Paint On Walls?

Distressing paint on walls helps to give wall art depth, texture, and interest.

How To Distress Paint On Walls?

Here Are Two Ways To Distress Paint On A Wall

  • First, you can start at the top of the painting and work down, brushing away layers of paint.
  • Second, you can brush away small portions of thick paint using a small round brush.

You Can Also Try Adding Texture To Your Painting

Distressing paint on walls works best if the color is already light enough to be removed easily.

Tips For Creating Shabby Chic Furniture

Shabby chic furniture is popular because it fits into almost any decor. It has a vintage look and feel and can be found in many styles.

The most important thing about shabby chic is ensuring that the pieces have character.

So what does that mean exactly? When people think of shabby chic, they think of something that’s aged so well that it looks old even though it was made recently.

Some tips to keep in mind when choosing shabby chic style furniture include:

  1. Choose fabrics that have lots of patterns.
    These patterns will really brighten up the piece.
  2. Pick furniture with many details, such as lace, trim, or carving.
    Such furniture can really make your space look unique and stand out.
  3. Keep everything simple.
    Use one fabric for all the chairs. Avoid mixing colors.
  4. Decorate with functional items.
    Don't put a mirror over the dining table or place a chandelier on the living room coffee table.
  5. Have fun with your choices.
    Colorful cushions, throw pillows, paintings, rugs...the possibilities are endless.
  6. Mix high-end furniture like leather and chrome with inexpensive items like a wooden table and mismatched chairs.
    This really gives a chic effect that will be the envy of your friends.
  7. Keep the overall design cohesive.
    Remember that if you have many funky pieces, they should coordinate.
  8. Make sure your space is comfortable for everyone, from the little ones to the big kids.
    If it's welcoming, everyone will feel at ease and will want to come back time and time again.
  9. Be daring! Sometimes less is more.
  10. Know how to use each item you buy.
    For example, put a candleholder on an end table, not directly over the edge. This way, someone won't knock it over accidentally.
  11. Remember that no matter how much money you spend, there's always another way to make things look good without spending a fortune.
  12. If you don’t know what you're doing, just stick with neutral colors, which are usually the easiest to mix.
  13. No matter how hard you try, some rooms just aren't going to look right with shabby chic furnishings.
  14. Choose furniture that has both practical uses and beautiful designs.
  15. You can create an entire room around a focal point by placing the focal point in the center of the room.
  16. Create a cozy feeling by adding soft lighting and plants.
  17. Go with a rustic theme and add barn doors.
  18. Add unique touches such as mirrors, candles, and other accessories.
  19. Inexpensive items often look better than expensive ones.
  20. Use the same type of material throughout your house.
  21. Think outside the box.
    You don’t need to limit yourself to just one look. There are tons of ways to achieve this kind of look.
  22. Add a touch of glamour and shine by using sconces and candelabras.

How To Make Painted Furniture Shabby Chic

To make painted shabby furniture chic, you need to start with a clean empty space. Cleaning the walls first makes painting much more accessible.

The secret to making any wall look dirty is to paint two coats of primer before applying any color.

How To Make Painted Furniture Shabby Chic

Once the walls are primed, you can use a coat of white paint.

Then you can apply your favorite shade of yellow, orange, etc. Then you can distress the wall by revealing different paint layers.

Next comes the trickiest part of the process: finding a great distressed look for your furniture.

Since you want the results to last, you might want to consider getting professional help.

Most companies offer special services to accomplish this task. They may also recommend products that work best to produce the desired effect.

You probably already own plenty of items that could serve as inspiration.

Start by looking at photos of old houses and antique stores. Then, try to find things that have imperfections, cracks, stains, and holes.

For example, stained glass windows are perfect for adding character to a room. Stained glass windows are available at most home centers.

You can also purchase hardware and handles online. These items will give your piece a more authentic feel.

A tool chest is an excellent choice for creating a vintage look. Wooden tool chests are easy to find online and come in all shapes and sizes.

You can even get them custom-made. The key is choosing a style that complements your existing decor.

If possible, avoid bright colors when choosing your accent furniture.

Instead, opt for shades that blend nicely, like gray or black. This will give your space a more uniform appearance.

If you’re unsure what kind of finish to use on your accent pieces, choose something simple, like oil-based varnish.

This can be applied over stains, but it won’t cover too many flaws.

You can use a brush or rollmop with oil-based finishes to apply the surface evenly. It dries clear and resists scratches.

Distressed wood isn’t limited to just one type of furniture.

For example, many people love picking up old wooden crates and turning them into nightstands or bookcases.

Don’t worry about breaking the crate open; just remove the top and bottom and turn it upside down. It doesn’t matter if an item is used or new.

Just make sure it has some sort of history. Look for things with interesting pasts — including personal stories and anecdotes.

These details add depth and authenticity to your project.

Use stencils to create patterns in your wood.

This technique works well with dark woods:

  • Prepare your surface by sanding a little until it is smooth.
  • Prime with a good quality spray sealer.
  • Cut out the pattern from the painter’s tape.
  • Wipe away the excess sealer.

As long as the stencil fits snugly, there should be no leaks.

Now that you know how to do it yourself, you don’t have to spend a fortune on expensive pieces of furniture.

You can still find cheap alternatives that are attractive enough to make your home cozy and inviting.

Even if you cannot afford to buy every piece of accent furniture you want, you can easily make your own version.

Using these tips and your imagination, you can achieve stunning results.

Using faux leather covers and seat cushions gives your furniture the look of high-quality leather without the hefty price tag.

You need to place a small amount of glue around the edges of the pieces and then attach the fake pieces.

When designing your kitchen or bathroom, keep in mind that you need to include a few accents.

But, no matter which material you choose, you should always go heavy on the accessories.

Accent tables, chairs, shelving units, and decorative pillows help bring your design to life.

For example, if you live in an apartment, paint your walls a light blue.

Then, use white trim on doors and frames to highlight the lighter shade.

This creates a calming effect that will improve your mood after work.

There are lots of ways to achieve this shabby chic look.

One way is to take your time before painting. Let the wall dry completely before starting the next step.

Also, never touch wet paint with bare hands.

Instead, wear disposable latex gloves while applying the paint. This table comes into three smaller components to allow easy storage and transport.


To conclude, we have listed some essential things you must consider before choosing to distress wood.

We hope that our list has helped narrow down the choices and make the selection process more convenient for you.


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