Distressed or shabby chic painted dressers, tables, chairs, and even picture frames are very popular right now. You can use interesting colors and update the look of any room in your house. This trendy style is great because it helps you to preserve heirlooms, gain valuable furniture refinishing skills, and the look doesn’t have to be permanent. Use this tutorial to get you started on refinishing the furniture in your home.
1) You don’t necessarily have to remove old finishes. Just sand the piece with medium grit sandpaper. You want to rough up the surface enough for your paint and primer to actually stick. Use a rough grit for a super rustic look, or a fine grit for a smoother finish. Make sure that you go with the grain of the wood as much as possible. Avoid big swirls by sanding in straight lines. If your piece has easily removable legs, drawers, or other pieces, go ahead and take them off before you begin. This will make it easier to get a professional looking finish.
2) Clean the surface with a tack cloth, vacuum cleaner brush, or a damp rag. Get as much debris as possible off of all the surfaces. Choose a primer based on the type of surface that you’re refinishing. If you’re working with a laminate surface, make sure that you buy a primer that is designed for laminates or it will peel off. Your primer layer is what will peek out of all of those little distressed places. Dark colors like red and blue look great with black primer. Lighter colors look good with browns, tans and whites as primers. You can use any color that you like. Apply two coats of primer with a foam brush allowing for drying time between each coat.
3) Now it is time for the fun part! Get a candle or block of wax. Rub it along the edges, corners, bottoms of the legs, anywhere that you want the outside layer to wear off and show your primer layer. Look up some pictures online for ideas to help you decide how much distressing you’ll be happy with. When you’re done, use a clean dry hand towel or soft bristled paint brush to GENTLY brush away excess wax pieces. You don’t want the chunks to become a part of your top coat. Just make sure that you don’t remove all of the wax layer. Draw a picture of your piece and mark with a highlighter or crayon where you applied your wax. You’ll be thankful that you did later.
4) For your top coat, you will need several layers of indoor latex paint. Use a bristle brush, foam brush, or small roller, whatever you like. Apply multiple THIN layers of paint for maximum durability. When it is completely dry, you’ll need a dull butter knife or the edge of a small metal spatula to distress the edges. Very gently remove the top layers of paint from the wax, being careful not to remove your primer coat. You can always touch it up with a tiny brush if you don’t like the look or go too deep. Remember that less is more and it’s a lot easier to remove more later than put it back on. Step back and look at your piece often to make sure that you’re happy with how much you are removing and that you’re being consistent with the patterns as you go.