Distressed Wood Painting Techniques

Distressed wood can be often be a favorite for customers of antiques or yard sales who are on the lookout for older furniture or cabinetry. With the right technique and materials you can create this look and make your older furniture pieces more attractive to these buyers. Here's information on techniques you can use.

Preparing the Wood

Marks on the wood, itself, can add to the aged look. Valuable antiques should not have this marks made in them, however, because it will reduce their value. But on newer, inexpensive furniture you can make nail holes that will resemble wormholes. Another technique is to use heavy objects such as chains to hit the wood surface and create dents. Some dents, however, such as those made by a hammer, fail to look like distress caused by aging and natural use.

Sanding as a Distress Technique

Two paint colors that are complimentary should be chosen for this technique. First, one color is applied. When this is dry, the entire painted surface should be sanded with 100 grit sandpaper. At several places on the painted surface, sanding through the first coat of paint will expose the bare wood. After using a clean rag to clear off dust created by your sanding, you can then apply a coat with the second paint color. When this coat is dry, sanding will allow he first color to show through. This should be done at places on the surface, such as edges and normal wear places, where you would normally see wear. When this coat dries, a clear sealer can be applied.

Staining as a Technique

This technique is similar to the technique above, except that you will need to always use a light paint color for your first coat. Using darker colors will not give you the appearance you will get with lighter colors. To apply the first coat, a brush that will leave brush marks should be used. In a container of water, a dark brown latex paint can be mixed in, enough that it will thin your paint but will allow it to resemble wood stain. This mixture is then applied to your painted surface with a rag that will absorb the mixture. You should rub the mixture onto the painted surface. For a darker finish you can apply additional coats.

Crackle Paint as a Technique

As in the techniques above, a base paint coat should be applied. When this coat dries, your crackle finish can be applied. Usually, you can find this paint at a craft shop. A third coat of paint should then be applied over the crackle finish. Right away, you will see a cracking and peeling effect. Petroleum Jelly as a Technique

Petroleum Jelly as a Technique

To achieve the same look as with the crackle paint, you can apply petroleum jelly instead of crackle paint, using a sponge to apply the jelly to corners and edges of your piece. When it is dry, you can use a soft rag to remove paint that has been applied over the jelly. When you have the effect you want, you can apply a final coat of sealer or lacquer.