The distressed look is in! Many homeowners search flea markets, yard sales and thrift stores to find furniture pieces that need refinished! This weathered, time worn look is becoming exceedingly popular in home decorating!
You don’t have to scour used furniture sales to find great looking distressed pieces of furniture. You can easily give your existing furniture pieces that same aged look yourself. Following the same steps that the pro’s use, you can refinish your furniture so that it looks like it needs to be refinished!
The first step is to sand the piece. You don’t need to sand it down to bare wood, you just want to remove all of the shine from the surface. Neither the primer or the paint will adhere well to a shiny surface, you want the entire piece to have a dull surface.
Now comes the fun part, roughing up the surface! Distressed means that the furniture has been well used, it should have some dents and dings. You can use a hammer, chain or any other object do some physical damage to the furniture! How much or how little damage you do is up to you!
Once you’ve added the aged beaten look to the piece, apply a thin coating of a quality white primer to the surface. Allow the primer to completely dry, then use sand paper to just lightly sand any areas that are to rough.
The color of the top coat of paint you choose for the piece should compliment your rooms decor. But, that’s entirely up to you, some people like to have contrasting colors. Just make sure you get a quality paint. Apply two coats of the paint making sure that it’s allowed to thoroughly dry between coats.
To get that wonderful crackle finish, you can apply crackle glaze to the entire piece or just apply it on the areas you want to crackle. Crackle makes it appear as if the paint is peeling off of the surface, just like it would if the piece was really old.
Following the steps above will give you a white base that will be visible through the crackled areas. If you’d rather have a different color showing through the top coat, simply choose a different color primer.
After you’ve allowed all of the coats to thoroughly dry, you can apply a glaze coat. This is a totally optional step, but it will make all the details in the piece more visible. Pro’s recommend that you use either a dark gray or brown glazing so that it will highlight the areas that you roughed up.
Glaze should be applied to the piece with a paint brush. Once applied use a rag to wipe off any excess glaze. Wipe the entire surface in the same direction applying even pressure for the best results.
It’s not necessary, but you really should apply a sealant to the piece. While you purposely set out to make the piece look old and distressed, you’ve put a lot of work into creating that look. A sealant will help to protect the piece from unwanted distress!
A water based polyurethane is really good for this purpose. You should apply at least two thin coats and lightly sand the piece after each coat dries completely. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions on the label for the best results.
Now, you’re ready to admire your work! You’ll be amazed at how old this technique can make even the newest piece of furniture look. It’s a great way to have the look of antique furniture without the price tag!