One of the benefits of using chalk paints to restyle furniture is the NO-Mess-Wet-Distess bonus. If you don’t have a garage/work area, live in a climate where sanding outside is a no-go (like my -15° Canadian winters!), or have a piece that’s too heavy to lug outside, avoiding messy dust in your living space can be a blessing.The great thing is, when you wet-distress painted furniture, you get the same authentic look as distressing with sand paper – but without the mess!
Last week I bought this buffet/sideboard from a local Thrift Shop. It looked amazing from the front, but the back was coming off and there was missing veneer on the sides. After all the repairs were finished, I chose to paint this piece in Annie Sloan’s French Linen. AS French Linen is such a beautiful greige for any of you looking for a stunning neutral!
To give this buffet/sideboard an elegant ‘french country’ look, I wet-distressed the top, around the edges, drawers and doors. LOVE it! This is one of those pieces I’ll be sad (yet-happy) to sell.
Here are some close-ups of the wet-distress effect. I also love this drawer liner. It’s a heavy ‘fabric’ like wallpaper that adds such gorgeous texture to this piece.
How To Wet-Distress:
Take a damp cloth and gently rub the recently dried chalk paint. The water will slightly soften the paint and it will slowly wipe off revealing the finish underneath. You can apply more or less pressure on the cloth until you get your desired effect. It works great on a two-toned painted piece (ie. to reveal one paint color under another), and/or for exposing a natural wood finish.
You can wet-distress NON-chalk painted pieces too. One of our Facebook followers (Cathy at Lucy Locketts Painted) suggests using Mineral Spirits. She wet distresses other type of paint by using the exact same technique with mineral spirits on a cloth. It cuts through the paint like water does with chalk paint!
When to Wet-Distress:
Here’s when I do it. Once I’ve chalk painted my piece and it’s ‘freshly-dry’, that’s when I wet-distress. Freshly-dry to me means within 15 min to 1 hour after the piece has completely dried. Can you do it before or after? Sure! I just find it takes less effort within this time frame. Also, it works best when the cloth is nicely damp but not soaking wet, so I always wring out any excess water. I work in small areas. I gently rub in some areas and add increased pressure to the other areas where I want to reveal more distressing. Intensity of pressure can be used to control the effect. Once my painted furniture is distressed to my liking, I top coat like usual using either wax or poly.
If you’re just starting out with chalk paints and you’ve never tried this NO-Mess-Wet-Distress Technique, I hope this sideboard restyle has encouraged you. It can give a really nice effect. It works wonders for a soft subtle look, a more dramatic chippy look, tone on tone or to reveal a beautiful wood finish – all without the mess! 🙂
What is your favourite distressing technique? If you have any other tips, feel free to share… or chime in to say ‘hi’ because I always love hearing from you! 🙂
Happy painting friends!
LIKE WHAT YOU SEE? SUBSCRIBE TO SALVAGED INSPIRATIONS SO YOU’LL NEVER MISS A POST!
FOLLOW ALONG ON PINTEREST, GOOGLE+, AND FACEBOOK FOR MORE INSPIRATION!
What did you line your drawers with on this piece?
What have you lined your drawers with in this piece?
It’s a textured grass wallpaper that I found at a thrift store for $5… isn’t it gorgeous!? I used it to revamp this nightstand too. 🙂
nurten çalışkan says
hi, very nice, how many hours did you wait for the first floor to dry?
Diana LoPiccolo says
Did you use a wet cloth after the second coat of paint? How long do you wait after the paint is applied?
Hi Diana! I used a damp cloth after both coats (so yes to the second coat of paint too) so the wood/stain shows through nicely. And I like to wet distress when the paint is ‘freshly’ dry. Usually within the hour after it has dried to the touch.
Hey. I just finished some pieces in AS French linen. I absolutely love this piece you did. It was an inspiration. I am loving the wall color. Would you mind sharing the color? Thanks so much! New to the blog and will be following for more posts.
Hi Jennifer… welcome, and thank you! 🙂 Before we changed the trim in the dining room and living room, I decided to lighten the wall for staging my painted furniture and used an ooops paint. I wish I could tell you the exact color but I’m really not sure.
Suhani Rao says
Hello, Nice post. I like your blog… All your photos are so lovely! Thanks for sharing the good information!!!
Jyoti Chauhan says
Hello Denise, Nice post. It looks awesome… All images are so beautiful. Thanks for sharing the information!
vivian fernandez says
when you use chalk paint do you brush it on or use a roller?
Hi Vivian! I’ve used both. A brush or a roller will work nicely.
Carol humphrey says
Thanks for this great info. Do you have a source for the knobs? Do you have any pics of wet distress on Antibes Green in your blogs anywhere?
Hi Carol! The drop knobs are from Hobby Lobby and I Antibes Green waiting for the perfect project, but haven’t posted anything yet. Good excuse for you to drop back in. 😉
Just wondering if you have a post on how to use wall paper inside your pieces! Do you cut it out first and then soak it like you would do on a wall, or are you using a spray adhesive? I just love that idea! So creative!
Hi Peggy! I haven’t done a wallpaper tutorial yet, but yes, you cut first and then usually a permanent spray adhesive or ModPodge is used. I love it too – I have a Wallpaper Pinterest Board that may spark some ideas for you. 🙂
Dianne Denton says
Wow Denise, I keep learning so much from you. I love this technique for distressing. I will use it on the piece I am working on right now! Thanks again for all the fabulous knowledge.
Pleasure and have fun! I’d love to hear how it works out for you. 🙂
Carol Whewell says
This piece looks awesome and the pulls are perfect! I have a vintage buffet/sideboard from my Great Aunt that I’ve been saving for the right inspiration and this might be the “ONE”!
Thanks Carol! Glad it has sparked a few ideas for your Great Aunts sideboard. 🙂
Lovely piece of furniture!
I have also used baby wipes for wet distressing! They are brilliant no mess solution, just have to be careful you don’t take too much paint off.
Thanks Joanna! I’ve used old t-shirts, socks, face clothes, tea towels, rags and even shop towels – but I’ve never used baby wipes. Great tip!
[email protected] says
Beautiful job Denise! Let’s here it for our Canadian winters!!! I actually turned one of our boys bedrooms into a craft room and sometimes spray in there in the winter (lol).
Oh I know… I saw my first yellow crocus patch on a walk with Gidget the other morning. I though thought thank-god spring is on it’s way!!! Anyway, brilliant Debi! I think if you designate an area, anything goes so long as the ventilation is decent. I’ve designated my entire basement into my studio/work area with a sealed off sanding room and another room sealed off for painting. I have a big industrial fan that sucks the air out half decently so even on our most BRUTAL cold days, I can still spray too. Great Canuck minds…lol 😉
Cynthia Kay says
Its beautiful as always Denise ! I love French Linen ! The white drop hardware is perfect. 🙂
Thanks Cynthia <3
Does this mean that you don’t need to sand between coats of AS paint? Do you use two coats of paint? Or is one coat enough? Thanks. Lovely job, as usuàl.
Hi Valerie! 🙂 For a super smooth professional finish, sanding between coats is ideal. I’m in the habit of sanding between all my coats, regardless of what type of furniture paint I use. Having said this, I’m lucky in that I have a designated sanding room so I don’t worry about making a mess. Some DIY readers that have emailed me are painting furniture in their bedroom, l/r or dining room so they prefer NOT to sand. This piece took 2 coats of French Linen. I find I always need at least 2 coats for full coverage when using AS Chalk Paint.
Kim O. says
Thanks so much for the inspiration and instruction. Whenever I see Salvaged inspirations in my mailbox, I click right away. You never disappoint. My AS Stockist is a big fan of wet distressing, I’ve done it myself and like the results.
Whenever I see Kim O. in my comments I click right away! 🙂 Thanks Kim!
Wow!! That piece is just gorgeous, you knocked it out of the park!! The color and the new pulls. I love it!, this would be a piece I don’t think I could part with. Great job! I want it…..
“… I want it…” that’s the biggest compliment 🙂 …thanks Sally! x
I love those little roller caster thingees under each leg. Those are super functional.
I will have to look for some.
Lovely redesign!! The color is perfect.
Thanks Julie! I got my 3 Wheel Movers Dolly from Amazon and LOVE them! I also have large 4 wheel dollys that MMM made from salvaged castor wheels which work great too but the little wheels are extremely light weight in comparison. If you’re not into ordering online, I believe Lowes and Home Depot carry them too. 🙂
Really liked it before, love it now. Perfect hardware choice with white contrast. Watcha do with those gorgeous shell handles?
Thanks Tracy 🙂 … and kept them for sure! Love these wood handles. I just have to find the ‘perfect’ piece to showcase them on.
Wow, it looks lovely! That’s such a calming color. 🙂 And that wallpaper goes perfectly with it, where did you find it? You sure do have a great eye!
Ohh, didn’t know that you could just use a wet rag, that’s quick and easy. I always thought when people wet sanded chalk paint, they meant wet sanding… as in, using damp sandpaper to sand to minimize the dust, lol! I had to do that when I sanded the joint compound on the drywall, didn’t even occur to me that chalk paint had a different method. Love all the creative ideas people have for distressing. 🙂
Hi Zovesta! 🙂 I found this paper at a ReStore, $8 for a big brand new roll so I’ll definitely be using it again. And you just gave me a great idea for another post in the future – wet sanding! 🙂
Oh dang, I never check the ReStore, I’ll have to check their wallpaper section next time I go! Thanks. <3
Ya, love ReStores!… you can find great stuff. 🙂
Beautiful piece Denise! This is one of my favourite AS colours 🙂
I’m all about keeping the dust level down, especially when it’s to cold to work in the garage. The wet method is definitely one of my favourite ways to distress but I also like the ‘natural’ distressing technique while painting by leaving the paint heavier and lighter.
Me too – you can get some really nice variances just using a brush. Plus, it’s even easier to distress (using sand paper or this method) when the paint isn’t applied to thick. Great add on and tip Annie!
You have an amazing eye for detail Denise. The color, hanging knobs, and perfect amount of distressing make this buffet a real treasure. And what a find at a thrift store! Wow. I need to go thrift shopping more often:)
Thanks Monique! I’m tempted to keep this one for myself. 🙂 Have a great day! x