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!
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