Do-It-Yourself Distressing

Create the distressed look on almost any wooden piece using this technique.

Don't spend a fortune on a vintage bench that wobbles when you sit. Get the same distressed look on a sturdy seat you already own with our helpful steps. We'll show you how to paint and sand a piece of furniture so it looks beautifully aged. Before you begin, choose a bench that's the right size and style for your room, then select two paint colors, one for the top coat and another for the base, which will peek through from underneath. A farmhouse bench of this size and style is perfect for a window seat or entryway.

  • Working Time 2 Hours
  • Start to Finish 6 Hours
  • Difficulty         Projects Easy
  • Involves Painting, Sanding

What you need

Tools

  • Sandpaper
  • Tack cloth
  • Paintbrush
  • Drop cloth

Materials

  • Wooden bench
  • Paint, 2-3 colors
  • Primer
  • Wax
  • Clear polyurethane

How to do it

Step 1 Prep Furniture

Select a piece of painted or unfinished wood furniture. If it's unfinished, sand and prime, then paint the base color. If it's painted, wipe with a tack cloth and paint the base color. Or, prime again and paint the base color. Let dry. Rub wax over the base coat, going with the grain. For an authentic look, concentrate on edges and areas of natural wear.

Step 2 Paint Bench

Paint the top coat, and let dry. If the piece will be used outdoors, choose exterior latex paint to avoid fading. Interior latex is fine if the piece will be used in a protected area.

Step 3 Distress Surface

Place the piece on a drop cloth. Sand with medium-grade sandpaper until you achieve the distressed effect. If you wish, repeat waxing, painting, and sanding for a third color. Wipe bench with tack cloth, and seal with two coats of polyurethane.

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1 Comment

  1. This was so easy to do: the instructions just walked me through it finishing with great results!

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