Distressed Finish with Vaseline

Distressed painting is certainly in style right now and so easy to do on your own. Here are some step by step instructions showing you how to give your project that “distressed” finish using VASELINE!


Supplies



Instructions


Prep your project

Prep your project

Before you get started…

Before any of this you need to make sure you’ve prepared your wood for finishing. Check here for tips on preparing your wood for applying a color.


Step 1: Applying Base Color

Stain or paint the piece whatever base color you prefer following the manufacturers instructions. When staining make sure to use a high quality synthetic bristle brush, foam brush or clean, lint-free cloth and when painting you may use a sponge roller, sprayer, and or paint brush.

It is only necessary to stain or paint in the areas that you want to show through, mostly the corners and the edges. But it depends on your taste and how much “distressing” you want your piece to have! Don’t worry about this part being messy looking…we are painting over it!

Distressed Finish - Step 1

Step 1: Apply Base Color


Step 2: Add Vaseline

After you have allowed the base coat to dry. The next step is to apply the Vaseline. Using your finger, put Vaseline in the areas you want to distress. Apply more or less, depending on your taste. The more you use the more of a distressed finish you will get.

When applying the Vaseline be sure to only use a thin layer. Applying too thick will cause the Vaseline to spread when applying the top coat of paint. The Vaseline keeps the paint from sticking in the areas you want the base coat to show through.

Distressed Finish - Step 2a

Distressed Finish - Step 2b

Step 2: Apply Vaseline


Step 3: Apply Top Color

Time to apply the top coat! I found that using a sponge roller was the best for this method. Using a brush tends to streak the Vaseline. I used a latex based paint for the top coat, apply 1 to 2 layers of paint. Be sure to let dry in a debris free area.

Distressed Finish - Step 3a

I used this chalk paint from Americana Decor that Jamison got in his swag bag at the Haven conference.

Distressed Finish - Step 3b

Use your paint brush in the corners and roll on your paint where you can.

Distressed Finish - Step 3c

First coat down. You can still make out the stain underneath.

Distressed Finish - Step 3d

Glad press’n seal is may favorite for store paint and brushes in between coats

Distressed Finish - Step 3e

Second coat on and the stain is covered.


Distressed Finish - Step 4

Step 4: Distress

Step 4: Distress

Now its time for the distressing! Simply rub off the paint with your finger and, when necessary, maybe steel wool or 220 grit sand paper.

Make sure you choose areas that would naturally be distressed like corners edges and handling areas.

This will take the top coat off and allow your base coat to show through, giving you that beautiful distressed finish.


What’s next…?

After spending all this time to get this beautiful look you really need to protect it so that it will last you a lifetime. For that I recommend you go with furniture wax for a flat finish or a polycrylic for a glossier finish. For more options take a look at the protectant section of the finishes page.


As always if you have any questions don’t hesitate to comment below and especially don’t forget to post pictures of your finished products in the comments! ENJOY!

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  • Jack Karp

    Iam new to your newsletter and just read my first issue. I went to the distressed article and it is great. I have a question though, when using a roller for the top coat, does it spread the Vaseline to other parts of the project?
    I’d to come down to visit someday, I live in western NC about five miles from the Ga border. Have a great day and God Bless, Jack

    • Jack,
      Thanks for signing up and to answer your question, no it doesn’t, you actually only need a very little amount of Vaseline to make this work and that won’t be affected when painting.

      Ahh, I love the NC mountains and hope to move there someday! Have a good one!