Distressing Furniture with Vaseline

This morning while working on a project, I couldn't resist taking photos (as usual!), and during that process I thought of an idea for a very quick and simple tutorial for you.  This is a simple method I learned a while back, and I use it often!  If you enjoy the look of distressed furniture, this is the tutorial for you!  

Why Vaseline? 

1.  Sanding is used to help achieve a distressed look.  The sanding process will strip away your surface color.   In the photo below, you can see where I've sanded.    This piece is  originally a dark wood finish, but the sanded area looks light.   This is because when I sanded, I sanded away the original dark finish that I wanted to keep!  (I like darker wood peeking through on distressed pieces).  The simple solution?   Vaseline!  Vaseline acts as a barrier, protecting the wood surface.  

In the photo below, again you can see where I've sanded.  But in this case, I applied Vaseline over the original wood finish before painting it.  Therefore, the dark surface was protected from the sanding process.  And my result?  A beautiful dark wood finish that I want to see peeking through.  


This method can be used on light or dark finishes.  It just depends on the look you want.  You can also use Vaseline on pieces that are already painted, if you want the multi-color distressed look.  I love the look of dark wood peeking through the paint, so I typically use this method this on a dark wood surface.

Here's how:  

Distressing Furniture with Vaseline Tutorial

1.  Choose your piece of wood furniture, and a paint color

2. Decide where you want to see the original wood surface showing through.  

3.  Apply a little Vaseline to those areas.  You do not need a lot.  Just a little dab, then rub in a bit. 

4.  There is no special location for you to apply the Vaseline.  Put it where you want.  Where you put the Vaseline will be the places that your wood will peek through after you've painted and sanded your piece.  The more distressed appearance you want, the more areas and larger areas you will apply Vaseline. 

5.  Paint your piece (I use chalk paint).  I cannot tell you how this would work using regular paint, because I always use chalk paint when I distress!  To see an easy "recipe" for chalk paint click HERE

6.  Lightly sand your piece. You will find that in the areas you applied Vaseline, the paint will come right off when you sand.   Be sure to sand lightly.  Try not to over-sand, or your finish will disappear.  If you are concerned about over-sanding, you can rub over the Vaseline areas with a rag.    

7.  You can do more than one coat of paint.  I typically do.  However, there are times I use a single coat and really like the look.  In those cases, I do not apply a second coat of paint.  If you do apply a second coat of paint,  you just sand it again, like you did after the first coat.  

And that's it!  Pretty simple.  Give it a try!  NOTE: you can use this technique on other things beside furniture....I've done it with wood picture frames, wood candlestick holders, and wood crates/boxes. Works like a charm.     

Have Fun! 

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