Distressing with Water

It’s been a while since I’ve done a furniture painting how-to, so I thought I’d share my new favorite way to distress a painted piece.


If you are using chalk paint, like CeCe Caldwell‘s or Annie Sloan‘s, before waxing, you can use water to distress.

I especially like doing this when the original piece has a darker finish that I want to show, instead of bare wood.  Sometimes, when using a sanding block, the darker finish gets removed down to the bare wood.  I usually would rather see the stained finish.

So, here’s how to distress using water.


After I lightly sand the entire piece with a fine sanding block to smooth out the brush strokes.  This is how it looks after a light sanding.

This nightstand has some great details that I want to highlight, and some light distressing will do just this.


Instead of sanding down to the wood finish below, I just take a damp rag and wipe off the paint where I want the original finish to show through.

I go along the edges of the piece and along any detail that I want to highlight on the piece.  You can see in the picture above where the paint is a bit wet again where it’s darker from the damp cloth.


With this technique, its easy to control how much I remove and it’s easy to get into curved areas like on this drawer.

When finished taking off all I want, I lightly wipe the piece down with the barely damp cloth to remove any dust from sanding.


Then, just wax or varnish as usual.


That’s it.  So easy, and so much less dust to clean up.

The next time you are painting a piece you want to distress, try this method and let me know how it goes.  I love seeing your projects.  Just post a picture or link on my Facebook page.


By the way, here’s this nightstand before…


and after.  It’s available at The Mercantile in my booth.

Have a great Tuesday!

Linking to:

Savvy Southern Style – Wow Us Wednesday
A Stroll Through Life – Inspire Me Tuesday Furniture Feature Fridays

Home Stories A2Z

One on sidebar


3 thoughts on “Distressing with Water

  1. Pingback: Painted & Distressed Furniture | Furniture Transformed

I love your comments. What are your thoughts?

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s