It is true, the average person may not look good after years under the sun. Eventually we start to show the signs of age, and this doesn't bring on a positive approach to life. However, there are some things in this world that do look better with age - one being aged wood and distressing furniture.

distressed chair

Let's look into this, and see just how good it can, in fact look.

What You Need

Start off with something small and easy to get around, like a coffee table. It is going to be more difficult to do something like a dressing a cabinet, a couple of chairs or anything with little decorative nooks and crannies, which are difficult to get your paint brush inside in a artistic kind of way.

distressed table

photo credit:

So here is what you need, besides the wood of course!

  • Sandpaper (150 grit)
  • Hammer and chisel
  • Paintbrush
  • Rubber gloves
  • Two colors of paint - one being darker than the other.
  • Wood stain
  • Tack cloth
  • Container for mixing paint
  • Foam brush

DIY Distressed Paint - The Method

  • Use your hammer and chisel to beat it around, to make it look a little aged. Don't overdo it, and don't try to make any patterns. Just make a couple of dings.
  • Begin with the darker tone of paint, and start with thin strokes so you are able to see the texture underneath. Leave this to dry overnight.
  • Now you can carry on with the next shade that you have. Start by diluting it with a little water, so you have a wash. Use your foam brush to do this.
  • Let this dry, before sanding it down, in areas to bring out the white. Now you will start to see that weathered wood look.
  • Distressing wood with stain helps the item look even older. This is great if you have brand new wood. Just apply it and wipe it off with a cloth. Use rubber gloves for this step.

Distressed Wood DIY For Just One Color:

The Difference beween Distressing and the Antique Look

Some people say that this is all the same, and if something looks aged then it doesn't really matter about the method. However, there is a lot that you can see between these two looks if you go a little closer.

Firstly, if you have a look at the color, you will notice that an antique cabinet, for example is usually faded, while the distressed piece of furniture shows some of the wood grain with the wood stain.

The texture of the distressed wood is a lot more beaten up, which you don't normally find with antiquing, and this is one of the wood distressing techniques that you learn about.

You would use these two looks to create different decor styles. Antiquing creates a sense of warmth, while distressing can add to the rustic look. In saying that, both of these will fit in with the shabby chic furniture look.

It is also easier to maintain an antique piece of furniture. You just need a tack cloth to give it a simple wipe down. Distressed wood may require sanding down once every so often.

How to Antique Furniture

Let's go a little further and find out how to achieve this particular look:

  • If the piece of furniture has been painted before, then you need to strip this off. This takes some elbow grease, but you can use stripper. Make sure you get yourself a pair of rubber gloves. A chip brush will also come to good use. Leave the stripper on for 10 minutes, and then work with the grain to remove everything.
  • Apply the stripper a couple of times with a paint brush and then remove it with a wet rag.
  • Start to sand this down with an electic sander, using 150 grit paper. You may need to use sandpaper to some of the areas that you are unable to get to. Sand in the same direction.
  • Decide on the finished look, and use a primer in that color.
  • Now go over the chair with a sandpaper of 220 grit.
  • Use a couple of light coats, but if you don't want paint showing through, then add a piece of masking tape. Leave this on overnight before peeling it off.
  • Finally, you are going to need a satin lacquer finish, to create that clear effect. You need about 3 coats of this.

photo credit:

You have to patient with this in order to succeed. It is more delicate than distressing, and it takes longer, but the rewards are great.

Here is a Quick Method for Antiquing

Things that Will Help You

DEWALT D26451K Corded 3 Amp 5-Inch Random Orbit Sander with Cloth Dust Bag
Amazon Price: $107.30 $59.00 Buy Now
(price as of Jul 19, 2015)
This is something that you have to add into your tool shed. This particular sander is a bestseller, so you can't go wrong. You can't sand down some of these pieces manually because it is really going to take forever, so this is something you have to think of getting.
Stanley 16-150 150 Series Short Blade 3-Piece Wood Chisel Set
Amazon Price: $14.50 $9.49 Buy Now
(price as of Jul 19, 2015)
You need tools like these along with a hammer, if you are thinking of distressing your wood. This is a very simple way of making furniture look old. These blades are shaped at various lengths and this is what you want because you want to avoid a pattern.
Citri-Strip QCG73801T Paint and Varnish Stripping Gel, 1-Quart
Amazon Price: $29.49 $10.96 Buy Now
(price as of Jul 19, 2015)
This is handy to have for old paint that is stubborn. A good stripper will make your life a lot easier. This one is a lot safer because it does not contain all the chemicals that most furniture strippers do.