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Distress Without the Mess of Sandpaper

Distress Without the Mess of Sandpaper

Look at any home décor blog and you will see design enthusiasts continue to love the distressed furniture look. We all love the character and depth distressing adds to painted furniture. Most often “distressing” is done with sandpaper or a sanding block. But sometimes sandpaper just won’t do.

Perhaps you want to eliminate the flying dust that comes with sanding. Or maybe you don’t care for harsh scrapes and scratches produced from a sanding block. Even if your reason for using an alternative is because you simply ran out of sandpaper, we’ve got you covered. Here’s a list of our top four ways to distress painted furniture without sandpaper.

Use a “Resist”

A resist is a medium that will repel the paint from adhering. Apply a resist in places you would like the paint to come off. Common types of resists include: an old candle, petroleum jelly, and beeswax. Simply rub the resist on the areas of the furniture where you don’t want the paint to hold. Layer on a coat of paint. And after the paint is mostly dry, use a damp rag to wipe in areas where the resist was applied.

Try Vinegar

Fill a spray bottle with vinegar and a smaller portion of water. After you have painted and allowed the furniture to dry, spray on the vinegar solution. Use a rag (or something a bit more abrasive) to rub the furniture and to remove some of the paint. Depending on the ratio of vinegar to water, the distressing could be soft to bold.

Check out Steel Wool (for darker paint colors)

Steel wool can achieve a very natural-looking, subtle finish. After painting and drying, simply rub a fine grade steel wool pad over the area you want to distress. Gloves are recommended when using steel wool.  Steel wool leaves a grey residue.  So be avoid using this method on lighter colors.

Rough the Surface with a Paint Scrapper or Putty Knife.

This is Blue Sky favorite. This method is best for flat surfaces. When the paint is 90 percent dry, run a scraper over the spots that are still a bit wet.