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This Wet Distress Painted Furniture Technique Is So Easy!

This wet distress painted furniture technique is FABULOUS! Distressing furniture with this method leaves your painted and distressed furniture looking authentically worn BUT without the messy clean up! 


One of my favorite things about this no-mess distressing furniture method is that it allows you to conveniently paint and distress your furniture while you're in the comfort of your home!

The beauty of this no-mess distressing furniture technique is that it doesn't use an ounce of sandpaper!

Which means we get all the benefits of a beautifully worn finish without any of the gritty sandpaper/paint residue!



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Wet distressing chalk paint checks off all the boxes...

- It's easy!
- It's quick!
- And, there's nothing to sweep or dust or vacuum up afterwards!!


If you are a lazy DIY-er like me then you're going to enjoy this furniture distressing tutorial!

Plus, I'm going to let you in on a little secret...

The distressing marks you'll get when you wet distress look so much better than when you use sandpaper to distress your furniture. ;) Wet distressing really does give you the BEST distressed look for your antique furniture.


Disclaimer: This post contains a few affiliate links to help you find the products I use. You are NOT charged extra to use any of the links, however, I will receive a small commission for purchases that are made through these links which help support my Dr. Pepper addiction. ;) Please read our disclosure for more info. 


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WHAT IS WET DISTRESSING & HOW DOES IT WORK?


How do you wet distress a piece of painted furniture? It's easy!


In short, to get a naturally weathered painted surface with the wet distress method, you take a damp cloth and gently rub back your recently dried chalk paint.


Wet distressing allows the water to slightly soften the paint so you can then slowly wipe it away.


Once the chalk paint has been removed, it will reveal the original wood finish underneath or any underlining paint colors you may have applied.


It's easy to run a damp rag along your furniture edges when you're wet distressing. You can also gently rub any flat surface on your piece to create some fantastic natural looking age!


And honestly that's the BIG difference. Sandpaper can't do that for you!


Sandpaper will give you what looks like chicken scratches.


I'm slightly deviating here. But, here is one of my very first furniture makeovers- It was a painted farm table that I tried to distress using sandpaper. Promise not to judge!?


I can laugh at myself now but after you take a peek at it you're going to nod and say, "Carrie, you're right! THAT is a great example of what sandpaper chicken scratch looks like."


It's also a prime example of how you SHOULDN'T distress your furniture!. ;)


Alright, on with THIS makeover!


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Here's what I started with... A lovely library style farmhouse table.


It was love at first site.

I loved her curvy base and her scrolly and chunky legs.

She had a beautiful cherry finish, but she was scratched up quite a bit along the sides.

Some of the grooves were rather deep and not in a cute "that adds character" kind of way.

So, I decided to paint this antique furniture piece but in a way that would still pay homage to her original wood finish. Choosing to distress the painted table and reveal some of her beautiful wood grain seemed like the best of both worlds.

Distressing chalk paint is a fantastic way to make wood furniture look rustic and in my humble opinion, wet distressing furniture is the best way to make it look as natural as possible!


Here are the supplies I used to wet distress this farmhouse desk.



SUPPLIES FOR PAINTING AND WET DISTRESSING FURNITURE


- Old cloth or lint free rag
- Plastic container or cup
-Water
-Paintbrush
-Chalk style paint
(Love these grey colors):
  Slate Gray
Queenstown Gray
Kensington Gray
Sage Grey
Gravel Road
Hurricane Gray
Driftwood




HOW TO WET DISTRESS WOOD FURNITURE



  1. Paint your furniture piece. I chose Chalk Paint® decorative paint by Annie Sloan in French Linen for the outside and I painted the inside of the drawer in Old Violet. 

  2. Let your paint dry. I like to let the paint dry from anywhere between 15 minutes to an hour. 

  3. Take a damp cloth and gently rub the recently dried chalk style paint. Your cloth should be damp, not dripping wet. Have a plastic bowl with some water close by so it's easy to re-dip your cloth in ring out. 

  4. I like to start with the edges of my furniture. Then, I target some of the flat surfaces of my piece. 



Here's A Tip! Apply more/less pressure on the cloth until you get the desired effect.


 I apply lighter pressure to the flat areas of my furniture pieces and a firmer pressure when I'm going along the edges. It's not hard! It just takes a little bit of playing around with it to get the feel of it.


Here are a few close-up pictures of what the wet distressed effect looks like...


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Take a peek at the arrows. Do you see how easy it was to get those naturally faded looking areas?


That is the power of wet distressing. And a look that sandpaper just can't re-produce!


You'll get a much more authentic worn look to your paint finish when you use a damp cloth to distress your furniture.




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I sealed my paint finish with Polyvine Dead Flat Finish and my favorite $3 applicator sponge (I love these because they don't leave any streak marks!)



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Then, I dressed her with some fun yellow knobs. I love how this old farm library table turned out. She would look fantastic in an entry way or in an office!




WANT A SIMILAR LOOK?

If you're looking to duplicate this look these yellow furniture knobs from Amazon look fun!



Adding a pop of color to your furniture piece can really make a statement!

Whether you're choosing a colorful paint color for the outside of your furniture piece or you want to paint the inside of a drawer like we did or you want to add some glitz, whimsical, or colorful furniture knobs... it's easy to add some colorful spunk to your furniture!





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WET DISTRESSING Q&A:


HOW DO YOU PAINT FURNITURE TO LOOK DISTRESSED? 


I get asked this question a lot! So I put together a distressing furniture tutorial that explains the process for getting a naturally worn look simply by adjusting the way you paint.


It's easy and it looks AMAZING each and every time and it goes hand in hand with this tutorial. You can learn about this easy distressing furniture technique here!



You can also check out our Distressed Furniture Resource Page to discover even more distressing furniture methods!



WHAT KIND OF FURNITURE PAINT WORKS BEST FOR DISTRESSED FURNITURE? 


I have found that their are certain chalk style paints that rub off the easiest so you have to be a little bit more gentle and aware of the applied pressure when you are working with chalk paints.

What if I rub too much paint off? It's not a big deal!

Simply add a light dusting of paint  to your paint brush and lightly paint over the area that you rubbed too much paint off. Repeat if necessary.


I really like painting with General Finishes Milk Paint and Dixie Belle Paint. Both have some really pretty paint colors and they are easy to work with!


I've tried several different furniture paint companies with the wet distress look. All have given me great results!

Certain furniture paint brands will rub off easier then others. You might need to play with your furniture paint to see how quickly it rubs off.







WILL THIS WET DISTRESSING METHOD WORK WITH MULTIPLE PAINT LAYERS?


Yes! And here's my tip for you. If you want to add multiple paint colors to your furniture piece, apply the first coat the heaviest, then wet distress that coat.

Then, add your additional paint colors using light coats.

Your distressing will go quicker since you're not trying to wet distress through multiple layers of solid paint! ;)



CAN YOU WET DISTRESS PAINT THAT'S NOT CHALK STYLE PAINT?


Yes! You can wet distress NON-chalk painted pieces too. Replace your water with Mineral Spirits and wet distress using the same technique as described above.


It will cut through non-chalk based paints just like water does for chalk style paints!





MORE FUN FARMHOUSE DECOR IDEAS!




MORE EXAMPLES OF PAINTED AND WET DISTRESSED FURNITURE


We used the wet distress paint furniture technique on the following furniture makeovers. You can see more distressed furniture examples below!


- BLACK DISTRESSED NIGHTSTAND MAKEOVER

-REVERSE DISTRESSING AND WET DISTRESSING TECHNIQUE

- HOW TO GET THE RUSTIC FURNITURE LOOK FOR CHEAP!

- LAYERING CHALK PAINT ON FURNTIURE



Follow us on Pinterest to see MORE painted furniture ideas! Want our FREE Furniture Painting Guide? Grab it here!


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This was just one of our many furniture painting techniques.


If you are new to painting furniture, I hope this wet distressed painted furniture tutorial was helpful! Be sure to share it to your FB page or pin it to Pinterest so you can reference it for later!


Have a great weekend!
Carrie || Thirty Eighth Street


Before you go, some of my furniture flipping friends have some fantastic new furniture makeovers to share! See these incredible before and afters directly below!

2 comments

  1. These are such great tips! I love the finish wet distressing creates, and that table is gorgeous now!!

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  2. I have to say I've never tried this technique but I've always wanted to! I love all the tips and tricks you've added to it. Your table is beautiful!

    ReplyDelete