Ask Deana: Painting Furniture for a Distressed Look
By Alchemy Fine Living on Sep 12, 2012
I am constantly being asked questions about painting, distressing, and re-finishing furniture. My inbox is full of email inquiries and many of you have the very same questions. I have decided to start a new series on my blog, called Ask Deana, in which I will do my very best to answer all of your most frequently asked questions.
This QUESTION came to me recently from one of my readers:
I have a question regarding distressing furniture. I have a piece of furniture that is a lighter shade of wood (I think it is pine). I was watching your video on how you distressed the antique table and I noticed that you primed the piece and then distressed it. Can you do that with lighter wood? Or would I need to prime, then paint a darker brown and then paint white over the dark brown?
Here is my ANSWER:
You can do this two different ways. First you could stain the wood dark before painting it. In order to stain the piece you would need to strip it because the stain needs to penetrate the wood and will not do that if the piece has a clear finish on it now. Make sure to use a product that is just a stain, not a stain and finish in one. Follow the manufacturers instructions and apply as many coats as you like until you have achieved the level of darkness you desire. After you’ve given your furniture all the coats of stain that you want, allow it to thoroughly dry and then lightly sand the piece with 220 grit sand paper. Now you are ready to prime and paint. CLICK HERE to view a post on how to strip and re-stain furniture. This link also includes specific products I use to do the job.
The second way you can go about doing this is to prime and paint the piece first. Then after distressing it apply the stain. The stain will penetrate the exposed wood, turning it darker, but it will also stain the paint changing the color of your finish. If you desire a very aged, antiqued look this is a good way to go. If you decide to go with this method be sure to properly prepare the furniture for paint before priming it. To do that you will need to scrub the piece with TSP or a degreaser and then sand it well with 220 grit sandpaper. You need to create a clean, scuffed up surface for the paint to adhere to.
The piece shown below was stained after it was painted white. You can see that is now more of a tea stained color, rather than a pure white. In the close up you can see how the stain made the distressed areas nice and dark. CLICK HERE to see exactly how this technique is down.
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