Is There A Proper Way To Distress Furniture?


5 Answers

Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
Here is the easiest way in the world... 1. Distress the finish - a few nicks with a hammer. A few small nail holes (looks like old worm holes) and so on. Some people use a chain and hit the surface. 2. Paint the light base coat in off white, cream, what ever color you want (but lighter) paint leaving brush strokes, (strokes should mimic the wood grain). 3. When dry, take a wood stain in a soft brown, or a brown paint (thinned with water or a thinning compound) and rub it over the surface with a balled up rag. Rub extra where the natural stains would be darker, like near the edges, where dust would be harder to clean... Do it lightly and add more coats to get the right look. I have used this technique many times, and you can't mess up. It's so easy. The stain fills in the brush strokes, and darkens inside the dents and dings. It's a great effect. If it's a big surface, you can brush on the stain and rub it off as well.

I got this from Yahoo answers. Also there is crackling paint you can use.
Jan Hayner Profile
Jan Hayner answered
These are all great answers and true to the fact. I had owned a furniture restoration business for 30 years and these all work.
The only addition that I offer is that you varnish or seal coat the furniture (watch out for worn spots) all over before you start.
If you ever decide that you don't like the look of your dresser, you will be able to strip off the finish and get it back to the natural look without any paint left in the pores of the wood.
Janice Flint Profile
Janice Flint answered
I just wanted to know if the person that asked the question has gone ahead and done anything yet. I too have a large 3-piece curio and entertainment center combo of dark cherry stain. It's in perfect condition. It was my late mothers so I want to keep it...but I want a more country look in the room that I'm going to put it. I know my mother wouldn't mind...but it's a huge undertaking. The first response sounds simple enough and it seems that it would give me the look I'd want....I just want to hear from someone that they did it and how it went.
michelle vonschmittou Profile
The best way I have found is to beat the furniture with a chain if its unfinished and then finish it . If its finished and you like it then I would also recommend beating it with a chain , go to your local hardware store and buy a chain any size that is to your liking will do but remember the bigger the link in the chain the more damage it can cause . I used this method several times on a table and it looks great people think its really old all the time I learned this from a cabinet maker.
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
I have distressed a number of pieces in the way described above. The only difference in my approach is I have used matt white emulsion paint, applied a few coats and left to dry for a few days longer if in a cool place. Once the paint has hardened off rub down with a cellulose wax polish we have briwax in the UK I don't know the  brand names in the USA but if it smells like pear drops or car paint then its the right one!! Once you have applied enough wax rub down with steel wool it brings up a great lustre and the end result looks great in a modern home.
I have never used chains or hammers to distress the furniture beforehand because it was already well used second hand furniture. If it is not already worn looking then you will need to
distress it first. Whether you do this before or after its painted will depend on the finish you are looking for. For softer woods you can use a stiff wire brush to abrade the surface by brushing and also  try hitting the surface as make marks with the bristle points, hammers and chains will work well but don't use the flat end of an engineers hammer as it will not look natural. A bag of old nuts and bolts would work well or I believe someone else mentioned hitting the surface with a big bunch of keys.

Best Wishes


London UK

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