I spend an embarrassing amount of time on Craigslist and Varage Sale. Mr. P and I are a student and stay-at-home mom respectively, which means our budget doesn’t allow for many trips to Home Goods. We may not have money as a huge resource, but I do have that of time. See, time (time hunting at thrift stores, driving to yard sales, looking on craigslist) saves money. And money (one single trip to TJ Maxx or West Elm or wherever) saves time. All you need to make a great living space is just one of those. So I spend my time second hand shopping.
I have noticed some talented fixer uppers on Varage Sale taking old furniture and painting/distressing them and selling them for a stupid profit. I saw a pallet table on Varage Sale someone made going for $600. Y’all. No. That’s crazy. I don’t know if you’ll be able to make that kind of profit, but I know that I’m not spending that much on furniture when it’s so simple to distress furniture.
Case in point: some yardsale wall scones.
Pretty sweet. I considered leaving them untouched, but we have so many wooden finishes in our home; not to mention the two sconces seem to be stained slightly different colors. So I decided to take a cue from Joanna Gaines and paint and distress them. There are many ways to distress painted wood: sanding, vaseline, vinegar. I’ll touch on all three, but I have to admit that my favorite is good, old fashioned sanding.
The first step, regardless of which method you go for, is to sand the entire piece so that your paint adheres well. Use fine sand paper and avoid a sander (this is not a heavy duty job).
If you’re going with the vaseline approach, you’ll want to apply that before you paint. Put a small amount of vaseline on your finger or a q-tip and lightly apply to all the edges of your project (all the places you want the paint to come off of–your distressed places).
Next, tape, if necessary.
Then, of course, apply the paint. I opted for spray paint so that I could do thinner coats and get all those little crevices looking just right.
If you went with vaseline, allow project to dry slightly, then rub with a damp rag the areas you applied vaseline. Easy peasy.
If you’re taking the vinegar approach, spray a vinegar-water solution directly onto the project and rub areas you intend to distress with a rag. Spray the vinegar mixture as needed. This one requires a little more elbow grease than the vaseline approach, but less forethought.
Sanding is still my favorite method to distress furniture, as it looks the most genuine to me. If you’re looking to distress an old painted piece of furniture that might have lead paint on it, definitely go with the vinegar method. Don’t sand paint that you’re not familiar with. If you’re working with a lot of pieces and need to save on some labor time or need to distress hard-to-reach places, I would go with vaseline. But in all other circumstances, sand.
The sconce on the right has been sanded. I took a sheet of sand paper and by hand, rubbed all the edges and buffed a few wider spaces. I tried to mimic what years and moves and kids might do, so it didn’t make sense to me to try to sand places that were hard to reach. I like that you can see the progress as you go.
I put these lovelies in our dining room. Not too shabby.
What do you think? Have you tried all three methods? Have a favorite?