The shabby-chic look of distressed furniture is all the rage these days--and because it features a sort of vintage appeal that fits into nearly every style of home décor, there's really no mystery as to why it's so popular. What you may not realize is that there are several ways to change your painted furnishings into funky, distressed pieces - and the techniques are so simple that you can do them yourself. If you want to give your painted furniture an aged appearance that screams "fabulous", you've come to the right place. Highlighted in this article are some fun and creative ways to distress your painted furniture.
Bang on It
A great way to give your furniture a distressed look is to beat it up a little. At first this technique may seem a little far-fetched, but with a handful of metal tools and a few good swings it can make your painted furniture look naturally worn in a good way. Some metal objects and tools ideal for distressing include a hammer, chains, keys, or even small wrenches. Move your furniture to a place where you have plenty of space to move about and throw the objects without injuring anyone and bang away. Striking chains against a piece of furniture, tapping it with a hammer, or tossing a ring of metal keys at it can give it some interesting character flaws that look as though they appeared simply from years of use.
If you would like to "age" your furniture by giving it a beautifully antiqued appearance, try glazing it. Furniture glaze comes in a variety of tints, or you can mix up your own color by adding a little bit of acrylic paint to clear glaze. Use a paintbrush or sea sponge to apply the glaze to your furniture, one area at a time. After a couple of minutes, wipe the excess glaze off the surface of the furniture with a soft cloth. Once you've covered the entire piece of furniture with glaze, let it dry and repeat if desired. The tinted glaze will spread into small grooves, crevices, and details--complementing the color of the overall piece. The final result is painted furniture that looks both antique and modern all at the same time.
If you're looking for a distressing technique that really makes a statement, try crackling. Crackled furniture requires two different colors of paint--the color that your piece is painted already along with another color that compliments and contrasts well with the existing one. If you want the crackles in the paint to be neutral instead of brightly colored, you can choose black, gray, white, brown, or any other neutral color that suits your fancy. To crackle, apply a coat of crackle medium to a piece of painted furniture. Once you've finished applying the medium, quickly paint over it with the contrasting color before it has a chance to dry. As the piece dries, crackles will start to appear in the contrasting color giving your furniture a weathered and worn look that you'll fall in love with.
You don't need to be a world-renowned artist to distress your furniture with paint details--all you need is a brush, some paint, and a creative spirit to get the job done. Dip an old toothbrush in some rust-colored paint, position the brush over the top of the furniture you're distressing, and tap the brush on your finger to gently splatter the paint. You can do the same technique with some natural mediums, too--try coffee or tea splatters for an even softer, worn look.
If you feel confident enough in your painting skills, hand-painted details such as flowers, lettering, or even patterns can be added to your distressed furniture giving it an aged yet elegant appearance. Practice painting small details on a scrap of wood until you feel comfortable enough to paint the real deal.
Sanding or roughing-up your painted furniture is perhaps one of the easiest ways to achieve a distressed effect as it requires minimal time and only a piece of sandpaper or steel wool to complete the task. When using this technique to age your painted furniture, sand the areas that normally show the most wear and tear naturally. Target edges and corners first, and then add some incidental scuffs in a few random places to make your painted furnishings look as though they came from another time, another place.
If you want a look that reads old and new, folk and urban, all rolled-up into one--try some of these simple distressing techniques on your favorite painted furnishings. The interesting details, unique characteristics, and natural-looking flaws created by your own hand will transform your painted furniture into one-of-a-kind pieces that you'll be proud to put on display.
About the author: Guest post from Bailey Harris. Bailey writes for http://www.arearugs.com