How to Distress Wood

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This is a step by step guide how to distress wood. Distressing wood is easy to do with a little patience and the right method. There are several ways to make new wood look old. Let me show you how I am using 2 colors to get that distressed look. A base color and a top color. Making new wood look aged is easy using this method.

Distressing wood like this is perfect for that farmhouse look. The base color should be darker than the top color. Once both colors are dry, simply sand the top layer off to get the desired distressing level on your wood. I have used this method to distress coffee tables, distress noodle boards, and to distress a lot of furniture projects. This method is great for distressing furniture. It works best if you start with bare wood. If you have a furniture piece that is already painted a dark color and you want to try this method, I recommend that you sand the piece before beginning. At least get the shiny layer off the furniture. Check out the video below for the step by step guide on distressing wood.

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The first thing I do is give the wood a light sanding with my orbital sander and 120 grit sand paper. Once it is sanded, simply take a can of dark brown spray paint, in this case I use Rustoleum Espresso brown in a satin finish. Be sure you get a good coat on the knot holes and any raised grain. Once it is dry, paint over it with a lighter color. I am using Sherwin Williams Pro Classic Biscuit White. After the top coat is dry, using the orbital sander again with 120 grit sand paper, lightly sand the board until you get the desired level of distressing. You can go as light or as heavy as you want. Using a heavier grit like 60 or 80 grit will probably be too aggressive for this application. I recommend a good quality 120 or 180 grit paper. 220 grit seems to be too fine for me and doesn’t work as well. Once you get the wood distressed, you can leave it as is, or apply a clear top coat. I like using Johnson’s Paste Wax to give it a waxy, antique look. Or General Finishes High Performance Top Coat in satin works very well to give it a finished look! Drop a comment below if you use this method and let me know what you think!

Benchdog Bench Cookies:

Bench cookie paint cones:

Paint Sprayer:

DeWalt Variable Speed Sander:

120 Grit Sandpaper:

Rustoleum Brown Spray Paint:

Tools and supplies we recommend and use:

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