3 Types of Distressing Techniques

I’ve been reading and experimenting a lot lately with different painting techniques, and I thought the best way to truly compare them would be to try to use each one on the same material, and side by side one another.

I found these antique pieces of molding at this awesome junk store near Janesville, Wisconsin.  If you’ve ever been around that area, it’s the one with the large plane sticking out from the heaps of stuff in the yard.  You can’t miss it.  After cleaning up the dirt and grime (they were unfinished, unpainted wood), I painted each one with a base coat of homemade chalk paint.

After they dried, I used three different resist mediums: vaseline, hemp oil, and wax.  Each one of these can be used as a resisting agent, allowing the base color to show through when sanding/distressing.  I’ve used each of these techniques on different pieces, but because they were different types of wood, with different types of paint, and different pieces, I was having trouble comparing the actual difference between the resisting agents.

I applied the second color of paint (all Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint – in Boxwood/Luckett’s Green mix, Shutter Gray, and Ironstone) and after they all dried, I used sandpaper to distress down to the first coat of paint.  The wood with the vaseline starting chipping right away, so I just used a piece of painter’s tape to remove chips of the paint.

I think the pictures show the difference better than I could ever put into words, so take a look.

Hemp Oil

Personally, I like the look that the hemp oil creates when used as a resist.  I keep finding more and more reasons to love this stuff!  Although, I know I will find uses for each of these techniques, depending on the project.

These beauties are going to be upcycled into hanging hooks soon!

You can find all of my furniture refinishing projects here, along with all my tips and tricks for painting furniture.

4 thoughts on “3 Types of Distressing Techniques

    1. Thanks! I just put the resist (wax, hemp oil, or vaseline) in the areas where I want the bottom paint color to show through. The amount you put on and where depends on the look you are going for. I hope this helps!

  1. I know this is an old post. I hope you don’t mind revisiting!!

    I’m making a milk crate wall shelf. My first one! I painted the wood navy blue, which I plan to cover with white and then distress so that the blue shows through. I really like the look of the hemp oil example you have above. Did you apply the hemp oil all over the whole piece … or just some areas?

    Thank you!

    1. Great! I’m so glad you found it! I only use hemp oil in the places I want the bottom color of paint to show through. I have a couple of things I’ve learned along the way that seem to help me now when I do this. I usually take a picture right after I apply the hemp oil, because I sometimes forget where I added it and then I know exactly where to take the sand paper to. Also, be sure to apply the paint right after you put on the hemp oil. I’ve found that if I let it sit, it’s much harder to distress to get that bottom layer of paint to show. Also, start with a fine grit (like 220) and see if that takes off the top layer of paint enough. Sometimes, depending on the type of paint I’m using, I need to go to a larger grit (like 120) to get down to that second layer, but if you start with that one, you might end up going right through both layers down to the wood. I hope that helps! Good luck on your shelf – it sounds like it’s going to look awesome!

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