Distressed Paint Effect Using Vinegar

Use something we all own to get a great distressed finish
Use something we all own to get a great distressed finish

I’m an old-fashioned kind of girl who finds a method that works and sticks to it. That means I can spend hours, days even, gently rubbing back paint to get just the right distressed finish required.

Recently I’ve been thinking that there must be an easier way? I believe in doing the job right but if there’s a way to do it right and quickly shouldn’t I be using it? Sure enough there are lots of ways people distress their furniture I hadn’t even considered so in the next few weeks I’m going to be trying them out (or some at least) and sharing my findings with you, dear reader.

 

White Vinegar for distressing
This cost pennies

This first method uses something most of us keep in the pantry… vinegar. I decided to opt for distilled or white vinegar as I didn’t want it to stain the paint in any way.  Obviously I didn’t have any distilled vinegar in my store cupboard so that meant a trip to town and another hour out of my day!

Anyway I already had this cute little shelf unit (spice rack maybe?) that I found in a charity shop a few weeks back. It is pretty featureless so will rely on having a good paint effect to give it some oomph.

Charity shop spice rack
You will often see pieces like this in charity shops

I started with a quick coat of Annie Sloan’s  Antibes Green, as I had some left over from an earlier project. As always with this colour I was tempted to stop there, but then I’d have nothing to share with you, so I gave it a quick wax using Rusto-leum clear furniture wax. Then it got 2 coats of my own deep lavender (okay, I’ve got to come up with some cool names for my paints) and left it to dry thoroughly.

Antebes Green
I just love this as a contrast colour
Little French Paint Co
My own mix over the green

Once dry, I just dipped my microfiber cloth in the vinegar and wiped it over an area. Nothing happened. I rubbed a bit harder. Nothing happened. Then, as I was showing Mark how ineffective it was, a huge streak of the lavender rubbed clean off!

Distressed with vinegar
This big chunk wiped off in one go!

I think the knack is to almost soak the paint in vinegar and give it a second to soak in. I’m really glad I took the time to wax after the green or I think it would have wiped off at the same time – the wax was just enough of a barrier to protect it.

Once I got the hang of it, it was so easy! I wouldn’t want to use it on everything because you just don’t have the same control as you do sanding by hand, but if you want a beat up, rustic look then this is great.

Vinegar distressing
You need a gentle touch until you get used to it!

In the interests of science (or maybe just because I’m still a wee bit sceptical) I’m going to try a similar experiment using plain water and another using something like lemon juice so I’ll keep you updated – be sure to follow us so you don’t miss a thing!

Finished piece after a top coat of wax varnish
Finished piece after a top coat of wax varnish

Tune in next week to see how I got on using Vaseline to distress a mirror in my lounge, and please let me know if you’ve heard of a method of distressing you’d like me to try, and review!

Amazing Dresser Transformation.

Annie Sloan Dresser

It’s Saturday morning as I write this. Mark is enjoying a well deserved lie in, the kids are doing their own thing and I’m still in my pj’s with a nice cup of coffee and a plate of shortbread! I’ve just given a little table it’s first coat of red paint and, while I’m waiting for it to dry, I thought I’d share some photo’s of a dresser that Mark has been working on for a couple of weeks.

It was very ‘bog standard’ when he bought it at auction, but he had a vision of what he wanted and set about it fearlessly.  He started with Annie Sloan (TM) Barcelona Orange straight onto the varnished surface, force dried it with a hair drier (he’s not a patient man), then over the top with Antibes Green.

It was heavily sanded back to emphasize the distressed look and then given 2 coats of dark wax and polished within an inch of it’s life!  We used Briwax as we like the way it actually takes off a little of the chalk paint as you use it and takes out any sanding marks you might leave.

With the top, Mark sanded off most of the varnish before aging the wood to a beautiful silver. Unfortunately he hadn’t removed quite enough of the varnish (like I said, he’s not a patient man) and the effect was patchy, but he gave it the dark wax treatment and it actually turned out great!

I’d love to hear your comments on the finished piece – I think it might be our marmite dresser (love it or loath it!).

Now for some pics…

Bare pine dresser top
The whole thing started out as bog standard varnished pine.
Annie Sloan Paint
Tools of the trade
Barcelona Orange
Barcelona Orange
Green over orange
Green over orange
Sanded Back
Rubbed back
Dark wax
Dark Wax Going On
Crackle effect
Force drying can cause paint to crackle (Tut coming soon)
Repeat everywhere!
Repeat everywhere!
Patchy top
The top before dark wax

 

Finished Dresser
With a few props, in the window of the shop!

 

Shabby Chic Sign Tutorial

Hello! I hope this cold weather isn’t slowing you down? It’s taking the paint a little longer to dry than normal but that just means I have time to write you another quick tutorial. I’ve had the photos for ages but only now have I got the time to share it with you.

Shabby Chic Signs
Really quick and simple!

I started by finding a couple of planks taken from a reclaimed pallet. Be careful when taking pallets, if possible, ask whoever owns it. They will usually be glad to get rid of them but check all the same.

Pallet wood
A small part of my stash!

Once you have some suitable wood cut it to your desired shape and size. If you are going to stencil or use a transfer (look out for another post regarding this) of a word then make sure your sign is long enough to fit it on!

shabby chic sign

As you will soon discover I L O V E my power tools so used an electric jigsaw but an ordinary hand saw would work just as well. Then I brought out the big guns. No electric sander for me, not when I have my angle grinder!!!

Angle Grinder for sanding
My favourite tool ever!

Now there’s a real knack to sanding with an angle grinder but playing with a piece of scrap wood or a ‘rough’ project, like this one, is a great place to start. Be gentle and ‘stroke’ the wood, using just the weight of the tool and no more. I will try to get a video of this but it probably won’t be ’til the spring now!

Obviously you can sand by hand or using an electric sander but where’s the fun in that??? You also get results super fast using the angle grinder.  (I guess I should warn you to wear goggles, clamp wood securely but you know that already, don’t you?)

Cleaned with an angle grinder
The larger piece was sanded in 2 minutes!

Then I forgot to take a photo of the paint I used but it was an Annie Sloan in a pale lilac/blue colour. I had some stencils from another project but couldn’t find my stencilling brush. If you don’t use them a lot then it’s probably not worth buying one and you can get good results by wrapping an elastic  band around a small brush to hold the bristles tight together. If you can sacrifice the brush then you can trim it to get a flat head.

Stencil Brush
Improvised Brush

 

Stencil on Wood

Once your paint has dried you can add wire or string to hang, or mount your sign on a stake in the ground. If they are to be used outside you should give them a good coat of suitable varnish.

Toilet sign

Since doing these signs I’ve come up with a couple of different methods of applying the writing that are more versatile and easier to apply so check in again soon for that tutorial!

Nikki x

Kidney Pains.

Firstly let me say that this isn’t a proper tutorial.  There’s no step by step detailed instructions, I can’t remember exactly what paints I used, and the photos aren’t the best either. (I’m really selling this post, eh?) That said, I wanted to share one of the first commission pieces we got into the shop.

It was from a couple who turned into a very loyal customers and, have since put a lot of business our way.

Mrs M. called in one day with a rather sorry looking kidney shaped table…

Kidney Table
Mrs M’s Table

As you can see, the top is badly scratched and stained. What you can’t see is that one leg was hanging off!

Table leg
Loose joints make for wonky tables!

But there was some beautiful detailing…

Table Detailing
Heaps of potential there

So we set about gluing, clamping and making it stable.

Sash clamps on the table legs
Some strong glue and long clamps

Then we gave it a couple of coats of Craig & Rose in a rich cream shade.

Painted Table

After a generous covering of Annie Sloan’s Soft Clear Wax we rubbed it back on those beautiful legs.

Lightly distressed leg detail
Lightly distressed details

Maybe you have a piece of furniture just begging to be loved back to life? Look at it in a different light and give it a go! I’d love to see what you come up with.

‘Till next time,

Nikki