You would think that when you spend a lot of your time trawling around auctions, looking for pieces to work on, that you would never get caught up with the excitement and buy badly, wouldn’t you? W R O N G. I was at my usual hunting grounds a few weeks back when I heard the auctioneer say ‘Large wooden mirror, heavily carved’ and my heart skipped a beat! How had I missed this piece? Why didn’t my built-in radar hone in on such a delight? So I bid. Without examining the piece or knowing what I would do with it (mirrors always sell), I bid and bid until I had won that beauty.
I bid and bid until I had won that cheap, plastic framed eyesore. but you are obliged to buy so I brought it home, and when I repainted my chimney wall I put it up – simply because we needed a mirror.
When I started to research new ways of distressing wood I thought that it would be perfect to try the Vaseline (petroleum jelly) method on as I couldn’t take sandpaper to the plastic frame (been there, done that, failed!).
I generously rubbed the petroleum jelly over the high spots of the ‘carving’ and set about it with a rich buttermilk colour chalk paint. With it being plastic I needed to give it 2 coats to get a pretty solid finish.
Once dry I wiped it gently with a sponge scourer – if you try this make sure the scourer won’t leave marks behind, I bought a white one just for this job! Nothing happened. so I put in a bit of elbow grease and the dark started to show through in tiny specks. It took quite a bit of scrubbing to get any effect whatsoever and, to be honest, I really don’t think the petroleum jelly made any difference whatsoever!
Perhaps it was just the wrong piece, or maybe I didn’t use enough of the Vaseline? I have to admit I was disappointed. I may even attack it later with some vinegar to see if it has the desired effect. I haven’t given up on the piece quite yet and, when I grouped it with some other mirrors for the photo I was quite happy with the overall look of my chimney wall.
Now that’s where this post was going to end, but I wasn’t ready to give up on this method just yet! So out came the brushes, the Vaseline, the paint (and something to paint)…
I put rather a lot of the petroleum jelly (Vaseline) in the areas I wanted to rub back. I had already planned for this piece to have quite a distressed effect so wasn’t too worried on the outcome.
The paint really didn’t want to stick to the greased up areas, as you can just about make out in this photo.
Only the slightest bit of rubbing (once the paint is 99% dry) and it wipes straight off!
It worked brilliantly! I imagine it could only be used when you want quite a heavy distressed look, as it’s not very controllable, but in this instance it was just what I had hoped! Success at last with this method of distressing.
So glad I didn’t give up after the first try of this method. I’d love to know if you have used this method and how it worked out for you? Drop me a line and let me know.