How to Distress your Furniture with the Wet Distressing Technique

There are many ways to distress furniture. In this video Kellie explains the simple technique of wet distressing a coffee table painted with Velvet Finishes.


Hi, I’m Kelly Smith, author of Design Asylum blog and creator of Velvet Finishes Paint. In today’s video, we’re going to transform this flea market find into an awesome piece by using a wet distressing technique.

It is the easiest distressing technique you will ever learn, so stay tuned. Hi, again, I’m Kelly. Thanks for staying with me. On today’s video, we’re going to learn wet distressing. It is the simplest, easiest way to distress something.

A great piece of furniture. This piece I found at a flea market for $45 I grabbed it reminds me of something my grandmother would have had. I just love it. These nice, delicate lines. It’s kind of feminine.

So what we’re going to do is we’re going to transform it and make it look a little bit more modern with this wet dressing. Now, the first thing I’m going to do is I’m going to use our ready product. And what this does is it gets it ready for paint.

Now, typically, I would not repaint a piece of furniture because you can watch our video on how to paint wood furniture and learn all about that. But when you wet distress. You cannot paint it in advance and go back and wet distress it.

You have to do it when you paint it. So we’re going to spray on the ready, and we’re going to get this bad boy ready to paint. When using the Ready, all you got to do is spray it on, wipe it off. What it does is it’s a deglosser and a cleaner, and it gets the shine off of the furniture.

You never know what’s been done. It could have had orange oil, or it could have been waxed. You really need a good, clean, deglossed surface to paint on. So this makes it simple, and you notice what I’m not doing.

I’m not sanding, and I’m not going to sand. We’re just going to get it ready and paint it. This is what all came off of theirs. It’s gross. Ready is awesome. That’s your step one. Okay, we’re ready to paint.

Now, what you want to do when you get to pick your color I’m using rococo today. I love this color. It’s just a good, rich, neutral cream. It doesn’t have a green undertone. That’s understated rococo tends to be more neutral, maybe a little more creamy colored.

Okay, so we’ve got our first coat of paint on. I’m going to go around and check and just make sure I have got everything covered. Now, one thing about the painting is you you don’t want to just go over it and over it, because when the paint starts to dry, it.

You’ll pull it back off. So if you’re not just thrilled with your first coat, just let it fill in on itself, let it dry, and then you can do your next coat easily. So we’re going to let this terrible looking first coat get dry.

Okay, we’ve let our coffee table dry. We’ve got our one good coat on it. And I’m going to go back and put a second coat, and I’m just going to do it in bits and pieces is we’re going to start with the top because this is where we’re going to start our wet distressing process.

So we’re going to get another good coat on here, but we’re going to distress it as we go. You’re going to love this. The thing I like about wet distressing is, first of all, it’s just super easy. But if you have a piece of furniture that you love, the color of the wood and you want it to show, wet distressing is perfect.

Whereas if you want to use a sander and we do have videos posted about how to sand with a sander, you can actually go through the finish of the wood to the raw wood, which gives you another element of color, which is great if that’s the look you want.

With wet distressing, you only go through the paint. You don’t take that top finish of the wood off. So it just makes it easy. It’s just a great way to do a piece that’s already pretty, but maybe not your style.

Now, as I said, the thing about wet distressing is you do not want the paint to get completely dry. Because if that happens, if you need to wait till overnight, then you really need to use a sanding block or a sander.

So we’re barely going to let this top dry, and then we’ll be able to distress it with a rag. And all I’m going to do is wad up my rag like we’ve talked about. And I’m going to keep water close by now, while it’s really, really wet, you may can just come along and grab it, but what you can see is that it’s still got a little bit of the paint color over the wood.

And if you want it to come completely off, look at that. There’s a great little groove in this piece. I hope you can see it on camera. It’s just a perfect place to come in. You can skip spots, you can make spots heavier.

And when you’re distressing, always think about natural wear. I’ve seen pieces before that look like it was attacked by leopards and it’s just got random spots all over it. And I don’t really think they look good.

I think the thing with distressing is that you’ve got to make it look natural. You want it to have a natural distressed area. So where would it naturally be distressed? On chairs, obviously, on the arms, things like that.

Now, you can see as the paint is starting to dry, I need to add a little bit more and more water so that it distresses well, and I’m going to go all the way around with this. You might choose just to do the corners on this piece.

Would be a great piece to do that. So as you go, just take a minute and step back, look at it, and just remember, if you feel like you’re over distressing, finish your piece first. And then take a good look at it because remember, you’re going to have magazines or a lamp or something like that or whatever on your piece of furniture that you’re distressing.

So always take the entire look of everything that’s going to be going on into consideration before you start trying to redo something. I think some people freak out and think they’re overdoing it. And if you keep it on the natural lines of where aging and distressing would actually happen, you’re pretty much not going to mess it up.

And you know what you do if you do mess it up? You just go back over it with paint. All right, now I’ve done the top. I’m going to come back and do the legs because the key to wet distressing is that the paint be wet or you’ve got to keep adding water, blah, blah, blah.

I’m just going to do it little bits at a time. So that’s how I recommend that you do this for me. It’s easier. So now we’re going to work on a leg. The legs of furniture are always great places to distress because they tend to take a lot of abuse, obviously.

So we’re going to get a good coat of paint on it’s and then I’ll come back and take some of it right back off. Looks like this edge might be a nice place to pull some of the paint back off as well. Depending on how it sat in a room, you may or may not be able to see it, but I think it could be really pretty.

So let’s see what we can do with this. It. All right. So I’m going to save my paintbrush here, and I’m just going to pull off a little bit right in here. Let’s see what this does. And remember, if we decide we don’t like it, we’ll put paint back on it no big deal.

But this piece has these nice little curves to it, certainly on the edges. Wow, it’s paint strike fast. Depending on how heavy you do it. You can go all the way down to the wood, or you can leave some of the paint on it.

Kind of like some of the paint on it just looks a little more worn, a little more natural. Now the legs, a lot of times when you have this shape of a leg, you have a lot of architectural detail. This is actually carved in rather than out, so it’s not going to be as much to distress as some of the other ones out there, like a ball and claw.

But I think there’s some good areas that you can really grab onto here. Certainly on the edges, it’s always a good spot, and you don’t want to do just a solid line down an entire piece. But again, only because it doesn’t really look natural, then you might want to come in, see if you can just get your fingernail under.

See how I’m bringing that out? I think that’s a good little detail around the top of feet. A lot of times you’ll find natural wear and tear. We’re just going to give it a little dab. And if you take off too much on a spot you know you don’t like, just fix it.

All right? I think I like that it. So now we’re going to do the other three legs, and I’m going to get it ready to show you the end result. So check it out. We took this flea market fine and turned it into something gorgeous.

We love this. Now, we used ricoco paint. We did the wet distressing technique, which, as you saw, is super easy. And look at her, it’s a million bucks now. So be sure to check out the Velvet Finishes website.

All our social media links are on there. You can pin with me, you can tweet to me, you can stalk me on Facebook, subscribe to our YouTube channel. There’s a link on here. Follow our blog. We’ve got lots of great things going, and we sure hope that you’ll let Velvet It’s just color your world.

Oh, God. Are you going to do it again? No. Good. Gosh. Well, as you can see, I am already enjoying my lovely chick hair. Looks awful. She’s so mean. Quiet on the set. Oh, my God. Product reveal, take one.

OOH. So what do you think of our wet distressing technique that we’ve done here? Oh, my God. Get over here. I got hurry up. Here. Before you start, you there’s a couple of places that I’m going to add a little bit more gel to.

So won’t take but a second. And our chair is going to be oh, my God. Oh, my God. That’s my nutella. I can’t even follow that. I got nothing. I know where to oh, sure. I can have to get naked, cruise star and take 50 steps to this piece.

Were super easy. All I did was paint it first, and then I have the lunch order. What would you like? Hurry up. We don’t have all day. Oh, my gosh. Oh, veggie burger. I know. Veggie burger. Extra fries, mayonnaise, hot sauce and sweet tea.

Thank you. What are we doing? Them? That’s not nice. That is not nice at all.

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