The main reason I prefer to wet distress my chalk paint is it’s less mess. It’s actually really easy and the results are incredible.
If you can do it soon after the paint has dried it’s much easier to get off but it’s still easy enough to do weeks after your piece has dried. I use a variety of things when I’m wet distressing because I like to get different looks on the finish.
- Wet lint free rag. (I love my ecloth for this) (US link here)
- Wet sanding block. They’re like rough little sponges. (US)
- Wet dish scrubbie (I use these ones) (US link here)
- & for when my arm gets too tired, wet sand paper. <this one makes a bit of a mess.
If the paint is still fairly fresh (but dry) I can usually get away with only using a wet rag to distress. I put my finger inside the cloth to control where it’s going and to have a bit of pressure. If the paint has sat for weeks and is fully cured or has a ton of coats then I like to use a wet sanding block along with the rag and scrubbie.
For this post I’m going to be distressing my China cabinet.
Before & after of the progress is posted here.
I’ve left this sitting for so long because I wasn’t sure if it could pull off the chippy, rough look. My inspiration Rae Dunn display cabinet is Liz Marie’s. I’m sure you know the one. It’s amazing but is also authentically chippy and while I’d love to have one like that right now. I don’t. So I might as well rough this one up a bit for now, until I find the perfect one, fit for our home.
Because the paint has been sitting and there’s a ton of coats it’ll be too hard to use the rag alone so I’m using the sanding block and the scrubbie but I use the cloth to wipe right after I’ve sanded so the full wood colour comes out.
It doesn’t take much pressure with the block but the scrubbie is a little more work so it depends how distressed you want it to be. I like to go around the edges where most things would naturally distress, nothing symmetrical and mostly random and then maybe add a few bigger spots along the surface that may naturally get bumped and lose its paint. I’m still working on a chippy, crackled finish but that’s easier to achieve if you know what you want before you paint.
And for when my arm gets too tired on a big piece like this, I’ll switch to the wet sand paper. I use a fine grit so it doesn’t break through the original finish to the bare wood . This takes much less pressure than the sanding block.
Here it is after being wet distressed:
Now I have to decide what colour Glaze I’m going to use for the details. I have Country Chic Paint‘s Graphite which is a black and I also just grabbed their Smoky Quartz which is a dark brown. (They have other colours, plus a clear that you can mix paint into to make any colour you’d like.)
Also check out my post on my go-to for additional distressing and antiquing. I’m working on a glaze post as well.