Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Found it on Pinterest and Actually Did it: Distressing Furniture

Another love of mine is to take old beat up junk, especially vintage furniture, and make it beautiful again.  You probably saw my transformation of a cruddy old milk can into a nifty planter.  This time I was at a local thrift store and I found this glorious little corner shelf that obviously had a history of abuse.  I felt sorry for the poor little thing, all beaten up and scarred.  I bought it for only a buck (one of the bennies of buying trashed items is they are uber cheap) and took it home where it would live out its days in happiness and frolic among the other refinished vintage furniture I posses.

I'd already started sanding, but it looked pretty bad!

Usually when I find some awesome piece of vintage goodness I either clean it up and leave it in its vintage original glory or I strip it down to its naughty bits and give it a few coats of walnut stain as I've done to several antique chairs and an old dresser that I absolutely adore.  This time I wanted to do something different.  I have a collection of distressed looking photo frames and I thought it would be pretty cool to have the shelf look similar.

I convinced the little shelf that chicks dig scars and it could flirt with the photo frames when I was done.  Ok I don't actually talk to my furniture, I'm not that much of a freak.  I found a great tutorial on distressing painted furniture on Pinterest and went to work!  I bought a new sanding block since mine are trashed and some craft paint in brown for the undercoat and a warm cream for the top coat.  I already had steel wool (ended up not using), regular sand paper (to get the surface ready since it wasn't unfinished wood), sponge brushes, and a can of walnut stain (actually I have bunch of cans, I don't know why).

I was so eager that I forgot to take in between photos! Oops!

The cutouts in the sides are just nifty!
I had to sand (using the regular paper to save my block) down what was left of the varnish and the random splotches of white enamel to get a rough surface for the paint to adhere to first.  I painted one coat of brown since the wood was still dark from the old stain and then two coats of cream since the brown was showing through with just one coat.  I let it dry for 24 hours like the tutorial suggests and then I broke out the sanding block.  I started at the bottom to get a feel for how hard I needed to sand to get the cream color off.  I then sanded around the corners and edges since there were plenty of little cutouts in the shelf.  I also sanded down to the wood in some places on purpose since I knew I'd be going over it with stain.  The only thing ended up skipping was using the steel wool since it was leaving ugly silvery marks.  Maybe it was just because it was light colored paint, but regardless the sanding block ended up being plenty for me.  After dusting it all off, I used a rag dipped in a tiny bit of stain (emphasis on tiny, it goes a looong way) and rubbed it down in sections, making sure to get in good where the wood was showing.  Using a clean rag, I quickly wiped away the stain on the cream areas as I went, leaving just a slightly darkened area which just makes it look more antique.  After all that and letting it dry for a few hours I gave it a quick coat of polyurethane to protect the finish.  Tada!  Now to do this next spring to my daughter's beat up old dresser....

 If you'd like to check out other nifty DIY tutorials I've pinned or would like to follow me, check out my Pinterest page!  Also, feel free to pin this blog post by clicking the pin it button below!


  1. Great ideas can certainly be found at Pinterest! I do love what you did with the little corner shelf. It's perfect for that spot too.


I love to hear from you!