How to Distress a Table

How to Distress a Table
How to Distress a Table
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Make a lovely rustic piece of DIY furniture with this awesome distressing tutorial. Learn How to Distress a Table and add to your home decor. This distressed table is colorful, trendy, and functional. Who knew a gently used thrift store table could turn into such a modern chic piece? If you are looking to learn how to distress furniture or are perusing ideas for how you can decorate your home, this is the DIY project for you. Perfect for a living room or bedroom, you cannot go wrong with this distressed thrift store furniture tutorial.

Estimated Cost$21-$30

Time to CompleteWeekend project

Primary TechniqueFurniture Projects


Materials List

  • FolkArt ® Home Decor™ Chalk - Glacier, 8 oz. Item #34162
  • FolkArt ® Home Decor™ Wax - Clear, 8 oz. Item #34170
  • FolkArt ® Home Decor™ Chalk - Spanish Moss, 8 oz. Item #34801
  • FolkArt ® Home Decor™ Brushes - Chalk Paint Brush Item #34907
  • FolkArt ® Home Decor™ Brushes - Wax Brush Item #34908
  • Painter’s drop cloth
  • Household glass cleaner
  • Paper towels
  • Soft Terrycloth rag
  • Medium grit sandpaper
  • Soft lint-free buffing cloth


Step-by-Step Instructions

  1. Spread a painter’s drop cloth over the studio floor and then position your thrift store table over the drop cloth.

  2. Clean the table surface well using household glass cleaner and a paper towel or dry lint-free cloth.

  3. Remove drawer pulls and other hardware from the table.

  4. Once opened, FolkArt Home Decor Chalk Paint should be stirred rather than shaken to fully incorporate the paint. Using a foam plate as a palette, pour a small amount of paint and load your brush by dipping into the puddle of paint and paint over the entire surface of the table and drawer.

  5. Paint the knobby or detail areas first. Paint these areas by moving the brush around the leg making sure the bristles reach every tiny groove. When painting with FolkArt Home Decor Chalk paint, you will notice that a small amount of paint goes a very long way and it is not necessary to reload your brush often. Also you can basecoat with smooth brush strokes or apply texture to your project without smoothing out brushstrokes.

  6. Paint the length of the legs next using long, vertical brushstrokes.

  7. Once one leg is complete, it is a good idea to paint the three remaining table legs. Smooth out your brushstrokes as you paint unless a textured surface is desired.

  8. Next, painted any routed edges on the table top.

  9. Paint the table top using long, smooth strokes.

  10. If desired, apply a second basecoat after allowing the first coat to dry for two hours. If you like to speed up drying time, a household hair dryer can be used.

  11. After painting, cleaned your paintbrush in warm, soapy water to remove the remaining paint from the brush. Rinse it well and allow the brush to dry.

  12. Once fully dried, repeat the painting process by applying Glacier over the base color.

  13. Continue painting the entire table Glacier over the Spanish Moss basecoat ending with the table top. For best results, allow the topcoat to dry for two hours prior to distressing.

  14. Once the topcoat has thoroughly dried, use a piece of medium grit sandpaper to sand over the surface removing the topcoat in heavily worn areas exposing the basecoat which created a time worn look.

  15. As you distress a surface using sandpaper, the first thing you will notice is that the top application of paint will not “gum up” the sandpaper; instead it forms a soft, lightweight powder. Sanding to distress is usually created on the edges, over dimensional embellishments or carved areas as well as general spaces that may have worn down over the years such as chair arms, seats, or on drawer fronts near pulls or handles.

  16. Once the distressing is complete, a clean cotton rag or a tack cloth can be used to remove the sanding dust.

  17. Once happy with the desired sheen, attach the drawer-pulls and other hardware.

  18. Lastly, polish and buff the table top one more time.

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I just adore the shabby chic distressed look and when my partner and myself recently bought our very first home together we got a table and chairs off a lady and she had done it herself, I love it but you only have to look at it and it scratches, I finally realised she never waxed over it. does anyone know of a good wax to use on chalk paint?

Wow, I love the color on this table! The warm blue with the browns peeking through from the distressing looks great! Love that a new or used piece can have such an antique feel.

It's *distressing* how easy this project looks! Hahahaha I'm sorry...I'm just going to crawl away to my craft corner and start this project.


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