How To Distress Wood With Chalk Paint

How to Distress Wood with Chalk Paint


There are a number of ways to distress wood and one of the most popular among “chic” woodworkers is to use chalk paint. This type of paint is lovely as it is unique. It creates a distressed look on furniture without the elbow grease. There are many brands of chalk paint, find the best quality for the right price.

Using chalk paint for distressed wood projects

There are a lot of ways to distress your piece and everyone has their own preferences when it comes to chalk paint. This is a guide on how to distress wood using a very popular chalk paint brand by Annie Sloan.

Materials you need

  • 1 quart of Chalk Paint by Annie Sloan
  • 1 paint brush
  • 1 tin of Annie Sloan Clear Soft Wax
  • Wax brush
  • 100-220 grid sandpaper
  • Brown builder’s paper
  • Painter’s tape

Choose and prepare your workspace.

Work at room temperature. Open windows, doors and ventilation fans to remove air when the chalk paint dries. Work in natural light or outdoors if possible. Use painters tape to tape down builder’s paper on the section of our living room floor that you don’t want to paint. This will also help prevent dust and paint from reaching your furniture.

1) Prep and clean your furniture piece

Prep And Clean Your Furniture Piece


Remove any removable elements like hardware, shelves, and drawers on the furniture piece you will distress. Locate rough patches that might need sanding. Remove any sticky gunk with soap and water.

Fill any holes with wood glue. Clean your furniture first with some warm soapy water. Cover any sections that will not be painted with painter’s tape.

2) Aging your wooden furniture

Aging Your Wooden Furniture


Sand with a drill. Use a high grit sandpaper to roughen up your table. There are many ways to do so. You can bang with a hammer especially on the edges or hammer with a large screw flat against the table. Use a block of wood as a buffer or hammer with the pointed tip of a nail or screw into the table to create “wormholes.”

3) Apply your first coat of chalk paint

Apply Your First Coat Of Chalk Paint


Start applying the paint on a side of the furniture or the back legs of a table. Tak time to condition a new brush to prevent brush bits from detaching from the brush as you work.

A little chalk paint can go a long way because this is thicker. Dip just the tip of your brush into the paint. But if you apply too much paint to a section, you can easily spread it out and work it into other sections with the same brush. You can dilute chalk paint with water if you find it too thick. Paint against the grain for a more textured finish.

Apply your second coat after the first one has completely dried. The second coat should cover all the surfaces although it does not have to be perfect because you have to distress your piece anyway.

pply your second coat after the first one has completely dried. The second coat should cover all the surfaces although it does not have to be perfect because you have to distress your piece anyway.

4) Distress your piece

Distress Your Piece


Apply one layer of wax first before distressing because the paint is very chalky and can produce a lot of dust. Distress using a damp rag if you want to have a bit more control over the final look. Distress using sandpaper with 100 to 220 grit. Use just a small amount of pressure to glide the sandpaper on the surface of the wood. Don’t forget to stand furniture completely.

Apply your Annie Sloan Soft Wax to seal the paint.

This a perfect kind of wax to complement the Annie Sloan chalk paint. This seals and protects your piece, and although it comes out of the can it will harden when it dries in just 24 hours or less.

Those who have used this wax paint say they have used it on their kitchen and dining room tables without any worries. The most important thing to remember is to keep your table clean using a non-ammonia, non-bleach multipurpose cleaner.


Distressing wood using chalk paint is one of the most popular techniques. With chalk paint, you can create a whimsical, aged furniture look that spells style and chic. You can use this paint on different wooden furniture but will work best on tables, chairs, and shelves.