I have an older bedroom set that is very dark and very worn. I would like to give it a lighter, maybe antique look. I was thinking of spraying it with an off white or ivory color. To get some of the dark to show through do I need to wipe it before it dries or sand lightly afterwards? Then maybe put a faux marble laminate on the tops of the items.
I do this all the time and do it as a job sometimes. Paint it the color you want ivory or white. Sand in the areas you would normally see wear and tear corners and around the doors and sides top bottoms with sand paper. Then if you want add old English furniture polish as a glaze wipe it on and off. Real quick color stays in the distressed areas. Although I prefer the paint and light sanding!
I've done this, with success. FIRST and VERY IMPORTANT, make sure the furniture piece is completely clean, sand rough spots, if necessary, wiping off the dust, before you begin to paint. Otherwise, the paint may not adhere properly.
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I have distressed pine by hitting it with a thick linked (Clean) chain and then painting it. You can also sand edges and other marks into the paint to make it look worn. Use a very fine sandpaper. (03/13/2006)
I paint the first coat either black, burgundy or brown. The second coat is white. I then sand it using a hand sander until the under color comes out. I sand the surfaces and the edges. Then I wipe it down with a damp cloth to get all the dust off. Then I stain it leaving the stain on heavier in some areas and lighter in others.
Distress it with several different items and a hammer, such as hitting a nail on it's side, hitting a washer, chain, hammer marks, bang it with items most normal furniture gets banged with like a pot or a pan, tearing a little spot of grain off, etc. Another way is to use a crackling finish which you can buy at a paint store or home improvement store. you put on a base coat, then an over finish that, when it dries, it cracks and crazes, giving it an old look. (03/14/2006)
You could rub it with a heavy steel wool to make small grooves and ruff up the finish. (03/14/2006)
I have to laugh when I hear about "distressed furniture". When my kids were little, they took care of it for free! Now there's an idea, borrow a few kids from the neighborhood! Good luck. (03/14/2006)