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How to get a Distressed White Washed Finish with Chalky Paint

Learn my technique for layering chalky finish paint and soft creme wax to get a distressed white wash finish on anything!

How to get a distressed white washed finish on any wooden surface with this chalky paint technique!

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I love  the look of distressed anything!  As a matter of fact, my husband has joked that he doesn’t know why we spend money on things because if he picked something up out of a dumpster and drug it home behind his car I would love it far more than something new.  To avoid the whole dumpster diving thing, I have been experimenting lately with all sorts of different paint techniques to make fun distressed projects.  I am far from an expert but I am kind of in love with this wish washed technique I used to make this picture frame.

I will be sharing part two of this tutorial soon to tell you all about how to make the rustic 3 board wooden frame, but today we are just going to break out how to get this dreamy finish on it.

So let’s start with what you need:

How to get a distressed white washed finish on any wooden surface with this chalky paint technique!

To start your project, make sure your wooden surface is prepped, clean, and clear of any debris.  I was using raw wood so I just wiped it down.  If you are doing a furniture refinishing project you may need to sand and prep your surface.

After your surface is ready, paint your first, brighter color over the entire surface of the wood using your flat brush.  You will want complete coverage on this coat so if you don’t get it completely covered with the first coat, let it dry and paint a second coat of your bright color.

Next, wash out your brush and use your Americana Decor Chalky finish paint in Lace to paint a thinner layer over the bright color.  You will cover the entire surface with the Lace color, but make the coat thin. Also, it is okay to leave imperfections and places with less than perfect coverage because it will just add to the perfection of the imperfect look we are going for.

How to get a distressed white washed finish on any wooden surface with this chalky paint technique!

Once the Lace (white) layer is dry, use a fine grit sand paper to go over all of the corners and edges of the wood surface.  You can use it more heavily in some places than others, but the goal is to take off the white paint around the edges and thin it increasingly toward the edges so your brighter under coat peeks though. when you have the amount of distressing you want, wipe the wood down with a damp cloth to remove the dust from the sanding and let it dry.

Your last step is to add Americana Decor Creme Wax in dark brown.  When I first finished the sanding I wasn’t sure if I wanted to add the wax because I was really loving the look so much already.  I knew I wouldn’t regret it in the end though so I did the wax and haven’t looked back!

How to get a distressed white washed finish on any wooden surface with this chalky paint technique!

The wax will make the entire project much warmer and really add to the distressed look of the project.  The wax is great for settling in all the nooks and crannies and really bringing out the imperfections that make a distressed piece look so realistic!  The waxing step is so simple too!  Just take your waking brush and lightly dip it into the creme wax (make sure you shake the wax well before using.)  Then since we are using such a dark wax on such a light surface, I scraped off as much of the wax as you can on the edge of the jar then use round strokes to cover the surface of the piece with a light layer of the wax.  Immediately use the rag to buff down the surface after you finish with the brush.  This tones down the color a bit as well adds an additional bit of blending to it all.

That is all there is to it!  At this point you can add a varnish if you are done with your piece or if you are adding to it like I was with this picture frame you can move on to whatever your next steps are.

How to get a distressed white washed finish on any wooden surface with this chalky paint technique!

Making the finish is really easy and the chalky finish paint provides the perfect vintage feel that I always love in a distressed piece.  If you like easy home decor projects make sure to follow The Pinning Mama on Pinterest and Facebook to see our latest posts!

Here is some more home decor and painting projects you may like!

This DIY Oversized Outdoor Chalkboard makes the perfect compliment to an outdoor sitting area! It would be so fun for entertaining!

DIY Outdoor Chalkboard

How to Create a Vintage Picture Frame with a Dry Brush Technique by

How to get a distressed look with a dry brush technique 

How to Create a Distressed Sign with a CHippy Paint Look by

How to get a Distressed Chippy Paint Look

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  1. […] Once you get your wood home you will want to paint or stain it to match your decor.  I decided to go with a really beachy, distressed white-washed look to go with these new family photos we had printed from Shutterfly. I used Americana Decor Chalky finish paint on mine, but you can use really any stain or paint you like, from acrylic to latex, to go with your pictures or home decor though.  Here is a step-by-step on how to get the distressed white washed finish. […]

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