How to Distress Wood {using Petroleum Jelly}--the easy, fast and no-mess way to distress wood.

Every once in a while you find the perfect little piece for your house.  It’s not necessarily big or fancy, but it’s just what you’ve been looking for.  I was browsing through the store the other day and found just a piece: a small, wall-mountable coat rack.  I knew the second I saw it where I wanted it to go: on the wall behind our front door so people would have somewhere to put their coats and jackets.  The only problem: it was the wrong color.  A brownish-gray and the metal hooks were almost the same color.  Kind of blah.  But color is a fairly easy thing to change, especially when you’re dealing with smaller pieces. So I bought it and brought it home for a little DIY action.

Here is a picture of what the wood looked like before I did anything to it.  I unscrewed the hooks and set them and the screws aside.  There was a very thin coat of varnish and it was matte so I didn’t worry about sanding it.

How to Distress Wood {using Petroleum Jelly}--the easy, fast and no-mess way to distress wood.

The next step is to get some petroleum jelly (vaseline).  This is what you will use to distress your wood, or make it look weathered.  The reason this works is because the paint will not stick to the jelly.

The keys to distressing are:

  1. Look at the direction of the wood grain and think about where the paint would naturally rub or peel off.
  2. Apply the petroleum jelly in the same direction as the grain.
  3. Apply it on the edges, corners or raised areas of the wood.
  4. Be random about where you put it.

You can see in the picture some of the places where I applied the jelly.  You don’t need to use very much.  Just get a little on your finger and start spreading it around in a few places.

How to Distress Wood {using Petroleum Jelly}--the easy, fast and no-mess way to distress wood.

I applied two coats of paint because I wanted a little bit of the grain and some color to come through, but it’s really a matter of personal preference.

After your paint has dried, you’ll be able to see the places where you applied the jelly because they will be lighter and look more shiny and wet.

How to Distress Wood {using Petroleum Jelly}--the easy, fast and no-mess way to distress wood.

Next, get a paper towel or napkin and fold it up so it is 2-3 layers thick.  Rub the spots where the jelly is and the paint will start to flake off.

How to Distress Wood {using Petroleum Jelly}--the easy, fast and no-mess way to distress wood.

And…voila!  You’ve distressed your wood without having to use any stain or sandpaper.  Much less time consuming and messy.  You can even use this technique on multiple layers of paint.  Just make sure you let each layer dry completely before applying the petroleum jelly.

How to Distress Wood {using Petroleum Jelly}--the easy, fast and no-mess way to distress wood.

How to Distress Wood {using Petroleum Jelly}--the easy, fast and no-mess way to distress wood.

How to Distress Wood {using Petroleum Jelly}--the easy, fast and no-mess way to distress wood.

How to Distress Wood {using Petroleum Jelly}--the easy, fast and no-mess way to distress wood.

I hope you find something to distress soon!  Let me know how you liked using this technique!

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