Distress Paint with Petroleum Jelly

Earlier this week I showed you this vintage chest of drawers and promised you a makeover. I thought it would be fun to use this piece to show you how to easily distress paint to create texture and a feel of days gone by.

Vintage Chest of Drawers Before Aqua Makeover by Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

This chest of drawers had me drawn in when I first spied the legs, the height, and also the rose carved border along the bottom. It didn’t originally have casters, but I grabbed a few from my stash and stuck them on – already the chest improved. The drawers have damage and the previous owner had made some repairs that I was impressed with. The top was in great shape as well, but didn’t quite match the stain of the rest because it is a veneer with a different grain.

Top of Vintage Chest of Drawers for Distressing | Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

*post contains affiliate links so you can find the products I love to use too! (see full disclosure)

You know me and my love for a wood and paint combination like I just recently did with the other chest, so I decided to give the wood a fresh look. Out comes my sander and away we go!

Sanding Top of Teal Vintage Chest | Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

There’s nothing like seeing that grain come alive to make my heart happy. I typically go with a darker stain, but this time I wanted a warm feel to the wood. I used a Honey Maple stain by Minwax that I’ve used in years past.

Honey Maple Stain by Minwax for Chest of Drawers | Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

Next up for a new look is the drawers and cabinet that got a light sanding too. I seriously was like a kid in the candy store to get started on this piece because of the vision I had for it with this color.

Teal Paint for Vintage Chest of Drawers Distressed | Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

I’ve used it on this Rustic Chic set…

Rustic Chic Finish by Prodigal Pieces - You can create this look with paint and stain | www.prodigalpieces.com

and also on this Mid Century Modern credenza. Isn’t it great how it suits all styles? If you want to know the color, I can’t tell you because it’s a seconds paint. But…I am putting together something fun with all of my secret paints! hee hee.

Mid-Century Modern Bassett credenza gets some color fun by Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

I am aiming for a rustic, very worn look, so to achieve that I whip out my petroleum jelly. Yup. Just like I used to distress paint on my radio turned sewing cabinet.

Using Petroleum Jelly to Distress Paint by Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

When I was about 18 years old (you can guess how long ago that was – ahem), I watched a lady on PBS use it to distress furniture. Funny, eh? So I am not the first to use it, but thought you may have not heard of it before.

It can work with any paint, as this I’m using today is a high gloss paint. (Yes, even a gloss can look rustic.) I started by smearing small amounts in places that would get normal wear, and then I dry brush one layer on the drawers and cabinet. Once the paint is dry (after about 2 hours), I take an old rag and rub the paint where I applied petroleum jelly.

Distressing Paint with Petroleum Jelly | Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

The jelly resists the paint and allows for super-easy removal. Less mess and easier on the hands too. Did you know it was that easy to distress paint?

All that is left is the drawer pulls and I use a flat white paint by Rustoleum to give them a light coat. Then I distressed those with a bit of sandpaper.

RustOleum Flat White for Drawer Pulls | Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

Ready to see my method to distress paint in action? Woot!

Get the Look of Distressed Paint with Petroleum Jelly | Aqua Teal Chest of Drawers by Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

Distressed Vintage Chest with Teal Paint using Petroleum Jelly by Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

I am ever falling in love with this color that just showcases life. I was able to pair it with my new favorite painting found at a garage sale for $1. The story behind the artist was that he was an electrical engineer who injured his hands so could no longer work. He took up painting to provide income. I would say he is one gifted man, wouldn’t you? I’m saving it for when we are done with our kitchen remodel and move onto our living room.

Top of Teal Chest Refinished with Pastoral Painting Above by Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

And how about them legs and carvings…swoon.

Leg of Teal Vintage Chest of Drawers with Distressing by Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

Side of Distressed Vintage Chest of Drawers by Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

Now, I have to ask…Are you going to give this method to distress paint a try? You know you want to! For those of you that are not really not into painting or just love this chest, you can find it in my shop.

Do pin and share so others can learn a new trick too. Thank you for the love! ♥

How to Distress Paint with Petroleum Jelly by Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

Now, if that has whet your appetite for paint, I think you’re going to love this thrift store chest that gets a new look coming next week. How’s that for an 80’s flashback for ya?

Dark Brown Child's Toy Chest Before Makeover | Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com


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More of my work for you to enjoy:

DIY Budget Window Treatments - A Home Hack by Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.comVintage Waterfall Dresser Gets Volkswagen Bus Makeover by Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

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  • Carol S

    Larissa, I’m sorry to have to tell you this, but it was so painful to get through your post today. So many ads, could not dismiss the video, all the background activity caused the flash program to crash. You have great stuff to share, but it is so hard to stay interested while waiting for the page to scroll. You’re not the only blogger that does this, but finally thought it was time to let you know. Please keep doing all the wonderful things you do, but maybe less ads? Hugs.

    June 2, 2016 at 8:15 am Reply
    • Larissa

      Don’t be sorry as I hated it too! I just had a new company take over my ads yesterday and I already told them it is too much. Please be patient as we get it tweaked. Thank you for understanding. 🙂

      June 2, 2016 at 8:21 am Reply
  • Norma

    All of your projects are beautiful. Could you please recommend a tough polyurethane (from like Home Depot) that will not yellow?

    June 2, 2016 at 9:15 am Reply
  • gwen

    Patience is what i’m learning in this life. i i got through the post just fine and LOVE everything you do! what i find that makes it difficult to get through your posts is that i always want to look at the links you give us to look at past projects – even though i never miss one, but LOVE looking at them again and in light of why they’re linked!

    i love this chest of drawers and hope to put to use a big jar of petroleum jelly soon!

    June 2, 2016 at 9:40 am Reply
    • gwen

      PS – i hope people at least read the Bob Villa contest and will vote for you! you are so deserving!

      June 2, 2016 at 9:43 am Reply
    • Larissa

      I’m with you, Gwen. Thank you for making my day brighter. 🙂

      June 2, 2016 at 10:45 am Reply
  • Judy

    Strange…on my iPad, it went straight thru with no ads visible…loved it!

    June 2, 2016 at 9:53 am Reply
    • Larissa

      Hmm…I have no idea why, but I do know that they are tweaking things to suit my liking and needs. Thanks!

      June 2, 2016 at 10:43 am Reply
  • Kathy Nielsen

    Absolutely will try your method of distressing. Beautiful color also.

    June 2, 2016 at 12:40 pm Reply
    • Larissa

      Thank you, Kathy. I hope you enjoy giving it a try.

      June 4, 2016 at 6:01 am Reply
  • Marie, The Interior Frugalista

    Another gorgeous makeover and color, Larissa! I haven’t tried this method of distressing but I know I should considering my workshop is in our basement.

    June 2, 2016 at 10:33 pm Reply
    • Larissa

      Thanks so much, Marie. Yes, the lack of dust is certainly a bonus, plus less strain on my hands and wrists. Let me know what you think when you try. 😀

      June 4, 2016 at 5:57 am Reply
  • Karen

    You are so talented Larissa! That color is so unique, it’s easy to see why you love it so much. I voted for you and Beep and hoping you win 🙂

    June 3, 2016 at 2:26 pm Reply
    • Larissa

      Thanks, Karen! I tent to get carried away, but that’s the whole fun of being creative, right? 😀

      June 4, 2016 at 5:55 am Reply
  • Paige

    Lord, that color! I bet who ever left that oops can of paint is kicking their own butt right about now. Thanks for the eye candy and the inspiration:)

    [email protected]

    June 8, 2016 at 7:11 pm Reply
    • Larissa

      hahaha…I’m certainly not complaining! 😀 Thanks for the love, Paige.

      June 9, 2016 at 3:55 am Reply
  • Linda

    Hi Larissa…WOW!!! a whole new light bulb over my head!!! bunches of ideas speeding around in my mind!!! LOL!! WHO KNEW??? Using petroleum jelly….OK…question…in the pics after you rub off the “jelly”…it looks like a little “oily” residue is left behind, it does also seem to leave a little darker “aging” benefit, but does that dry eventually? Or is there something magic you do??? Thanks for sharing this “old secret” !!! God Bless y’all….

    August 7, 2016 at 2:34 pm Reply
    • Larissa

      How fun!! It is a little oily, but a bit of rubbing will eliminate any excess. 😉 Have fun!

      August 9, 2016 at 12:47 pm Reply
  • Linda

    Beautiful end result! My daughter & I paint furniture also & have used the Vaseline method.
    It’s always fun to find new tricks of the trade….we are constantly experimenting ?
    Love your page!

    October 16, 2016 at 12:06 pm Reply
    • Larissa

      I think the same. I’m always willing to learn and try…good for you!

      October 17, 2016 at 7:30 pm Reply
  • Sheila Edgerton

    So do you just dip your brush back in the paint after going over the Vaseline? Been wanting to try this but did have a few questions about mixing the Vaseline and paint. Your work is gorgeous!

    May 12, 2017 at 11:55 pm Reply
    • Larissa

      Yes. If you put the layers on light enough it will be fine. I also use candle wax or my furniture wax as seen in this post, if you prefer.

      May 13, 2017 at 6:14 am Reply
  • Julie Smith

    Love the finished look, especially the color! Thank you for the Vaseline tip, can’t wait to try it!

    October 22, 2017 at 9:59 am Reply
    • Larissa

      Awesome to hear! Thank you. 🙂

      October 23, 2017 at 5:36 am Reply

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