Wet Distress – The Easy Way

Who’s up for a furniture makeover? You may be saying to yourself…nah…it’s too much work. After what I show you today, you may change your mind. Earlier this week, I showed you this chest of drawers and I would like to use it to show you how to wet distress.

Featured Wet Distress Tutorial | Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

Okay, now you’re saying I’m off my rocker, right? Not too long ago, I showed you how to distress with petroleum jelly. If that isn’t simple enough, then you’ll love this method.

First, take a look at this piece I found a the thrift store. I went in looking for something else, but couldn’t leave without this loveliness in my possession. When I snatched the price tag off to take it to the register, I noticed a lady looking distraught. The distraught lady spoke to the saleslady and then the saleslady looked at me. “I be she has it because we just set it out”. Ha! Turns out a friend of the lady called her and told her to come look at this chest. I beat her to it.

Yes, I could have been nice and let her have it, but I was feeling ornery that day and did a victory dance in my head instead. tee hee hee.

Before you giggle with me though, take a closer look. This chest was stinky, beat up, and in disrepair.

Beaten Up Top of Antique Chest | Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

At one point, I even looked at my husband and said, “To think I paid for this”. A deal isn’t always a deal, is it? The drawers had been disheveled and glued back haphazardly,and they wouldn’t shut right without being slammed in.

Damaged Drawers on Antique Chest of Drawers | Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigapieces.com

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

On the other hand, it did have all the drawers, the casters, and drawer pulls (let’s think positive). Hey, it even still stood on its own.

So…I decided to go with the flow just like my farmhouse desk that was a a hot mess and give this chest a rustic feel.

First, I used wood filler to repair those damaged spots and several holes on the cabinet.

Elmer's Wood Filler for Making Repairs | Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

Next, I used my sander to lightly go over everything to make it jive together. The drawers had to be torn apart and re-glued with wood glue. I don’t know why the previous owner used the other glue (I think Gorilla Glue) that causes a separation when it foams and sets. That was a tedious chore, but it felt good to get them all the way the should be.

For the wet distress finish I first used a custom mixed flat gray that was more of a smoky color. I dry-brushed it on in random patterns letting the dark wood show through. This is done to the drawers and cabinet. I brush lengthwise on the drawers, and vertically on the cabinet sides.

First Layer in Wet Distressing by Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

The next step is to take a lighter shade of gray (or whatever color you choose) and do the same dry-brushing. This time though, while still wet, you are going to use an old rag and wipe it off in the direction of the grain. See the paint staying behind in some places and coming off in others?

Light Gray Layer to Wet Distress by Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

It may even remove some of the darker color you used first, but that is okay because it will totally give that aged appeal.

That whole process takes only about  15 minutes for each layer and then you’re done. Yay!

Since I had all the drawer pulls, I saw no need to replace. They weren’t brass or anything fancy, so I decided to paint the with a Rust-Oleum Flat White and then hand-distressed with sandpaper.

RustOleum Flat White for Antique Chest | Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

Once everything was ready go, I lined the drawers with a fun contrasting pattern. One drawer had the same wallpaper I used in my china cabinet and my French chest, and the others had this contact paper.

Here she is all rustic and ready to go!

Antique Chest of Drawers Finished with a Wet Distress Technique by Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

Rustic Farmhouse Style Wet Distress Method by Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

The drawers are my favorite aside from the finish.

Chest of Drawers Lined with Wallpaper for Fun Contrast by Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

Open Chest of Drawers Showcasing Wallpaper Lining and Wet Distressing by Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

Isn’t it fun? I hope you enjoy the method as well as the fun story behind it. You can find this chest and more for your home available in my shop. (SOLD)

Rustic Finish with Wet Distressed Tutorial by Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

Be sure to pin and share this technique to wet distress so you can find it for future reference and inspire others to try it too! ♥

How to Wet Distress Paint with Tutorial by Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

Up next, I have some farmhouse goodness for you that includes this wooden cutting board. Come on and see!

Farmhouse Style Cutting Board by Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

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More of my projects for you to enjoy:

Build a Mud Bar Play Station out of Reclaimed Wood by Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.comGarden Decor from Curbside Picket Fence by Prodigal Pieces | www.prodigalpieces.com

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  • Mary-the boondocks blog

    Larissa, I was not expecting this beauty! It almost has a weathered beachy feel to it. Love all the layers you have added!

    June 23, 2016 at 10:25 am Reply
    • Larissa

      Woot! That’s what I like to hear…hahaha. Thanks, Mary!

      June 23, 2016 at 4:22 pm Reply
  • Patty

    I does have that weathered beachy feel kind of like weathered cypress. great job.

    June 24, 2016 at 12:08 am Reply
  • Rod

    Have a similar unit, will give it ago soon ?

    June 28, 2016 at 11:58 am Reply
    • Larissa

      Fantastic! Have fun with it. 🙂

      June 28, 2016 at 9:34 pm Reply

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