Rustic Paint DIY


While rustic antiques offer a feeling of warmth and comfort to any home, they often come with a large price tag. Even brand new reproductions can cost quite a bit of money. You can achieve a rustic paint finish on a piece of furniture you already have at a fraction of the cost if you do it yourself. It is possible to turn a modern piece of furniture into a worn and distressed item with a little paint and a few techniques.

Things You'll Need

  • Coarse-grit sandpaper
  • Fine-grit sandpaper
  • Tack cloth
  • Latex primer
  • Dark latex paint
  • Large paintbrush
  • Water-based varnish
  • Light Latex paint
  • Electric sander
  • Sponge brush
  • Prepare the piece of furniture by sanding it down with a coarse-grit sandpaper. Follow with a fine-grit sandpaper for a smooth finish. Wipe down the piece afterward with a tack cloth to remove any debris. Apply two coats of latex primer on the wood, allowing the first coat to dry before applying the second.

  • Select a dark latex paint for the base color. Apply two coats with a large paintbrush. Allow each coat to dry thoroughly.

  • Apply two coats of water based varnish over top of the base coat. This stops the two different colors from bleeding together and ensures the base coat stays put when the top coat is sanded.

  • Apply two coats of a lighter shade latex paint over the base-coat. Allow the paint to dry thoroughly.

  • Use an electric sander on the larger parts of the piece of furniture to remove the top layer of paint. This allows the base-coat to show through and gives it a gradual faded look. Use a coarse-grit sandpaper to remove the top layer of paint on all the edges.

  • Mix one part of a dark latex paint with two parts water to create a glaze. Apply the glaze to the furniture liberally using a sponge brush. The glaze will gather in all the cracks, crevices and sanded areas to create a rustic stain. Allow the glaze to dry.

Tips & Warnings

  • Avoid the desire to over-sand the top coat. When distressing the furniture for a rustic look, focus on areas that would normally receive the most wear. These areas include corners, seats, as well as the tops and legs of chairs.

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