Painting the Rustic Look on Wood

Painting the rustic look requires just a few simple supplies.
Painting the rustic look requires just a few simple supplies. (Image: Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images)

The rustic look for furniture and other objects is the appearance that something that is new is old or antique. You can create this effect with any combination of colors, but for a true rustic look, use older-looking colors, such as mustards, browns, avocado greens and other colors from past eras. The rustic look is not difficult to paint, and many decorators will enjoy the process of creating a fake worn look to wood pieces that give the object a rustic flair.

Things You'll Need

  • Sandpaper
  • Primer
  • Base coat
  • Wax
  • Top coat
  • Paintbrush
  • Clear sealer

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Sand the wood with sandpaper until the surface is clean and smooth. Wipe the wood with a soft cloth to remove any sawdust.

Paint the entire wood piece with two coats of primer. Allow the primer to dry for two hours.

Apply a base coat of a light color to the wood piece. Allow the paint to dry two hours.

Rub some wax randomly over the wood in areas that you want to appear distressed. Add wax around any door handles, pull knobs, the edges of the object and near the base of the object. This will prevent the second color of paint from sticking to these areas.

Paint the top color over the entire piece of wood. Allow the top coat to dry. Apply a second coat to the object, if desired.

Sand the object lightly. Sand more heavily around the areas that were waxed. The paint should easily chip and sand away from the waxed areas. Wipe the wood with a damp cloth to remove wax and paint residue.

Coat the entire piece of wood in a clear sealer. This will prevent any further chipping and protect the paint finish from real wear and tear. Allow the sealer to dry 24 hours before moving or using the object.

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