Distressing milk paint creates an old worn finish on your painted furniture. Here are 5 ways to easily distress milk paint (even without sanding!)
Get all the milk paint tips and tricks! Including how to mix milk paint, to paint with milk paint, how to seal milk paint, the secret to getting a chippy painted finish every time, and milk paint furniture makeovers!
Milk paint is such a fun paint to use on furniture! It creates an old world, worn out, farmhouse finish, and is the secret to the chippy paint technique.
Need extra milk paint tips? I’ve got you covered! Click here to learn everything you need to know about how to paint with milk paint! Plus see multiple dresser makeovers with milk paint!
So far, we’ve shown you how to mix milk paint, mixing milk paint colors, how to paint with milk paint (with video!), and surprisingly spraying milk paint with a paint sprayer. Now it’s time to distress milk paint!
** This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. I also earn from qualifying purchases through other companies, or may receive free products. This does not cost you anything extra! All opinions are my own.
Distressing Milk Paint
There are a few different ways that you can distress milk paint, with and without sanding! Let’s get down to business!
No need to bust out the sandpaper and get dust all over. Simply get an old rag wet and rub the paint off.
This is best done when the paint is freshly dried. Otherwise, you’ll have to use a bit of elbow grease.
Also, if you’re working with a dark color, it’s best to use a dark rag. If you’re working with a light color, it’s best to use a white rag. If it leaves behind any lint, you shouldn’t have any problems.
Distressing with Sandpaper
This is my go to method for an authentic distressed look.
Simply use a piece of 220 grit sandpaper to remove the paint on raised edges, corners and details.
Sometimes I remove a small amount of paint right below hardware or handles, and in random places where natural wearing would occur.
Anything more coarse than 220 grit leaves scratches, and when you use finer sandpaper, like 400 grit, it’s harder to remove the paint.
If you have chippy areas, the 220 grit sandpaper will easily remove the chipping without taking too much off!
You can sand with a power sander, but my preferred method is by hand so I can more control over how much paint gets removed. The power sanders are very aggressive and will take off more than just paint if you aren’t careful.
Chippy Paint with Vaseline
This one is fun! But it takes a little bit of planning beforehand.
Grab a little vaseline, wax, oil, or anything that will repel paint. Apply a small amount in the areas that you want distressed or chippy.
The vaseline will repel the paint, making the paint chip off, or easy to wipe off when the paint is all dry.
Use this vaseline distressing method with wet distressing or sandpaper to distress even easier.
How to Distress while Painting
If you’re light with paint, you can create a distressed look without ever touching sandpaper or a wet rag!
When you paint your furniture with a brush, keep only a small amount of paint on your paint brush.
Think thin coats of paint, and don’t worry about getting into all of the details.
You can build up the coverage on the main areas with multiple coats, but keep in mind the areas that you want to look distressed while you paint.
The painting sponge by Country Chic Paint makes this method super easy. The sponge helps you paint thin, brush free strokes onto furniture, and tends to leave raised edges without much paint. Creating a beautiful and natural distressed look.
Use the code below to get 10% off your order of Country Chic Paint, including the painting sponges!!
I especially like to work with thinner paint when I use this distressing technique. Just add some more water to your milk paint.
Use a Putty Knife to Distress
Last, but not least, you can use a putty knife to create a distressed look. This definitely isn’t the easiest method if you have a lot of ornate detail, but it definitely helps the milk paint look more chippy!
If you see your milk paint starting to chip off, you can remove the chipping paint with the putty knife by rubbing the putty knife over the paint.
You can also use it on raised edges to remove the paint right on the edge.
Be very careful to not scratch the paint or wood where you don’t want it to be distressed! Trust me, its easier to mess up with a putty knife than the other distressing techniques.
The Best Way to Distress Milk Paint
Honestly, the best part about it is that everyone has a different opinion on this. And no way is the wrong way!
Each method creates a little bit of a different look too!
Sanding with 220 removes only a tiny bit of paint. Wet distressing can remove more paint. Vaseline can create more of a chipping look, and distressing while painting creates a more authentic old worn and painted piece.
You can easily test out different ways on one piece! Test one or two out, or test them all out, but remember to have fun with it!
Learn all the things about painting with milk paint here!
- How to mix milk paint
- Can you spray milk paint?
- How to mix milk paint colors together
- How to seal milk paint
- The secret to getting a chippy finish every time!