Wax Distressing for the Perfect Shabby Chic Look

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What the heck is wax distressing? Is that when the candles get anxiety?

I love this technique! If you’ve ever seen a piece of furniture that you KNOW is freshly painted but somehow the person who flipped this piece of furniture managed to create an authentic Shabby Chic look, you could be looking at wax distressing. A fantastic paint distressing technique that works with any paint. Yes, even spray paint, which you probably know is convenient to use but extremely difficult to distress.
This will be one of the easiest techniques you’ll ever learn. All you need is a candle. I would recommend a white candle. White taper candle for wax distressingJust head to the thrift store and raid their supply of candles. I always find tons on unscented white taper candles that might have scratches or dents so people don’t want them anymore. Grab them for awesome prices (usually 50 cents) and keep them in your furniture flipping toolbox. They’re fantastic to have on hand to wax slides, latches, and of course wax distress! 2 or 3 candles will last quite awhile.  In a pinch hop over to DollarTree and pick up their emergency candles.  You have to order 4 but they’re good to keep in your vehicle emergency survival kit anyway.

Where to Distress?

Now you have to decide where on the piece of furniture you would see normal/natural distressing over time.  This is where people sometimes go wrong.  They distress everywhere on a piece of furniture but that is way too much.
The image below shows where you would distress for a dresser and a chair.  You can see the arrows are pointing to areas that would be touched or bumped frequently. Focus on edges but not every edge. As you can see in the image on the right the knob and drawer have distressing but not all the way around. A little goes a long way.
Where to distress
Take your tapper candle and scrub wax on the edges where you want your piece to be distressed. Make sure the wax is heavier in some areas and lighter in others for a more authentic feel.
Once you’ve completed all the places you want to see a distressed it’s time to paint! Use spray paint, chalk paint, latex paint, any of them will work. Put as many coats on as you need an allow your paint to dry.
Once your paint is dry you can flake the wax away using a putty knife or a soft brush.  That’s it!
Below is a video that shows how I used this process using spray paint over the top.  The results are so beautiful! I couldn’t be happier with how it turned out.
If Shabby Chic isn’t your style you can always try the paint wash technique the Turquoise Iris pioneered! Check out my attempt to master this technique HERE.

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