If you're trying to create a distressed shabby chic look on a piece of furniture or home décor, you can get it done easily and with little effort. Here's how.
Use your sandpaper to refine any deep marks or imperfections that you don't want on the piece you're distressing. Wipe any residue off of the wood with a cleaning cloth. Use your paintbrush to apply a base coat of chalk paint to the wood. Give the paint enough time to dry completely.
Applying the Vaseline and Top Coat
When the base coat paint is dry, use your fingers to apply Vaseline to the areas of the surfaces where you want the base coat to show through the top coat. (If you don't like the feel of Vaseline on your fingers, use a small paint brush to apply it.) The Vaseline spreads easily, so make sure you choose the areas carefully and don't use too much. Apply the Vaseline to the raised sections, edges, and corners of your piece as well as to the areas around pulls and handles. Once you've finished applying the Vaseline to all of the areas you want distressed, use your paint brush to paint the top coat over the entire piece. Allow enough time for the paint to dry thoroughly and, if necessary, apply a second coat of paint.
Creating Distressed Effects
When the top coat of paint is completely dry, begin distressing the surface with sandpaper. Work on the areas where you rubbed on the Vaseline. The paint in these areas should come off easily. Continue to any of the other areas you would like to distress. Keep in mind that it's best to go slow and work in small sections. It's easy to add more effects, but difficult to remove them if you've added too much.
Protecting Your Piece
Immerse a clean cloth into warm water and squeeze out any excess liquid. Use the damp cloth to wipe any residual sanding dust from the surface of your piece. Wipe off the wet areas with a dry cloth. If you're using wax to protect your piece, apply it in circular movements to the surfaces. Use the toothbrush to get the wax into crevices that are too difficult to reach with the cloth. Allow the wax to sit for about 15 minutes, and then buff the surface to create a sheen. The more buffing you do, the shinier your surface will become. If you're using latex polyurethane to protect your piece, be sure to read the directions provided by the manufacturer before you begin. Apply the product to your piece in a well-ventilated area. Brush the polyurethane in one direction, along the grain of the surface. Allow it to dry completely, and then lightly sand the surface. If necessary, apply a second coat and sand it as well.