chippy furniture-how to distress
DIY - Furniture Painting

Chippy Furniture-How to Distress

Hello my wonderful friends! Are you ready for the next part of this white dresser makeover?! I’ve been talking about how to get a chippy furniture look for the last few weeks and today Im really diving right in to the exact details for the chippy furniture look you see on this pretty little white vintage dresser! Today is all about distressing for a chippy furniture finish. ?To check out the previous steps to this dresser head HERE

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Distressing For a Chippy Furniture Finish

Last week I told you the secret ingredient to getting that effortless chippy furniture finish. That secret ingredient was milk paint. I also explained all the steps and the tips I have for painting with milk paint. Milk paint can be a tad finicky and you want to make sure you’ve taken precautions to end up with a beautifully finished piece. Go back and read POST ONE. On how I prepped everything and POST TWO on how to actually paint. These steps are very important and you won’t have much to distress unless you’ve gotten those two taken care of!

Distressing For a Chippy Furniture Vintage Look

This is really the fun part of achieving a chippy furniture look. Distressing furniture that has been painted with milk paint is completely different from other mediums like chalk paint.

Things to Know about Milk Paint:

  • It comes in a powder form that you mix during the painting process
  • it has a unique texture that is so beautiful you will love the final results!
  • its actually chips and flakes on its own once the paint begins to dry
  • its the easiest way to get an authentic chippy look because it does the majority of the work for you!

Choosing the Right Paint for the Job

I have shared that it took me a LONG time and a lot of trial, mostly error. To figure out how to get that beautiful chippy furniture look. This method really is the simplest way to achieve the chippy look. If you’ve tried and failed in the past, I hope that this tutorial will help you succeed where you haven’t before! Just like me! It wasn’t until I found milk paint that I realized the majority of my error was simply in the choosing the wrong medium of paint.

Milk paint is going to give you a huge head start!

How to Distress Furniture for a Chippy Farmhouse Look

Its important that you’ve completed both the prep and painting process before you begin. Once your paint is dry you can start.

Step One of Distressing Furniture for a Chippy Farmhouse Look

Put all your tools down and take a look at the piece once it has dried. You will notice that the paint as begun to chip and flake away in certain areas. This is exactly what should happen!

Step Two

Get your distressing tools ready!?You’ll Need:

Once you have your tools you can actually begin!

Step Three:

Start with your metal putty knife and ever so gently begin to lightly, and I mean VERY lightly scrape the areas of paint that are already starting to chip on their own.

Start slowly and see how much of the paint flakes off. You can always scrape off more paint. But you can’t put it back on if you scrape off too much so start slow pressing harder to achieve your desired chippy results.


Keep working your way around the entire dresser until all of the chippy areas have been scraped by the metal putty knife.

Step Four

You will then notice if you haven’t already, that there are little bumps from where the paint has clumped up on your piece. I personally love the way these add an extra element of distressing to a piece. I use my metal putty knife once again and scrape those off until the surface of the entire piece of furniture is smooth.

Step Five

Now that you have worked all the areas that chipped on their own and smoothed out all the bumps, its time to work on the edges. Using your metal putty knife again scrape all the edges of the piece of furniture including sides top, and drawer edges.

If you metal putty knife doesn’t seem to work for this use your foam sanding block

quick tip! If the foam sanding block is also not enough grit to distress down two the wood. Simply place your sanding pad directly over the block. You can then use your block to better grip your sanding pad and use it to keep sanding until you’ve distressed all the edges.

Step Six

Without taking off any more paint, simply use your foam sanding block to smooth out the entire dresser. This will knock of any bumps or flakes and give you a smooth finish.

There will be certain areas you may want to avoid sanding with the sanding block. Such as areas that aver extremely prone to chipping. You don’t wan to over chip them so steer clear of them We will fix that when we apply the top coat and bond them to the wood to avoid further chipping.

Finishing Steps to Distressing Furniture

Once you have finished with your foam sanding block you’re all done! Simply dust off the furniture. You may even want to use a damp cloth to wipe it down prior to moving on to the final step. Which is applying the top coat! I’ll be back next Thursday to show you how that is done. I tested out a new top coat for this dresser and it has been come my holy grail top coat! It pairs so perfectly with milk paint and is one of the only true matte top coats with a durable polyurethane finish! You won’t want to miss it!

If you are new around here we have been discussing all things furniture painting for several months. You can catch up on all the latest posts HERE. Thanks so much for being here!!!

XO Haley


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