Aging furniture can be a bit of a process, and these stools were no exception. There are a lot of paints out there to make this easier and quicker (chalk or milk paint especially) but for those of you who like to use what you already have and save a little cash, this tutorial is for you! For a less dramatic finish, choose tones that don’t contrast as much as white and dark brown. Perhaps a honey stain and turquoise paint, or cherry with red paint. There are so many possibilities for this style!
Step 1 – Stain your piece and apply petroleum jelly
I brushed on one coat of Rustoleum’s Ultimate Stain in Golden Oak, then wiped off after 3 minutes. I’m in a very high humidity area so any longer and the stain gums up. Stain also requires a longer dry time here, so I left these to dry overnight even though the can says ready in one hour. Once it’s dried, grab a big jar of petroleum jelly and smear it on your stool. I liberally applied it to every hard edge and seam, as well as on the center of the flat fronts. This will keep paint from sticking to the stained wood to really get a distressed look.
Step 2 – Apply touches of accent color
I wanted to have traces of red to pop through the distressing so it looks like these stools have had many lives and coats of paint. Using a very dry brush I applied latex semi-gloss red paint in several areas to pop through after distressing. There was no rhyme or reason to where I applied, I just brushed until I felt there was enough on the piece. Let it dry for a few hours before your topcoat.
After the second coat things start to come together. I didn’t worry about full-coverage either. Let your brush dry out where it will, like on ends and edges. It’s supposed to look worn and used, not perfect.
I used 150 grit sandpaper and a palm sander and just tore into the paint. I kept telling myself to keep going, and sand more off. The beauty of it is you can always sand more, or go back to add in more paint. If you don’t like how it looks, you can add another color over what you have and sand that down again. This is a very flexible finishing method! Just keep going until you like how it looks. And if you don’t, you still have some options. I felt the white was still a bit harsh, so I decided to glaze it up!
Step 5 – Apply Glaze
I use Ralph Lauren’s glazing medium (typically found in the specialized finishing section of the paint aisle with the crackle mediums) and tint with dark stain. I brushed it on and let it sit for about 10 minutes then worked it in with a damp cloth. It stayed a bit streaky, but fits in with the grain of the wood and chipped paint. These chairs look worn in and well-loved! It’s a process that took about three days to do, but it was well worth it! These Vintage Barstools have a unique, customized finish that really makes them stand out.