How to Paint Distressed Cabinets

Written by jamie witt
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How to Paint Distressed Cabinets
Achieve a whole new look by distressing your tired kitchen cabinets. (Jupiterimages/ Images)

A distressed look on furniture highlights the beauty of "wear and tear," and allows you to create a lived-in look on wood pieces in your home. With the right tools, distressed kitchen cabinets are easy to achieve as a do-it-yourself weekend project. This method offers an affordable alternative to replacing cabinetry, and provides a one-of-a-kind finish to one of your family's most coveted safe havens. Prep work is key to painting and distressing your kitchen cabinets.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Dry cloth
  • Flat paint
  • 2 paintbrushes
  • Sandpaper
  • Steel wool
  • Paint scraper
  • Wax stain

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  1. 1

    Remove the cabinet doors and scrape off any loose paint from the cabinet's exterior surfaces and doors using a scraper. Sand the cabinet surfaces using 220-grit sandpaper. Clean the surfaces thoroughly with cleaning product of your choice and wipe them with a dry cloth. Allow the surfaces to dry completely.

  2. 2

    Paint the cabinet surfaces with one coat of flat paint. Allow the paint to dry completely or until it's almost set. Note that it's easier to remove paint when it's still tacky, as instructed in the next step.

  3. 3

    Rub the edges, corners and other common areas of wear on cabinet doors and exterior surfaces with sandpaper or steel wool. Common areas of wear and tear include the areas around knobs and handles.

  4. 4

    Apply wax stain to the cabinet's doors and exterior surfaces with a paintbrush. Allow the wax to sit for three hours and wipe the surfaces with a dry cloth.

  5. 5

    Hit the cabinet surfaces with a hammer or chain in commonly worn areas, if desired. Reassemble the cabinet doors to the affixed cabinetry.

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