To me, the distressed furniture look has always seemed a bit absurd. ‘Here let me give you thousands of dollars to buy brand new furniture that looks like it’s hundreds of years old.’ Let’s be honest with each other here (we’re all such good friends after all) that chair you paid $350 for did not get ‘weathered’ from being out on the porch at your beach house in the Hamptons, OK? It was probably made in a factory in Taiwan two months ago. Mother Nature didn’t add all those scuffs and ‘worn patches,’ a machine in some factory in Philadelphia probably did.
So I’ve never really been into the whole look. But, since I’m trying to actually grow my business, I want to make sure I include a wide variety of tastes, not just own nitpicky likes.
I did discover one thing: People love this stuff. They absolutely go nuts for distressed furniture. And being a person who wants to actually build a business rather than sink it into the ground, I asked a few friends of mine what they thought.
My friend Courtney has four kids (HOW DO YOU EVEN STAY SANE, GIRL??). She said she loves it because it’s a stylist, antique looking piece that you have in your home but you don’t have to worry about some kid driving their big wheel into and destroying some $800 irreplaceable piece.
My friend Holly, who runs an amazing nonprofit called VoiceBox Media all of you should go check out, says that she likes them because they look old and like they have a great story behind them, but they’re not going to ruin your pocketbook (and like I said, she’s runs a small nonprofit, so she doesn’t exactly have ‘Throwin Around Money’
So after conducting my very grumpy unofficial ‘Why The Hell Do You Like This Stuff’ Facebook poll, I decided it was worth a try.
So I thought I would give it a crack with this chair that I picked up at a Goodwill for about $20, give or take.
Here’s the chair I started with; you can see it up there in the back of my workshop. (Full Confession Number Two: I am the worst at remembering to do BEFORE and after pictures, but I think you get the idea here)
First, I spray painted it. I just used Krylon Light Blue (ERMAHGERD KRYLON IS DA BESTEST!!! I will tell you why later.) to cover the whole thing. The spray paint job came out so-so because I didn’t sand/prime it well enough. So I didn’t really know what to do with it and it just ended up sitting around my workshop for awhile.
Next, I finally got around to stenciling it. I used a cheap, generic brand of acrylic paint from Michael’s in ‘Vermilion’. I love the color combination of blue and vermilion. This stencil is also from Michael’s–a basic (read: cheap) butterfly/flower stencil combo. I used wedge make up sponge to apply the stencil and painted the wide spindle on the back of the chair to match.
This is pretty much my style. I like bold, graphic prints and things that are very symmetrical and neat looking. But honestly, even though lots of people loved it, I felt it was a bit “meh.”
Chris, my partner in crime, thought the chair might look cool with some distressing. *Sigh*. When you can’t beat ’em, join ’em.
So I whipped out my trusty disc sander and went to town. I sanded along all the edges where natural distressing would take place. Then, I gave the seat a going over. I added another little butterfly s
What’s great about this is your stencil technique kind of sucks like mine, distressing makes your smudged lines look like part of the overall effect!
Check out more pics of the completed chair here!