Saturday, August 9, 2014


Distressed Media Cabinet - candlewax technique
This is one of my favorite before and after projects.  This piece was created for our friend's bonus room.  The original media cabinet was found at a local thrift store for $50.  Lot's of scratches and a few chips but the glass doors were intact and it had all six shelves - what more could we ask for?

Before Photo

Distressed Media Cabinet - candlewax technique
After Photo
The inspiration for this room re-do, came from Wisteria catalogue.  My friend saw this picture and was drawn to how bright and fresh this room was, so this became a reference for all our decorating.  We acknowledged that white sofas aren't ideal in a home with pets and small children, but we could use white in other furniture and d├ęcor choices...

Inspiration Room from

We knew we wanted white furniture in the room, and the original plan was to do the whole piece in a distressed white finish, however, some pictures of distressed white furniture on pinterest inspired me to just distress the top with some sanding rather than painting it white.

Distressed Media Cabinet - candlewax technique

The yellow knobs are from Hobby Lobby and I love how they complete the piece and provide even more character.

Distressed Media Cabinet -  Hobby Lobby Yellow Knob


SANDING - The whole piece was sanded with 80 grit sandpaper and then 120 grit sandpaper.    On the larger surfaces I was able to use our small rotary sander.  The corners and smaller edges required hand sanding.  Note - I tried to avoid over sanding the corners of the base down to bare wood because I knew I wanted to exposed some of the dark stain in distressing. The top required some extra sanding (a lot more) to weather it and expose some of the bare wood. 

PREPARATION - After sanding I wiped down the entire piece and taped off the top (since the top was the only part that was not going to be painted white).  In addition, tape was placed on the edges of the glass on the doors.

DISTRESSING - I used candlewax to help with the distressing.  I rubbed a candle on all the edges and corners.  The candle wax makes removing paint and exposing the base so much easier than just using sandpaper.  Also, it definitely helps to use candlewax for distressing when using this type of paint (paint and primer in one). This type of paint adheres so well with the primer in it, it will also take more sanding to distress and remove the paint - as opposed to regular paint. 

Distressed Media Cabinet -  Candlewax technique

PAINT - The paint I used was a paint and primer in one with a satin finish.  It was leftover paint from another project in their home.  In this case, paint and primer in one is good for covering a dark surface (the dark stained wood) with a light paint (an off white).  Please note, in my experience I have found that paint with primer in it dries quicker and has less "workable" time than a regular paint.  For example - if you mistakenly have a glob of paint, and wait to long to brush over to fix it - it might just make it worse by mucking up the paint that has dried too much already.   Overall, it is great for coverage, just work quickly and carefully.

DISTRESSING - Once the paint was dry - I used sandpaper to distress the edges.  Once again - the candlewax makes this an easy process; the paint comes off easily where the candlewax was applied and exposes the dark stained wood underneath.  You can see the sandpaper gets gooped up with the paint and candlewax in the photo below.

Distressed Media Cabinet -  Candlewax technique

TOP COAT - I applied a top coat of satin polyurethane to the entire piece for added durability.  I believe some sort of top coat was necessary on the top since I had sanded off the original finish.  As for the bottom - perhaps it was not so imperative, but will provide a more durable surface particularly on the shelves.  Although...another scratch or two will just add more character :o)

Here are links to some other distressed furniture pieces I worked on for our beach cottage.  These pieces utilized a variety of techniques including candlewax, Vaseline and just simple sanding...







If you are interested in a general overview of some DISTRESSING TECHNIQUES, see my post here which covers the use of SANDPAPER, CANDLEWAX and VASELINE.

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