Learn how to achieve a layered chippy paint finish that you can use on any piece of furniture.
We recently created a faux fireplace mantel surround for our bedroom. I wanted to achieve a layered, chippy paint finish and vintage look. What I wasn’t quite sure about, was the technique I wanted to use to get that distressed, chippy appearance. After finding many ways to achieve the look I wanted, I made adjustments, and finally came up with a process that worked for me.
For anyone out there that isn’t familiar with “chippy”, it is a way of layering paint, in order to get a distressed look. The top layers look ages and are literally chipping off the furniture, revealing the paint and wood underneath.
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- Dark Stain
- Gray Paint ( I used Rust-Oleum Chalked Paint Country Gray)
- White Paint ( I used Rust-Oleum Chalked Paint Linen White)
- Elmer’s School Glue
- Dark wax ( I used Annie Sloan Dark Wax)
- Sand Paper
Step 1: Apply Stain
Because I started with new pine wood, I wanted to use a dark stain. Then, when the paint peels away, the dark stain will show underneath. If you are using a piece that is old and has many layers of paint, you will need to sand the piece first, and then wipe off the dust before staining. You can also skip this step, and apply your first coat of paint, followed by the glue application.
Step 2: Apply the Glue
Apply a layer of glue with a paint brush to the areas you want to have a chippy look. I ended up using a foam brush. Covering the area with a thick layer of glue will create a bigger “crackle”. For a more realistic look, I tried to mix it up a bit. I applied thicker layers in some spots, and thinner layers in others. Regular school glue was used here, but you can use wood glue as well. I recommend doing this step in sections, for a more manageable task. You do not want the glue to dry before you apply the first coat of paint. If it does, it will not crackle.
Step 3: First Coat of Paint
For the first coat of paint, I used a dark gray colored paint to cover the dark stain and the layer of glue. This was so there would be another layer shown underneath the white paint layer. Make sure you apply the paint when the glue is still tacky, after a minute or two. As the glue dries under the top coats of paint, the paint will shrink and crack.
Step 4: Second Coat of Paint
Add the second coat of paint. I used the same white paint that I used on my shiplap.
Step 5: Scrape Off the Paint For a Chippy Look
After the glue and paint layers have all dried, use a putty knife to scrape off the paint for the “chippy” appearance. Leave the areas you do not want to look chippy, alone. I felt that I scraped off too much paint. So I added more paint to the areas I wanted to look more white, and less distressed.
Step 6: Sand and Wax
If you want a more antiqued look in certain areas, apply some dark wax for a finished coat. Wipe any areas you want to wax, with a wet rag, to help from getting too much wax applied. Use the wax sparingly. It’s easier to apply more, than to take it off if you use too much. Sand any areas that you want to look older.
If you are ready for a fun project, I hope you will try to create a layered chippy paint finish, like I did here. Let me know how you did!
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