Distressed Furniture

Over the years, I have collected odd pieces of dolls house furniture, many of which I have not used, but have no great retail value, they were just stored in a draw, the thought as usual, they may come in useful one day. After distressing some full size furniture of my own, and having some chalk paint over, I thought I would have a go at distressing some of my unused dolls house furniture, I was very pleased with the result.


First of all I cleaned the piece of furniture with white spirit, and lightly sanded any rough areas. Some cheaper pieces of Dolls House furniture have thick areas of glue around the joints, and a thick layer of varnish. To get a good result I have sanded the furniture, but with this paint it is not necessary.

The Chalk paint is quite thick, and needs to be stirred well before use, or it will not cover in one coat. I painted the first of the two coats of paint on, first I used ‘Rust-Oleum Fire Brick’. When the paint was dry. I gently rubbed down any raised areas of paint, the brush strokes seem to notice more on a small piece of furniture. I then painted on my second colour which was ‘Rust-Oleum Sage Green’. This paint dries quite quickly, but left about 4 hours between coats. I found that I needed to add two coats of the Sage Green, to cover the Fire Brick colour as it is quite dark.

I left the paint to dry for a day before I started rubbing down. This is the fun part, and you can sand the places that naturally show wear, to get that distressed effect. Remember though to sand very lightly, so you just remove the top coat of paint. In places I did rub a bit harder to reveal the wood, giving quite a realistic look. Just remember when to stop, as you can get carried away.



Side Table

When I finished sanding, and happy with the effect I had achieved, I applied ‘Rust-Oleum Furniture Finishing Wax’. I found that it was easier to apply a layer of wax with a small brush, to get into the smaller areas, also a soft cotton cloth. After about 10 minutes, I buffed it up with a clean cotton cloth, to remove and polish the wax. You can add more wax if you want a more glossy surface. It is amazing how the wax transforms the colour of the paint.


Once the paint effect was finished, the original draw handles did not match the new look. All the knobs and handles I had were too shiny. So I went rummaging in my bead box, nothing would fit, looking in the old jewelry and chain box I found a bracelet which I took apart and made drop handles. [I can’t believe at times, the things I collect, just as well my hobby only requires small items.]

The Rust-Oleum Chalk paint I used came in a large tin, [available in 125ml and 750ml cans]. so would do lots of dolls house furniture, but all the same colours, which would be a bit boring. It is available in smaller glass jars made by Autentico, [available in 100 ml testers, 1 L or 2.5 L]  pots which would be better for dolls house furniture, and could do different colour combinations.


To finish off the side table, I put some green sticky back felt in the draw.


Below are some pictures of other pieces of dolls house furniture I have distressed.

Distressed Table


Blue Table


Blue Server


Miniature Blue Server












[With pictures follow link above]

  1. Clean your chosen piece of furniture with white spirit, sand any rough areas, with a fine sandpaper. It is a good idea to remove and sand any furniture which is heavily varnished, also remove any residue glue around joints, enabling the paint will adhere better.
  2. Paint the entire piece in the base coat colour of chalk paint you have selected. When dry add a second coat of the same colour or a different one depending on the look you want to achieve.
  3. When the paint is dry, start sanding the areas that would naturally end up looking worn or distressed, corners, edges, sides of legs and tops of drawers. To get a nice smooth surface sand very gently all over the furniture.
  4. Finish with a layer of wax, [either clear or tinted, depending on the result you want.] this will enhance the paint, giving your furniture a lovely silky smooth finish. You can use varnish instead of wax, but I think wax gives a better finish.


2 Comments Add yours

  1. Claire says:

    Great work 😀 !
    Thank you !

    1. Lee Higgins says:

      Thank you for your kind comment.

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