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How To Distress Furniture Using Baby Wipes

Distress painted furniture, or painted anything, with this method and there is no mess. But that isn’t the only reason the wet distress method is better than the sandpaper method. Using baby wipes to distress paint saves the original stained finish. Read on…….

antique table before painting

I found the table at my favorite junk shop in Kentucky. The finish was so dark I thought it was time to lighten it up

Glidden Gripper Primer tinted gray is my favorite primer

The finish on the table was not in great shape, so I decided to paint it. The top had several rough areas and splotches of white paint in some areas. I only lightly sanded the top and then applied my favorite Glidden Gripper Primer tinted gray.

This gave me a solid color base for the top coat. I like to have the primer tinted gray because gray is much easier to cover than white.

mixing Black Dog Salvage Furniture Paint to make a new color

I’m still trying to use all my leftover paint before buying more. I mixed three Black Dog Salvage Furniture Paint colors to make a beachy blue color.

turquoise beachy color paint

The blue was beautiful but just ho-hum. I knew there were some pretty details along the top edge so on to the distressing.

baby wipes for distressing paint

I grabbed the pack of baby wipes and rubbed the paint off the raised details. I noticed when I wiped the paint off and kept using the same baby wipe the blue color that transferred to the baby wipe during the wet distress process left a light layer of blue paint on the already distressed area.



Distressing Furniture Using Baby Wipes
Distressing Furniture Using Baby Wipes

Once I had an area, I wiped over it with a fresh wipe to remove the leftover blue film. I didn’t have to grab a new wipe every time, I just used an area of the baby wipe that didn’t have blue paint on it.

My other concern with the baby wipes was waiting too long after the paint dried. You want the finish to be dry but JUST dry. I had Miss Sofi and her friend from across the street at the house and I got distracted. The paint dried a little longer than I would have liked and was adhered pretty well. That means I had to rub harder!

distressing furniture using baby wipes

The table’s original finish had crackled spots and the paint settles in those pitted areas…… and those areas look so good distressed. Would you like to see how to layer paint using Vaseline? I’ve got the tutorial for you here….Vaseline Paint Layering Technique For Furniture.

how to distress paint with baby wipesThe photo above shows how the table looks after being painted and distressed with baby wipes. You can see the original dark stained finish where I used the baby wipes to remove the paint over the finish. It seems weird to paint something and then remove the color, but the look is trendy and the distressing gives depth to any painted furniture.

How To Distress Furniture Using Baby Wipes

That’s all it was to the process. If you want to distress painted furniture using baby wipes, you could work on a practice board before starting your project. Just paint a board of any type, wait for the paint to dry, and go to work.

I should mention why using baby wipes for distressing is a good thing. The original finish doesn’t get sanded off. You get to see the lovely dark finish, and it’s a nice contrast to the turquoise blue.

When you distress furniture with sandpaper, you often sand it down to bare wood because the sandpaper is rough, and the bare wood looks raw and unfinished. It’s always nice to showcase the original stained finish using baby wipes or the wet distress technique.

I used an inexpensive brand of baby wipes from Walmart. I don’t think it matters what kind of wipes you use, although I haven’t tested other wipes. I’m not sure what it is about the wipes that remove the paint, but I know they work better than using a thin towel dampened with water.

Painting furniture isn’t hard, and it isn’t time-consuming. You can paint a piece of furniture and have it back in place in one day. Really. Maybe you could start on an easy project. Look around your house and pick out a piece to paint.

As always, thanks for being here, Kathy

Author: Kathy Owen
Kathy Owen is the founder of the home decor blog Petticoat Junktion where she shares tutorials on painting furniture and upcycling thrifty finds into unique home décor. Her DIY projects have been featured on the Home Depot Blog, Plaid Crafts, Behr Designer Series, and in numerous magazines. Kathy’s newest website is HappyHomeDIY.com

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  1. I have 2 of these tables ,one is very dark and I am going to paint it a sage greenish color for my bedroom ! Thanks for the post cuz it’s really hard for me to paint wood. Now I will use dark woods that don’t show grains.

  2. I will keep a good thought for your family.

    This distressing technique seems like a good one, but I do not like the waste aspect of it. I think it would be ok on a small piece, though.

  3. Prayers from New Mexico for dad and your family! Hoping for a happy and healthy holiday ahead!

  4. Keeping you and your family in my prayers for a speed recovery. I love how this little table turned out and I especially like the blue! Hoping for a wonderful, healthy Christmas for all of you!??

  5. So sorry to hear about your Dad. Wishing him a speedy recovery with additional wishes that you and your sister do not contract the virus also. Prayers for you and your family in these trying times.

  6. So sorry to hear of your coronavirus problems Kathy and I wish you and your family well and a speedy recovery. I will light a candle for you all and hope that by Christmas you will all be in good health once more.

  7. Praying for you and your family and thank you for your dedication of keeping your site up and running. I so love your videos!