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Distressed furniture with spray paint

Rust-Oleum 2X spray paint is an affordable way to paint furniture and there are easy ways to distress spray painted furniture if you want to create a vintage or shabby chic look. Here's how to spray paint and distress furniture.

I have had a few readers and Divas ask me why their spray painted finish is sticky, even after it has dried. Apart from spraying on coats that are too thick and not allowing sufficient drying time between coats, another reason is temperature. If it's a hot day when you are spraying, bring furniture indoors to dry.






120-, 180-grit and 300/400-grit sandpaper
Sanding sponge or Dremel Multitool and sanding rings
Rust-Oleum spray primer
Rust-Oleum 2X satin spray in your choice of colour
Woodoc stain concentrate in your choice of colour - we used imbuia
Woodoc antique wax
Soft cloths


Follow the instructions below for how to spray paint for a successful finish.


Lightly sanding with 180-grit sandpaper is essential for de-glossing varnish or paint. If these surfaces are in bad condition, sanding with 120-grit before 180-grit will remove old paint or varnish. If you need to get into crevices and detailed areas, use a sanding sponge or a Dremel Multitool and sanding ring. Before painting, wipe down with a very lightly damp cloth to remove all traces of dust.


Use- Rust-Oleum spray primer over the pieces to be painted. The primer provides excellent bonding between the surface and the finish and ensures a job well done. Only spray on a light, even coat of primer over the surface.

Two thin coats of primer are sufficient and you need to let each coat dry properly before spraying on the next coat. If you are spraying indoors, make sure the space is well ventilated. Allow the primer coats to dry overnight before lightly sanding with 300- or 400-grit sandpaper. If the paint is not dry it will not sand nicely, so be sure to let dry properly.

Top coats
Rust-Oleum 2X satin finishes are preferred for distressed or decorative finishes, as they are easier to work with than gloss. For this project, Cyndy sprayed the table top with one coat of Rust-Oleum satin canyon black. Only one coat was applied and then sanded back to the primer to allow the application of a wax finish.

If you have a larger project, you might be better of using an electric paint sprayer instead of spray cans, don't worry you can still create the same effect, but it does require some practice. Spray cans aren't as efficient and take a lot longer, while an actual paint sprayer will help in a larger scale if you have a good one.

But... buying a paint sprayer isn't the easiest task nowadays, there's too many to choose from so we recommend the graco 390 sprayer. It's efficient and not too expensive, and will get the job done. It's not the absolute best in the world, but unless you're a professional you don't need it. This delivers great results for a good price.

We recommend spending some time analysing all the different types of paint sprayers on a dedicated site like Paint Sprayer Guide before you buy, it'll save you a bunch of money compared to buying the wrong type of paint sprayer on a whim


Miniwax is not available locally unless you want to pay around R800 online. However, I have a very good substitute for Miniwax by mixing stain and antique wax together. Vary the colour intensity by adding stain drop by drop. Mix a quantity of wax and stain together and apply over the tabletop. Leave for 10 minutes and then polish to a satin shine.

Left you can see how the table top should look after polishing with antique wax with added stain concentrate. The mottled effect beautifully replicates the look of a distressed technique.

For the chairs one coat of Rust-Oleum 2X satin in blossom white was applied. For the distressed finish, sand with 220- grit sandpaper or fine sanding sponge. To seal the exposed wood you can apply Rust-Oleum spray clear coat, or wipe down with antique wax.