Herringbone Console Table: How to Wet-Distress

This piece was a steal at a recent garage sale. I was immediately drawn to the herringbone pattern of the wood on top and the brass-plated corners. The table was in pretty good condition to begin with, but I knew some fresh paint would do her good.

photo_1[1]I started painting her impulsively, trying my hand at my newly-purchased Miss Mustard Seed Milk Paint (MMSMP). Like my try with it on my desk, it failed. Don’t worry though, I will try again. Dying for that chippy look.

photo_2[1]Sorry for the rabbit-trail. So, I started painting impulsively and so I don’t have a before picture, I apologize. After two coats of MMSMP in Ironstone (a warm white), it was obvious this wasn’t going to work. The paint did provide some coverage, but it looked… funny. Spotty. Drippy. Blah. It wasn’t chipping at all. So, I decided to paint over with a coat of ASCP Paris Grey.

photo 1After the Paris Grey dried I decided to try a new technique to distress the piece. Now, let’s be honest. Sanding makes a mess. And you (I) don’t always have the best control over what is happening. But really it’s about the mess. And minimizing the cost of buying sanding sponges. I read online a few months ago here about how to wet distress. This piece was the perfect opportunity to try it out!

photo_3[1]Instead of using a sponge, I used a shop cloth. The key to this cloth is that it’s not super soft like a t-shirt rag. Texture is vital. I wet the towel, and wrung it out, leaving it just more than damp.

photo 2photo 3photo 5After working on the piece I realized the best way is the wipe the cloth over a large section to start softening the paint, and then work in smaller, focused areas. Rubbing will start to remove paint, which exposed the Ironstone underneath and eventually the dark wood.

photo_2[1]I worked this way all over the piece, and was very pleased with how I was able to maintain control over the distressing. This was especially important for the top of the table- the herringbone pattern. My goal was to accentuate the pattern by distressing around all the edges. Of course, I also lightly distressed throughout the top. Lovely!

photo_3[2]All done with step 1. Now, you can see here how there is a milky/chalky reside over the wood…. that’s not supposed to be there. This is from the softened paint being spread around.

photo_2[1]Use another clean damp cloth to wipe the reside off of the entire piece. That was step 2.

photo_1[1]And that’s it! Ready to wax!

I loved this technique! It required less supplies (I use a lot of sanding sponges) and made no mess. I distressed in my bedroom on the carpet without worries. It was that fabulous.


She turned out awesome and I couldn’t wait to show her off! She took the place of our old console table in the hallway, which will get a makeover as well!

photo_5[1] photo_1[1] photo_4[1] How great is the finish!? Love the grey/white/wood combo! And the herringbone pattern? Brass plates? Sigh.

What do you think? Have you tried this technique before?

Linked up to Miss Mustard Seed’s FFF

Thrifty Decor Chick


6 thoughts on “Herringbone Console Table: How to Wet-Distress

  1. The milk paints are always unpredictable, but that’s part of the charm too I guess! I’ve had some go scary chippy. Love the herringbone table, turned out great and the wet distress sure saves on the clean up!

    • Deb, thanks for stopping by! It definitely seems like milk paint is unpredictable, but I want the chippy look so I’ll deal with it! I am looking forward to trying it again though and hopefully taking a class.

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