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Distress Paint with Vaseline!

Hey friends!  Thanks so much for all of your sweet comments and pins on our Mason Jar Planter Box we made our Meme.

As promised I am back to share a quick, easy and of course cute paint method to get that perfect “shanty” finish!

This is so simple and really fun to do!  You will need two paints…. A base coat and a top coat.

For your base coat you can use anything… Acrylic, latex and even spray paint.  I used acrylic here because it’s cheap and dries really quickly.  Here is the color I used.

Do you like my paper plate very professional paint tray?? 😉

First you want to put a coat of your base color on any surface that you want to peek through.  I like to shanty up the edges and corners so that is what I did.  You can paint the whole thing if you want it more distressed.

After that dries it’s time for your Vaseline!  Yup… Vaseline!

I like to get the tubes of it from the baby section at Target because it’s less messy.

Just rub a little vaseline on any surface you want to show through your top coat.  Again I did my corners and edges but you can add more or less depending on your taste!  The Vaseline will keep your top coat from sticking.

This is great because it softens your hands in the process ;-)!

After you have applied your vaseline it is time for your top coat!  I used latex paint for mine.  I do think it distresses the best, but you can also use acrylic.  Mine is an Olympic color called Off White… Pretty easy!  I put one coat over the entire box. Depending on the color you may want to use two coats.

Now let that dry really good!  Once it is dry it’s time for the fun part!  I use an 80-grit sanding block to distress mine, and you can also use steel wool.  Just rub your corners lightly to reveal the base coat.  The more you sand it the more shanty it will look!  Just sand it until you are pleased with the look!  SO DARN EASY!

Want to see my results???

What do you think??  I love it!  It’s just shanty enough 😉 This works great on furniture as well!

If you missed the whole tutorial on the Mason Jar Planter Box you can click the photo below to check it out!

And as always… We would greatly appreciate you pinning and sharing this tip below! Thanks guys!

83 Comments

  1. Katie Rowdy Grothaus on December 20, 2012 at 12:25 am

    I just did this and it worked amazingly well! However, how do I seal the paint after I’m done sanding if I don’t want it to get messed up? Attached is a picture!

  2. Theresa Allen on October 26, 2012 at 1:44 pm

    I have heard and seen other vaseline distressed, but decided to go for it after reading your post – I tried it with spraying the paint, brushing and rolling – I think it turned out pretty good! Thanks for sharing and i enjoy your blog – My finished table will be posted soon, and hope to link to you here to share your projects too! Hugs & Smiles, Theresa @junk2jewels-diy.blogspot.com

  3. Lisa on October 15, 2012 at 4:21 pm

    LOVE that I found this! Ive got a trunk that I Want to try and do this to! Could I use spray paint instead for the top coat that way I dont have to worry about painting the whole thing with a brush?

    • Luke on December 15, 2015 at 7:10 pm

      In principal yes, but acrylic and latex based paints remain rubbery and easy to rub or pick off. But any paint will be able to be sanded off, some just take a bit more elbow grease 🙂

  4. caro on September 26, 2012 at 7:16 pm

    i love this idea! I found the Vaseline makes it easy for the top coat to rub off and especially because it never dries. Instead of using the jars as planters, I put tea lights in them…looks really cute!

  5. Katie Splawn on September 4, 2012 at 2:34 pm

    Totally giving this a try!

  6. Lisa on August 20, 2012 at 11:56 am

    Awesome idea! Thank you!

  7. Jill P on August 16, 2012 at 10:34 am

    I’m worried that the Vaseline will slide all over once I brush on the top coat and I will end up with a slimy mess – did you have this problem? Or am I seriously overthinking the whole process?

    • Theresa Allen on October 26, 2012 at 1:42 pm

      I did too – but it worked great for me – I did try a roller too, and that was spreading the vaseline. I even did 2 coats before i sanded – Good Luck!

  8. Diane on August 16, 2012 at 4:56 am

    Candle wax will work the same way. Just rub a candle on the area you want the paint to come off on and paint over and then lightly sand.

    • Shanty2Chic on August 16, 2012 at 5:53 am

      I have done a tutorial on that as well Diane. I actually prefer this method much more. I like the end result better. Thanks so much!!
      Sent from my iPad

    • Cora on February 5, 2013 at 1:21 pm

      A bar of soap also works!

  9. AngieK on August 14, 2012 at 9:07 am

    Has anyone ever tried to sand off spray paint without any vaseline underneath? Basically I had some original wood (with an already old look), and I spray painted it totally white. Then I decided it would look good distressed and found this blog…but I didn’t add vaseline underneath. I’m wondering if I just sanded the spray paint if it would be OK? Or just crumble? I’d rather not paint over the spray paint….

    • Cora on February 5, 2013 at 1:18 pm

      I have used a palm sander on edges of chairs to give it the distressed look – works great with very little effort.

    • Jessica on February 20, 2013 at 7:55 am

      This is probably a little too late for you based on this post being 6 months ago, but I just did a project with some shelves where the first two I just painted and sanded. I thought it turned out okay. Then I saw this post and tried the Vaseline trick and it looked TOTALLY different. It was way more authentic “shanty” looking. Plus, the sanding part was extremely easy. I did some sanding and then I ran a cloth around the edges where I used the vaseline to get the excess off. It’s very true though, any area you put it, the paint will not stick, so if you aren’t sure how much distressing you want, go with less and try to make up for it with your sanding.

  10. Juliemara on August 10, 2012 at 9:51 am

    What type of paint is the Olympic, my home depot doesn’t carry that brand so I’d like to find something comparable. Matte, flat? etc??

  11. Tricia on August 9, 2012 at 1:37 pm

    Here’s a good chuckle for you… When I tried this I didn’t have any Vaseline, but being a mommy, A&D ointment is a plenty in our household. And it worked SMASHINGLY!! 🙂

  12. Kim on July 28, 2012 at 7:38 pm

    Love it!

  13. Jordan on July 27, 2012 at 3:48 pm

    I absolutely love this, very inspiring
    I’d love to try it with like pink or a bright color underneath, I think that’d be cool
    Thank you for sharing!
    You’re newest follower!!

    • Shanty2Chic on July 27, 2012 at 3:54 pm

      That’s great Jordan! Glad to have you here! We would love to see pics when you try it yourself!

  14. Amanda on June 27, 2012 at 7:34 pm

    I’m working on a 100-plus year-old transom window. I’ve removed all the paint I possible could (at least 4 coats) and already it looks good. Even the panes were covered with two coats of paint. Gratefully, that paint was easy to remove. I was, however, going to spackle and paint the window but when I saw your idea, well, I’m going to jump all over it. Thanks for sharing.

  15. ERIN D. on June 16, 2012 at 11:29 am

    If your wood has a knot in it, you will need to use wood sealer or primer before painting, If not, the knot will eventually show through and ruin your project…I learned from experience the hard way.

    Best of luck to all crafters. Get busy and get your hands dirty. It’s such fun! Love this site!

  16. Lisa on June 9, 2012 at 10:46 am

    Great tip! I love the way it looks

  17. Charlotte on May 27, 2012 at 10:30 am

    What flowers are used in these jars? I LOVE THEM!!

    • Paula Elam on July 11, 2012 at 2:31 pm

      Those are called asiatic lillies. they are perenials and will multiple. I have all colors in my flower beds and they are beautiful!

  18. Allie Enge on May 25, 2012 at 9:21 pm

    Just tried this on a door that I repurposed! Love it!!!!! So much easier and cheaper than Annie Sloan and just as good! Check out The Shed on Facebook for the picture

    • Joni on August 13, 2012 at 8:55 am

      there are several pages named “The Shed”; which one? or can you email me a pic? [email protected]

  19. Kristi on April 29, 2012 at 5:57 pm

    Love the look! Does the wood remain greasy? How do you get rid of the extra vaseline?

    • Lisa on January 6, 2016 at 7:56 pm

      When you sand it, the sticky petroleum feeling will disappear.

  20. Texsheva on April 28, 2012 at 11:49 pm

    I’ve also done this using an old candle. Just rub the candle wax on the item and when you paint it won’t stick to the wax and rubs right off with a paper towel!

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