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!


  1. Carole on September 27, 2015 at 10:51 am

    I used this technique on a mixed media canvas several years ago. It’s fun, and magical. lol

  2. chalklady on June 23, 2015 at 5:45 pm

    Although I am seeing others with my concern, I’m not sure I’m convinced to do this. How can you paint over the splotches of vaseline without picking it up on the brush and spreading it around? I’d like to use the vaseline method based on the WOW results, but I’m not sure how to proceed.

  3. Crystal on May 26, 2015 at 8:03 am

    I used this on small projects and it worked perfectly. I just used it on a big tank stand and there is Vaseline grease stains smeared all around where I distressed. This has never happened before. Any ideas how to clean it up or cover it up?

    • Shanty2Chic on May 26, 2015 at 8:06 am

      Hi Crystal,
      We haven’t had this happen but try a little bit of dish soap and a damp cloth!

      • Crystal on May 26, 2015 at 8:10 am

        Thank you, I will.

  4. Leona Murphy Krivda on April 23, 2015 at 6:49 pm

    I just had my hubby make me a Old Wooden Tool Box, and I want to do this to it! Hope it comes out as good as yours, Love It!!!

  5. Kathi Pica Bogdan on March 21, 2015 at 10:47 am

    My project is a large finished picture frame. Do I have to sand it before I begin

  6. Joyce on January 22, 2015 at 2:28 pm

    Love the easy process. How would you work with a frame that has a carving design in the wood?

  7. Lbeam on August 11, 2014 at 1:07 am

    Love it!

  8. Amanda Miller-Davros on May 16, 2014 at 3:37 pm

    Do you think this would hold up in an outdoor setting?

    • Shanty2Chic on May 16, 2014 at 3:46 pm

      For sure if you put an outdoor varnish on it!

  9. Donna Currie on May 13, 2014 at 4:35 am

    I don’t understand. If you are using sand paper to distress, what is the point of the Vaseline?

    • Luke on December 15, 2015 at 7:12 pm

      The vasaline stops the paint adhering as well to the undercoat. It then means that you can remove it easier. But you’re right – you don’t NEED the vasaline, it will just make the removal of coats easier.

  10. Bryony Zasman on April 10, 2014 at 3:13 pm

    I am going to try this on a large mirror I just got off craigslist. The mirror is already a dark mahogany. Would you still paint the first layer if your wood was this color? Or would you go right to the Vaseline?

  11. Amanda Dreyer Ward Bam on January 11, 2014 at 9:48 am

    This is gorgeous and so easy! Thank you I am going to try this immediately!

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  13. Ronica Ellis on September 1, 2013 at 8:21 am

    have you ever done this on metal?

  14. Bekah Booher on July 11, 2013 at 8:44 am

    Looking for someone to answer this question, Can you use white as your undercoat? Everything I have read says to use a dark color as an undercoat but I am reversing the two and want to have a white undercoat and a plum topcoat.

    • Christopher Knapp on December 2, 2013 at 11:14 am

      You can use whichever colour you like as an undercoat. Just make sure you let the base coat dry thoroughly. Note, the undercoat will not show as much with it being white under a darker colour.

    • Luke on December 15, 2015 at 7:03 pm

      The light and dark just make a good contrast, if you look at them image you’ll be able to figure out what it will look like if reversed. The beauty of this kind of things is you can use your imagination, and there’s not really a wrong way of doing it. If you don’t like the outcome, paint it again and you’ll have more layers 🙂

  15. Andrew Higgins on April 16, 2013 at 2:05 pm

    Perfect …this helped me figure out the technique I wanted for my latest project!!! Thanks so much for posting this!

  16. beth on March 6, 2013 at 5:42 am

    Oh you are my hero right now! I have been struggling to figure an easier distress method. Thanks so much for this awesomeness

  17. Cora on February 5, 2013 at 1:16 pm

    You can use a bar of soap instead of the Vaseline. It’s a little less messy to get off your piece and it blocks your top coat.

  18. jessie on January 18, 2013 at 11:56 am

    I just did the distress on a couple small shelves and found that if you let each layer of paint dry thoroughly and then sand it does the same thing. But no need to cover the entire item with paint, just lightly paint where you want the distressed look after the first coat. I hope that made sence. I think i will find another item and do the same, but take pictures step by step so it makes more sense. I do love the distressed look. Great job on your project! Another thing a person could use is bar soap too 🙂

  19. Craftingbunny on January 13, 2013 at 4:06 pm

    Thank you for this great tutorial – I tried it on a jewellery holder and it worked a treat!

  20. Katie Rowdy Grothaus on December 20, 2012 at 12:29 am

    How do you seal it when your done painting? I just did this and it turned out great!

    • Shanty2Chic on December 20, 2012 at 5:20 am

      We like using Rust-Oleum’s polyurethane… Hope this helps!

      Sent from my iPad

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