Change the look of your molding using distressing techniques.

How to Distress Molding

by Heather Montgomery

If you are not a fan of plain molding or if the decor in your home relies on rustic or shabby chic charm, molding straight from the store might not fit in with your design. Using paint, sandpaper and some faux-finishing tools, you can make your molding look as though it's been gracing your walls for decades. Distressed molding might fit in well in your living room, playroom or private oasis. Depending on the look you're going for, you can use paint to create the appearance of years of paint layering and chipping or stain to bring out the distressed areas of the molding.

1. Painted Molding

1 Place painter’s tape along the edges of the molding if you are distressing molding that is already in place on your walls. Cover floors and surrounding furniture with drop cloths, and tape plastic sheeting over your walls to prevent paint splatter and drips from marring your paint finish. If you're distressing molding before you place it on the wall, lay down drop cloths and place the molding on sturdy sawhorses or a flat surface in a well-ventilated area.

2. Painted Molding

2 Apply a coat of primer to your molding using a nylon paintbrush; allow the primer to dry completely. Apply a coat of the lighter color paint to your molding using a nylon paintbrush, and allow the paint to dry completely.

3. Painted Molding

3 Distress your molding by using a hammer and nails to create holes in the molding to simulate wormholes and hit the molding with a chain to create dents. Rub the wax of a pillar candle along the edges and raised detail of your molding. The wax will prevent the second, darker coat of paint from adhering, making the removal easier.

4. Painted Molding

4 Paint the distressed molding with a coat of the darker color paint using a nylon paintbrush. Allow the paint to dry completely.

5. Painted Molding

5 Sand the molding with 320-grit sandpaper in the areas where you applied the candle wax or anywhere you want the lighter color to show through the darker paint. Sand lighter in some areas and heavier in others to simulate years of uneven wear and paint chipping on the molding. Wipe away any dust with a rag.

6. Stained Molding

1 Adhere painter’s tape along the edges of the molding if you are distressing molding that is already in place on your walls. Cover floors and surrounding furniture with drop cloths; tape plastic sheeting over your walls to prevent stain splatter and drips from marring your paint finish. If you are distressing molding before you place it on the wall, lay down drop cloths and place the molding on sturdy sawhorses or a flat surface in a well-ventilated area.

7. Stained Molding

2 Sand the molding with 320-grit sandpaper and wipe away dust with a damp rag. Distress the molding using a hammer and nails to create wormholes, and a chain to make dents.

8. Stained Molding

3 Apply a coat of stain using a nylon paintbrush or clean rag, working extra stain into the holes and dents you created. Allow the first coat of stain to dry and apply a second coat of stain, after lightly sanding the molding, if the finish is not as dark as you prefer.

9. Stained Molding

4 Sand the molding lightly to smooth the finish. If you want some of the natural wood grain to show through, sand the molding to revel the natural color around the edges and raised areas of the molding. Wipe away any dust with a rag.

10. Stained Molding

5 Apply two coats of polyurethane, allowing drying time and sanding between each coat, with a nylon paintbrush or foam paintbrush to protect the molding.

Items you will need

  • Painter’s tape
  • Drop cloth
  • Plastic sheeting
  • Sawhorses
  • Primer
  • Latex paint in two complementary colors
  • Nylon paintbrush
  • Candle wax
  • Hammer
  • Nails
  • Chain
  • 320-grit sandpaper
  • Wood stain
  • Rag
  • Polyurethane

Tips

  • When choosing paint colors, choose a lighter and darker shade in colors that complement each other, such as baby blue and chocolate brown or cream and darker blue.
  • If you want to enhance the distressed areas of your molding even more, apply a glaze to the molding using a rag; after five to 10 minutes, wipe off the glaze.

Warnings

  • When working with paint and stain, work in a well-ventilated area and wear eye and mouth protection.
  • Make sure the area you are working in is inaccessible to your children to prevent them from coming in contact with the paint and inhaling paint fumes.

Photo Credits

  • Jupiterimages/Photos.com/Getty Images