Hi everyone! It’s Denise from Salvaged Inspirations! Are you looking for an easy way to create a naturally worn distressed finish? It’s REALLY easy to do and lends itself to a gorgeous vintage look. I can’t tell you how much fun this Pumpkin Spice Mini China Cabinet was to work on. I enjoyed every minute and I hope these 7 Tips on How To Distress Painted Furniture with Sandpaper will help you achieve a similar look!

Materials List:

Paint Brushes
Shop Towel
White Lightning (Cleaner)
Sanding Sponge | Tack Cloth
Water Mister
Pumpkin Spice Paint 
Best Dang Wax in Clear

How To:

Step 1:

First, this cabinet was cleaned inside and out using this cleaner.  After it was clean and dry, I gave it light once over with this sanding sponge to add a little tooth for the paint to adhere to.

Step 2:

Next, paint! I used Pumpkin Spice from the Dixie Belle’s Suzanne’s Fall Color Collection. This Chalk Mineral Paint brushed on beautifully and took two coats to get the coverage I wanted.

Step 3:

I haven’t painted a distressed piece in a while so this was a lot of fun! Using this 220 sanding sponge, I lightly sanded to the first coat of paint to remove some paint and expose the stained wood in areas it would naturally wear over time. Like the hinge area, corners, and around the doors and knob.

Once the first coat of paint was distressed with this 220 sanding sponge, I applied the second coat of Pumpkin Spice. I used my water mister to thin out the paint around the distressed areas and applied it heavier in non-distressed areas.


  1. Sand and distress between EACH coat of paint
  2. Start with a higher grit and work your way to a lower grit
  3. Use higher grit sandpaper (220) for a softer distress
  4. Use lower grit sandpaper (120-180) for a stronger distress
  5. Apply additional coats of paint ‘lighter’ in areas you want the worn distressed look
  6. Sand with a light hand as to not remove the original finish of the wood furniture
  7. Use a water mister to help thin out the paint where distressed

To read the rest of this informative blog post, hop on over to Salvaged Inspirations here!

About the Author

Salvaged Inspirations

Denise is a blogger, self-taught furniture artist, writer, photographer and the owner/creator of Salvaged Inspirations. She is a lover of all things vintage, repurposed and restyled. A thrift enthusiast, she’s always in pursuit of the next creative upcycle.

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