White Distressed Cabinets

We had a wonderful weekend at the Southern Ideal Home Show and enjoyed meeting so many new faces and hearing about your projects in your own homes!  I couldn't help but notice that a lot of people graviatated toward one particular finish, Country Living Texture Basecoat in Wisteria with Toner.  I can't say as I blame you.  It's a beautiful twist on a classic that gives more character to your piece/cabinets than just traditional glazing.  In response to its popularity, though, I thought I'd post a quick tutorial here!  The sample at the show was over a piece of espresso stained wood but I made this quick example today on a melamine cabinet sample I had.


So, of course, this is just the basic door but I add this to remind you of the most important step... CLEANING!  I clean with Simple Green and a Scotch Brite sponge to remove any wax and grease.  Then I wipe the cabinets clean with a damp cloth to remove any leftover residue.  Once it's completely dry than you're good to go.  

The first step is simply to "mush" the paint onto the surface.  It sounds easy... because it is.  There's no rhyme or reason to painting.  Just go for full coverage and try to steer clear of any extreme clumping in the crevices.  This will only lead to more sanding work for you in the next step.  Here is also where you can begin to affect the texture of your final product.  The thicker you apply the paint... the more texture.

Once you're done, allow the surface to completely dry then you're onto the next step.  Sanding.  It's not as bad as it sounds and you can effect your final product a lot.  More sanding will lead to less texture... less sanding, more texture.  You get the picture.  I like using sanding blocks because they bend and mold to the surface and allow me to better get into the crevices.  For wide surface areas, a mouse hand sander will certainly make the job go faster but it's not neccessary.  I also like to use around 150-180 grit.

Once you're done sanding there's only one step left-toning.  Wipe away all the dirt and grit from sanding, a damp cloth or even a swiffer takes care of this easily.  I recommend practicing your toning technique, especially on a white surface, the toning will be even more important and noticeable.  Practice on a scrap piece of wood, or the back of your cabinets so by the time you get to the fronts of your doors you're an expert!

Brush on the toner in workable areas!  Always start smaller than you think and as you get more confident then you can move on to bigger expanses.  Remove by wiping away with a clean cloth.  It works well to shape you cloth into a rose-like shape and constantly move the cloth over the surface until you have your desired look.  A slightly damp cloth will remove more toner and a dry cloth will remove less.  I recommend a slightly damp cloth for removing toner from such a bright white color.

Try to keep your lap lines from being straight lines and as you work into new areas brush a little bit of toner slightly beyond where you stopped to give more fluid look in the end so you won't see each section you toned.  After toning, YOU'RE DONE!  Remember, the toner is supposed to catch and be heavier in the crevices.  

I hope this helps those of you who want to put this classic finish in your own home!  Just remember to practice on the back of your doors or scrap wood, and to tone in small workable sections and you'll have a great result!


Hannah BrownComment