by Cathy Baker

The task was daunting for someone like me. Knowing how I want something to look is one thing, but getting it there often requires more confidence than I can muster. For instance, painting our farmhouse table legs a distressed white.

But one Fallish morning, it dawned on me that I’m not limited by own knowledge, or lack thereof. Pinterest and similar sites are just a tap away! What’s the worst that could happen? I could always slap a coat of black back on the legs if needed.

Chalk paint or no chalk paint? Gloss, semi-gloss, or flat? I was inundated with hundreds of options. Then, the pins parted, revealing one of my now favorite sites — Love Grows Wild. Liz’s option was simple. So simple, in fact, that I had everything but the paint on hand. Score.

What do you need? 
Vaseline
Paint and brush
Damp rag

My version below will give you a glimpse into the process. When I did this last year I didn’t think to document my progress so these are just random photos taken along the way. To read Liz’s tutorial, visit her post on distressing here. 

To ensure I’d like the new white distressed legs, I held up a white sheet of paper against the dark tabletop. I also googled images to snatch additional ideas. How could we survive thrive without Pinterest?

Okay, that’s self-explanatory, but hopefully you agree I made the right choice painting the legs white.

I began by painting a flat gray color over the black to add a layer beneath the white. This way, when distressed with the sandpaper block, gray would show through instead of black. The sweet part of this deal was the paint guy at Lowes took a flat black and simply added white to the mix until it hit the tint of gray I desired. The flat black paint was a return so I saved a few bucks which was, however, promptly spent at Starbucks on the way home.

BEFORE painting it white, I applied Vaseline, as Liz states in her tutorial. I smoothed it out with my finger, mostly around edges where natural distressing would occur over time. A few times I took my damp rag and whisked away at the edges in hopes of producing a more natural look. Remember! Wherever the Vaseline is, the overlay of paint (white, in my case) will not adhere well, so apply carefully. I painted two coats of white, waited until it was dry to touch, and then went back with a lightweight piece of sandpaper, gently sweeping across the less-adhered areas. It worked beautifully! 

I chose to live with a lightly distressed table for awhile since I can always go back and distress it more. We’ve lived with it now for almost a year and still love it.

I’m learning that I can do things if I’m willing to have a teachable spirit…and follow tutorials by Liz from Love Grows Wild.

What’s something you’ve done that you didn’t think you could do?