• Sandpapers, 80 and 100 grit minimum
  • Sanding block
  • Base coat paint colour
  • Top coat paint colour
  • Varnish/wax for finish
  • Wood glue
  • Rags & cloths
  • Brushes
  • Sugar soap
  • Candle wax
  • Dust sheet
  • Dust mask


Step 1:

Using warm water and sugar soap, wash down the piece of furniture. It is important to have a clean surface to work from, this will remove dirt, grease and oils or polish that have built up over the years.



Step 2: Sanding and checking for damage

Prepare your workplace as it might get a bit dusty. Put your safety gear on and start sanding the unit. Depending on the level of the damage start off with the 80 grit paper to remove the finish more quickly. If the unit has only minor marks you can start sanding with the finer paper instead. Make sure all the old varnish is re-moved, this will give the paint a key to stick to. If you apply the paint directly to the old varnish it will mark and come off with even the lightest of scratches.


Step 3: Repairs

Look for any broken parts or lose joints and simply squeeze in some of the wood glue to stick the parts together and allow to dry.


Step 4: More Sanding

If you’ve started with the rougher sand paper, now is the time to smooth the surface in preparation for finishing and remove all remaining scratches.


Step 5: Recreating a distressed look by paint

Apply 1-2 coats of the base colour until it is evenly covered and allow to dry.


Step 6: Distressing with wax

Using your candle, rub the wax on the areas of the unit you want to distress. Start with the areas that would naturally distress like the edges and corners and then work around the rest of the unit to achieve the desired level of distressing.

 Step 7: Paint second colour

Apply 2 coats of the second paint colour, so it is evenly covered and allow to dry.

unit 2


Step 8: Sanding to reveal your distressed areas.

Lightly sand the areas where you applied the wax to reveal your base colour.


Step 9: Varnishing or Waxing

We would recommend sealing your unit with a top coat. There are many varieties of waxes and varnishes on the market.

This unit was sealed with a clear matte varnish so while it is sealed it is invisible to the eye. Varnish is also available in satinwood and gloss finishes depending on the look you are trying to create. Be aware that some top coats especially waxes may darken the colour of the paint by a shade or two. It is advisable to do a test on a small scrap piece of wood first to see if you are happy with the finish.

Step 10: Enjoy your refurbished furniture!

unit new

Handy tip

When applying the candle wax mark out the area you apply it to on a rough sketch. This will help you remember where you applied the wax when you go to sand and reveal your distressed finish.