How to Make Distressed Kitchen Cabinets

What You'll Need
Elbow grease
Nails (or any other sharp, pointed objects)
Ordinary key
Crackling liquid
Paint brush

Distressed kitchen cabinets can really give your kitchen a touch of class. When furniture is distressed it is given an aged look, which makes it appear as though it is an antique. Indeed, distressing furniture is a very popular custom with many homeowners because it can be easily done on one’s own without any significant expenses. 

Step 1 – Scrape off Your Current Wood Finish

To begin, you will need to scrape off your cabinet’s current wood finish. This is easy enough if you use medium-grade sandpaper, and it should not take you a lot of time. It is recommended to use elbow grease during this process; since it will help you get the job done better and faster. Make sure you do not rub the sandpaper too vigorously—simply rub it gently against the surface of your cabinet. If you rub too hard you risk damaging your cabinet rather than improve it. 

Step 2 – Make Some Holes

After scraping off the old finish, you need to start giving your cabinet that particular aged look. To start doing this, make a number of small holes situated randomly all over the cabinet. A nail is perfectly suited for this, although any sharp and pointed object will do. Once again, take care not to press too hard so as not to damage the wood. Do not overdo this process—a few, randomly placed little holes will look good enough.

Step 3 – Create Some Lines

Apart from the holes, you can achieve a thoroughly distressed look by scraping thin lines into the wood. A normal key is perfectly suited for this job—use it to scrape a formation of lines ingrained in the cabinet’s wood. Bear in mind that the lines you create should not be perfectly straight lines, since it would look very weird. Work as randomly as you can, and make sure you do not press the key too hard while working.

Step 4 – Apply Crackling Liquid

To really give your cabinet a realistic distressed look, crackling liquid is a must. This type of solution will create little cracks on the wood’s surface, making it look as though it is truly an aged piece of furniture. You can apply the crackling medium on one spot and then spread it around the rest of the surface with a clean paint brush. Try to cover the whole surface area of the cabinet to achieve an even job.

Step 5 – Apply Sealer

When you are ready from all the previous four steps, you will need something to help you retain the distressed look you achieved. A sealer is perfect for this task—simply pour it on the surface of the cabinet and apply it as you did previously with the crackling liquid. Naturally, you should wait for the crackling medium to dry first, and then you can add the sealer.

Once the sealer dries too, you can stand back and admire your handiwork. Your kitchen cabinet should have a convincing distressed and aged look, and will have the benefit of looking like an antique without actually being old and rickety.