Shabby Chic Paint Techniques

A vase with flowers against a shabby chic blue wall.
What You'll Need
Sand paper
Paint brush
Spray paint
Design master tool
Petroleum jelly
Cotton swab, rag, or sponge brush

A shabby chic look can help add character to any piece or room. Use these paint techniques to create your own look.


Sand the item lightly, then add several coats of paint to desired finish. Allow the paint to dry between coats. When the last coat is almost dry, sand the edges and architectural elements with sandpaper. Apply clear matte sealant, or paint two coats of satin varnish and allow to dry or leave untreated to encourage more peeling or chipping.

Mess Master (Design Master Color Tool Product)

Spray paint your piece with the desired color (side note, they have just introduced a gorgeous new shabby chic white called bridal veil - beautiful color). Spray a paper towel lightly with Design Master Color Tool's Mess Master. Rub the edges or anywhere you want to mimic worn paint. It removes the paint beautifully.

This is an especially good technique for distressing items like pottery, terra cotta, and woven surfaces )such as baskets, lattice, and chair caning). It also works well on rough hewn pieces where you just want to remove the paint from the upper most surface leaving paint in grooves and crevices.

Mess Master was originally designed to clean up/dissolve spray paint from oversprays, etc. Turns out it's a great design tool. And I've tested it on regular latex paint. Works well as long as you haven't passed the curing time.

Petroleum Jelly

This technique will make it look like the paint has been chipping away for years. Use cotton swabs, old rags, sponge brushes, or even your fingertips to apply a medium coat of petroleum jelly to the edges and surfaces that you'd like to distress, or mimic peeling or worn paint.

Paint a heavy coat of latex paint onto surface. Allow it to dry overnight. Using a clean, soft cloth, rub the surfaces of the painted item to "peel" paint off on petroleum jelly coated areas. Make sure to clean the surface well and remove all petroleum jelly as this will act as a resist for any glaze, antiquing pigment, or varnish you try to apply after using this technique.

Achieving the perfect shabby chic look is easy with these paint techniques. There is no need to pay for an overpriced piece now that you can make your own!

by Kelley R. Taylor for CreatingHomeDecor