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How to Distress with Candle Wax

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So I have been painting and distressed a lot of stuff lately.  And I’m bound to learn some stuff right?  So I’ll share.

I bought these awesome cheap bi-fold doors at the Restore.  Two were white and one was unfinished wood.  I distressed them all, but the two white ones I did a little differently than the unfinished wood one, and I’ll describe that process later on.

For the unfinished wood one, I knew that I would have to paint it and then distress it.  I wanted these shutters to be pretty weathered looking, so I was planning on the good ol’ Vasoline method.  However the last time I did it it was nice and distressed but not quite the look I wanted this time around.

I knew that you could do the same type of thing using candle wax, and I thought that maybe it wouldn’t leave such large distressed areas and you would have more control over the distressing process.

The first thing I did was get a small tealight candle.  It sat out in the sun for a few minutes so it was a little soft, and I think it worked better actually.  I took it out of the tin and just rubbed it all over the door, particularly in the spots where I wanted it to be the most distressed.

Then I painted it:  first with spray primer and then with white spray paint.  After it dried, I rubbed it all down with some 220 grit sandpaper and the paint came right off where I put the candle wax.

So basically it seems to be the same kind of thing as the Vasoline trick..at first glance.  But it’s not!  I do feel like it’s much easier to do the candle wax–more control, easier to go crazy and end up with a good result.  When I went a little crazy with the Vasoline, it was VERY obvious.  But here’s the finished result!


I’m loving my distressed shutters. They all turned out pretty different but it adds so much character and authenticity. And you’ve probably seen them in the last few posts of mine. Be prepared to see them a lot more… 🙂


  1. Neato! I’ve loved seeing these in your photos. Does the wax come all the way off with the paint and sandpaper? Or does it leave some sort of residue?

    1. I have 4 of the white Nicole doors. I left them outside to distress and they look awesome, but I was wondering if you are cutting them down to be smaller? I was thinking of doing so, but I just don’t know. Did you cut yours down?

  2. I didn’t really know we could do that until I’ve read this wonderful post of yours… Candles do have a lot of uses, don’t they? I think I could use some of our used candles (their left-over) to do this. You think I can use it on my wooden door in my room? I bet yes!

    1. Heidi @ Honeybear Lane says:

      Go try it!

  3. Ana Senzier says:

    Dear Heidi
    I really like your style and projects. Found you looking for a “how to make” slip covers. Looking forward to try on my old sofa. Ana

  4. Pingback: Cushion Ing Blog

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