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Last Updated on September 3, 2018 by Chris Butler
Today I’m going to show you how to chippy paint without sanding. Chippy paint is a way of layering paint for a distressed look. It looks like the top layers have aged or chipped off to reveal more paint or wood underneath.
This is a great technique to use on furniture and wood signs that you want to have that distressed farmhouse feel. Crackle painting is great for that look too. See my post How To Crackle Paint if you want to learn that technique.
So typically the way to chippy paint is to sand the top layer of paint off to reveal the layers underneath. But that can get messy in a hurry. Especially if you are working in your house. And it can be a little more time-consuming.
I’ve also tried using vaseline to get the chippy look. That is where you smear vaseline everywhere you want the paint to chip away. And then wipe it all off when you are done painting. But that can be messy too, plus it doesn’t always give me the results I want.
I’m all about saving time and having less mess to deal with.
So let’s get to it.
Quick Links to Information in This Post
Chippy Paint Supplies Needed
How To Chippy Paint
If you have some scrap wood laying around it’s a great idea to start with that.
Typically you want to have contrasting colors of paint. I did three boards for this tutorial. One is white with black chippy paint and another is yellow with dark teal chippy paint. And the third I did three layers, coral, teal and yellow.
Start with painting your project the color you want to show through the chippy paint. For this example I used SeaPaint
After the paint has dried use a candlestick to apply the wax over your board. I always like to hit the edges hard and get a good wax coating there.
After your edges are done go over the rest of the area applying the candle wax wherever you want the top layer to ‘chip off’.
Everywhere you apply the wax the bottom layer of paint will show through.
- FUN FACT – Candles were invented in 3000 BC by the Egyptians and were made out of beeswax. Speaking of beeswax, you can use it for this method of chippy painting too!
Layering Paint for a Distressed Chippy Look
When you have a good wax coverage over your first layer of paint, apply the second layer of paint. My second shade is Bermuda Beach by SeaPaint
You want to cover your whole project with the second layer of paint. You’ll notice in the areas where there is wax the paint may not stick well. That is totally ok.
You can see how mine looked in the picture below. There is definitely some yellow showing through there.
So now we are going to wait for that second layer of paint to dry.
- Fun Fact: SeaPaint dries in 10 minutes or less!
After it’s dry remove the backing from your contact paper and stick it to your project.
Use an old credit card or something similar to scrape and push down the contact paper so it sticks well.
Next rip off the contact paper. The top layer of paint will chip away in the areas where you applied the wax.
It’s a good idea to do this a couple of times to get the maximum amount of paint chipped off. You can reuse the same sheet of contact paper a couple of times.
You want to make sure you are using something that is fairly sticky. You need a good stick to pull the paint off. So some other things you can use include adhesive vinyl or duct tape.
Here is the board after I used the contact paper a couple of times.
You can see I didn’t put a whole lot of wax on this chippy paint board. I just scribbled over it a bit with the candlestick to show different looks.
For the black and white board, I went heavy on the wax. This board has a base layer of white with a black top layer. I laid the candlestick on its side and rubbed fairly hard to get a good coating of wax.
Three or More Layers of Chippy Paint
You can totally keep going on the layers to create an even more distressed look. I started this board with a light teal on the bottom. I did a light to moderate layer of candle wax and then painted the board in coral.
After the coral layer was chipped away I did a heavy layer of wax and painted the yellow. When the yellow is ‘chipped off’ both the coral and teal show through.
This one is my favorite. Don’t you just love the look of three layers?
How To Chippy Paint Furniture
You can use this method for chippy painting furniture too! Here is a table top I did with a stencil. I even applied wax before painting the stencil so I could make it chippy too.
- Fun Fact: I had to move this table and shoot the picture at a strategic angle in order to hide the toys and my workspace clutter #momlife
It may be easier to work in smaller sections on furniture so you don’t go through so much contact paper.
If you want the original wood on the furniture to show through, just cover some areas with wax before you paint the first layer. It usually looks best if original wood shows through on some corners and edges.
So that’s how I chippy paint with less mess and in less time. It’s a great technique to use when you don’t want to mess with a sander! Don’t forget to check out this post on How to Crackle Paint.
Chris Butler has helped thousands of crafters learn how to use their Cricut machine without feeling overwhelmed. She is a best selling author and an up and coming designer. For fun Chris enjoys designing SVG Files, hanging out with her family (preferably at the lake), traveling, and volunteering at her church. She is a wife and mom of two crazy fun kids.