We Bought a Farmhouse

stories of renovation, home decor inspiration & sprinkles of country life

Powered by Blogger.

Rustic Vase DIY: My Favorite Distressing Methods

I've had this old distressed tin vase for a long time - since my Chicago days. I've been keeping it on my vanity with some faux flowers in it for a little pop of cheer in the mornings. But, the rusted turquoise colors just rub me the wrong way on the white desktop against the light gray/blue walls. I've been wanting to change the color to something lighter and airy for a while, and this week I finally mustered up the time and energy to take on the easiest DIY of all time.

I've had fun distressing a few things for our house since moving in, and I've used a couple of different techniques that I really like. Both techniques start with layering paint colors, and then I variate how I want to go about making whatever I'm working on look old. My first favorite uses vaseline to get a really chippy, shabby chic affect. The second is using sandpaper or some other tool to more evenly shave off layers of color.

Okay, so moving on to this vase. I still wanted some of the rusty tones from the vase to come through, so I started by applying vaseline to the edges before applying my first coat of paint. The vaseline creates an oily surface that the paint won't stick to. I usually like to start with the edges of whatever I'm working on because edges are what start to distress first, so it makes the project more authentic-looking.

Once I had everything covered in vaseline that I didn't want painted, I used a bronze spray paint all over the vase as my next layer of color. I normally use a matte-finish chalk paint for distressing projects, but because this is such a small piece that only sits on my vanity, and I didn't want to spend too much time on it, I decided a spray paint for this project would do the trick. Spray paint is also cheaper, so yay! I did a light application of the paint because I wanted the original texture to come through just a little. Once it was dry, I wiped away all the areas that were covered in vaseline. The two colors aren't much different, but having that subtle bit of varying colors come through makes the vase look a little more antiquey.

After I wiped away all that vaseline areas, I actually totally forgot to apply larger sections of vaseline to the vase before applying my last layer of paint - a creamy white. My original plan was to dab some vaseline along the bottom of the vase all the way around, and then chip off the white paint so that a good chunk of the bottom was bronze. Buuuuuut, I had a total brain fart and forgot to do this. I remembered right as I put the white spray paint down, so it was too late. Instead, I used my other favorite distressing technique - going at things with sandpaper and tools.

I scraped around the edges where I had originally applied the vaseline, and exposed both the bronze spray paint and some of the original vase, too. The only sandpaper I had was red, and the red was rubbing off onto the white paint, so I couldn't use that for this project, but have used it to sand down paint in other projects and it works really well. I found an old tool in our junk drawer that allowed me to chip paint away, but not large chunks like I had originally planned. So, I mainly distressed the edges and decided to be happy with that.

This is what I ended up with, and I'm pretty happy with it:

If I had used vaseline between the bronze and white paints, I would have gotten an effect that looked more like this:

Excuse the bad picture. I tried taking photos of it without the glare of our patio door that's facing it.

You can see that larger pieces of paint were chipped off, which is what the vaseline allows you to do.


  1. I love this!! Thanks so much for sharing Sam!

  2. Using old useless pots as flower vases could be a lot of fun and could look amazing. It can change the complextion of the room completely and give it a breath of fresh air

  3. Love rustic style. This vase is just what i am looking for. But i don't have this tin vase. Anyway, gotta try this DIY rustic vase out.

  4. Doing spray paint art can open doors of perception into higher states of consciousness. profypainter.com This was my basic motivation when I started discovering how to spray paint, to be free!