The Vaseline Hack That'll Make Intricate Paint Jobs A Breeze

Many of us use Vaseline in our homes for a variety of reasons, whether it's to cure chapped skin or polish leather goods. But you might not be aware that you can also use it for your next painting job. The petroleum-based lubricant is the key to perfecting a distressed paint look.

Distressing furniture is the act of modifying a paint job so that it looks well-worn. This makes the piece appear as if it is vintage or well-loved. Vaseline makes achieving this look a breeze. That's because the paint won't stick to the areas where Vaseline is placed and will allow the furniture's original finish to shine through, giving the appearance that the new paint has been worn off by frequent use.

Just spread some Vaseline over the furniture in the areas you're looking to distress and paint over it. When your paint dries, you can wipe it off to reveal the distressed look.

How to get a distressed look with Vaseline

For this paint hack, you'll need a tub of Vaseline, a paintbrush, paint, whatever is it you want to paint, and a rag or sandpaper. First, cover the areas you want to distress with Vaseline. You can do this with your fingers or your brush. You'll want to choose areas that are raised or would come into frequent contact, so think edges and molding.

You can also use your paintbrush to lightly swipe back and forth through the middle of your piece for a two-tone effect. Or you can use the paintbrush to create a design on your furniture with Vaseline. Then either clean the brush thoroughly or use a new one to paint a coat over the entire piece.

Another alternative is to use spray paint, which will ensure that the original application of Vaseline doesn't get mushed into the top coat. Once the paint is dry, you'll want to wipe off the Vaseline with either a rag or light sandpaper.

Why this hack works

Vaseline was created in 1859 as a healing jelly to protect and repair skin. The waxes and oils that Vaseline is made from create a barrier so that the skin can heal beneath the bottom layer, while the top layer of the jelly prevents anything from getting onto the skin. Similarly, when using it for a paint job, Vaseline creates an impenetrable barrier between the furniture and the paint, causing it to naturally slide off. 

In addition to using Vaseline to create a distressed look or designs in paint, it's also used to keep paint off surfaces where you don't want it. Some use petroleum jelly to ensure the paint doesn't get on door knobs, windows, or in between surfaces. Just make sure you leave a light layer of Vaseline on the areas you're trying not to get paint on. Too much can leave a mess, and too little might not be enough. You'll also want to wipe it down well when you're done so that no greasy residue is left behind.