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Get your groove on with this step-by-step DIY that shows you how to decoupage and distress like a pro. Decoupage is not a term that belongs to the 90's anymore - choose the right images and paint your furniture in modern colours to make magic in your home!

This DIY post #3 of our WEDDING MEMORY AS THEME for a room make-over (in the Ideas Magazine on p.118) takes the forest feast theme of our wedding and translates it into a pretty little pink and green cupboard - with decoupage and three tone distressing.

Inspiration for our second Wall Make-Over: My wedding (A year ago when this magazine addition of Ideas was published)

Decoupage & Distressing with Annie Sloan

What you need:

  • Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in the following colours: Chateau Grey, Scandinavian Pink, Emperor's Silk, Honfleur.

  • Annie Sloan Clear Soft Wax & Mutton Cloth

  • Paintbrushes

  • Decoupage pictures. Download these flowers here

  • Annie Sloan Image Medium

  • 100grit Sandpaper



  • Paint the whole piece of furniture - or only the areas you want to distress later - in a mixture of Scandinavian Pink with touches of Emperor's Silk.

  • We chose both of these colours because they are more grown-up pinks but still feel really floral and festive (Read about how we made the colour choices in our previous blog HERE. )

Distressing Tip*

  • Tip 1: If you want to add an extra illusion of wood peeking through your distressed piece of furniture - paint some areas in a deep brown like Honfleur. We painted Honfleur around the edges of the drawer and edges of the cupboard top. We will paint the main colour of the cupboard over all of these colours (both the Scandinavian Pink, Emperor's Silk & this last colour: Honfleur), let it dry, and then sand here and there to give the distressed look. It is in this sanding part that the illusion of wood will show.


  • EXTRA CARVED DETAIL: This step is not necessary, but it gives some extra depth and detail to your distressed technique! While the paint is still wet, draw a leafy pattern (or write something) in the wet Annie Sloan paint. To get this carved out technique perfectly accentuated you need the paint to be rather thick. To do this pour a little paint in a open bowl and leave it open for a few hours prior to your project.

  • We painted Annie Sloan Honfleur over the carved out detail after it has all dried. The Honfleur will fill in the pattern that you drew and when you sand down the top layer of paint later in the project, this dark brown will look like dark wood peaking through - enhancing the illusion of an old carved furniture piece.


  • Now that you are happy and ready with the base of your furniture piece - painted with the colours and patterns you want to see peeking through when you distress - you can paint the solid top coat and final layer of paint.

  • We chose Chateau Grey for the top coat. (Read about how we made the colour choices in our previous blog HERE. )

Top coat for the distressed technique

Distressing Tip*

  • Tip 2: If you used more than one base colour for the under-coat of your piece of furniture that you will distress, take a photo of your piece of furniture with the base coat before you paint over all of it with your top colour. This will help you know where what colour will show through when you sand in certain areas.


  • Use a 100grit sandpaper to start distressing your piece of furniture by sanding down the top coat of paint. Use the photo you took earlier of the colours of the base coat to know where you want to sand.

Some details to look our for when you do distressing on furniture:

Step 4A: Always sand around the edges of your furniture - this is where a piece of furniture would naturally weather and distress. These edges include the edges of drawers, table legs, cupboard doors etc.

4B: If you have any carved detail or you made your own like in step2, definitely sand over this detail to bring out the pattern. Make sure to sand a bit around it also so that it doesn't look too obvious that you wanted to highlight this section - we are all for natural distressed looking pieces

4C: Sand around door and drawer handles.

Details in distressing furniture

You are done with your distressed part

of this project! Well done!

Go make yourself a cup of coffee or drink a glass of bubbly!




  • Decide on what type of image you want to decoupage. We are taking some of the flowers that we printed for our wedding (as the theme of this make-over is our wedding day! Read more about the process on our previous blog post here )

  • Print the images on about 200gram paper/cardboard - this helps that the paper doesn't make bubbles or warp with the decoupage application.

  • Cut out your designs carefully with a craft knife on a cutting mat.

Cut our your chosen designs


  • Plan exactly where your images will be decoupaged on your piece of furniture. On this distressed cabinet we want to add these lovely floral details on both of the doors.

  • To apply your picture to your furniture:

  • 2A: Mark out with white chalk where you want to the picture to be

  • 2B: Apply a generous layer of Annie Sloan Image Medium (or decoupage) to the backside of the picture you cut out in step 1.

  • 2C: Apply Image Medium to the piece of furniture in the area where you have marked out.

placeing your decoupage image on your furniture


  • While the Image Medium (Decoupage) is still wet (immediately after steps 2B & C) place your image on the marked out area of your furniture. Start from one side of the picture and lay it down gently, brushing out any bubbles as you go.

  • Once the whole image is laid out flat on the furniture, apply another coat of Image Medium (Decoupage) over the face side of the image. This protects and seals in the image. While the medium is still wet, rub lightly over the image to smake sure there are no bubbles.

  • * If there are any bubbles - work them out towards the edge of the paper with your hand or a rubber roller so that the air can escape and the bubble disappear.

  • Make sure there is a lovely clean layer of Image Medium (decoupage) over the image with no excess making white marks.

  • Let the Image Medium (Decoupage) dry completely

Apply Image Medium over the picture


  • You are basically done! All you need to do is put a lovely layer of sealer over the enitire piece of furniture. You can use Annie Sloan Clear Soft Wax or her Lacquer - in this case we prefer the Lacquer as it works really well over decoupaged images.

  • *Remember when you apply the lacquer to mix the tin properly, then dilute the first coat with 30% water so that the thick, strong lacquer can penetrate the Chalk Paint better. Paint a second coat of clear Lacquer over this first coat after it has dried.

  • And ta da

Now you too can decoupage and distress like a pro!

If you want some hands-on training, why not book for a workshop with us:

Give us a mail if you need more advice or want to share a picture of your work:

Furniture colour details

Have a wonderful, colourful day!

Go make some more memories to

base another room's decor on

Room Make-over with memory as inspiration

The step by step DIY blog posts of this feature make-over:

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We printed at the Durbanville Postnet

(give them a visit, they print fantastically! 021 975 5569)

*The beautiful farm we got married on is not a wedding venue - BUT they make the best and only botanical vinegar in South Africa, book a tasting or a stay on beautiful planet Rozendal:

Live in the colours you love,

Visit our paint colours online or in the shop

and fall in love.


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