Furniture Makeovers Slide

How to Easily Distress Paint with Vaseline

Hello Friends,

Summer should be all about fun and so should summer makeover projects. This easy project is a fun way to distress paint without sanding.

I know, right? Total game changer.

I gotta tell ya, when I learned that I wouldn’t have to deal with the mess from sanding, I was all in. I’m talkin’ push-all-your-chips-to-the-center-of-the-table in.

To test drive this technique, I refinished my parent’s old –nearly vintage– early American-style wall clock. After all, July 4th is just around the corner, so it seemed like perfect timing.

Geraniums with fern pronds are perfect for a July 4th centerpiece | The Chelsea Project |

How to Easily Distress Paint with Vaseline

Disclosure: This post is done in collaboration with Fusion Mineral Paint, but all projects and opinions are 100% my own.

Step 1: Clean and Prep

All I did to clean and prep was wipe away the dust with a damp cloth. This clock had been cleaned and wrapped for storage for over ten years, so most of the prep was done before storage. Of course, for a dirty or grimy surface, a cleaner (like TSP or Simple Green) is needed. However, I did wrap a damp cloth around an old toothbrush in order to clean all of the nooks and crannies.

What other supplies are needed?

  • A few clean, dry cloths

  • A surface cleaner

  • Painter’s tape

  • Paint brush

  • Fusion paint – Algonquin and Ash

  • Vaseline

  • Painter’s blade

Grandfather wall clock before makeover in the colors Algonquin and Ash | #spon Fusion Mineral Paint | The Chelsea Project |

Step 2: Apply Basecoat

Two coats of Fusion Mineral Paint in the color Algonquin was applied over the cleaned wood surfaces inside and out. Algonquin is one of Fusion’s great greiges that matches basically everything. Although it looks a tad yellow in this photo, be assured that it is just the weird lighting from a rainy afternoon. 

If you recall, Algonquin was used on the mirror frame in the great room and on a bookcase in the basement. It is my favorite color for blending a greige color on some of my older pieces. Trust me, it works every time.

Grandfather wall clock basecoat in the color Algonquin | #spon Fusion Mineral Paint | The Chelsea Project |

Step 3: Apply Vaseline

After the basecoat is thoroughly dry, apply Vaseline to areas where you do NOT want paint to stick. Just think about where paint would naturally distress if the clock was old and worn. A light distress would naturally occur around the edges and a heavier distress would include more of the wood.

How much Vaseline to apply?

To vary the amount of distressing, a very light coat is applied to some of the flat surfaces and a medium amount (which kinda looks like globs in the photo) to the edges. 

Grandfather clock with 2 coats of Algonquin and skim coated with Vaseline | #spon Fusion Mineral Paint | The Chelsea Project |

Step 4: Apply Topcoat

Two light coats of Fusion’s color Ash is applied and allowed to dry between coats. If you have followed the kitchen nook and great room refresh, I used a lot of Fusion’s Coal Black and Ash on the picture frames. So, in order to tie the clock in with these accessories, Ash was chosen as the topcoat. 

It also helped to see these examples:

Grandfather wall clock topcoated over a Vaseline resist | This photo is before the paint and Vaseline are wiped away to reveal distressing | #spon Fusion Mineral Paint | The Chelsea Project |

Step 5: Wipe Paint

The last couple of steps are super easy. When the topcoat is completely dry, wipe the Vaseline away with a clean, dry cloth. The paint that is not sticking will wipe away with the Vaseline. As you can see, I opted for a rather heavily distressed finish. Notice, too, that because there is no sanding, none of the clock’s original finish shows through. 

Tip: Using Vaseline as a resist is a good choice when the goal is to completely block the original color and/or finish on a piece.

Grandfather wall clock distressed using Vaseline | Base color - Algonquin | Top color - Ash | #spon Fusion Mineral Paint | The Chelsea Project |

Step 6: Remove Gold Stamp

The gold stamp on the inside of the glass was removed with a painter’s blade.  A painter’s blade is a little tool that looks like a razor blade on one side contained in a hand-held holder that will scrape away the gold.

Grandfather wall clock makeover distressed with Vaseline | #spon Fusion Mineral Paint | The Chelsea Project |

When these steps are complete, simply add a few accessories and you’re good to go.

Grandfather wall clock distressed with colors Algonquin, Ash, and Vaseline | #spon Fusion Mineral Paint | The Chelsea Project |

Because it’s just that quick and easy.

Grandfather wall clock distressed with Vaseline and the colors Algonquin and Ash | #spon Fusion Mineral Paint | The Chelsea Project |

If you appreciate this makeover, please…

Grandfather wall clock makeover in the colors Algonquin and Ash | Distressing effect easily achieved with Vaseline | #spon Fusion Mineral Paint | The Chelsea Project |

For more information about Fusion Mineral Paint and where to buy, please click here to visit their website.



  • Reply Jane June 24, 2017 at 12:19 pm

    Absolutely beautiful! Thanks for the Vaseline tip; it’s clearly going to save lots of time!

    • Reply theChelseaProject June 24, 2017 at 2:18 pm

      Hi Jane and thanks. It really does work great. I was so happy with the result. Good luck!!

  • Reply Nicole June 24, 2017 at 7:09 pm

    Wonderful! It even has some crackle!

    • Reply theChelseaProject June 24, 2017 at 7:31 pm

      Hi Nicole and thanks! Yes. I didn’t try for the crackle, but love it! Happy accident!

  • Reply Debrashoppeno5 June 24, 2017 at 9:55 pm

    Fantastic makeover. I just love paint makeovers.

    • Reply theChelseaProject June 25, 2017 at 7:39 am

      Hi Debra and thanks! Have a nice Sunday!

  • Reply Nancy June 25, 2017 at 8:56 pm

    The clock turned out so great! I love the new finish and it fits in your home so well now. I would love to paint a cuckoo clock someday.

    • Reply theChelseaProject June 25, 2017 at 8:58 pm

      Hi Nancy and thanks! I think it works, too! Appreciate your sweet comment!!

  • Reply Mary-The Boondocks Blog July 1, 2017 at 4:52 am

    That is very effective , why it looked almost chipped Pinning this idea!

    • Reply theChelseaProject July 1, 2017 at 8:44 am

      Hi Mary and thanks! I know! The Fusion paint adheres to the original finish so well that I don’t see a peek of it anywhere on the clock. And the tender manner that the Vaseline created the resist really made the finish look authentic. We love the clock and get comments from everybody who visits. Hope you have a Happy 4th!

  • Reply Tray and Beverage Cart Makeover in Cathedral Taupe - The Chelsea Project July 6, 2017 at 6:13 pm

    […] To see a distressed look without sanding, please click here. […]

  • Reply Bench Makeover: How to Paint the Frame and Fabric - The Chelsea Project August 31, 2017 at 8:04 am

    […] After the second coat of Ash is dry (I allowed several hours), apply Vaseline where you do not want the second coat of paint to stick. This process is fully explained in an earlier post. Click here to review “How to Distress Paint with Vaseline.” […]

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