Distressing furniture photoprops

This is a tutorial for distressing any type of furniture for photoprops.

A while back ago I bought a vintage doll bed from an antique store and paid a pretty penny for that distressed little number. After the first time I shot that bed I thought to myself, “I would like to have another one in a different color, but not for that price again!” I am an Etsy seller myself and I love to support the handmade community by purchasing via Etsy anytime that I can. So I stumbled across Quietude Quilts on Etsy and fell in love! They have unfinished (and finished as an option) doll beds that work fantastic as props! I bought an unfinished bed and decided to personalize it just to fit my style. This is a tutorial on how to distress your bed, never mind that it was done in my living room. Another disclaimer please excuse the photos these photos were taken in bad light and done quickly as my kids were done with me having mommy time! :P Enjoy.

Supplies you will need:

-Paint of your choosing (you can purchase this at Wal Mart, Michaels, etc.) The bonus is this paint is non-toxic

-Paint brushes (I suggest one for each color of paint you purchase)

-Sand paper (I used a sandpaper block) do not buy a fine grain; get at least a medium if not high grain

-Steel wool (Again buy a medium grain steel wool, nothing fine)

-OPTIONAL- Stain (Can be colored or clear)

I actually forgot to take a picture of the bed before I got started as I was so eager, so Kelsey from Quietude Quilts let me borrow a picture of the bed that she took. Seen here:

Next I painted my base coat on my bed; I do at least 2 coats for a dark paint, 3 for a light paint color. If you are using the brand of paint that I did let dry in between coats about an hour. As seen here:

After that step paint your top coat, you can paint only once if you like I painted my topcoat in 2 layers. However in the end I wished I only painted it once as it took that much longer to break through to the base coat with my steel wool. Top coat seen here:

After you have let your bed dry for about 24 hours you are ready to start the distressing technique. Start by sanding all of the edges of your bed. I recommend you sand down only to the base coat because later when you go over it with your steel wool you may accidentally (or on purpose) sand down to the actual grain and raw layer of the wood. It really is all personal preference.

Next grab your steel wool and get to work! This process will by far take the most patience, strong arms, and work! Here it is pictured after the steel wool process!

OPTIONAL-You can stain your bed with a clear coat by just painting it on, I suggest something that is not high gloss but matte. To give it more of a personal spin and an antique look grab a darker stain and a rag and very lightly dab some stain on your rag. Now wipe your bed with the stain, let sit for about 5 min. then take a dry rag and wipe away the stain. This adds more of a darker vintage look to it. Last optional tidbit grab a ball peen hammer, tie a rag around it so that it makes it a little less blunt and you won’t remove paint and hammer some dents in your bed to give it more depth and that vintage feel. You can even go over the dried stain one more time with your steel wool.

And here is the bed in action!

Kelsey from Quietude Quilts would like everyone to know that they offer milk base organic paint for the beds and you can add that as one of your options before buying. Also when they run out of beds for the week they restock by Sunday at 10pm EST and relist them on Etsy. She also offers custom bedding for these beds as well. Did I mention I love my new bed!

Contact Quiteude Quilts at:

Please do not alter my tutorial in anyway and try to use it as your own or resell it. Feel free to sell any finished items you have made using my tutorial. If you would like to share this tutorial please credit my blog and Morgan's blog for the original posting. Thank you and enjoy!

Guest blogger Amy Jo Wagner, is a stay at home mom, military wife, crafter, student and photographer. As a guest blogger she hopes to teach you all how to craft on a budget for personal use or photography use . Her current eye candy comes from Morgan Kervin, Rita of The CoffeeShop Blog and Pink Paisley Photography.
"My real job is being a stellar mother and wife, my hobbies are crafting and photographing life's special moments"


  1. PERFECT tutorial. I've been waiting for someone to post something like this. THANK YOU!!!!

  2. Thanks for sharing...love the color and the baby is precious!

  3. Thank you for an easy to follow tutorial. Otherss I have seen were much more complicated, but you'rs smakes sense!

  4. Can I ask what color paint this is? & the brown stain? I'm going to refinish our tv stand thus weekend & I want it to look exactly like this!

  5. Can you tell me what colors you used? We are going to to do this to our tv stand tomorrow! :)

  6. Great blog! So helpful. Thanks!

  7. What if I want to do the bed in white~ what color would you put as the bottom coats

  8. Great idea ! I have been wanting to create a background for photo prop and this is perfect.

    Thank you !

  9. I'm excited to try it. Thanks for making it look so easy

  10. I'm wanting to do this to my tv stand also, but I want mine to be white. What would be a good base color? I love this blog btw. Such clear instructions. Thank you for sharing!

  11. Hi Morgan,

    Thanks so much for sharing! I did the the whole distressing method with a doll's Ikea bed and it turned out amazing!
    I wanted to make a tutorial to post on my Facebook page, and wanted to check if that was ok with you. I would naturally give you credit for the original post. How would you like me to write you out? I could put your blog address too. Please let me know. Once again, thanks so much for the information.

  12. Love it! I can't wait to try this on an end table!!

  13. Thank you......Your little bed looks great......Thanks for the tips, too.....If you have any more, please share............

  14. I have a twin size bed that I want to do. right now it has a clear coat on it. do I need to sand it down. or can you give me the steps i.e. sand, filler, base coats, top coat, distress, than wax wood finishing

  15. Beautiful work, congratulations, I love all kind of renewed, recycling, painting...Is is so great.
    If you would like to follow me, I'll be very glad too.
    thanks for sharing it with us.
    Carmen Almeida

  16. AMAZING!!!! and so simple too! thank you so much for breaking this down! i will definitely be trying this out this week! :)


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