The Distressed Finish with Jolie Paint

The Distressed Finish from our Everyday Guide creates a look that suggests subtle aging or wear over time. It is the perfect way to introduce patina and history to freshly painted surfaces.

Read on for step-by-step instructions or check out our instructional video below.

Tools & Materials

Step 1

Apply a coat of Jolie Paint using a Jolie Signature Brush. Paint in every direction, leaving subtle brush marks and slight texture. Allow the paint to dry completely. Dry time usually takes about 20 minutes but varies based on climate and thickness of paint application.


A single coat will allow you to see MORE of the underlying surface after distressing.

A second coat of the same color will provide MORE COVERAGE and will allow you to see LESS of the underlying surface after distressing. This coat should be thinner and can be diluted with a small amount of water (5-10%) for easier distressing. Allow the paint to dry completely.

To see TWO COLORS in your final finish, apply the first coat in a more textured manner. Apply a second coat with a different Jolie Paint color. This second color will be the most prominent in your final piece and the first color will peek through after distressing. Allow the paint to dry completely.

Step 2

Use your Jolie Wax Brush to apply a small amount of Jolie Finishing Wax in Clear. Working in manageable sections of 2-3 square feet at a time, use a gentle sweeping motion to work the Clear Finishing Wax into the paint. Work in every direction, just as you did with your paint brushstrokes. You will see the Jolie Paint color become slightly darker after the wax is applied. Proceed to step three before beginning to wax the next section.

Step 3

Any surplus of wax should be wiped away using a lint-free cloth and applying medium pressure. As the cloth becomes saturated with wax, you will need to replace or move to a clean area of your cloth so that it will continue to absorb wax. Continue on to your next unwaxed section and repeat steps two and three until you have waxed the entire surface.

FOR LARGE AREAS: After waxing and wiping individual sections, apply a very thin coat of Clear Finishing Wax from one side to the other and wipe the surface to even out the finish.

Step 4

To reveal some of the underlying surface, gently sand the edges and raised details with a medium Jolie Sanding Pad. Wipe away the dust with a wet, lint-free cloth.

REPEAT steps two and three, especially in the sanded areas. The wax is dry when it no longer feels cool to the touch, usually within 1-2 hours. Leave the finish as is for a natural matte sheen, or allow the wax to dry for 1-2 hours before buffing with a soft, lint-free cloth for a more polished look. For surfaces that require more durability, apply at least two coats of Clear Finishing Wax. Wait at least eight hours between coats. Jolie Finishing Wax will fully cure and harden in two weeks. During this time period, be gentle and take care when using your piece.


To create more depth in your finish, distress with a fine Sanding Pad over edges and raised details after waxing to reveal small amounts of the underlying surface. Before applying another thin coat of wax, wipe away the dust from sanding with a wet cloth. Repeat step four.

The Distressed Finish with Jolie Paint

Get Your Materials

Recreate this look for your own space by using the Jolie products below. For our full collection, shop here.

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