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How to Distress Anything With 1 Simple Trick

How to use 1 household item to distress plastic, glass, metal, and wood for a weathered, Tuscan effect in minutes without sanding.

Back when this blog first started a bajillion years ago (well, okay 5 years ago but it’s been at least a bajillion DIY projects, so it counts), one of the very first posts I ever shared was a distressing technique I’d discovered. Baby blogger me was so proud.

Farmhouse style was just gearing up for its hay day, and I. was. HERE. FOR. IT in our first character-less house.

I had this giant pile of plastic thrift store frames that I wanted to distress, but distressing plastic is kind of impossible to do with sandpaper. So I tried out an experiment. Vaseline. And it worked! And then my farmhouse lovin’, builder grade ownin’ self lived happily ever after.

How to Distress Anything With 1 Simple Trick | Pottery Barn look-alike Tuscan style weathered planters using just spray paint

Ever since then, I’ve used it on random non-wood projects that I want to look weathered without a ton of work or expense.

And a couple of weeks ago, I decided my next victim would be our front porch planter pots, which I shared all about in my Instagram Stories.

How to Distress Anything With 1 Simple Trick | Pottery Barn look-alike Tuscan style weathered planters using just spray paint

There was nothing wrong with them really. I was just craving change. And I’d recently seen these GORGEOUS Tuscan style weathered planters at Pottery Barn that I couldn’t get out of my head. They were a whopping $300+ each though, so I figured I could get the same look with my trusty ol’ Vaseline trick for only about $10.

Supplies Used:

  • Simple Green (or whatever all purpose cleaner you prefer)
  • A few clean, dry rags
  • Vaseline
  • 2 different shades of spray paint (I used a matte gray and a gloss white for sheen variance to add a little texture.)
  • And my existing planters

The Steps:

How to Distress Anything With 1 Simple Trick | Pottery Barn look-alike Tuscan style weathered planters using just spray paint

1. I gave all four of my planters a quick spritz and wipe down using Simple Green. And let air dry for a few minutes.

2. Then I painted them all with a base coat of the matte gray spray paint (you might need 2 coats to fully cover).

How to Distress Anything With 1 Simple Trick | Pottery Barn look-alike Tuscan style weathered planters using just spray paint

3. When the matte gray base coat was fully dry, I rubbed Vaseline where I wanted the planters to look distressed. Be generous with it. It feels super slimy and gross to me, but I just dip my fingers in the jar and use my hands to rub it all around where I want my base coat to be revealed under the top coat.

How to Distress Anything With 1 Simple Trick | Pottery Barn look-alike Tuscan style weathered planters using just spray paint

4. Immediately after applying the Vaseline, spray 1-2 coats of your top coat color (in my case, the gloss white).

How to Distress Anything With 1 Simple Trick | Pottery Barn look-alike Tuscan style weathered planters using just spray paint

5. After your top coat is completely dry, use a dry, clean rag to wipe away the Vaseline, which will take the top coat color with it. And the base coat will be revealed underneath for a weathered effect.

Easy peasy! Other than waiting for paint to dry, it really only took about 10-15 minutes of work to totally change the look of our planters.

How to Distress Anything With 1 Simple Trick | Pottery Barn look-alike Tuscan style weathered planters using just spray paint

How to Distress Anything With 1 Simple Trick | Pottery Barn look-alike Tuscan style weathered planters using just spray paint

So now our porch looks kind of Pottery Barn-ish for about $1,200 less than the real deal. (Insanity.)

I loooooove how it looks alongside our already Italian-rooted limewashed brick. Mmm mmm mmm.

I keep saying I’m tapped out on spring projects and then find myself painting something or decorating something or planning something. It’s proof that winter cooped me up for way too long, and I totally lose my mind.

Y’all going spring project crazy at your place? If I could put down the spray paint can long enough to actually do some spring cleaning, that might serve me better but that part’s not as fun.

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21 Comments

  1. What type of paint do you use to adhere to plastic? I have tried to paint plastic and it just peels off. Thanks for the Vaseline method of distressing. I really like your front door, absolutely charming and welcoming.

  2. Thanks so much for the information! I had to laugh that you think Vaseline is “” super slimy and gross” however. Believe me, there are many
    worse things! 🙂

    1. It’s a faux boxwood from IKEA. It looks totally real doesn’t it? I can’t keep anything alive to save my life.

  3. I love this idea so much!! It’s beautiful, and just what my old planters need!!
    Thank you for a very timely idea (I was just debating buying new planters… Lol…)!!