***You can click here for the plans for the Distressed Bench--complete with instructions for creating the crackled and distressed finish from Country Living)***
All of the lumber was purchased at Menards, along with most of the supplies needed to create the distressed finish. Now, I have to be honest here, I did not technically build this bench--as much as I hate to admit it (sorry, Ana!), a power-tool owning master craftsman actually built it for me while I was at work! : ) I am confident that I could build it, so that counts for something, right?!
Once the bench was built, it looked something like this:
(This is technically a "semi-before" shot, as I had already painted the bottom half before I remembered to take the picture. Oops!)
Distressed Finish--Take One
Step 1: Apply two coats of Pittsburg Grand Distinction in Heavy Cream Semi-Gloss
Step 2: Once I had applied two coats of paint, I distressed the edges and corners with 100-grit sandpaper and applied stain to these areas with a foam brush. Here is the bench with stain applied:
Close-up of the corner:
In hindsight, I should have stopped at this point, polyed the whole thing, and called it good. However, this was my first experience with finishing furniture, and I thought I wanted to apply an antiquing glaze over the paint to distress the bench a little bit more...
Not really liking this finish--too dark for what I wanted, and, ironically, after all that work, this looks a lot like the bare wood that I started with!
So....what to do now? The bench sat untouched for many days while I pondered this question. Then, one day, I got brave, took the sander outside, and stripped off all of the paint, stain, and glaze I had just painstakingly applied. Not very happy right now...
Distressed Finish--Take Two
The second time around, I decided to do things a little differently. Since I wanted the bench to look like "Step 2" of my initial attempt, I figured it might be easier to just stain the entire bench, paint two coats over the stain, and then sand down so the stained wood showed through. (The previous application of stain onto just the sanded parts resulted in drips and excess stain being wiped onto the painted surface where it didn't belong.)
So, here is Step 1--Take 2
Step 2--Take 2
Two coats of paint...again...
More to come...