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Trickery | Vaseline Resist Technique


Well, I received another oh-crap-call from Lucketts on Saturday.  The Painted Empire dresser sold the day after I brought it in.


I guess I wasn’t the only one in love with that finish!  Here’s how I did it…

I’ve heard about using Vaseline (petroleum jelly) as a paint resist for a while, but I never tried it.  On this empire dresser, I pictured layers of blue and wanted to have clear definition between the two colors.  This seemed like a good piece to test it out on.  I painted the first coat of paint in Flow Blue with the bonding agent added to all of the paint except for what I used on the drawers (I wanted some selective chippiness.)  I then rubbed some Vaseline over the edges of the piece and around some of the key holes and other random spots.


I don’t think there’s a specific time frame to let the Vaseline sit before painting on the second coat, but I decided to wait about an hour to give it some time to dry.


I painted on a second coat, this time in French Enamel without the bonding agent added.  I brushed the paint on gently where the Vaseline had been applied.  On the drawers where the bonding agent wasn’t used, Milk Paint did its wonderful chippy thing…


…and where the Vaseline was…


…total coolness.


When I sanded the piece with a medium grit sanding sponge, the French Enamel paint that was over the Vaseline came off, showing the Flow Blue underneath.  That, combined with the chippiness where the bonding agent wasn’t used and the places I sanded the paint down to the wood made a very interesting finish that looked as if it had developed over time.


I wiped the surface with a cloth (it was a little gummy where the Vaseline was) and then applied one coat of Furniture Wax.


I can’t wait to try this bit of trickery again!

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  1. Thanks for the tip on the Vaseline. I think I’ll give it a try. I recently ordered some of your milk paint and found it quite tricky and unpredictable. Applying the vaseline will give me some control on where the chippy will occur. Now I’m anxious to experiment again.

  2. Oh…how cool!!! I will give this a try. Congrats on the FAST sale!!!


  3. Barbara says:

    I had seen a version of this technique used before. I think you have perfected it! Looks wonderful!

  4. i have now painted 3 (very small) items with milk paint.
    no chipping.
    sigh. . .
    must paint something shinier. . .

  5. It does look authentically worn! Really loving the layered worn look!

  6. Marian- I have been experimenting with a similar technique and Annie Sloan clear wax on unfinished wood that I stained – with some great results! as soon as life, and my full time job, stop getting in the way, I will send some pics!

  7. Sue Pagels says:

    It’s really beautiful! I started painting something with my new Luckett’s green (boy, the old one WAS really blue compared to this one) but didn’t finish yet. I sure wish I would get some of those oh crap calls more often though!

  8. Praying for “oh-crap-calls” starting in January. 😀 This piece is really pretty, and I love the knobs too. xo

  9. O I wish I would get more of those OCC call too, only 3 times has something sell that fast.
    I wanted to wish you a great Thanksgiving with family and some time for your self…

  10. I just tried the vaseline with Annie Sloan chalk paint. Didn’t remember that tip I had read until the 4th of 6 chairs. It worked fairly well, though I was a little cautious and could have used more vasaline. Hoping to finish my dining set as Thanksgiving is only 3 days away and my company arrives on Wednesday. Love you post and haven’t tried your milk paint yet but hope to soon. Hoping someone close carries it soon. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours. God Bless.

  11. Love the color combo! Quickie question: Do you seal the bottom layer of milk paint first or just paint right over it? Have a great Thanksgiving! — Pauline

  12. That’s amazing Marian…can’t wait to try my milk paint!! Happy Thanksgiving!!!

  13. Totally going to try this! I have the perfect piece to try it on.

  14. Shelly Windeknecht says:

    Thanks for sharing that technique! That was such a beautiful piece. Also, thanks for telling us about using the bonding agent everywhere besides the drawers. I personally like a little chippiness…but not alot really. I do have to say that I have never seen a piece you’ve done that I didn’t like. So, keep on inspiring us with your great work and have a wonderful Thanksgiving with your family.

  15. I have used a wax candle for the same effect…not as goopy. However, I had forgotten all about this trick until you reminded me. I just painted a crest and could not get the look I wanted. My fellow bloggers suggested your Milk Paint. I am going to try it again! Thanks goodness paint is so simple! If you have a chance could you check out my “Before, After anAfter-After” post an tell me what you would do?



  16. Karen says:

    Have you worked with pieces that have veneer on them? If so, what do you do if a pc. of the veneer has chipped away?

  17. Marian, this piece is beautiful. I too had never done the vaseline and tried it on a piece. It turned out great, wish it was a little easier to wipe off, but the end result was worth it. You have such a gift with making things look beautiful.

  18. angela says:

    loved it the first time i sew it and i think i like it even more now that i know how you did it and i love the two colors together.

  19. That is absolutely gorgeous!! I have been painting, distressing, antiquing furniture for years but I can not achieve an authentic chipping look. I tried the Vaseline trick and the Vaseline just smeared and did nothing. I love, love, love this look! I never heard of a bonding agent, what and why do you use it? Love everything that you do!

  20. The piece is gorgeous, love, love, love this finish! Thanks so much for the vaseline tip, I am definitely going to give it a try! You always provide amazing inspiration, thank you!

  21. Oh how cool! I am totally trying this! Thanks for the tip. I am into layered colors…

  22. looks great. i’ve heard of vaseline too but haven’t tried it yet! might have to now that I know it looks great!

  23. Way cool. I had heard of that technique (and beeswax), but have never tried. Looks like my cabinet lowers are getting another coat of milk paint & vaseline awesomeness. Thanks for sharing.

  24. Love this…it really looks like a well-loved and well-used piece. Well, it probably was, but you know what I mean. 😉 Great finish for that piece!

  25. teresa says:

    This comment is not about the current post….I just wanted to thank you for putting together such a divine inspired book “Inspired you” I read it on the way and back to my Dad’s funeral {12 hours each way}
    It gave my mind a rest from the saddness…plus I found myself saying, I so understand, been there done that…..I also moved around alot as a child {19 times before I was 19}
    Thank you for being “inspired” to share your thoughts and talents….after reading your book I feel like I have the courage to try something I’ve been wanting to do for years.
    Happy Day
    Blessings to you

  26. No wonder the dresser was snapped up so fast – it’s beautiful! Love the two shades of blue, and the Vaseline trick is really cool. I’m going to try it out on a future painting project. Thanks for the inspiration :-)

  27. I will be trying this!

  28. Gloria Lawrence says:

    “ Happy Thanksgiving “ My dear friend to you and your family..Many Blessings..Hugs and love Gloria

  29. gorgeous! thanks for the how to and congratulations on a quick sale

  30. Thank you for the detailed explanation, Marian!
    And congratulations on the sale!
    I loved this dresser… it made me want to buy the paint…
    I love blues…

  31. I love this technique, I have used the wax method. Will this process work with ASCP?

  32. i think it is so pretty but I may be too rigid for all the variation!

  33. julie says:

    I’d say those kinds of calls are about the BEST kind of “crap” you could hope for! 😉 Dresser looks fab…love the layering.

  34. Having so much of your merchandise selling at Lucketts is a good problem. Cause for thanksgiving

  35. Awesome! I used the MMS Milk Paint on my office chair and it didn’t get chippy, and I didn’t use the bonding agent. A few spots have tiny crackle, but was really hoping for the crazy chippy
    Oh well. Next piece!

  36. Wow! You’re an artist for sure Marian!!
    The furniture wax you used….might it be the Minwax Paste Wax?
    Sorry for the newbie question….
    Have you considered putting links (Amazon maybein your post to the products aside from your milk paint? I think it would be helpful and take care of some pesky questions like mine. 😀
    Looking forward to seeing your next piece. I know when you’re short on time, it’s a mixed blessing. LD
    Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!!

  37. This. Is. ABSOLUTELY! My favorite piece of yours. And I can not wait to try this technique! I have just the perfect piece in mind.

  38. Perfection! i had a couple spots of cooking oil on my potato bin before I added the Tricycle milk paint and the paint chipped very nicely in those spots!

  39. Claudia Gatti says:

    You are such an inspiration! Thanks so much for sharing your techniques. I am so thrilled to see that you are coming to Colorado, can’t wait for the seminars and your book signing!! I reserved my spot just in the nic of time.

  40. what is the bonding agent?…
    do you add it with paint or put it between layers?

    love your site

  41. What a great technique…I just knew that dresser would not last long at all….Here’s to more “oh crap” moments of needing to create more furniture transformations because you selling them so quickly!!

    Have a wonderful Thanksgiving and safe travels!!

  42. Denise T says:

    Wow! Thank you for the tips.

  43. please don’t use the word ‘crap’. It is very unbecoming to a lady and especially one who is a pastor’s wife. Thank you

  44. Hey Marian – I just ordered some of your paint (several blues) and a few other colors – so I can’t wait to paint everything! I never tried the vaseline – but I have done candle wax as a resist (works well). Faux Effects in FL makes a product that works very well as a resist too (it’s called Creme Activator). I would make a sandwich of the layers – with the Creme Activator in the middle – and then you let it dry and then chip it off. I love how your Empire dresser turned out. No wonder someone bought it!

    Have a very Happy Thanksgiving!


  45. Thanks for sharing that bit of coolness – the Empire Dresser did look fabulous. I’m so not surprised it sold within a day. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your Family.

  46. Marian, it’s very pretty. I need to try this technique. If you don’t want your furniture to sell, then stop doing such an amazing job with them. What can I say? This piece is gorgeous!!

  47. Love this!

    I will have to try it!

  48. Looks gorgeous! I will have to do more color layering. Love it!

  49. I am excited to use this technique and we’ll see how it goes. My package of milk paint will be here by the weekend. I’ve never used it before, but can hardly wait to give it a go. I’ll be doing an old dresser with French Enamel as the first coat and Shutter Gray as the second. Woot woot!

  50. maybe it’s already been said, but rubbing a wax candle on the furniture does the same thing and may not be quite as messy. :)

    Looks great!

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