Distressing Technique Using Soap

6 Materials
45 Minutes

In love with the antique look but don't have the money to spend on pricy heirlooms? Here's the perfect way to get the aged look with just a bar of soap!

I started with a wooden frame. I chose this frame because of all the detail. I removed the backing and glass.

Next, I took a bar of regular soap and began scrubbing the frame. The soap came off easily and adhered to the frame with no problems. It was also super easy to build up. I was sure to go heavy handed on the edges and nooks.

I than painted over the soap. Be sure to really coat the frame in paint. Make sure to cover all the soap.

After it was dry, I too fine grain sandpaper to the edges. The paint practically melted off, it was so easy! Be carefully not to get too carried away or you won't have any paint left

That's all there is to it! Here is my final product, I'm so happy with how it came out.

I also tried this on plastic by just sanding it first. Lightly scoring it helps the paint to stick.

Lastly, my jewelry dish. I hope I gave you some ideas to start soap distressing on your own!
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Suggested materials:

  • Dove Soap  (Target)
  • Frame  (Target)
  • Clock  (Target)
See all materials

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Have a question about this project?

3 of 5 questions
  • Kim Smith
    Kim Smith
    on May 14, 2018

    Dper the soap make it smell good as well? Love the technique, will be trying soon

  • Tanya
    on Jul 9, 2020

    What exactly is the point of the soap? Your not exactly clear about that and you are using sandpaper to distress

    • Joni Sassone
      Joni Sassone
      on Jul 9, 2020

      The paint comes off where the soap is, and you can also use candle wax for the same look. The paint is on top of the soap so it’s not stuck to the wood. It’s a different look than just sanding the wood. Make sense now?

  • Chris Lorusso
    Chris Lorusso
    on Jul 9, 2020

    What type of paint did you use? Acrylic, oil, etc.?

Join the conversation

3 of 9 comments
  • Kevin quinn
    Kevin quinn
    on Jul 10, 2020

    soap vs petroleum jelly

    I perform the same process except I use Vaseline. Rub it on high peaks and corners. After paint dries, use a terry cloth rag and rub the paint from where you put Vaseline. No sandpaper required!

    • Maggie Kimble-Bernard
      Maggie Kimble-Bernard
      on Sep 6, 2020

      The soap enables you to add texture and depth if you build it up. I've used Vaseline in the past when I wanted a less weathered look than sanding creates. I'm going to try this.

  • Rynn
    on Jul 11, 2020

    Thanks for sharing the soap/distress idea! i will be sure to try it today on my project. Wow, got this inspiration just in time. :)

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