Get A Bleached Effect On Your Furniture Without Taking Out The Bleach

Deer Run Revamps
by Deer Run Revamps
3 Materials
3 Hours

The bleached look is soooo in right now! And yes, you can actually bleach your furniture! But, bleach stinks, and it takes days, literally days, to do. So, what should you do when you want a bleached looked on your dresser, and you want it done within the day??

Read on to find out 😁

*You'll want a deep wood grain piece, such as oak, for this technique

Price is based off the amount of product used

Time estimate does not include dry time


This cute little dresser had so many issues! Pictures don't show all of the flaws 🤷🏻‍♀️ I'm the first person to save some beautiful wood, but sometimes, it just isn't feasible. So trust me, this piece needed to be painted 😁


I turned her into a rustic coastal beauty 😍

Strip (the furniture 😉😆)

First step is to strip whatever sections you're "bleaching"

I prefer either Jasco brand or the 2 minute stripper off of Amazon, but, I was out of both, so I used Goof Off brand. It wasn't bad, but not my favorite 🤷🏻‍♀️ Wear heavy-duty gloves, eye protection and a mask, then apply the stripper, preferably outdoors, according to the directions on the can...wait and then scrape 😁 Easy Peasy!

Clean up Residue

Once you've scraped off all of the gunk, use mineral spirits to scrub off any leftover residue.

The Fun Part (Not) Sanding

Now, you must check to see if your piece is solid wood or veneer before continuing on with this step. If it is solid wood, you're good, continue on...if it's veneer, you'll need to be extra careful, it is extremely easy to sand through the veneer. If this happens, you'll either have a patch with no wood grain that will stand out like nobody's business, or you'll have to hand paint the wood grain in and try to match the stain color, major pain! You can sometimes catch it before it happens, but watch closely! You'll start to see the wood grain get kind of fuzzy, that means stop sanding in that area! You're close! It's most likely to happen around the edges first. So keep that in mind. And do not sand in one area for too long.

You can tell if a piece is veneer by looking at the edges. You'll see a line where the thin wood veneer has been glued on top of the base. If it's a solid piece, there will be no layers and the grain on the edges will match the grain on the top.

Sanding is my own personal enemy 😆

I just don't like it since it requires patience. You must allow the sander to do the work, do not apply a lot of pressure. Even tho it'll get the job done quicker, fight the urge! It'll leave swirl marks behind if you do.

Starting with 120 grit sandpaper, sand off the stain. We want to get down to bare wood.

Move up to 150 grit to remove any remaining stain and begin to smooth it out

Now 180 grit to completely smooth it all out

Now 220 grit

Finally we can finish off with 320 to really make this wood feel oh so soft!

Sandinf by hand, you can also quickly go over the edges and corners to round it off ever so slightly. Usually when sanding down to bare wood, corners and edges get sharp. I like to dull them a tad

*Future project tip

If you're staining, always stop at 220 grit! Going above closes the wood grain and will cause the stain to soak in unevenly 😁

Bleach Effect

Time to move onto my bleaching method

There are many ways to do this. You can use actual household bleach and allow it to sit in the wood for hours/days. You can whitewash. You can dry brush. Or, you can do what I do, a mixture of white washing, dry brushing and painting 😁

My first step here is to water down my furniture paint. I'm using "Dazzle Me" from Frenchic's Al Fresco range. It has the built in topcoat and is so durable, it can even be used outdoors!

I do 40/60 water/paint for this project.

Grab a chip brush, and paint in the watered down paint. I apply it heavily around the edges, and dry brush as I get towards the middle.

Once it's dry, sand it off.

I did this process twice

For the third coat, I did a thin white wash layer. I misted the wood with water, quickly applied a thin layer of the watered down paint, then took a damp rag and wipe the paint away. This really soaked it into the grain.

Once it was dry, I hand sanded with 320 grit sandpaper to smooth it out

Prep For Paint

Before painting, prep is a must. No matter which furniture paint you use. Even if they claim no prep needed.

Clean your piece well. I use Sugar Soap from Frenchic. It's a non toxic cleaner that gets rid of dirt, grime, mold, even nicotine stains!

Then do a quick scuff sand using 220 grit sandpaper. This is a crucial step! It "keys" the surface, giving the paint something to really grip onto, ensuring a perfect finish that will last generations ♥️

Finally, wipe down with plain water


I used "Mermaid For A Day", again from Frenchic's Al Fresco Range. This is a limited edition color, so it won't be around forever 😢

This color darkens a bit as it dries

Frenchic paints also have AMAZING coverage! Most colors only require 2 coats. And no primer is ever needed! Even white over Mahogany..I've done it!

You can see the one coat coverage on the left, then applying the 2nd coat (right) completely covers any missed spots 😁

I like to mist the piece and my brush as I paint. This helps reduce brushmarks and leaves a perfect "airbrushed" look behind.

Also make sure that you use a high quality brush! It really does make a difference

Sand Again

Once the paint has dried to the touch, it's time to distress 😁

Al Fresco range paints, being super durable, can be difficult to distress. The longer it cures, the harder it'll be to sand 😉

I adore chippy, distressed pieces when it's done correctly.

You really want to focus on edges, corners, raised details, areas that typically would get work naturally.

For my piece, I wanted to give the chippy effect as well, like the piece had been sitting outside a beach front home and the salty air and mist has beautified it over many years ♥️

So, I sanded all over, like the paint has chipped

To get into tight corners, use 180 grit sandpaper and sand it by hand, then smooth it out with 220 grit


My go to for hardware is Frenchic's Frensheen.

It's a highly pigmented metallic powder that you can mix with wax, paint, or, like I've done here, any waterbased topcoat to create a glaze. I like my glaze to be a bit thicker than normal so that I can easily create some texture.

A little bit goes a long way. Using a small 2 ounce container, add a tablespoon of Gorgeous Gold Frensheen, then start with a tablespoon of your favorite waterbased sealer (I use Frenchic's Finishing Coat) and mix well. If it's too thin, add a pinch more Frensheen, too thick, had a drop more sealer.

You can also mix the different colors of Frensheen to create your own custom color. I like to add a pinch of silver to my gold, this creates a champagne color 😍

Dip a fluffy detail brush into the gold glaze and dab it onto the hardware, almost like you're stenciling. This causes texture and an aged effect. I purposely didn't cover the entire pull. I let some of the darker brass shine through to add to the aged look


This step is not necessary if using Frenchic's Lazy or Al Fresco Range paints since they have the built in sealer. But, I wanted the color to be just a touch darker, and sealer does just that 😁

So, I waxed the turquoise painted parts of my rustic coastal beauty 😍 I did not wax the "bleached" areas

I LOVE these car wax sponges from Amazon. They are perfect for wax or any liquid sealer.

Frenchic wax is the creamiest wax you will ever come across. It so easy to use, and literally goes on like room temperature butter spreading over a piece of warm bread that just came out of the toaster 😉

The best part, it doesn't have to be buffed! It leaves the perfect slight sheen without buffing, but, if you want shine, buff away 😁

Again, a little bit goes a long way, so apply just a dollop of wax to your sponge, then in circular motions, apply the wax to the piece. Your last swipe should be all one direction to even out the wax

It's all in the details! You can add contact paper to the drawers for a finishing touch! Or even do a fun design on the drawer sides for a peek-a-boo effect 😍

Now sit back and enjoy all of your hard work ♥️♥️

This coastal cutie is available!

We are located in NJ but do ship nationwide 😁🥰😁

You can find this piece, all of the Frenchic products, and soooo much more in our Etsy shop

I love how there's a bit more paint in the edges 🥰

We also added these super cool casters from Amazon to raise the piece up an inch or so

In this close up, you can really see how the paint soaks into the wood grain

You can find even more unique furniture pieces and inspiration on our Facebook page

We truly hope this tutorial has inspired you to create something beautiful ♥️

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3 of 15 comments
  • Melody Boling Medlock Melody Boling Medlock on Nov 25, 2020

    Perfectly imperfect ♥️ Thank you for sharing your experience. It helps me to work up more courage to start the projects I have had waiting in the wings for some time now.

  • Gig69451122 Gig69451122 on Apr 29, 2023

    The amount of stripping/sanding. Has me wondering how that valuable antique was beyond saving? The value had been depreciated. I'm wondering what was needed to cover up with paint?

    • Deer Run Revamps Deer Run Revamps on Apr 30, 2023

      The problem with today's market is that majority of these mass produced no name antique/vintage furniture have almost zero value to it. These pieces are being found for free and on the curb. Hopefully in another 10 years or so, painted furniture will be out and antique furniture will make a comeback so we can strip these pieces back. But for now, they aren't worth much except for maybe some sentimental value.

      I'm always trying to find people who want to purchase these pieces as is or repaired (we ship nationwide), if this is something you're interested in, please reach out to me and I can share my current unfinished stock with you.

      This specific piece had terrible "alligator" finish that needed to be stripped as well as tons of deep gouges that needed to be filled and scratches that needed to be sanded out. Sometimes photos don't show the damage unless you see close ups, especially on the darker stained woods.