Distressing with Soap DIY

I was recently tagged in a diy post for distressing a picture frame using soap to coat the picture frame before painting it.

I’ve distressed all kinds of things before, but not like this. I was curious to find out if this new added step to the distressing technique actually made a difference, and if so, was it noticeable enough for me to start doing this every time I use this technique on one of my items? Only one way to find out.  

Here’s what I needed:


  1. wooden picture frame
  2. white bar of soap
  3. acrylic paint
  4. painters tape
  5. sponge brush
  6. sand paper

Step 1

I used my painters tape to separate the top half and bottom half of the picture frame.

painters tape

Step 2

I generously rubbed the bar of soap all over the top half of the picture frame but NOT the bottom half since I’m trying to show any differences between the two.

castile soap layer of soap

Step 3

I painted the entire frame in the same color and let that dry


Step 4

Once the paint dried, I used a small piece of sand paper to sand off some of the paint from the top AND the bottom. Can you tell the difference?


Here’s what I found

Aside from the lovely scent, the soap gave the picture frame a waxy feel which kept the paint from soaking into the frame, as it did in the bottom section (without the layer of soap).  This gave the top section (with the soap) a lighter hue than the bottom half. The waxy texture also made it a little easier to sand off the paint giving it a slightly cleaner, more distressed look in my opinion.



one of the things I do after distressing an item, piece of furniture or surface is give it a coat of early american wood stain in order to really give it that old and worn look, which I did here. I noticed that the wood stain held better on the bottom part where there was no soap.

*I applied the same amount of pressure when sanding both top and bottom, but as you can tell, the bottom looks more scratched up.


So to answer my question. I JUST might start including the soap in my distressing technique after all! Well at least on some of my items.

What do YOU think?

We love to hear from our readers, so go ahead and send us your questions and comments. We always respond 😉

Until next time…Happy Crafting!

One thought on “Distressing with Soap DIY”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *