effetto shabby chic

How to create a shabby chic effect for your wooden frames

If you love DIY and want to give a special touch to your wooden frames, you can opt for the shabby chic style, which has become more and more fashionable in recent years.

Giving your windows and doors a shabby chic finish is a great way to avoid replacing old windows and give them new life through real restoration work.

In this article we’ll show you how to create a shabby chic finish.

Shabby Chic finish: the basic elements

To create a shabby chic effect for your wooden frames, you need to understand the basic elements of the style and this particular finishing technique, mainly used in interior design.

What are these basic elements? Let’s see them together:

Cleaning and sanding down

First of all, the window must be cleaned of any stains and dirt and especially dust.

Afterwards, you will have to sand down the surface with great care and precision, especially if it is lacquered.

Carry out an anti-mite treatment

Woodworm is an insect that feeds on the pulp of the wood and which can seriously damage your furniture or your windows and doors.

So apply an anti-woodworm treatment before proceeding with the painting, so as to protect your window and door frames for longer.

Paint and discolour

The main colour used for the shabby chic style is white, but it also looks good in soft and pastel colours, light, bright and elegant. Paint the entire frame with a large brush.

Let it dry well and, if you are not satisfied with the final result, apply a second coat of paint to make it sharper.

The essential feature of shabby style is that the finished item should look vintage, so use a scourer on the painted surface to fade and give the worn effect.


Now use a screwdriver or pointed object to remove pieces of dry paint, being careful not to damage the wood.

Proceed randomly until you reach the actual surface of the frame, so as to create a contrast between the dark background and the light paint.

Where you have created these deep scratches, rub in a little shoe wax, removing the excess with paper, so that it can be clearly seen, especially along the edges.

This will give you the old-fashioned effect, which is so dear to those who love this style.

Shabby Chic technique: pickling

If you want to modify your old frames to give them a shabby look, then you need to equip yourself with some specific tools for woodworking and for what is known as pickling.

What is pickling?

Pickling is a chemical process aimed at removing the layer of paint or surface dyes using alkaline substances.

To remove the coating from your wooden frames, you need:

  1. Resistant gloves, to protect your hands;
  2. A wire brush;
  3. A little steel wool;
  4. Bleached wax paste and clear furniture wax;
  5. A wool cloth for polishing;
  6. Plaster;
  7. A little bit of sandpaper.

Shabby chic effect for windows and doors: how to proceed

Pickling your windows and doors correctly, and then proceeding with the shabby chic finishing technique, presupposes some fundamental steps for the correct removal of paint and other elements from the surface of the wood.

The first step is the most tedious, but undoubtedly the most important.

You’ll have to clean the surface of any impurities with an electric stripper or sandpaper and then brush it with a metal brush, highlighting the grain of the wood.

Don’t be in a hurry during this step, and your patience will be repaid in the excellent finish you obtain at the end.

Plaster all the damaged parts of the frame, sprinkle with talcum powder and drag a steel straw through it in the direction of the grain, to create small furrows.

Next, impregnate the piece of steel wool in the white wax paste and pass it over the surface, making sure it penetrates into all the furrows. Let it dry for half an hour.

After this time, dip another piece of steel wool in the furniture wax paste and pass it over the surface again.

At this point your pickling work is finished. Now you just have to proceed with the painting of the wooden frame to obtain a perfect shabby chic style.

It’s not difficult to create, but you’ll have to arm yourself with patience because it’s a job that requires care and precision.

If you don’t think you can do it on your own, then contact a professional in the field who can achieve the desired result for your wooden frames.

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Sunbell, the future of blinds design
Born in 1977 thanks to the intuition of its founder Giuseppe Zuelli, Sunbell is a leader company  in the sector of technological advanced blind systems and it established itself for the strong connection between product development and design. High-end technology applied to solar shielding and a  ‘Made in Italy’ style are at the heart of all Sunbell projects, thanks to an innovative production process, in constant development.