Best Ways to Antique Furniture
Megan Menzer - Cherryvale, KS

Hardwarian Megan Menzer

Newtons True Value

Cherryvale, KS

Best Ways to Antique Furniture

Level: Experienced

If you have furniture in your house that needs some added character, antiquing is one way to go. Antiquing is a DIY painting technique that gives furniture an aged or antique appearance.

Whether the piece is new or old, you can easily enhance your décor with individualized beauty and personality. All it takes is a basecoat of paint and glaze. So find a dresser, table, cabinet, door trim or any accessory you want to give that antiqued look.

Share this project
Project Steps
Project Shopping List
    • Step 1: Choose Your Glaze or Paint
      Fancy chairEasy Care Utra Premium paint

      Antiquing is usually done with darker, earth-toned glazes layered over a light-colored basecoat such as yellows, creams or beiges. But if you prefer the look of a lighter glaze, you can pair it with a dark basecoat instead.

      When selecting paint, don't forget about the finish. Use a flat finish for your basecoat. A porous finish absorbs glaze better than the satin or eggshell varieties. For your glaze mixture, use a satin finish in the same color.

    • Step 2: Prepare Surfaces
      sand paper

      Find a suitable workspace for your project. If you don't have a workshop, try the garage with open windows and doors for air circulation. You can even work outside, weather permitting. Begin by removing all hardware with a screwdriver or another appropriate tool. Sand un-finished surfaces with medium-grit sandpaper until it is smooth, then clean with paint thinner or mineral spirits and allow to dry. Paint the un-finished surfaces with a primer using a 2” or 4” paintbrush (depending upon the size of the object). For painted surfaces, sand with a fine sandpaper to remove any glossy areas and then clean with water and a mild detergent, rinse thoroughly and allow to dry completely. Remember to work on a drop cloth or tarp for easy cleanup.

      Safety Alerts!

      Keep all paints, chemicals and equipment away from children and pets

      Wear gloves to protect your hands

      Antiquing is not recommended for antique furniture

    • Step 3: Paint a Base Color
      paint brush

      Pour a small amount of flat finish basecoat into a mixing pot. Use either a 2" or 4" paintbrush (depending on the size of the object) to apply the basecoat. Allow the surface to dry for several hours or overnight.

      Helpful Tip

      If there isn't much surface to paint, you can pour a small amount of paint into a clean coffee can, or even paint right from the paint can.

    • Step 4: Apply Glaze

      Measure one cup of satin finish paint and two cups of glaze into your mixing pot and stir. Now add water a little at a time, stirring well. You want a consistency that's a little runny but still adheres to your brush.

      Helpful Tips

      The proper consistency of the glaze mixture is important—it has to be thin enough to allow the basecoat to show through.

      If you have a large area to cover, you can double or triple the amount of the paint and glaze mixture, but it's easier to work with a small amount at a time—it creates less waste.

      Brush the paint and glaze mixture on the surface allowing it to collect in the cracks, crevices, and corners. Wait for the mixture to dry a bit — it will begin to dull in appearance. Dampen a piece of lint-free cloth with water and begin wiping off the mixture in long, even strokes, starting at the center and moving out towards the corners. As your cloth becomes too wet, replace it with a new one. You can remove as much or as little glaze as you wish, depending on the effect you're trying to achieve. If you find you've removed too much, just apply more paint and glaze mixture and start again.

      For different textures and effects, try using rolled-up plastic wrap, newspaper or cheesecloth to wipe off the glaze. Cheesecloth accentuates the wood grain, while crinkled newspaper and plastic wrap marble the surface. You can use a towel to create a "scratched" effect. Allow the surface to dry completely.

      Helpful Tip

      If you want to add even more of a distressed appearance, try wearing down the surface of the wood with sandpaper, shave sharp edges with a knife or poke wormholes into the surface with a nail.

    • Step 5: Apply Polyurethane

      When the glaze mixture has dried completely, apply a coat of water-based polyurethane to add extra shine and durability. Let the polyurethane dry completely before moving the piece to its rightful place in your home.

    • Step 6: Cleanup

      Pick up your drop cloths or tarps and close up your paint cans. Dispose of used paint or sealant cans appropriately. Clean your brushes and mixing pot with warm, soapy water.

      Nice work! Without even setting foot in an antique store, you've added vintage beauty to your home by antiquing your existing furniture and décor. Now sit back, relax and let the compliments come pouring in.

  • Here’s what you’ll need to complete this project successfully.

    Before you begin, use the shopping list below to uncheck the tools you already have to complete this project.

    Then, print or save your updated list and bring it to your local True Value hardware store, where an expert Hardwarian will give you the remaining tools and expert advice you need to complete this project.

    You can also shop online for these project items at and receive FREE shipping to a participating store.

    60 character limit.
  • Paint Kitchen Cabinets

    Paint Kitchen Cabinets

    Give your kitchen a facelift.

    Learn More

  • Prevent & Remove Icicles

    Prevent & Remove Icicles

    Safely remove icicles from your roof.
    Watch Video

  • Repair a Leaky Faucet

    Repair a Leaky Faucet

    Learn how to repair a leaky faucet.

    Learn More

  • Color block a dresser

    Give an old dresser a fresh new look.
    Watch Video

  • Follow Us On Pinterest

    Follow Us On Pinterest

    Visit our Pinterest page for great do-it-yourself project advice and home inspiration.

    Follow Us