Best Ways to Antique Furniture
Jared Sawyer - The Dalles, OR

Hardwarian Jared Sawyer

Sawyer's True Value

The Dalles, OR

Best Ways to Antique Furniture

Level: Experienced

If you have furniture in your house that you want to add character to, antiquing is one way to go. Antiquing is a do-it-yourself faux painting technique that gives the appearance of age or distress to your furniture and other wood pieces.

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

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    • Step 1: Choose Your Glaze or Paint

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

      When selecting paint, don't forget about the finish. Use a flat finish for your base coat. 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 work space 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. Clean the surfaces you'll be painting with mild detergent and water, allowing surfaces to dry completely. Whether your piece is unfinished or you're covering over the old finish, you'll have to sand it before applying a sealant. Use a medium-grit sandpaper to sand the surface of the piece completely and paint on the wood sealant with a 2" or 4" paintbrush (depending on the size of the object). Let the sealant dry. Remember to work on a drop cloth or tarp for easy clean up.

      Safety Alerts!

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

      Wear gloves to protect your hands and to make clean up easier.

      "Antiquing" is not recommended for actual antique pieces you might own.

    • Step 3: Paint a Base Color
      paint brush

      Pour a small amount of flat finish base coat into a mixing pot. Use either a 2" or 4" paintbrush (depending on the size of the object) to apply the base coat. 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 paint 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 base coat to show through.

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

      Brush the glaze on the surface allowing it to collect in the cracks, crevices, and corners. Wait for the glaze 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 glaze in long, even strokes, starting at the center and moving out towards the corners. As your cloth becomes too wet, replace it with a fresh 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 glaze and start again.

      For different textures and effects, try using plastic wrap, newspaper and cheesecloth when wiping off 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 age and 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 Sealant

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

    • Step 6: Clean Up

      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 aged beauty to your home by antiquing your existing furniture and décor. Now sit back, relax and let the compliments come pouring in.

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