Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Antiquing tips

Hey there!!!

How's everybody doing this fine Tuesday??

I've been receiving lots of emails and questions about antiquing lately. I am certainly no expert, but I'd be happy to share with you the way that I do it. The Joe often describes antiquing as "making something look new so you can make it look old again"....yep. That just about sums it up.
Step 1: Find a project

I found this picket fence at a consignment store the other day. While I was in line 2 people asked me what I was going to do with it. "Um, I have no idea. It just seemed like something that should be mine." I'll buy just about anything if it's under 5 bucks and catches my eye.

Step 2: Paint it

I painted some wooden green waste basket looking things to add to my picket fence.

I didn't paint the fence because it was already the color I wanted. However, if you are planning on distressing a project I would say that it's easier if you don't use an oil paint. It will of course work, but it tends to "gum up" a little more than an acrylic paint.

Step 3: Sand it.

If you are distressing a large object, don't be afraid to use an electric sander.

It will speed up the process and I find it actually looks like a more natural imperfection than when I am doing it by hand. I have a lot of people say that when they sand it ,it just doesn't look right.If you are feeling that way, try figure out what you don't like about it. Is the sandpaper creating scratchy marks in the paint instead of a smooth rubbed off edge? If so, I would suggest using sandpaper with a finer grit. If you don't know what that is, turn your sandpaper over. It will have a number on the back. The higher the number, the finer the grit. try something like 220.

On the other hand, if you try and sand your piece and find that the paint is gumming up or won't come off at all, try using a harsher sandpaper like a 150. Another option is to simply wipe the paint off the edges while the paint is still wet. I like to do this when I am painting something wrought iron or metal like this medallion.

Step 4: Stain it.

In my mind this step is the difference between a "distressed" piece of furniture and an "antiqued". After sanding the edges I like to rub a stain on it to give the edges a more rich look. You can just buy a can of stain from the store, but that it a beast to work with. It's sticky and takes forever to dry. My personal favorite is Gel Stain by DecoArt. I buy it in little bottles at Robert's. If you don't happen to live by a Robert's, you can just type "deco art gel stain" into google and you'll find a site to order it online for $1.99 a bottle. I don't know how much shipping is because I've never ordered it online. For the color I use Walnut Noyer. I get a wash cloth damp and pour a glob of gel stain on it and rub it around.

I rub it over the project and wipe off the excess with a clean part of the damp cloth.

It is super duper easy and it within minutes it is dry. Another option is to use glaze or maybe even a watered down brown paint.

Step 4: Seal it.

I like to use a clear varnish that I also buy at Robert's. It comes in a glossy or matte finish and you just paint it on. It usually takes a couple of coats, but you can paint the second coat after 15 minutes, so it doesn't take too long. This step is more important if you have a piece that you will be putting things on top like a dresser, sidetable etc. There are a ton of different products that you can use including polyurethane. I just prefer the clear varnish. I would suggest testing some different products and figure out what works best for you.

Whew... I think that's everything for today.. happy antiquing!!!


  1. Great tutorial! And it turned out awesome. Where are you going to place this masterpiece?! It makes me want one really badly!

  2. Lovely! And the tips are oh so handy. I have a piece of picket fence like that that I have been trying to decide what to do with. DUH! Baskets. Awesome

  3. Love how your picket fence turned out! And thanks for the antiquing tips. I'll have to check Roberts for that gel stain.

  4. Great tips. Thanks for sharing. Some of the furniture pieces on your side bar are fantastic! You're very resourceful.


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