Tips and Techniques for Antiquing Wood

Tips and Techniques for Antiquing Wood

“Aged”, “antiqued”, “distressed” … these are some of the adjectives that people use to describe how they envision the finish on their cabinets or furniture. From an artist’s perspective, these are very vague terms. They cover a full spectrum of different techniques that all fall under the generalized category of “antiquing”. There is a big difference between a little bit of color in the corners and truly “aged”.

The charm of “aging” is that it represents what happens naturally over time as previous finish treatments are exposed to different elements. For example, there is more wear around edges and handles. Dust settles low. Sun shines inconsistently on vertical surfaces and causes layers of paint to fade and split. Horizontal surfaces and corners take the brunt of the burden for scuffs and scrapes. When done correctly, these pieces actually tell a story. It is helpful to create a mental image about how the object was used or where it was as each layer and technique is applied.

It is important to define exactly how “old” you want it to look. Begin by gathering photos that will show examples of your expectations. You may already have a small piece, like a picture frame, that will provide inspiration. One client even took me outside to view her weathered shutters!

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