Antiquing Furniture

Antiquing furniture is an elegant effect that can be the perfect accent in any room.

This is a finish that is characterized by a color that has been washed with another color. This color combination is completely up to you.

This example is done with an off white base and a dark brown wash to make the piece look older and have that true antique look.

antiquing furniture

But we have done this with completely different results using a darker base coat and a light or even white wash to give the same effect.

Either way the process is the same.

Here's the supplies you'll need:

Bonding primer, this is needed if you are working on a piece that is unfinished and is still raw wood, the primer can also be tinted the same color as your base coat to help make the base color easier to coat solid

Base coat color, oil based

Oil base brush

Mineral spirits, for clean up and for thinning the glaze

Cheese cloth

Blue tape, if your doing something like a cabinet that touches the floor or walls you might want to tape it off to protect these areas

Glaze color, oil based

Another suggestion: I never do this technique without wearing latex gloves. The steps involved in antiquing furniture can get messy with the mineral spirits and the glaze. So the gloves can help protect your hands and save a lot of time from cleaning them.

Here's the steps for antiquing furniture:

1. First tape off whatever you need to with the blue tape to protect it. Whether it's floors or walls the tape can protect what you don't want painted.

2. Next, paint on your base coat. This should be an oil based paint. If the cabinets or furniture are unfinished (raw wood), you should first prime them with a bonding primer. You can have it tinted to the same color as the finish base coat. This will cut down on the number of coats you will need to have a good solid painted base coat. Since it's oil, you probably want to wait overnight so the base coat completely dries.

3. After you have primed and painted your furniture you are ready to apply the antiquing. We recommend that this be an oil based glaze. Water based glazes dry too quickly and do not let you work with them long enough to do it right.

Have your piece of cheese cloth ready. If you bought it in a roll, then you could pre cut sections to have ready as they get too soaked with paint to use. You could even dampen your first piece of cheese cloth with a little mineral spirits to help you wipe off glaze. That's something I like doing because it gives me so much more control over how much I can take off.

4. Now with your oil brush, paint your furniture with a thinned coat of this oil based glaze. Do not paint the whole piece of furniture at once. Only paint a small section at a time. For example, just a door or just one side. That way you'll have time to wipe glaze back off before it dries.

5. As mentioned above, before it begins to dry, begin wiping glaze back off with the cheese cloth. If you dampened it with a little mineral spirits, it may give you more control. As you rub the antiquing glaze, you will leave a soft haze of the glaze color on the larger surface areas. You'll also leave more glaze in the cracks, grooves, and edges of the furniture or cabinet.

The trick is, you want it to look like the color has worn and faded over the years and the strongest color has lasted only in the deeper edges and grooves of the piece.

This side view of an antiqued cabinet may help.

antiqued cabinet

6. When this has dried sufficiently, usually overnight, coat it with a clear coat with the desired gloss, and you are done. The clear coat finish that is very common on furniture is satin. I would recommend a clear satin polyurethane to really help protect your beautiful finish.

As always I hope these suggestions help you with antiquing furniture and give you a beautiful finish!

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