Faux Finishing - Antiquing

It used to be at one time, you could go shopping for antique furniture and come away with a really great bargain. Unfortunately, those times are long gone as antique furniture stores have realized that many of these older creations are very high in demand and have raised their prices to match.

Antique furniture does have a lot going for it. The craftsmanship on antique furniture is infinitely superior to what you currently find in furniture stores. In this day and age of quantity over quality, mass produced furniture has taken the place of hand crafted, dependable furniture.

Even though the furniture we have pales in comparison to our grandmother’s, there are things you can do to it to lend an air of old world charm to the piece. Distressing wood with minor dents and scratches can give a piece the appearance that it’s been handed down through the ages. There are also faux painting techniques that you can use to make your furniture look like an antique work of art. The process is simple and quite fun. Keep in mind, that antiquing is not only for furniture. You can lend the look of age to just about any paint able surface, including doors and walls.

Here are the things you will need to give your furniture an antique look.

  • Flat Paint for Base Coat
  • Satin Paint for Neutral Base Coat
  • Satin Paint for Finish Coat
  • Polyurethane (Water-Based Satin)
  • Paint Brushes
  • Paint Tray
  • Paint Mixing Can
  • Clean, Lint-Free Rags
  • Wooden Stirring Sticks
  • Measuring Cup
  • Clean-up Rags

It’s important that your flat base coat be a lighter color than your antiquing glaze. For example, if you have a tan base coat, you’ll want a darker glaze, like chocolate brown.

Step 1: In the mixing can, combine about a cup of the satin neutral base paint and about a ¼ cup of the satin color of your choice. Slowly add water to the mixture until you get a slightly runny texture. This is going to be the glaze, so it’s important that it’s thin enough for you to see the base color show through the glaze, not be covered by it.

Step 2: Paint the furniture with the flat base coat. It may require two coats to get the best coverage. Let the furniture thoroughly dry before moving on.

Step 3: Use your brush to apply the glaze to the furniture. Make sure to apply it a little heavier in the corners and nooks and crannies. Work in small sections at a time as you don’t want the glaze to dry before you have a chance to go back and finish it.

Step 4: Dampen the lint-free cloth and begin removing the glaze from the furniture. Work from the inside of the piece to the outside and make sure to throw the cloth away once it gets too covered in glaze. Remember not to take as much glaze away from the cracks and crevices as that’s where the age of the piece really shows best.

Step 5: Once you’re happy with the look of the piece, allow it to thoroughly dry before moving to the next step.

Step 6: Paint the finished piece with a few coats of protective polyurethane. This will prevent all of your hard work from chipping away from the piece and make it durable enough to be used every day if you wish.

Following these few, simple steps will give your furniture a look of cherished antiquity. Friends and family will think you’ve spent a fortune on your furniture and you can sit back and smile because you know just how easy it was to get the antique look. Faux painting can help refresh your home with new and exciting looks and feels.

More helpful guides to other faux painting techniques

Dave Donovan is a freelance copywriter living in Atco, N.J. An electrician for 15 years, an injury forced him to pursue his true passion - writing.