Antiquing – Turning Something New Into a Priceless Antique!

Carmen D. Lade

Who does not like antiques? If you have any doubts, just take a stroll through a flea market, or browse a few antique stores in your neighborhood. Soon you will notice that people do love old classics, and are also willing to dish out a lot of money for them.

Antiques distinguish themselves from contemporary pieces by their age, craftsmanship, condition, or unusual features. In the old days, people had more primitive needs and their fashion sense was also quite different. They would probably turn up their noses at our current lifestyle, the way many of us tend to do at theirs. Nonetheless, antiques are popular, and we all like to have at least one piece of furniture that has withstood the test of time.

It is a known fact that antiques are expensive and amassing old chairs, sofas, beds and cupboards is a pricy hobby. While that is true, it should not discourage you to start your own private collection. Is this a joke? Absolutely not, because if you are willing to pull up your sleeves, and enjoy a little bit of crafting, you too can have extraordinary ‘aged’ furniture pieces.

Antiquing, also called “aging,” is a technique used to recreate the natural vintage look. It can be applied to walls, bed frames, picture frames, baseboards, doors, and anything that can handle a coat of paint. With a few simple tools, sandpaper, and crackle glaze you can create the illusion of wear and tear, and transform a modern-day dresser into a piece of furniture that looks as if it was built in the 18th century.

Scuffs and scratches give antiques personality. You can certainly recreate such characteristics, even without letting your pieces naturally weather outside in your backyard. There actually are several antiquing techniques, which makes it a bit complicated, as you will have to figure out which one will suit your project the most. As you can imagine, the process you use on a wooden rocking horse may not look good on your bedposts, and vice versa.

Beginners should start with an easy antiquing technique.

– Slightly sand your project (do not go down to the bare wood);
– Clean it thoroughly to remove any wood particles;
– Remove heavy grime with a brush, and wipe the dust off with a damp cloth;
– Apply a base coat – preferably in light beige, cream color, or yellow;
– Once the paint is dry apply a second, darker coat;
– Quickly rub off most of the second coat before the paint starts to dry. Leave bits of paint in the cracks and corners, and do not remove streaks and shadows. They will enhance the “aged” look;
– Let the piece dry completely.
– If you feel your piece does not look warn-out enough, brush on a third coat of paint and repeat the last part of the process.

Once you feel comfortable with this process, you can move on to more complicated techniques. Check the Internet, your local craft stores, and public libraries for more information, or ask a ‘crafty’ friend for advice. Good luck!

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