An antique glaze is a coating given to simulate age, which can be applied to many surfaces, such as painted finishes, or varnished items or lacquered surfaces. It can also be applied to imitation or genuine gold leaf to give an antique finish. It is always used when applying a crackle glaze.
It is also applied as part of the process when applying a crackle glaze or crackle varnish.
The glaze itself is simple to acquire, all you need is some student quality oil paint… there is no need to purchase Artist quality paint… it comes in tubes and is quite inexpensive.
What determines the colour of the glaze is what type of work you are dealing with.
If you want to apply an antique glaze to varnished pine furniture you might consider raw umber as a suitable colour.
If you wanted to apply a glaze to a lacquered picture, you might go for burnt umber.
If you were working with porcelain, to which had been applied a crackle glaze, you would think of dark grey to highlight the cracks.
Whatever colour glaze you decide you want, applying it is very straightforward.
Simply apply a little of the oil paint to a soft cloth and rub the paint into the surface, a little goes a long way. Then take a clean soft cloth and remove most of the paint. A film of paint will remain which will resist your attempts to remove it. It is at this stage that you judge what depth of antique glaze you wish. You can remove more of the glaze by rubbing harder, so you have control over the final effect.
Leave the surface to dry thoroughly in a warm room, and give the surface polish with a clean soft cloth.
Finally, give the surface a coat of varnish or lacquer to seal it.
An antique glaze is often used in conjunction with the crackle glaze or crackle varnish.
Crackle glazes or varnishes fall into two types. There is the traditional 2 part crackle glaze, which has an oil based base coat and a water based top coat. And there is the modern 2 part acrylic crackle glaze which has water based base and top coats.
They both work in the same way, cracks form due to the different shrinkage rates of the two coats.
I use a modern acrylic crackle glaze as I find it more predictable in use than the traditional variety.
You simply apply the base coat and allow it to dry. Then you apply the top coat and as that coat dries the cracks form.
When completely dry it is usual to apply an antique glaze, as mentioned, this is done so as to highlight the cracks. The surplus antique glaze is wiped off with a soft cloth and given a good polish.
It is customary to seal the work with a coat of lacquer or varnish.
By Richard Norman