Painting Techniques to 'Age' Furniture & Home Decor
Some of my favorite retail stores for furniture and home decor have items that look rustic or vintage. When you purchase something from one of the national retail stores, you are buying something new and let's face it we all love new things. But if you are like me, you may also love to look for the old or vintage things in flea markets or antique stores. There is just something special about furniture that has been around for a while. Even though, my goal a lot of times is too take something old or neglected and turn it into something new and fresh again, I do love seeing things that are new but look old. (Mainly, because I don't have to worry about dirty grime or germs) :)
This is where knowing which things need to look old or which ones need to look new come in handy. One of the things I like about making some old pieces look new again is primarily because I hate to see things scratched or broken. I have never really understood how people can destroy a lovely piece of furniture. (Why it's blasphemy, I say!) But in seriousness, the same is true for something looking and feeling old. I tend to like those old or neglected pieces, especially if they are useful or can be repurposed, because it tells a story of where it's been; a journey that only it knows sometimes. Now, I should probably clarify what I mean by the term 'old'. I think of old as 'aged', like a fine cheese or wine. When I think of something painted that is old, I think of detail exposing a layer or two of paint, color fading or changing that gives it a patina or 'aged' look to say it's been around for a while.
This last week, was one of those times when I found a beautiful (only for it's potential) fairly new oval mirror. This mirror was heavy and in great shape but it was painted a brick red with hand painted yellow and green flowers. The shape and size of the mirror are great and it can be useful in lots of places like a bedroom, hallway, entry way, etc. The red paint with flowers really drew away from the overall appeal of the mirror. Instead of it's shape and size you noticed the ugly paint job. (It was a definite diamond in the rough). I knew I would paint it, but as I tried to determine what color, I could picture it gray with layers of paint like something I might see hanging in a French manor. Not that I have been to a lot of French manors in my lifetime, (it's on the bucket list) but rather, in my imagination and Pinterest perusing, of course. Now unfortunately I did not get a before pic, and it seems I do this often! I was in such a hurry to get rid of the current look that I jumped right into painting it; enthusiasm at it's finest and worst!
Since I wanted to see layers of paint, I started the first layer by spray painting the mirror with a Rustoleum Heirloom White. This paint is the only spray paint I use. I like using this brand because it is a paint and primer in one and it sprays evenly without ever getting clogged like some others I have used. (Ain't nobody got time for that!!!) Next, I chalk painted with a brush using a medium gray with two coats. If you have never used chalk paint and want to better understand what it is click here for a tutorial. Once the second coat was dry, I lightly sanded the edges to expose the white under coat. It was a beautiful thing!
"Aging" the mirror was the fun part. Aging is the term I refer to when I faux paint with dark wax and other varying paints to make it look like it's had some wear. I wanted part of the inside of the edges to have a dark wax, which some say give it a 'dirty' look, but that's the beauty of it because we all know it's not dirty, but rather made to look that way! Eureka! I applied Annie Sloan dark wax to the inside crevices (where actual dirt would collect) using a small pen point paint brush. After the dark wax had cured (about 20 minutes or less), the next step was to add some white gesso (paint you can find in your local craft stores) using the same technique as the dark wax in a random sweeping motion. By applying varying amounts of paint and pressure it looks more natural; as if it happened by accident. If you made the strokes all the same it would look too systematic and perfect, so random is best here. The white gesso gives it a look that is a chalky in the crevices, which gives the look of wear to the paint and makes it appear aged.
After the gesso paint is dry, I used Annie Sloan's clear wax in a light coat with a clean cotton cloth. I use gloves when using the wax just because I don't want to worry about having to wash it all off after I'm finished. I'm messy, in other words! :)
After the wax dries, you are ready to buff your piece with a clean dry cloth. Once buffed it gives it a nice satin professional finish.
I also painted this big 2 x 4 'old' frame I found at a resell shop for $7. It was pretty beat up so I decided to do the same 'aging' technique that I did with the mirror. I cut a 2 x 4 piece of gypsum board 1/4 in thickness to paint the chalkboard painted part of our wall chalkboard! it turned out looking great!
These were the only two projects I finished last week as I had food poisoning that took me out for a few days! Literally, took me out! I had never had food poisoning until this year and I have had it twice in the last 4 months! Yikes! I did however, start painting this uber cool media cabinet. I have some great plans for this baby!
Until next time........I leave you with this quote,
"We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we're curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths."