From farmhouse chic to shabby European, adding a few pieces of antiqued or distressed furniture adds instant charm and character to any room. You can spend thousands of dollars on authentic antique pieces, but if you’re looking for something a little less expensive, consider antiquing and distressing old wood furniture as your upcoming weekend project. It’s fun, it’s easy and you gives you tremendous bragging rights.
The first step is to gather up some old pieces that you don’t mind changing. Obviously your grandmother’s rosewood china cabinet is not the best option, but a $15 end table from the local thrift store is a great choice. You may want to also grab a “practice piece” that you wouldn’t mind tossing if the first attempt goes awry.
The second step is the same as any other painting project – sand down the piece with medium to fine sandpaper. This will help the primer stick better and reduce accidental imperfections to a more genuine antique look. After sanding, wipe down the furniture with a damp rag.
Next, use a candle stick to rub wax along the edges and places where you’d like the under layer to show through, then brush off the excess. Follow with several ultra thin coats of paint – preferably in some variation of white such as eggshell or ivory.
After several hours of drying, the next step in the project is to begin scratching away the previously waxed spots using a small paint scraper or dull, rounded knife. Follow up by sanding off the loose bits of wax and paint.
Finally, mix together one part brown paint and several parts water to make a sort of antiquing glaze. Rub the glaze on lightly with a sponge, then wipe off with a clean, dry cloth. Focus especially on areas around the distressed marks you created previously. The end result will be a sort of yellowed, worn look.
Finish off your new piece with a coat of protective finish, and allow your piece to dry for about 48 hours. Once you’re done, display your beautifully refinished piece for all to see, and smile to yourself while all of your friends and family assume you’ve spent a fortune.