tips and techniques to give furniture an antique look

antiquing wood furniture antiquing chair leg


Antiquing Furniture (Method 1).

Tools And Materials Needed

  • 2.5-inch paintbrushes
  • 2 colours latex paint or milk paint
  • White candle
  • Medium steel wool

Getting Started

  1. Paint 2 coats of basecoat. Let dry thoroughly.
  2. Rub candle wax in spots over the surface. Try to imagine that the paint has been on for years, and rub the wax in areas where the surface might have been bumped or worn away over time (i.e. along edges, around handles, etc.).
  3. Paint a second colour over the top and let dry.
  4. Rub over the areas with steel wool where you applied candle wax. Because paint does not adhere to wax, the topcoat will come off to reveal the colour underneath. You can use the steel wool over the entire surface to burnish it as well, but either don't rub as hard, or use fine steel wool.

Antiquing Furniture (Method 2).

Tools And Materials Needed

  • 2.5 inch paintbrushes
  • Old yellow, farmhouse red, and red-rust latex paint or milk paint
  • Rags

Getting Started

  1. Paint the base with 1-2 coats of old yellow. Let dry.
  2. Apply a coat of farmhouse red and while it is still wet, dip the same brush into the red-rust and lightly go over the surface again. Use a rag to blend the 2 colors together, then rub back in spots to show the yellow beneath.

Antiquing Furniture (Method 3).

Tools And Materials Needed

  • 2.5-inch paintbrushes
  • Old yellow and pale grey latex paint or milk Paint
  • Universal tint - brown
  • Tinted beeswax, antiquing wax or brown shoe polish
  • Rags

Getting Started

  1. Paint the base with 2 coats of old yellow. Let dry.
  2. Dip the brush into the pale grey then remove the excess. Run the brush up and down over the surface to dry-brush it, so that the grey is visible in strands, but the yellow shows through. Let dry.
  3. Tint some beeswax with universal tint, or make it easier by buying some antiquing wax or basic shoe polish. Rub it over the surface. This gives a lovely antiqued honey color to the paint, and it also protects it. You cannot varnish over this. Nothing will adhere to wax. Every once in a while, give it another coat of wax.

How to antique an old piece of furniture.

How to Give Furniture an Antique Look


Bargain furniture doesn't have to look cheap. There are several simple methods of improving secondhand cabinets, chairs, tables and bookcases. One of those methods is called antiquing. It is simple and requires little in the way of supplies and time. Here's how to antique an old piece of furniture.

Step One

Sand and clean the piece thoroughly. Use a wire brush to remove heavy grime. Use a barely damp cloth to remove sanding dust.

Step Two

Paint the piece with a light-colored base coat. Beige, yellow and cream are good colors to start with.

Step Three

Brush on a second coat of paint after the base coat has dried completely. Burnt umber, sienna and olive are all excellent choices for the top accent coat.

Step Four

Use a rag to wipe away the second coat of paint before it dries. Leave some of the darker finish in the corners and cracks. Streaks and shadows are desirable on this type of finish.

Step Five

Allow the piece to dry completely.

Tips & Warnings

  • You can use an oil-based paint over latex, but never latex over oil. Oil-based paints exude a substance that prevents other types of paint from sticking.

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The Art of the Painted Finish for Furniture & Decoration: Antiquing, Lacquering, Gilding & The Great Impersonators



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Antiquing Furniture key terms

Antiquing paint technique

 Antiquing paint technique is a unique way to improve the look of furniture, cabinetry and other architectural elements in your home.

Antiquing painting.

 Antiquing painting is a classic faux painting technique that can be used on any kind of furniture, cabinetry, objects, or door and trim details. There are a few different antiquing painting techniques. Using paint glazes is a simple way to achieve an antique look, as is sanding down trim or molding, using a knife and shave off the edges, or using a knife or nail to create little wormholes in wood.

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