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Sunday, October 20, 2013

Extreme Aging

I kind of came up with this technique over a period of a few years by just playing with paints and such. I really got it to where I loved it on a bench several years ago. I needed a bench to set in a scene and I found a kit at the local mini store (really miss that place, <sigh>) that was exactly what I wanted. The kit actually made 2 benches so I made them both up and then wanted to figure out what to do with the second one. I decided to use it in the yard of a house I was working on at the time. I wanted it to look like it had really been around for a long time and had been abused, maybe left outside or in another unprotected place. I knew the look I wanted so I started to play around with paints and such. The process kind of evolved as I worked and I was really pleased with the end result. When I showed the photos to some online groups I got several requests to teach them how I had accomplished the end result.

So the look we are going to go for is a piece of furniture that has been around for a long, long time. You really want it to have very simple lines to work the best and it should be made of wood. Other than those things it can be anything although chairs, tables and benches work the best I have used this on cabinets of all types too. I am using the bench I made in last week's video for the demo.

If you are using a piece of furniture that has a shinny surface you will need to sand off the shine then just follow the steps in the video.

I like to start with a white base coat. This gets everything ready for the technique, acts something like a primmer and also when you sand down to the bare wood gives another layer of color.

The next layer I refer to as “Patchwork Painting” because when you are done although it looks scary it should resemble a patchwork quilt. Try to cover most or all of the white paint. Overlapping colors is recommended too, this layer is standing in for the many layers of paint that would have been applied to the piece over the many years since it was new. Try to pick dark, rich and/or bright colors. You want contrast here both with the white layer and with each other. The colors I used in the video were:

Ceramcoat: Blue Velvet
Seminole Green
Terra Cotta
Brown Velvet
Tomato Spice
Apple Barrel: Neon Blue
Folk Art: Neon Orange

Just use what you have on hand.

I usually use cotton swabs for this layer but you can use brushes if you prefer. I use the cotton swabs simply to save me having to clean brushes that many times. Try not to mix the colors together but that is really the only rule, oh and don't be too neat on this layer. Messy is better, small drips are fine (maybe encouraged even) and bumpy is fine too. You want this to look like there is a lot of layers of paint without the bulk of the layers.

Let this coat dry completely before you go on to the next step.

Now we need to add a very small amount of crackle medium. Be sure to read the directions on the label we need the kind that is painted on the piece allowed to almost dry and then a light top coat is added. I know there is another variety that works in a very different way and that will not work here. With crackle mediums the heavier the coat the larger the crackle so we want jut a whisper of it, and only in a few places. This is not the project to layer all over. We just want a few cracks, and be sure to apply it in the same direction as the grain of the wood. Now even though the directions will probably tell you that you want to leave this for maybe 30 minutes DON'T. Go wash the brush you used out and come right back and check it. We are using such a thin layer that it will probably be ready. Check it with your finger tip, it should be just a bit sticky I guess the word would be tacky.

So onto a thin layer of our topcoat I like to use a cream color craft paint for this since it will contrast nicely with all the colors under it. I used Ceramcoat in Buttercream but any similar color will work.

Let this layer of paint dry completely before you go onto the next step!

Now we are adding some abuse to our little piece of furniture. Gather up a collection of tools that you can use to really add some age and go to it. I like to sand some areas with an emery board, use pliers, dental pick, Exacto knife, etc to add some age. Just think about what the effect of the tool is giving you and place it in a logical spot on the piece of furniture.

Next we will add a dirty water wash literally a drop of a warm brown paint in a few drops of water. You are just trying to make the piece look a bit older and dirty it up a bit. I used a “safety swab” for this step but of course you can use a fluffy paint brush. Just be sure to just add a hint of a wash of the color. If you are making it brown, get more water in the paint.

Then comes the fun little “extra” touches, the ring left by some mystery can that was set down, the speckles of paint, just use your imagination and see what you can come up with.

If you are unsure about the process this is one I highly recommend doing some samples up on extra wood. I like to use craft sticks (or better yet the jumbo craft sticks) for things like this, they are small but still large enough to see the effects and really cheap to have on hand.

So get out you paints and have some fun adding some age to a piece of furniture. 


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