Update or create the appearance of age – either one is achievable when you “antique” rejected or new pieces of furniture. Antiquing kits are available in most paint or hardware stores. Although each kit contains instructions, a little extra information will help you obtain professional-looking results.
How to use an antiquing kit:
The first step is to remove all hardware – latches, handles and decorations should be taken off and set aside. Old finished – varnishes, enamels, etc. – need not be removed. However, a paint and varnish remover will do the job if you want to reduce the surface to the bare wood.
Proper surface preparation is very important if you want to use an antiquing kit properly. Scrub all surfaces with a solution consisting of trisodium phosphate (found in most liquid household cleaners), ammonia, and water, or an abrasive household detergent. Use a toothbrush in hard-to-reach areas. Then wash off all traces of the cleaning agent with clear water and allow the surface to dry.
Before applying antiquing kit, sanding is the next step and it is probably the most important. The end result of your antiquing job may depend on whether or not the piece of furniture is sanded properly. For best results, use three varying grades of sandpaper. Begin with the coarsest of the three, and put on the final touches with the finest one. To make sanding easier, wrap the sandpaper around a wooden block.
Deep cuts and abused areas need not be sanded smooth. They will absorb more of the toner, producing a “distressed”. effect. If you wish to hide any scratches or marks, a plastic wood filler will do the job nicely. When the filler dries, sand it smooth.
After sanding is completed, clear away all traces of dust with a cloth dampened with mineral spirits or use a tack cloth. Once the piece is dry and clear of dust, you may apply the undercoating if the wood is bare. If the old finish is remaining, apply the base coat. Read label instructions on the antiquing kit carefully and be sure that the coating is stirred thoroughly so that no pigment is collected at the bottom of the can.
After you have removed all drawers and doors, put them on a flat, horizontal surface which has been covered with newspapers. Place jar lids between the paper and the door to prevent the object being painted from sticking to the paper. You are now almost ready to begin applyng the antiquing kit.
Apply only enough undercoating or base coat to cover the surface well, and let dry for about 24 hours. Sand lightly, and then you are ready to apply the toner. After stirring the toner with a wooden paddle, apply a thin coat of the toner in the manner suggested for the underrating. Pay special attention to carvings and crevices, painting them first to allow more absorption of the toner.
Let the color toner set for the amount of time recommended in the antiquing kit instructions before beginning to rub. Using cheesecloth or a dry brush, rub large, flat areas in long, even strokes, beginning with a light touch, and applying more pressure as you go along. If you find that you have allowed the toner to set too long, simply dampen your rubbing cloth with mineral spirits. If rubbing shows that you haven’t allowed the toner to set long enough, apply another coat and wait for it to dry. After the toner has dried, apply a clear finish.
So there you have it. If you follow the above step-by-step instructions on how to use an antiquing kit, your furniture will get the appearance of age. And it is so easy that anyone can do it.