How to Antique Furniture with Paint

Antique furniture can be expensive to buy. If you like the warm aged look and charm of old furniture, you can create this look economically with a careful selection of paint and a little artistic application.

Gathering the Materials

Like a lot of painting jobs, you don't need many tools or expensive equipment to antique furniture with paint. Basically all you need is a paintbrush or two, primer, paint and varnish, and a few sheets each of fine-grain, medium-grain and coarse-grain sandpaper. You'll need two colors of satin-finish paint and a dark paint and glaze mixture. The primer should be oil-based. You can use cheesecloth or an old rag to help create a distressed antique look on the wood. Don't forget some polyurethane and a painting drop cloth if necessary.

Your Choice of Furniture

You can antique any piece of furniture with paint, but it's a better idea to work with a piece that's unfinished. Many hardware stores or big box stores like IKEA sell inexpensive unfinished solid wood furniture that's easy to work with.

If you wish to work with an existing piece of furniture, you need to completely sand off any varnish or paint already on it. Sand right down to the wood surface and make sure you sand the surface evenly.

Steps to Antiquing Furniture with Paint

Apply oil-based primer to your unfinished or freshly sanded piece of wood furniture. Let dry. Once completely dry, apply a base coat of satin paint. If you choose a flat paint, it can make the glaze look uneven. A satin finish paint also makes glaze application smoother. Do not apply with a foam roller since the roller will provide a smoother finish which may take away from the aged look of your furniture. Let dry.

Create an antique looking glaze by mixing three parts of your chosen glaze with one part dark paint. Apply generously to all surfaces of your furniture and wipe immediately before the paint has a chance to dry. Use an old rag is you want to see your wipe lines which can enhance the antique look. Use a cheesecloth for a smoother finish. Continue applying the glaze until you get the look you want. If you make a mistake, you'll be able to easily remove the glaze from the satin finish base coat with a damp cloth before it dries.

If you'd like to highlight doors or drawers, brush extra glaze into the crevices and wipe off the excess. Highlight edges by running a line of glaze along them at a 45-degree angle. Allow the glaze to completely dry and then protect the finish with a coat of polyurethane.