DIY Furniture Painting Techniques
- Making furniture appear old is accomplished by creating and applying a glaze. Glaze is simply thinned paint. Choose a brown paint (sienna or umber) and measure out a cup of the paint into a mixing can. Begin the thinning process by stirring in a little water. The consistency desired is runny but still holding to the paint brush. When the glaze is mixed, paint a coat of the glaze over the newly painted furniture (make sure the new base color has had plenty of time to harden). Allow the glaze to dry for a few minutes, just until it turns a dull, matte color, then dampen a soft cloth with water and wipe off the glaze. The brown glaze will collect in crevices and details giving an aged look. Test the glazing process on a sample piece of wood to gauge how many coats of glaze works for the desired result.
- The worn, shabby look is achieved through sanding and distressing painted furniture. Use latex interior house paint in light colors--off-whites, creams, pale yellows, blues and pinks--to paint the furniture. Allow plenty of curing time, at least 48 hours, but verify with local paint stores or others who paint furniture in your geographical location. Using a fine grit sandpaper lightly sand the piece overall. Sand down to the wood along the edges and places that would naturally be worn down with time. Once the piece has the right look, wipe down the furniture with a damp cloth to remove the sanded paint residue. Apply a paste wax instead of a clear coat to the finished piece. Paste wax can be found at local home stores. For a more aged look, try adding a glaze as previously described.
- Give furniture a strong, chiseled look. Enhance and define the dimensions of the piece by painting it different tones of the same color. This technique will work best on angular pieces of furniture like bookcases, breakfronts and dressing tables. Use a clamp lamp as a light source. Shine it directly on the piece of furniture and note which areas become light and dark. Move the lamp around to see how the light changes the furniture. Use the lamp in a darkened room for the most dramatic result. Choose three paints of varying tones but the same color--light, medium and dark. Using a paint store sample card to choose the colors isn't cheating. Paint the furniture according to what the clamp lamp revealed--the lighter paint color on the brightest surfaces, the darkest paint on the darkest surfaces and the medium paint for the rest of the surfaces.