Have you ever visited a craft show or gift shop, and wondered how the manufacturers get those brand new hand crafted items, to look like antiques? Well, there are many different techniques used for aging new items. Here are just a few that are easy to do, using a variety of different items.
First, we will talk about distressing items. Take a brand new teddy bear for example, his fur is in wonderful shape, no worn spots, his stuffing is firm and in place. But you want this bear to look like a small child has loved him for years. Take a razor or electric clippers and just start trimming that brand new looking little furry creature. Basically around the muzzle and ears, and anywhere he would have been rubbed by little hands, you can also give him a tea dye bath which I will describe later on.
Also for wooden items, such as signs, toys or shelving, break out the sandpaper, hammer and even a screw driver, start taking out your frustrations on the piece of wood in front of you. Beat it, scrape it and sand the edges to make them look worn. Then you can use a medium colored stain to darken the wood and stain the paint. Just put on one light coat and let dry.
You can also add age spots to any items by mixing a bit of black or dark brown paint with a little water, to make it ink-like in consistency. Just dab this on lightly with a paint brush; anywhere you feel a little age spot would be appropriate.
Have you ever seen a sign that looks like the wood had been kept in a work shop? This method is called spattering. After you have painted your project, take an old toothbrush, it is helpful to trim the bristles to between 1/4 and ½ inches long. Dip your toothbrush in water, and now in a spot of paint, color doesn’t matter, but you will need it to contrast with the background color of the painted item. It is also best to place your object on newspaper or in a cardboard box, to keep from spattering your paint everywhere. Now, with the toothbrush facing the project, run your thumb down the bristles of the toothbrush, and spatter the paint onto the surface of your project. You can also spatter with more than one color. Just rinse your toothbrush out, and after the first spattering is dried, re-spatter. Items can also be distressed after this procedure.
Old fabrics generally are stained also, and staining your fabric is very easy to do, with tea. Choose a large container that will hold your project. Fill the container halfway with boiling water and then add about 8 regular tea bags to the water, I usually add some vanilla extract and cinnamon with this too. Wait for the water to cool so that your project will not shrink. Now just toss in your project and allow soaking. Some people recommend removing the tea bags, but I like leaving them in the water, since they will touch the project and make a darker stain in some spots. You can leave this soak for several hours or overnight. Remove, and set out to dry. You can actually even set the item on the edge of the bowl face down and let all of the excess tea run into the face, which will leave interesting looking marks.
If you want to add a few more spots to your item, take a wet tea bag and just tap it on your project. If you are tea dying fabric to use for a project, it can be tossed in the dryer, and then pressed before cutting out your items. This process can be done with any fabric items, such as doll clothes, doll bodies and teddy bears.
There are several aging products on the market one is called “Age it” and another “Crackle it”. This is just painted on a surface after a base coat is painted. If you are going to paint a surface that will be white or another light color when finished, start with a dark base coat. Now paint on the product, it will chemically change the first coat of paint so it will react with the last coat.
Lastly, paint on the final color coat. Watch the chemical reaction taking place, the paint will crack and bubble, giving your project an aging paint looks Very similar to old weathered wood.
These are just a few of the techniques that I use to “age” my craft projects to make them look older than they really are.