Ageing and distressing is a common phenomenon of painted furniture after a certain period of time. This is a naturally occurring process resulting from exposure to light, dampness, dust, dirt and general wear and tear over the life of the object. The paint on these objects will fade, darken, flake or craze and can be chipped or scuffed. This largely depends on the conditions under which it is kept and maintained. However, if a 18 th or 19 th century work wears out it does not become undesirable rather its value is increased. Some articles are deliberately given an aged look to increase its market value.
Nowadays painters and decorators are showing great interest in the ageing and distressing look and are using various techniques to achieve this look. With these simple techniques of painting even the brand new furniture can achieve the elegance of an old piece.
Techniques of Distressing
In order to create an aged look, the simplest way is to apply oil based antiquing glaze suspended in a clear medium of transparent oil glaze and mineral spirits. The glaze darkens the surface of the paint and simulates the dirt and grime that naturally becomes embedded in the surface over the years. Another simple but effective technique for ageing paintwork is to rub it down with sandpaper or steel wool. Gently done, this will lighten the color and simulate the effects of exposure to light. There are many ways to get the crackling effect but always remember to apply a fast drying paint or varnish over slow drying paint or varnish that has not cured.
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