Antiquing Furniture

With this easy method you can create an antique in an afternoon.
Sandra Allen Lynn

A new piece of pine furniture doesn't offer the charm of an antique. Inevitable scrapes and dents give character to old pine, but new pine can be aged easily with this distressing technique, plus an application of a special glaze. You can find inexpensive new pine furniture at unfinished furniture stores as well as some home-supply stores.

To begin the distressing, gather a variety of household tools. Use a hammer (gently) to make indentions and tap a bradawl (or hammer a nail) into the wood in tight clusters to simulate worm holes. A craft knife can be used to make scratches and chip away little pieces of wood along the edges. Use a screwdriver to add dents. You can also hit the wood with a chain to make a string of indentions. Not all of these are necessary, but use different tools to achieve a variety of marks.

STEP 1: Remove drawers, and stand them on end. Sand any rough areas with a medium-grade sandpaper or sanding sponge; then smooth the surface with a fine-grade paper. Wipe all surfaces free of dust with tack cloth. Using a variety of tools, distress the wood as described above. Wipe the furniture again with tack cloth.

STEP 2: Mix 8 ounces of white glue with 16 ounces of water, and stir well. Add 2 ounces of raw umber artist acrylic paint and 1 ½ ounces of raw sienna. Stir until thoroughly mixed, making sure no lumps are left. (A whisk is helpful.) Using a 2-inch brush, paint the glaze on the surface.

STEP 3: With a cotton cloth folded into a flat pad, rub the glaze into the wood. Pay close attention to the distressed areas, being sure the glaze settles inside the cuts and holes. Work on one surface at a time--sides, top, etc. Allow the glaze to dry for 1 to 2 hours.

STEP 4: Apply clear paste wax to the entire piece of furniture using a cotton cloth; then buff with a clean cloth to achieve a low sheen.