Friday, May 6, 2011

Playing with patina "DIY" from ultra grunge to prettyish

The finish on these doors is my attempt at patina similar to the real cabinet in a previous post (two below this one).  Reproducing the aged finish on these doors was a bit of a challenge as they'd already been painted - originally dark green and then repainted in dark French grey.  The first challenge was to cover the grey with a colour resembling raw wood, that was achieved with a mix of acrylic paint and wood stain.  After that was dry it was covered with a thick coat of crackle medium which was left overnight to dry thoroughly.  The top coat is a very pale grey, almost white.  When that was dry on the surface, but not thoroughly right through, it was rubbed over with a damp cloth.  In some cases the paint was almost removed, in others just the surface, and some places not at all.  The same technique was used on the bench plus a coat of 'dirty wash' (a mix of mostly water with a little black acrylic paint added). The staining on the 'plaster' wall was done with fairly strong coffee - you might recognise the wall and floor- it's the brocante, but not as clean looking as you've seen it before :)
Like most budget 'ready-made' furniture this chair started life stained and varnished.  OK for some settings but of course I couldn't resist getting out the paint brush and giving it a bit of grunge/age.  It was first sanded a bit then had a couple of coats of gesso followed by a few coats of light cream and then a thinnish grey wash.  Wear spots were sanded then it got a 'dirty wash' made from a little dark brown stain and lots of water.

The cutlery tray is balsa lightly stained with a thin solution of a water based wood stain (before putting a water based stain onto a piece that has been glued together with a water based adhesive wait until the glue is well and truly dry or it will fall to pieces!  -  I found that out the hard way). This does raise the grain a bit but since we're looking for an aged look, not perfection, I don't think it matters.  I guess you could give it a light sand if you want. It was then painted with French grey acrylic paint thinned with quite a bit of water (which will tend to raise the grain again so I suggest you just relax and live with it). A slightly thicker coat was added here and there to get 'grading' of colour which imitates uneven wear of the painted finish. 
The stain on the back is fairly random. Extra dirty wash was 'painted' along the top where it settles into the valleys and then runs out and down the back.

Something a little prettier, the desk is another piece purchased already stained and varnished, it was treated in a similar way to the chair above but without the grey wash.  This chair originally had a pine-look seat and dark green back.  After a light sanding it was painted with a 2-3 of coats of dark brown followed by several coats of light green, each one a slightly different shade, then sanded at wear points and finished with the dark wood stain 'dirty wash'.  I'm not sure if it will stay this colour or get a few coats of grey wash.  

The roses are cheap ribbon roses, I'm sure you've seen bunches of them in craft supply stores.  The original colour was a very bright pink.  They've been painted with a thick coat of gesso, it soaks into the ribbon in a random way giving nice uneven shading.  I think these make nice big shabby roses to add a little colour here and there. The basket was a natural colour that I covered with gesso.   You've probably guessed by now that gesso is a favourite of mine! 

I hope this will encourage a few of you to play with some 'cheap and cheerful' purchased or handmade pieces to create an individual look.  They don't have to be grunged/aged as much as some of these, just go for colours and finishes that will suit your settings.  Most of all just have fun

~left click the pics to enlarge ~

The white journal on the desk is by Glenda at Peppercorn Minis - she makes them in various sizes and colours to suit different settings and scales, she sells them in her Etsy store (linked on her blog) for a very reasonable price.

The portrait on the desk is one of my maternal great grandfathers, 'keeping it in the family as usual :)


Susan@minicrochetmad said...

Oh, those doors are wonderful, surely they've been weathering for 50 years! Wonderful grunging!

Plushpussycat said...

Lots of great tips here! I'll have to refer to this post again when I'm ready to do some finishes--thanks! :-)

lamina@do a bit said...

They all look so excellent I wish the were in real life size especially the green chair.. LOVE it!!

beachcomber said...

you did a great's all so cute!!
cheryl x

Pollicina said...

Hello Norma!
I wanted to thank you for being passed by my blog!
Yes you're right a lot of our projects are similar
obviously we have a lot in common!
But the difference lies in your skill ... unparalleled in my
It will be nice to see our work continues .....

Flora said...

My husband says that sometimes, I seem to lose touch with reality, because I pay more attention to the friends of the blog that people around me in the flesh ... But what can I do, if with anyone else I can speak of aged patina?!
My friends speak only about trivial things (politics, work, money ...) and only in the blog I find satisfaction in my fields concerned :-)
You did an amazing job, it seems very fun and relaxing, a good anti-stress therapy :-)
I feel that I love you, know this :-)
Too bad live so far away ...
We can spend a wonderful afternoons drinking tea and aged furniture...
Mini hugs, Flora

Piikko said...

Beautiful work Norma! You're so good in ageing things. Better stay here far away from you:DDDDDD;D
Hugs, piikko

Nina in Germany said...

Wonderful - I like your works and your playing with the signs of old.
And very interesting, thanks.

Tabitha Corsica said...

Ah, are so right about only finding like-minded people here on the blogs.

Norma, your pieces look great! I really like the green chair and desk set.

I have also come to discover that adding an aged patina is often a much bigger challenge than one initially thinks. I am currently in the process of removing many layers of craft paint on a piece where the finish just didn't seem to work out right. Your readers might be interested in knowing that acetone nail polish remover does a nice job of softening up dried acrylic craft paint. ;-) back to the drawing board...

Katie said...

I love aging items:) And yours are beautiful! Love how you got the wash to run down the back of the chair!

Patty said...

Norma, You have done an excellent job on them! They look very vintage!!(and shabby)

Cinderella Moments said...

Those are great tips! I love hearing about these patina techniques. Your items look outstanding. And the ribbon roses...who knew you could make them look so fabulous! Thanks for all the info!!

Maria Ireland said...

Hi Thank you very much for your kind word on my blog.I treasure them all. I love your tips i as yet ;) havent tried ageing things but if and when i do i will be looking to you for help lol. great work love it all.:)

Nicole said...

Beautiful furnitures, Norma. You did a great job with the aging, thank you for showing! I can use it on my new project it's much to "clean" by now... :-)

marlies said...

WOW! Love what you did with this furniture, GREAT! The doors and the banch are my favorite.
I have a question, Is that the color of the roses shining trough the gesso, or did you add color to it?
I have to try that some time.
* marlies

Monica Roberts said...

Oiy ... you've been a busy lass! The doors surpass the word wonderful, and your distressing is distressing to one who hasn't yet quite got the hang of it. Love everything you come up with ... and please remember I'm over here patiently waiting (downside up and getting woozy), to see what new things you've found for the shop.

Contrastes-Rosa Mª said...

! Que maravilla has conseguido¡ te ha quedado espectacular,gracias por los consejos, felicidades

Glenda said...

Ah, these are beautiful - thankyou for the methods. I have a lot of trouble aging minis, but looking in the mirror is certainly inspiring, hehehe.
Thnx for the link :)

Plumrose Lane said...

Ahhhh, you take me back to the days when I made miniature houses ~ what a love!

Norma Bennett said...

Thanks for all your encouraging comments.

I've answered Marlies' question in a comment on her blog but will duplicate it here in case anyone else is wondering too

Your question about the ribbon roses, all I put on them was the gesso. I like that it soaks in rather than 'paints' them, I didn't add any other colours. I did play with some pale pink roses ages ago adding some dark pink on those near the centres - one of those (squashed to look a bit like a dried pressed flower) is in the new pic in my header. Have a play with it, the roses and the paint are so cheap! They're not as delicate as all the beautiful paper flowers the clever people are making but I think they will nicely 'fill a gap' here and there :) If you try it let me know how you get on.


Flora you are so right, we all need our blog friends to chat about things we love so much and no-one else understands. Yes, what fun it would be to spend time together chatting and 'aging' stuff ;) I don't think Piiko would like to join us though as she's obviously worried we'd start on her!! (I'd like to know who has been working on me!!)

A big big thanks to Tabitha for the tip on acetone, that's something that could be very very useful either to remove full coats of paint or just patchy areas as part of an aging project - I'm definately going to try it.

Monica, I hope you haven't passed out from the rush of blood to your head - nothing new to show you just yet sorry to just hand on (pun intended!) LOL. I need to concentrate on making some more progress on the second floor walls and floors first.

Hey Lamina, I've been thinking about the boring dark brown kitchen chairs in the NZ cottage - they're definately in my sights for a similar make over - and there's a good chance they'll be green :)

Anonymous said...

I wish I could accomplish this look on some furniture in my home. Love it.


marlies said...

Thank you Norma for explanation, I realy going to try this, first I have to buy some off these roses. I think they will be great on a wreath or on boxes. I let you know when I'm give it a try!
* marlies

Lucille said...

Beautiful work, Norma. Such a wonderful tutorial! Thank you so much.

maria l. said...

A nice blog
I like it very much
Buen gusto y acierto en todo

Unknown said...

I love the shabby look. Thank you for the tutorial.

Sans! said...

I knew you could do it! :) Love the doors the most but everything else is great too!

I think for as long as I can remember, I have always preferred old, vintage, aged. Even where clothes are concerned. You will be embarrassed to be in some of the clothes I wear to work. The pair of pants that I have now look like so worn , parts of it are brown instead of black...but they are oh so comfy!!!! LOL

Gotto go back and look at the chair again to see what Katie meant ...:)