Friday, May 25, 2012

How to Antique Glaze Furniture

From the outset I have to admit that I am no world expert on antique glazing. I'm not even 100% sure I like the effect.  ...Actually I do like it but probably not as much as I like clean crisp white furniture (for my home anyway).  However it's a good technique to master and one that has it's place when you are restoring and painting vintage furniture.

Antique glaze is used to simulate the patina of age. It can totally transform a thrift store fine or a cheap unfinished piece. 


In the USA, you can buy antique glaze already made up such as Valspar, but it's nigh on impossible to buy here in Australia. So if you live in this beautiful country where the life is good and the beaches are even better but it's still a wee bit isolated and where it's sometimes hard to source good craft products ... this is what you will have to do to the glaze yourself.

Buy some Artist's Drying Retarder. I bought this at my local art and stationery shop for around $11. You will only use a tiny amount for each project so it will last ages.

Get some acrylic brown paint.  I usually use burnt umber or burnt sienna but I couldn't find them in my stash when I was painting the French chair yesterday so I used raw umber with a dash of black mixed in. It doesn't really matter what colour you use but remember you are trying to mimic years of dirt and grime so use a darkish brown.


In a small container mix your brown paint with a teaspoon or so of the drying retarder. The drying retarder will (obviously) slow the paint drying time and allow you working time.  Mix in an equal part of water.

Have a load of white clean rags on hand. Old t-shirts work beautifully.  You will use these to wipe most of the glaze off.  

Start brushing on the glaze mixture to your piece of furniture that already has a base colour on.   Work on one surface at a time as your glaze will dry fairly quickly even with the retarder in it. Apply glaze first to mouldings, carved detail and decorated areas.  Deal with these areas first and then move on to flat areas. For large flat surfaces, the glaze can be applied in several stages.

  
You will need to work in small areas and very quickly.  Get your brush into all the cracks and crevices.  The more detailed your piece is the better the glazing will look.

  
Working quickly with your clean rag, wipe most of the glaze off (wipe it off the flat surfaces first), leaving it in the areas that grime would naturally accumulate over the years. Use a clean bit of rag for each wipe over. Otherwise all you will be doing is dragging paint everywhere.  Always wipe in the direction of the wood grain. The rags can easily be washed so don't worry about how many you use.  You might want to use a fine artists brush to get glaze into any little areas.


You can see in the above photo that I hadn't managed to get into all the cracks and it wasn't particularly dark so I reapplied the glaze and wipes off again. Do this to darken your glaze if you want.  If you have any areas where the glaze is too dark you can wet your rag and wipe it off easily and start again.


Distress your piece and top coat as desired. I have top coated this chair with Porter's Original Paint Clearcote.

  

Here are some other examples of glazing I have done recently.

An antique dressing table with mirror


and this old frame that I bought at the local junk markets.



If you want to glaze a whole piece of furniture I would suggest practising first. The large flat areas can look very streaky if you get it wrong. A great resource for learning to paint furniture is Mike (from European Paint Finishes) and Christa's (from Stories of a House) e-book. It's super cheap and a wealth of knowledge especially if you want to spray paint furniture. You can purchase it and download it here.  Or you can send me an email and I am always happy to answer questions.

I've got a sick little girl home from school today so I won't be heading to the furniture auctions or gym as planned. Oh well, it's a cold wet day anyway so it's very nice to stay home and snuggle with my lovely daughter.

I'm off to the wonderful Becasse Bakery and Quarter 21 Cookery School tomorrow for a sourdough bread cooking course. I can't wait for it and will be sharing tips and photos next week. Thanks for my super generous sister-in-law for the birthday gift voucher!

Leave me a comment - are you a fan of antique glazing or not? I'm keen to hear from you! I'm still out on the jury decision!

cheers 

35 comments:

  1. Our recipes are different but get the same effect ;)

    I am on the fence for glazing too Fiona...on certain pieces it looks fantastic, like the pieces you have shown above.

    I don't do it more than I do do it, if that makes sense, lol. I guess that comes down more to the pieces I find, and the pieces I like. Then of course I might wax instead of glaze, which is what I did most recently on a frenchy sideboard with nice carved detail (and no I haven't blogged about it yet).

    Got to get my butt into the kitchen to prepare for the party tomorrow!

    Hope your wee lady is better soon :)

    xx Karen

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    1. So what is your recipe Karen? I'm always keen to hear ideas from this hemisphere!
      RUth

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  2. i like glazing- i think it helps those details pop!

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  3. Glazing adds so much character. Nice tutorial.

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  4. Thanks for the tutorial. I think glazing looks wonderful on pieces with a lot of detail. (the frame looks beautiful.). Newest follower.

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  5. I love this.Thanks for sharing.I'm a new follower,come over and visit soon..xx

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  6. Thanks for making an effort to equip us Southern Henisphere gals. I have had a bit of a try using burnt umber paint in clear water based poly as a glaze. It seems to work quite well and doesn't dry to fast. I wonder if you just used water instead of the drying retardant whether that would work too?
    Hope your daughter is feeling much better. Enjoy your baking!

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    Replies
    1. thanks for replying Ruth. If you just use water it dries quicker and you have less time to work so it can end up a bit streaky especially on the flat surfaces. Karen's recipe is the same as yours i think. would save doing a top coat i think.
      Sasha is much better today - back at school tomorrow. thanks for your good wishes
      cheers Fiona

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  7. Lovely piece and that is so interesting that you have to make your own there! Oh and yes, Modern Furniture is a Spam. You can easily go in and delete their comment.

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    1. thanks Pamela. yes we have to be EXTRA resourceful down under!
      and thanks for the advice on the spam. i'm never sure. LOL
      hope you are having a lovely weekend
      cheers Fiona

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  8. I like this type of antique effect in the furnitures.I am going to try it out on mine too.

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  9. I do like the glazing - I kept wondering why I couldn't find it anywhere here and now I have the answer. I think I might try your instructions on a frame, I love how yours turned out.

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    1. hi Catherine - i know it took me forever to work out how to do this. I looked for glaze everywhere. Porters Paints do have a glaze but it's not quite the same. Good luck with your frame. let me know how you get one or if you need any more help let me know
      cheers Fiona

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  10. Wow - This looks so much better! Good job! I hope you'll link this up at my new link party:
    http://naptimedelights.blogspot.ca/2012/05/tuesdays-tidbits-2.html

    Thanks! Sarah
    {www.naptimedelights.blogspot.com}

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    Replies
    1. thanks so much Sarah. I will check it out
      all the best
      Fiona

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  11. How sweet of you to share, some new tips for me, love glazing thanks
    Newest follower

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    Replies
    1. thanks so much, glad it is helpful. enjoy my blog
      cheers Fiona

      Delete
  12. wow.. what a lovely surprise!!! thank you so much, dear.. it's simply gorgeous.

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  13. Thank you! This blog is very informative and super helpful. I put a link to it on my blog! Great job

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    Replies
    1. Thanks very much, much appreciated. I’ll check it out.

      Delete
  14. At last! I have for the better part of a year bitching and carrying on about the TOTAL lack of items here that are available in other countries - espwhen it comes to furniture and finishes! I have tried boot polish (eww - looked like smeared poo on the furniture - and colleted dust etc) timber stain - again with the poo effect and i had almost given up on finding anything - now i will definately try out your retardant with paint )oh - and modpodge isnt so great either - just in case anyone was thinking ot trying it - plus its too expensive to do a lot of glazing with!
    So glad i found this, and i really think we need to get a campaign under way - get someone to start manufacturing a similar product here in Aus!
    Lastly - dontbother going to any bunnings and ask for glazing products - they will tell you they dont know what it is or send you to the glass product department.....

    D :)

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    1. glad to help out - yes it's totally hard to get furniture painting advice from the guys at Bunnings!

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  15. Thank you for the instructions! I can get the glaze here in the US but the directions were so difficult to understand. I'm going to try to do this on my kitchen cabinets. Any suggestions?

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  16. thank you
    An Australian site that has quality informative pieces and information.
    Thank you.
    Do you know anyone who orders Annie Sloan off the net?
    Have you supplied your recipe on your blog.
    I find your style inspirational.

    Vicki

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    1. hi Vicki, I know that Annie's paint will be available in Australia after February so i'd just wait till then and save a fortune on postage.
      thanks for the feedback and let me know how you go. sorry for the delay in replying. we were away and i had trouble replying on my iPad.
      cheers Fiona

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    2. hi Fiona
      Just read through your painting tips again so resourceful, as I have spent hours researching, went to bunnings, yes they had no idea. Can you please tell me your experience with home made chalk paint. your time would be most appreciated.

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    3. hi Vicki - i use homemade chalk paint for a large proportion of my furniture. I use the plaster of paris method. the quanitis will vary depending on the look i'm wanting or finish (and how hot it is as it dries very quickly). once waxed it is a beautiful smooth finish (depending on how much you sand/buff).
      can you send me your email address and i'll reply more fully - lilyfieldlife @ bigpond . com (no spaces)

      cheers Fiona

      Delete
  17. I agree that modern world handheld devices are supposed to be placed at some stylish furniture items.
    furniture york pa

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  18. Wow! This blog is very informative and helpful. I pleased to visit your site and it is also helping to update my blog on the same subject. I really like this type of furniture and would like to try once.

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  19. Really great looks. I am from USA and use Valspar antiquing glaze but I was home and out of it. I really appreciate the recipe. I am going to try it. I personally love the look but not on everything. It can really give new life to a forgotten object. Thanks Cathy from Tennessee.

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  20. In Canada, we understand the dearth of those fabulous US products - thx for sharing! I'm going to see about ordering your fab aussie brushes - how great is that? :-)

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  21. Hi Fiona, just thought you might like to know that Spotlight sells Clear Medium Glaze but it only comes in a 250ml bottle and cost about $16 - 18. I have'nt tried it yet. but that have it.
    Regards
    Sue

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    1. thanks so much Sue, that is great to know. I will check it out when i'm there.
      really appreciate that, Fiona

      Delete

I appreciate your comments and love to hear what you think. If you don't have an account to comment and want to ask a question either send me an email on lilyfieldlife@bigpond.com or find me on facebook. I was getting way too much spam so had to turn Anon comments off. Thanks!