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Painting Wood Furniture


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Sandpaper the surface, paint, then you can: rub white paint thinly over it with a cloth to tone down the color, and/or sandpaper to bring the surface down a little. A trick learned from a frame maker: rub a chain over the surface and/or hit the wood lightly with the chain to put little dings in it.

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Sandpaper the surface, paint, then you can: rub white paint thinly over it with a cloth to tone down the color, and/or sandpaper to bring the surface down a little. A trick learned from a frame maker: rub a chain over the surface and/or hit the wood lightly with the chain to put little dings in it.

 

As in a bike chain?

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You can also achieve a worn look by strategically sanding or steel-wooling edges, tops of chair rungs, knobs, etc. If you use a different color for the base coat, when you remove parts of the top coat, the “old” paint is revealed. This only works with oil-based paints; latex stays gummy even when fully dry and makes a mess if you try and ssand it. You can, with latex paint, carefully wipe the edges with a rag while the paint is still wet. And then there are the crackle glazes for the serously weathered look.

 

There are whole books devoted to the subject...

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I'll second Jocasta Innes' books. I am not handy in the least bit and I did an admirable job on some furniture of my sister's (and believe me, my sister is picky) with the help of Innes.

 

And what GG said about oil-based paint. Pain in the ass to work with and best done in a well-ventilated area but the results are better than with latex.

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The books are a great idea.

 

You might want to avoid the bike chain and use a more "conventional" chain instead. The bike chain's sharp edges may cause an unnatural appearance to the distress. Chains are usually meant to replicate years of dropping things onto the surface.

 

A wood stain applied over the paint and wiped away so that it remains in the grooves & grain will also add an aged look. A little bit of stain used on the bottom of cups, saucers, glasses, etc. and placed strategically (just the one partial ring) can also add the impression of years of use to a table top.

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I have one of the Jocasta books, but I found all the techniques way too complicated...I tend to just fake my way to what I want. I do a lot of painting on and wiping, or dabbing off with old tee-shirts. I hate to admit that I have recently discovered glaze medium, and it's really nice if you want to use it for a water-colorish effect, or a brown,tea-stained look. I tend to do a lot of that over pieces that have detail that I want to bring out, lots of raw umber or Van Dyke brown brushed on and wiped off, or glazed.

 

And I try lots of things, then wash them off, or paint over..,.The furniture feels more friendly to me after a few coats, don't know why...(there may be those that would question my sanity...)

 

If I wanted a really distressed look, I would try the crackle. I love some of the stuff I've seen with colors like orchid under jade...Of course, I got the same look on one of the chairs I wasn't too interested in by leaving it on the porch all winter. :) .

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