Antiquing, or simulating the aging of your art using paint effects

Antiquing, or simulating the aging of your art using paint effects

This sort of post should really contain step by step images but I’m going to ask you to try and visualise the techniques as you will come up with variations that will be all your own.

Antiquing your art or objects in your art can be done many different ways, here are my favourites-


Rubbed Effect using acrylic paint - This works best on paintings that are done on rigid board but you can do a similar effect on a stretched canvas it just takes a bit more practice to get it right.

First up you paint the surface with the colour of your choice and allow to dry fully. A second coat of a different colour is then applied and allowed to dry to touch dry stage. Using a loose weave steel wool like a Goldilocks type pot scrub, carefully rub at the paint to remove it in areas, its best to go in one direction at first and not in circles, depending on the effect you want like flat or curved surface you would rub or scratch off the paint in that format. Flat surfaces the corners going both ways tend to look better if more paint is removed there than anywhere else.

Using a glaze of a colour like burnt or raw umber, roughly brush onto the surface and then rub back with a soft cloth so it sits mainly in the rough areas.


Crackling – as described in a previous post you can use crackle medium to create an aged effect, to get it more antique like after it has fully dried, you need to rub first a glaze of something like Indian red or for the brave a little bit of vermillion red, rub it into the cracks and remove the rest with a soft cloth. Follow up with a glaze or burnt or raw umber paint over the cracks and then rub it in with a soft cloth, the paint will sit in the cracks and give aged effects of old grime. It also looks really good over gold leaf.


Antique colour washes – The surface needs to be porous so a few coats of chalky gesso usually work well.

Apply the colours chosen in thin washes all in back and forward and sideway directions. Between each coat of wash use a soft cloth to remove excess paint leaving a patchy uneven surface. Allow each coat to dry before applying the next colour.

The best colours for such washes if you want an aged look are

Burnt Umber

 Raw Umber

Burnt Sienna

Sap Green

Nickel Yellow

Chrome Oxide Green Dark

Jenkins Green

Green Gold

Transparent Iron Oxide Brown

Metallic bronze or gold


Don’t forget to varnish too as you want to preserve the finished effect.

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Posted: Monday 3 May 2010


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