Have you ever visited a craft
show or gift shop, and wondered how the manufacturers get
those brand new hand crafted items, to look like antiques?
Well, there are many different techniques used for aging
new items. Here are just a few that are easy to do, using
a variety of different items.
First, we will talk about distressing items. Take a brand
new teddy bear for example, his fur is in wonderful shape,
no worn spots, his stuffing is firm and in place. But you
want this bear to look like a small child has loved him
for years. Take a razor or electric clippers and just
start trimming that brand new looking little furry
creature. Basically around the muzzle and ears, and
anywhere he would have been rubbed by little hands, you
can also give him a tea dye bath which I will describe
Also for wooden items, such as signs, toys or shelving,
break out the sandpaper, hammer and even a screw driver,
start taking out your frustrations on the piece of wood in
front of you. Beat it, scrape it and sand the edges to
make them look worn. Then you can use a medium colored
stain to darken the wood and stain the paint. Just put on
one light coat and let dry.
You can also add age spots to any items by mixing a bit of
black or dark brown paint with a little water, to make it
ink-like in consistency. Just dab this on lightly with a
paint brush; anywhere you feel a little age spot would be
Have you ever seen a sign that looks like the wood had
been kept in a work shop? This method is called
spattering. After you have painted your project, take an
old toothbrush, it is helpful to trim the bristles to
between 1/4 and ½ inches long. Dip your toothbrush in
water, and now in a spot of paint, color doesn’t matter,
but you will need it to contrast with the background color
of the painted item. It is also best to place your object
on newspaper or in a cardboard box, to keep from
spattering your paint everywhere. Now, with the toothbrush
facing the project, run your thumb down the bristles of
the toothbrush, and spatter the paint onto the surface of
your project. You can also spatter with more than one
color. Just rinse your toothbrush out, and after the first
spattering is dried, re-spatter. Items can also be
distressed after this procedure.
Old fabrics generally are stained also, and staining your
fabric is very easy to do, with tea. Choose a large
container that will hold your project. Fill the container
halfway with boiling water and then add about 8 regular
tea bags to the water, I usually add some vanilla extract
and cinnamon with this too. Wait for the water to cool so
that your project will not shrink. Now just toss in your
project and allow soaking. Some people recommend removing
the tea bags, but I like leaving them in the water, since
they will touch the project and make a darker stain in
some spots. You can leave this soak for several hours or
overnight. Remove, and set out to dry. You can actually
even set the item on the edge of the bowl face down and
let all of the excess tea run into the face, which will
leave interesting looking marks.
If you want to add a few more spots to your item, take a
wet tea bag and just tap it on your project. If you are
tea dying fabric to use for a project, it can be tossed in
the dryer, and then pressed before cutting out your items.
This process can be done with any fabric items, such as
doll clothes, doll bodies and teddy bears.
There are several aging products on the market one is
called “Age it” and another “Crackle it”. This is just
painted on a surface after a base coat is painted. If you
are going to paint a surface that will be white or another
light color when finished, start with a dark base coat.
Now paint on the product, it will chemically change the
first coat of paint so it will react with the last coat.
Lastly, paint on the final color coat. Watch the chemical
reaction taking place, the paint will crack and bubble,
giving your project an aging paint looks Very similar to
old weathered wood.
These are just a few of the techniques that I use to “age”
my craft projects to make them look older than they really