Aged Wood furniture
- Wear down your furniture with sandpaper. For the most authentic antique wooden furniture look, sand down areas that would most likely be worn over time. For example, arm rests, chair seats, chair rungs, edges and surfaces near drawer pulls are usually the most worn furniture areas.
- Simulate worm holes. Antique wooden furniture often has woodworm holes, and this effect can be reproduced using household items.
- Use a drill and a small drill bit, or an ice pick, to make irregular clusters of 4 to 5 holes.
- Create rows of small holes by stabbing wood with a fork.
- Hammer a cluster of long nails through the end of a block of wood that you can hold in your hand. All of the nails should come out at the same place on the backside of the block. Slam this block into wooden furniture to create a cluster of worm holes in 1 movement.
- Imitate wear and tear with dents, scrapes and dings. This is called distressing, and may be done in a variety of ways:
- Use a chisel and hammer to knock chips into the wood.
- Pound into the wood with a hammer or mallet to create soft impressions.
- Attach a variety of nuts, bolts and washers to a 2 foot (0.6 m) length of chain and slam the chain into the wood to make indentations.
- To create a variety of irregular gashes when distressing wood furniture, try putting an assortment of heavy metal objects inside a pillowcase and flogging the furniture with the filled pillowcase. Be creative with what you use, as anything that makes an indentation will effectively age wooden furniture.
- Score along the grain of the wood with a chisel to create natural-looking cracks and hewing.
- Use a wire brush to create scratch marks on furniture bases that would normally come into contact with shoes. Additionally, chair backs and arms, as well as outer edges of tables, dressers and armoires, generally show signs of scraping into walls and/or other furniture.
- Round sharp edges with a wood file or chisel. Being sure to go with the grain of the wood, use a file for aging furniture edges and prominent surfaces. Pay special attention to chair arm ends and chair and table feet.
- Apply a faux finish. Use paint, paste wax, glaze and/or crackle medium to visually age wooden furniture.
- Sand the protective finish off the wooden furniture you plan on faux finishing. Wipe the surface down with a damp rag to remove dirt, debris and sand dust.
- Paint a base coat. Choose a color that you intend to show through the faux finish. Allow the paint to dry for 24 hours.
- Spread a thin coat of paste wax over the base paint. Allow the wax to set for 1 hour before aging furniture any further.
- Paint a faux finish glaze (which you may purchase at a home improvement store or mix yourself by combining 3 parts paint to 1 part water) over the wax. You may opt to leave this coat as-is, or to wipe off part of it with a rag to create a dingy look. Repeat this process as necessary, until you have reached your desired effect. Allow the glaze coat to dry for 24 hours.
- Sand over areas that would naturally be time-worn, revealing the base coat underneath.
- Finish your piece with either a sealant, or with a crackle medium. Crackle medium can be bought in any home improvement or craft store. Simply paint it on and, as it dries, it condenses into crackles, creating the look of sun-crackled paint.
Ask a Question
If this question (or a similar one) is answered twice in this section, please click here to let us know.
- Consider common household items when looking for ways to stain or discolor wooden furniture. For example, create a tea-stain by soaking tea bags in water, or soak steel wool in vinegar overnight to create a rust stain.
- When glazing, allow the glaze mixture to settle into crevices, dents and chips to give the furniture details more depth, and to add to the old, dingy feel.
- Apply faux finishes only in well-ventilated areas.
- Always sand and apply paint and/or glaze in the direction of the grain.
- To create the most genuine-looking effect of antique wooden furniture worm holes, find an old piece of worm-holed wood to get an idea of what real woodworm holes look like.