Age metal to create an authentic-antique look
Learn how to age metal to create an authentic antique look in your home.
The older the antique,
the rarer and more expensive it is.
But what if you don’t want to spend that much on your décor? In her new book Rescue, Restore, Redecorate: Amy Howard’s
Guide to Refinishing Furniture and Accessories, author Amy Howard shares her methods for aging, antiquing and restoring furniture. “There’s no reason you can’t have a chair with a patina of age like the one at your favorite restaurant, or a dresser that’s as gorgeous as the one you’ve been coveting in the window of that antiques store,” she writes. “Thanks to some amazing behind-the-scenes chemistry, we can now speed up the process [of aging] from decades to hours and minutes.” Here’s how you can age a galvanized bucket to give it that charming cottage patina.
What You’ll Need:
• Galvanized buckets, one with embossed element • Protective gloves
• Gentle degreaser
• 2 or 3 clean, lint-free rags
• Small glass or plastic container (no metal)
• 1 bottle of zinc antiquing solution • Indoor-outdoor stickers
• Plastic putty knife
• 1 booklet of gold leaf, trimmed to size • Water-based gilding size
• Round artist’s brush (#12)
• 2-inch (5-cm) flat bristle brush
• 1 pad of #0000 steel wool (optional)
What You’ll Do:
1. Oil is often used to make cutting galvanized sheet metal easier. Using a clean rag and a little degreaser, thoroughly scrub the inside and outside of the bucket.
In the glass or plastic container, saturate a clean rag in the zinc antiquing solution (don’t forget to wear gloves). Squeeze out the excess, and then pat the entire surface with the zinc solution. It is best to hold the bucket at a 45-degree angle as you work your way around with the rag, rubbing in circles to cover the surface and to work in any drips. The shiny areas will start to disappear. Continue until the outside of the bucket looks completely matte black or dark gray.
Let the bucket air-dry. After about 15 minutes, the piece will begin to dry to a beautiful dustygray finish, because the patination process has changed the metal. Let the bucket dry completely (about 15 more minutes), until there are no dark areas left. Repeat step 2 on the inside of the bucket.
Trim the sticker if needed. Remove the sticker backing, and carefully roll the sticky side onto the upper half of the container in your preferred spot.
Using a plastic putty knife, burnish the sticker, pressing it well so that it adheres without bubbles. Remove the backing.
To gild an embossed element on the large bucket, dip the tip of an artist’s brush in the gilding size. Brush the size only on the raised areas (I did the numbers and the border around them). After about 15 minutes, the size solution will turn from milky-white to clear. Test the size to see if it has come to tack by touching it with your finger; you’re looking for a gentle pull.
Once the size has come to tack, apply a trimmed-to-size sheet of gold leaf. Holding the gold-leaf booklet taut at the folded portion of tissue paper near the spine on one side and at the other edge as shown, place the gold leaf against the surface and slowly pull away the single folded tissue sheet near the spine. Burnish the tissue paper side of the booklet by pressing with your fingertips in one direction to attach the gold-leaf sheet below to the size, and pull the booklet away. Repeat, overlapping the edge of each leaf, until the desired areas are covered in gold leaf.
Let the size dry completely (about an hour after you applied it). Gently swipe away any loose shards of gold leaf with the flat brush.
If you would like to dull the shine of the leaf to age it, rub gently with the steel wool. Buff with a clean rag.
Once you’ve aged a bucket, you can add additional embellishments to it, such as stickers or gilding to an embossed element.
Rescue, Restore, Redecorate: Amy Howard’s Guide to Refinishing Furniture and Accessories by Amy Howard, published by Abrams,© 2018; abramsboooks.com.