Antiquing with “Throwaway” Items

Antiquing allows you to age a surface to produce a time-worn appearance thus saving an item that might have otherwise ended up in a landfill. Even your antiquing agent can rescue something that you might otherwise have thrown away such as an out-of-date eye shadow, the last bits of a watercolor set, a used tea bag …

There are many methods of antiquing but the general idea is to use a tinted transparent or semi-transparent liquid to coat a finished surface so that it appears older than it is.

There are two methods you can choose from to antique a surface. You can rub your Coloring Agent directly onto the surface or you can tint shellac or polyurethane with your Coloring Agent and brush it onto the item.

Coloring Agents

  • liquid or powdered eye shadow or eye liner
  • facial bronzer
  • watercolors
  • paint
  • coffee
  • tea
  • wood stain
  • fabric dye


Make sure to match the liquid you’re using to what you’re applying it to. For instance if your item is painted with a water-based paint then you will want to use a water-based antiquing medium.

The second step is to color your liquid. Make sure to test on a small area or similar item first and allow to dry before proceeding with the rest of your project.

You can use any of the above Coloring Agents to color any of the liquids below:

  • light colored paint
  • shellac
  • polyurethane
  • furniture wax
  • crackle glaze
  • glaze
  • varnish


Before sending you off to the big wide Internet let me just say that while I offer you these pages for inspiration and education I expect you to use your Irish Attic staining mixture and not to go out and purchase tung oil and organic bees waxor whatever these sites will instruct you to use.

This is a simple technique for striping surfaces: They also have techniques for other special effects.

The DIY Network provides instruction on several antiquing techniques,2046,DIY_14291_25461,00.html

The Home and Garden television channel shares an idea for giving your “antique” object a special flare,1793,HGTV_3395_1384826,00.html

If you’d rather not wander all over the Internet picking up one faux technique here and another there check out the “The Paint Effects Bible: 100 Recipes for Faux Finishes” at


Water-based liquids work best with paper and fabrics.

Shellac, paint or polyurethane work best with wood, metal or stone.


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This entry was posted in Furniture, Painting and tagged , , , , , by Kat. Bookmark the permalink.

About Kat

I started this blog to share with you all the results of years of turning trash into treasures. Hopefully I'll spark some new creative thoughts and if that happens I hope that you'll share your discoveries and together we’ll build a blog that will singlehandedly reduce global warming and save the world! Okay, maybe that’s a grand goal but we should be able to at least downsize our own trash output.

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