Easy Steps to Make Patina on Wood Furniture | homify

Easy Steps to Make Patina on Wood Furniture

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Winter is a great time to get started on some of those projects that have been sitting at the back of your mind; putting the photos into albums, clearing out the pantry and restoring that piece of furniture purchased at the car boot sale. There are some amazing things to be found at a local sale. There are often amazing older and second hand furniture pieces that can be purchased for a bargain. They  may not be in the best condition, but this is an opportunity to restore them to a piece you’ve always wanted. Creating a patina on timber furniture is a popular choice. This involves painting the piece then introducing a distressed look to make it appear much older than it actually is. By applying the same technique to several pieces it can be a great way to make them look like a set. It is easier than you think to create this patina on any piece of furniture. homify has found the best patina technique for you.

Apply Coloured Layers

It is important to consider what colour you will use for the patina. The purpose of creating a patina is to make the piece appear older than it is. It would therefore not make much sense to use a bright or florescent colour. Consider the colours that reflect the time you would like you piece to have come from. This would mean brighter colours, such as reds, blues and greens from the recent past and more neutral colours such as whites, browns and creams from the longer ago. Try applying different colours in layers. This will create different colours when applying the distressed effect. Consider also the colours of other items in the design. This blue bedhead is a great example, the blue colour matches blue the side tables and sheets. This was designed by Miulas Mobles.

Choose the Desired Furniture Piece

Creating a patina finish on a piece of furniture is a great way to  breathe life into an old piece of furniture. By applying a patina it will make it appear older than it is. This may be great for some pieces, but on others can appear unnatural and tasteless. It is important to choose the right piece of furniture for this type of finish. This set of drawers is a popular choice of furniture to patina. The style is similar to those that have existed in the past, making it believable that this piece is an older item.  The blue colour chosen for this piece suits the patina style, giving it the impression of age. This is a great way to introduce colour to a design. This piece was created by Rosen and Mehr.


When the desired piece is chosen, the next step is to prepare the piece. This means removing any items that need to be taken off for painting, including doors, drawers and such. All surfaces are then cleaned to remove all oils, glues and dirt. Once the piece has been cleaned and disassembled, it should be inspected for any damage. This is the time that all repairs should be made. If a chair leg is loose, this will need to be tightened or replaced. Once all repairs have been made it is time to apply the primer. The primer prepares the surfaces for the paint. For relatively new furniture one coat of primer will be enough. For older pieces with a fair deal of wear and tear, two coats may be required.

​Step 1: Apply the Base Coat

The first  step is to apply the base coat. The base coat is a white paint that establishes a base that the coloured paint will go on top of. This paint can be applied with a roller, brush or spray. There are different types of base coat that are available; a satin sheen oil based paint, and a water based paint. Both of these options are suitable for this project. Although a plain white coloured paint is usually used, there is also the option of a coloured base coat. This can be a better option if you are wanting different colours to come through on the different levels of distressing. Once this has been done, it is important to wait until it has completely dried before moving on to the next stage.

Step 2: Scrape and Sand

The defining characteristic of a patina finish is the distressed look. This is created by intentionally damaging the paintwork to reveal the surface underneath. This can be the fun part for many people. Consider what sort of ageing you are looking for; are you wanting the dents, dings and gouges or more the scratches and worn sections. These can all be created very easily. Be creative when applying these effects. Use a hammer, chain, knife or just sandpaper to create these effects. If you have used several layers of different coloured paint, consider how deep the scratches and dents will be to see the desired colours. The edges can also be sanded down to create a more authentic look. Think about the most likely areas for the piece to be worn and concentrate on these; for an item like this armchair, the armrests would be more worn than the other sections, so focus on these.

​Step 3: Seal with Wax

Now that the hard work of creating the exact look has been finished, it is time to seal the piece. This can be done with a few different products. One of the most popular ways is with wax. When using wax it can often require several layers to completely seal the piece. You can also seal it with a glaze. If you used an oil based paint choose and oil based glaze or a water based glaze for water based paints. Don’t be concernced by the colour of the glaze, it is often a dark colour. This will further enhance the ageing look of the pantina. Try applying the glaze thicker in some spots and thinner in others to help achieve the authentic look. Ensure the glaze is completely dry before moving to the next step.

​Step 4: Clear Coat

The final stage to creating this amazing looking patina is to apply the clear coat. The clear coat is a final clear finish that is applied to the item to protect the finish. As with the glaze, ensure you use an oil based clear coat when used with oil based paint and a water based clear coat with water based paints. To obtain a traditional aged furniture look ensure that the clear coat has a low sheen finish rather than a high gloss. This cupboard is a great example of the amazing look that can be achieved with a patina. In this piece a plain white finish has been chosen. The white paint contrasts well with the dark colours underneath to highlight the distressed effect. 

It is in the cooler winter months that we finally have the opportunity to work on projects that were forgotten over the warmer summer months. It is a great opportunity to start on projects that were shelved many months ago. One such project is the restoration of our older furniture. Create a great look with old furniture using a patina finish. This is a great way to introduce colour into a design. It is also a great way to link several different styled items together in one design. The technique of patina is very easy to achieve, by following the steps above. For more information see 6 Ideas for a StylishRustic Home.

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