Distressed Finishes A Few
Trade Secrets Revealed
There are several other ways to obtain antique or distressed
finishes to areas which have been gilded, or have had a crackle
glaze finish applied to it.
When you are laying the leaf, gently
twist the pad as you press down gently to get the gold
leaf to adhere, this will have the effect of breaking up
the gold leaf in irregular areas, such as is shown in the
picture on the left, you can also scrape of areas of the
gold before the size has dried with a cocktail stick or
small slip of wood. These types of distressed finishes can
be applied with any metal leaf.
When applying a crackle glaze to a paper surface you can rub
in some raw linseed oil after the crackle has been achieved,
this will dull down the surface giving a mat appearance, make
sure you rub the oil in well and remove the surplus with a
cotton cloth, this will speed up the drying time.
This picture shows this method of distressing a piece to
If you want something that looks truly ancient after using a
crackle glaze and antique glaze plus the coating of raw linseed
oil, I suggest you place the object in either strong hot
sunlight for about 3 hours, or failing hot sunlight, place the
object in a pre heated warm oven (gas mark 1-2) for about 3
hours, this will cause the crackle to lift in an irregular
manner, see the picture below. I cannot give hard and fast
rules about this process, therefore I advise that you check the
This is a close up of the picture above it was achieved in 5
Step 1 The application of the crackle base coat.
Step 2 The application of the crackle top coat.
Step 3 The application of the antique glaze.
Step 4 The application of the Linseed Oil.
Step 5 Place in warm oven or strong hot sunlight.
You can apply this trick of the trade to most gilded
finishes with good effect, but check the piece occasionally as
this is a trial and error process for which hard and fast rules
cannot be applied.
All the recipes and process's are contained in a detailed
manual entitled How to Achieve Antique & Other Distressed
Finishes to Imitation gold
Genuine gold leaf does not tarnish, even outside, but it
does build up an accretion of dirt over a period of time. One
way to simulate this build up of dirt, is to dissolve in water
some ordinary brown earth and paint it on the leaf. Let the
water evaporate...this can be speeded up with hair drier...the
dirt will remain, this can be sealed with shellac if intended
for indoor use, or with marine varnish if intended for outside
So far we have looked
at the various distressed finishes that can be applied to gold
leaf, but these same simple finishes can equally be applied to
painted surfaces of all kinds to create shabby chic
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