How to Paint Stained Furniture to Look Antique


Antiques never go out of fashion. If you do not want the expense of purchasing real antiques, give your existing wood furniture an antique look. Nearly any item can be made to look like it has been passed down for generations, even contemporary furniture. Paint and distress your stained furniture to give it a rustic, worn, well-used look. There is no specific rule about how exactly to distress or antique an item -- the more random the distressing, the more natural the effect.

Things You'll Need

  • Hammer, chain, or other heavy object
  • Steel wool pad
  • Paint thinner
  • Crackle paint
  • Paintbrush
  • Tissue paper
  • Hit the stained wood using a hammer or chain to create small dents and dings in your piece; this process is called "distressing" and creates the effect of many years of use on wood surfaces. A lightweight dog chain is ideal to give wood the desired antique look.

  • Remove some of the original stain using paint thinner and a steel wool pad; the paint thinner removes thin layers of the stain and the steel wool pad makes the wood rough to receive the new paint treatment. Avoid creating deep gouges with the steel wool; work lightly and pass over areas a second time if you do not press hard enough on the first.

  • Paint the stained surface with a thin, even coat of crackle paint and a paintbrush--use a small paintbrush for small or intricate pieces of furniture, larger brushes for larger pieces. Apply light-colored crackle paint over dark stained wood surfaces for the best effect; the crackle paint's surface "cracks" when dry, exposing the dark stain underneath and creating an old appearance on even the newest wood surfaces.

  • Tear off some tissue paper pieces and place them onto the wet paint. Allow the item to dry and paint a second coat over the tissue paper. This technique gives the piece the look of paint "layers" and adds to the historic feel.

Tips & Warnings

  • Plaster can also be used to create an antique look by applying it in a thin, uneven coat and random pattern over an item and then applying a coat of regular paint, or crackle paint, over it.

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