If you want to antique a ceramic piece to make it look aged or weathered, choose from three different processes, depending on the effect you wish to achieve. Glazing and color washing apply pigment into the ridges and recesses of the piece. Dry brushing highlights raised areas of the object. You can also use dry brushing to give you the control to add small amounts of color to specific areas, whereas glazing and color washing apply pigment to larger surface areas. Any of these decorative processes will give your ceramic figurine or vessel a distressed appearance, making it look older than it really is.
Using Glaze to Antique Ceramics
Things You'll Need
Acrylic craft paints in various colors to paint the base colors of the piece
Acrylic craft paint in a dark brown color, such as burnt umber
Soft cloth or rag, such as an old T-shirt
Examine the existing finish on your ceramic piece. If it is all white with a porous matte finish, then it is likely bisque and you will not need to prime it first. If it is shiny, then it has been glazed and you will need to prime it first. Apply a coat of primer if necessary and allow it to dry completely.
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Paint your ceramic piece in the base colors of your choosing. Allow the paint to dry completely before continuing with the antiquing process.
Put a small amount of the floating medium and the burnt umber paint on your palette. To mix them, load your brush with the medium and then pick up some of the paint. Work the brush back and forth on the palette to work the glaze and color into the brush.
Use a flat or rectangular brush so that you will be able to apply the glaze both over large areas and in the crevices of the piece.
Apply the glaze mixture to a small area of the piece. Use the tip of the brush to work the pigment into the innermost crevices of the piece.
Wipe the excess glaze off of the piece with a soft rag. The glaze will remain in all of the nooks and crannies of the piece.
The glaze will allow the paint to stay wet longer, giving you more time to work with the piece.
Repeat this process of applying glaze and wiping off the excess until the entire piece has been antiqued to your liking. Allow the piece to dry completely.
After the paint and glaze have dried, seal with a waterproof sealer.
Antiquing Ceramics with Color Washing
Use the same method as described above. However, instead of mixing the brown paint with floating medium, mix it with water to achieve a more subtle effect.
Things You'll Need
Acrylic paint in a dark brown shade such as burnt umber
Acrylic paint brushes
Mix a small amount of water with the burnt umber paint on your palette.
Work the paint mixture into the recesses on a small area of the ceramic piece.
The color wash mixture dries very quickly. Work in small areas so that the wash doesn't dry before you wipe off the excess.
Wipe off the excess with a soft rag.
Repeat the process until the entire piece has been antiqued.
Dry Brush Technique for Antiquing Ceramics
Instead of applying pigment to the recessed areas of the piece, dry brushing highlights the raised areas. Apply paint in very thin layers to add a tint of color to an area you want to feature or emphasize. Dry brushing is an effective technique for accenting a piece with metallic paints since mixing them with glaze or water dilutes the metallics.
Things You'll Need
Dry acrylic paint brush
Metallic paints or other dark brown paint
Load your dry brush with a small amount of the metallic paint.
Wipe the brush on a paper towel to remove excess paint.
Lightly run the brush over the area you wish to highlight.
If you can see brush strokes, then you have too much paint on the brush.
Continue applying thin layers of pigment with the dry brush until the desired effect has been achieved.