Going for the old…

Share this:

Shiny and new doesn’t always fit with the scheme of the project I’m working on so I’m prone to try different techniques to alter it – to take a shiny-and-new piece and make it look old and beat-up. It’s no secret I’m a big fan of Tim Holtz and his distressing techniques and this is one I used recently in my Nostalgic Noel type tray class.

I needed the numbers 25 to signify Christmas Day on the type tray, it just seemed fitting to have 25 on there somewhere. I could have easily cut chipboard or grungeboard letters but I really liked the vintage font style of the Numerals in Tim Holtz’ idea-ology collection but they needed to look as old as the other elements we used on the project. In the package, Numerals are very shiny and bright silver, so I taught students that by using a few products from Ranger they could easily get the desired effect.

Here’s the techniques we used. You’ll find they’re pretty easy to do and you can quickly achieve a vintage appearance with just a few products and tools.

First, cover the desired numbers with pieces of Tissue Tape from the Tim Holtz idea-ology line by Advantus (top left photo). Just randomly rip the tape and stick over the number until it’s covered; it’s OK if you miss a spot or two. The tissue tape adds texture to what would otherwise be a very smooth finish on the metal numbers and it gives the paint a surface or ‘tooth’ to adhere to.

Next, wrap the ends around and press them down or use a Basic Grey File Set to file the extra tape off in places where it will not stick to the back.

Now, paint the entire piece with Espresso Adirondack Acrylic Paint from Ranger by dabbing it onto the numbers – not brushing (top right). By dabbing it on you’ll get texture and that’s the look we’re going for. It doesn’t have to be totally covered – remember, this is distressed – we’re not shooting for perfection here!

Either let the pieces air dry or quickly and lightly dry them with a Heat-it Tool.

Now you’re going to randomly dab on Gold Adirondack Acrylic Paint from the Metallics collection of Ranger’s dabbers (bottom left). Don’t cover it totally, let some of the Espresso show through for a more heirloom gold color. If you do use too much Gold just let it dry, or speed up drying time with a Heat-it Tool, then dab on some Espresso and gently blot the access off with an old rag. By dabbing you’ll still get you the textured appearance.

Here’s how the finished pieces looked on my type tray (bottom right). After adding the brads simply touch them up with a quick dab of the Espresso paint followed by the Gold.

These techniques make it so very easy to achieve the look you’re going for. Just by experimenting with different colors of paints you can create the look of aged pewter, copper patina and more. Go ahead, play around and take something new and make it old!